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The Tudor Society

26 March – Alchemy, astrology and angels – This man was involved with them all!

On this day in Tudor history, 26th March 1609, John Dee, astrologer, mathematician, alchemist, antiquary, spy, philosopher, geographer and adviser to Elizabeth I, died.

John Dee was a fascinating Tudor man and someone who narrowly missed getting into big trouble for his hobbies. Alchemy, talking with angels, mathematics... what wasn't he into?

Book recommendation: "The Arch-Conjuror of England: John Dee" by Glyn Parry.

I go into more detail on Dee in my Claire Chats video.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1533 – Convocation was asked to pronounce on the validity of a papal dispensation allowing a man to marry his brother’s widow, the man and widow in question being Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
  • 1546 – Death of Sir Thomas Elyot, humanist scholar and diplomat. He was buried at Carleton Parish Church in Cambridgeshire. Elyot's works include the 1531 treatise “The Boke named the Governour”, the 1536 medical treatise “The Castell of Helth”, his 1538 “Latin Dictionary” and a number of translations.
  • 1566 - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, and Bishop of London, Edmund Grindal, summoned one hundred and ten ministers to Lambeth Palace to get them to pledge their willingness to wear vestments, as worn by Robert Cole, a former non-conformist who now complied.
  • 1618 – Death of John Bridges, Dean of Salisbury in Elizabeth I's reign and Bishop of Oxford in James I's reign, at Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire. He was buried there.

There are 5 comments Go To Comment

  1. M /

    Thanks, Claire, for introducing me to another fascinating Tudor person. I will go to the Claire Chats video and look for the book.

    1. < / Post Author

      It’s an excellent read.

  2. R /

    John Dee was a great man, if the original Demons and Angels man and Elizabeth I practically had him as her main adviser in her private decisions. Of course much of what he praised was total nonsense, but his scientific education was outstanding. Of course the nonsense and science was mixed back then and much respected in high circles.

    Thanks for your video on him and his personal achievements.

    1. < / Post Author

      I find him fascinating. He was such an intelligent man and was interested in so many different fields. I’d love to go back in time and watch him work.

      1. R /

        Yes, I think he would be one of the people I would love to meet. His gifts and life experience were truly immense. His travels are fascinating as well, to Rudolph in Poland and to Russia. Rudolph ran a Court were science and alchemy was stretched to the ultimate tests, his Court attracted many of those who mixed the arts of mystery with the arts of science and new discovery flourished there. I find men like John Dee fascinating because of their wide experience of the world, the Courts of Europe as well as his very high education. I almost imagine talking to him being like talking to Merlin, yes, o.k Merlin was a wizard, but he was a very clever one who studied all the mysterious and scientific things of the natural world. He would be wonderful to talk to. Thanks for doing a video on such an amazing man.

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26 March – Alchemy, astrology and angels – This man was involved with them all!