Date: 25 September 2009
Four hundred years ago died John Dee, "Queen ElizabethI's conjuror", but/and a great mathematician, astronomer, historian and, so he believed,communicator with the angels. Stephen Pumfrey was one of a group of experts invited to a symposium at Dee's Cambridge college to reconsider his position in history.Always a controversial figure, Dee and the conference attracted considerable media attention, not least from the BBC Today programme. They were more interested in Dee's magic and unusual life (which included wife-swapping) than in prosaic matters such as Dee's patronage by Elizabeth and her courtiers, and by Marian Catholics, which was one subject of Pumfrey's contribution.Another speaker made the extraordinary revelation that he hadevidence that Dee secretly became a Catholic priest in the reign of Mary, thereby adding to the mystery of Dee's religious beliefs.
This item was reported in: Guardian, BBC, Western Mail, etc on 21/09/2009
Associated departments and research centres: History