John Dee Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1503 – 1572 *** Full Name: John Dee *** Date of Birth (Birthday): John Dee was born on 13 July 1527 *** Place of Birth: John Dee was born in Mortlake, Surrey, England *** Family background: His father was a mercer, custom's officer and a minor courtier to Henry VIII *** Early life and childhood: John Dee grew up and spent the majority of his life in Surrey, England *** Education: John Dee began his education at Chelmsford Chantry School *** The exact date of John Dee's Death is unknown.
John Dee Fact 1: John Dee was born on July 13, 1527 in Tower Ward, London, Great Britain. He was an astronomer, astrologer and mathematician.
John Dee Fact 2: His parents were called Rowland Dee and Johanna Wild. His father worked in various jobs during his lifetime. The jobs he held included being a mercer, custom's officer and a minor courtier to Henry VIII. John Dee was an only child, having neither brothers nor sisters.
John Dee Fact 3: He began his education in 1535 at the Chelmsford Chantry School. John Dee moved to St. John's College, Cambridge in 1542 where he was educated until 1546.
John Dee Fact 4: John Dee became a founding fellow of Trinity College. He produced clever stage effects for a production called Aristophanes' Peace. The effects that he produced resulted in him being labeled as a magician.
John Dee Fact 5: After leaving college, he traveled to various countries where he studied and gave lectures. He made friends and acquaintances with influential people including his friend cartographer Geradus Mercator. He returned to London with a greater understanding of mathematics and astronomy.
John Dee Fact 6: He began investigating a perpetual motion machine with Gerolamo Cardana in 1552 upon his return to London. The purpose of this type of machine is to work without the requirement of an external source of energy.
John Dee Fact 7: He declined an offer from Oxford in 1554 of a readership in mathematics as he was busy writing in a hope to better his position.
John Dee Fact 8: In 1555, John Dee joined the Worshipful Company of Mercers which is the premier Livery Company of London. His father had previously been a member of the Company.
John Dee Fact 9: He was arrested in 1555 for casting horoscopes of Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth. He was charged for the crime with the charges being expanded to treason against Mary. He managed to clear his name to Bishop Bonner who he was turned to for religious examination. They later became closely associated.
John Dee Fact 10: In 1556, Queen Mary rejected John Dee's plans to preserve books, records and manuscripts and the founding of a national library.
John Dee Fact 11: John Dee began building his own library at his home in Mortlake. He collected books and manuscripts from Britain and Europe. His library became the greatest learning centre outside university with many keen scholars attending.
John Dee Fact 12: John Dee became Queen Elizabeth's astrological advisor when she took the throne in 1558. He advised her on scientific and astrological matters. He even selected her coronation date.
John Dee Fact 13: He published his research and work in various essays including 'General and Rare Memorials Pertaining to the Perfect Arte of Navigation' in 1577. His work was based upon his vision of a maritime empire, asserting English territorial claims on the New World.
John Dee Fact 14: John Dee was mesmerized by the secrets of nature and the supernatural. He wanted to make contact with the spirit world and attempted to do so through the use of a crystal-gazer, also known as a scryer. He used the scryer as an intermediary between himself and the angels.
John Dee Fact 15: His attempts to make contact with spirits were not immediately successful. John Dee became acquainted with Edward Talbot (Kelley) who assisted him in making contact with the spirit world and developing his understanding of the supernatural. They carried out spiritual communication only commencing prayer, purification and fasting.John Dee Fact 16: He wanted to make contact with the afterlife so that he could try to solve the mystery of the heavens through navigation, science, astrology and mathematics. Kelley, however, seemingly had other ideas. He told John Dee that the angel Uriel had told the men to share their possessions, their wives included!
John Dee Fact 17: Following his travels overseas, Dee returned to his home in Mortlake to discover that it had been vandalized. Many of his books had been damaged or stolen from the huge library that he had spent years developing.
John Dee Fact 18: British people were beginning to oppose the occult more and more. They lacked belief in magic and the supernatural world. Queen Elizabeth remained supportive of John Dee until her death.
John Dee Fact 19: John Dee married three times. His first wife was Katherine Constable, his second wife's name remains unknown, and his third wife was called Jan Fromond. John Dee had eight children in total.
John Dee Fact 20: His final years were impoverished and he struggled to support himself and Katherine, his daughter who cared for him. He died at the age of 82 in either 1608 or 1609. The exact date of his death remains unknown and both his records and gravestone are missing. A plaque was installed inside the church of St Mary the Virgin in Mortlake in 2013 in honour of John Dee.
Influence & Legacy: John Dee was deeply curious about all things associated with magic and the afterlife. His strong beliefs in the supernatural led him to attempts to communicate with angels through the use of a crystal-gazer (scryer). He studied astrology, mathematics and science and he was the entrusted advisor of Queen Elizabeth.
Short Facts about John Dee for Kids
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