John Bevis

Bevis was born on November 10, 1695 in Old Sarum, Wiltshire, UK. Using a simple-sense refractor of 24ft focal length (no more than 3inch aperture) he discovered NGC 1952 = M 1 in 1731 (27 years before Messier found it). Messier was informed by Bevis in a letter of June 10, 1771. The nebula is plotted on Bevis' great (and extremely rare) atlas Uranographia Britannica, completed in 1650 (see below). He observed the occultation of Mercury by Venus on May 28, 1737. In 1738 he set up a private observatory in Stoke Newington (North London). Bevis was recognised as a most assiduous observer and was one of the only two persons in Britain known to have seen Halley's comet on its first predicted return in 1758-59. He died from injuries recieved during a fall while working in his observatory on November 6, 1771 at the age of 71.

M 1 was confused with a comet even long after Bevis and Messier; see e.g. Obs. 6, 94 (1883).

M 1 marked on Bevis' Uranographia Britannica