Neve, Jeffery (DNB00)

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NEVE or LE NEVE, JEFFERY (1579–1654), astrologer, born on 15 April 1579, was son of John Neve or Le Neve (Visit. of London, 1633–5, Harl. Soc. ii. 62), and became a merchant and alderman of Great Yarmouth. He was also in the king's service as a ‘quarter waiter,’ and in November 1626 he was nominated deputy water-bailiff of Dover (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1625–6, pp. 232, 476). In 1620 he served the office of bailiff of Great Yarmouth, and in 1626 he excited a great commotion in the corporation by proposing to substitute a mayor for the two bailiffs who had hitherto governed the town. He was accordingly requested to resign his aldermanic gown (ib. 1627–8, pp. 504, 509), but he obtained a letter from the king ordering his restitution. With this order the corporation refused to comply, and after a long controversy the privy council determined that the corporation was to ‘be no more troubled in the business.’ On 4 April 1628 Neve, with three others, was commissioned to put in execution the statute of 33 Hen. VIII for encouraging the use of archery (ib. 1628–9, p. 43), and he became entitled to a fee of one shilling on every branch cut for a bow (ib. 1665–6, p. 142). The abuses committed by Neve and his colleagues formed the subject of several petitions to the king (ib. 1629–31, p. 493), and their commission was revoked by proclamation on 23 Aug. 1631 (ib. 1631–3, p. 134). Thinking to retard in part the staple industry of Great Yarmouth, and thus avenge himself for the loss of his position there, he unsuccessfully petitioned on 30 March 1630 for license to export six hundred lasts of herrings in strangers' bottoms for twenty-one years at 50l. a year (ib. 1629–31, p. 222). After these rebuffs Neve, whose business had greatly declined, retired to the Low Countries, where he studied medicine and graduated M.D. at Franeker. On his return he established himself in London as a quack doctor and astrologer. During the civil war he was plundered for his loyalty, and compelled to take refuge with the king at Oxford. He died a widower in All Hallows, London Wall, in January 1654, leaving a son Robert (Administration Act Book, P. C. C. 1654, 83–I). His papers passed into the hands of Elias Ashmole [q. v.] In his ‘Life and Times’ (ed. 1822, p. 64) William Lilly [q. v.], who knew Neve well, describes him as ‘a very grave person, laborious and honest, of tall stature and comely feature.’

A John Neve or Le Neve, whose christian name is often assigned to Jeffery, died at Hammersmith, Middlesex, about November 1654, leaving a widow Katherine (Administration Act Book, P. C. C. 1654).

Neve was author of: ‘An Almanacke and Prognostication, with the Forraine Computation … Rectified for the Elevation of the Pole Articke and Meridian of … Great Yarmouth,’ &c., 2 pts. 12mo, London, of which the issues for 1607, 1611, 1612, 1615, and 1624 are in the British Museum. The name of John Neve appears as the compiler of the ‘Almanac’ from 1627 until 1646, after which year it appears to have been discontinued. Among the Ashmolean MSS. at Oxford (No. 418) is a large folio volume by Neve, entitled ‘Vindicta Astrologiæ Judiciariæ, or the Vindication of Judicial Astrologie … Approved, Confirmed, and Illustrated by 600 of Experimentall Observations.’ The work consists of five hundred (not six hundred as in the title) pages, each containing a figure with the date and patient's or querent's name, and the ‘judicium astrologicum,’ which is written on the lower half of the page. Lilly in his ‘Life’ (loc. cit.) says, that Neve having offered the figures for his inspection, he corrected thirty out of forty of them; and that the book was then (1667) in the possession of Richard Saunder or Saunders, the astrologer. It is also mentioned by John Gadbury in his ‘Collectio Geniturarum’ (p. 179). A Latin translation of it by Miles Beveridge is Ashmolean MS. 400. In the same collection (No. 379, 2 b) is an ‘Epistola seu αποσπασματιον quoddam,’ which is subscribed ‘Galfridus Le Neve.’

[Palmer's Perlustration of Great Yarmouth, i. 122, ii. 272; Black's Cat. Ashmol. MSS.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1692–31, p. 127.]

G. G.