Dr. John Dee, Welsh mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, cartographer, navigator and occultist, was the first to bear the title and offices of the Queen’s Conjurer (or ‘Royal Occultist’ as it came to be known).
Just how and why the man known as the Great Sage of Mortlake came to be awarded with the queen’s favour in matters occult is unrecorded. Some say it was Dee’s successful mapping of Her Majesty’s Aetheric Provinces in 1564, while others point to the Dee-written Treaty of the White Hands in 1559, which brought an end to centuries of open conflict between England and the Kind Folk.
Still others claim that it was the discovery and swift dispatch of a not-inconsiderable number of ‘those people’ by Dee, Sir Francis Walsingham and Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud in 1588, which in turn led to a significant strengthening of the Anglo-Moroccan alliance.
Regardless of the exact date and circumstances, Dee held the post until his death in 1609. It is unknown exactly who replaced him. Some sources point to his former apprentice Edward Kelley, who was returned in secret from his imprisonment in Bohemia–itself due to his part in the Alchemical Affair of 1591, which resulted in ‘a loss of years and wisdom’ as later noted by Dee–during the Plague of Beetles in 1597, and given a new name to match his rejuvenated face–Enoch Swinburne. Swinburne, regardless of his true identity, fell out of favour quickly, however and was reported to have been imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he reportedly remains to this day.