Lives of the fellows

John Frier

b.1576 d.12 November 1672
MD Padua(1610) Hon FRCP(1664)

John Frier, MD, was the grandson of John Fryar, MD, who died of the plague 21st October, 1563, and a son of Thomas Frier, MD, who died in 1623, both of whom were Fellows of the College of Physicians, and have been already mentioned. The subject of our present notice was a doctor of medicine of Padua of 6th April, 1610, and was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 25th June, 1612. He lived in Little Britain; and on the 29th March, 1626, was returned to the parliamentary commissioners, by the College, as “an avowed or suspected Papist.” This was probably the reason he was not admitted a Fellow, as it was without doubt the cause of his brother, Thomas Frier, MD, having been refused admission as a Candidate. More than half a century elapsed ere Dr John Frier moved from the rank of Candidate. In December, 1664, when Honorary Fellows were first created, he was placed at the head of the list. He did not long survive, but died, as we learn from “Smith’s Obituary,” at his house in Little Britain, on the 12th November, 1672, at the patriarchal age of 96. His portrait was painted and engraved by R White.

If Lysons is to be believed, Dr Frier sullied his fair fame by an act of gross dishonesty: “The Manor of Harlton, co Cambridge, was purchased of the Barnes family by Thomas Fryer, MD, who died in 1623, as appears by his monument in Harlton Church. His son Henry, by his last will, bearing date 1631, left this manor and all his other estates, subject to a perpetual annuity to Mary Wollascot and her heirs, to charitable uses, without specifying how they should be disposed of, with the exception of 35l per annum appropriated to the poor of Harlton, and some smaller sums to certain parishes in London. Mr Fryer, very soon after his will, was killed in a duel at Calais; and his elder brother, John Fryer, MD, who had been disinherited by his father, having secreted the will, kept possession of the estates as heir-at-law, and it was not till after his death, in 1672, that the will was discovered. By a decree of the Court of Chancery, made in the year 1676, the whole of the estates were vested in the governors of Christ’s Hospital for the benefit of that noble establishment, subject to the payment of the specific sums men¬tioned in Henry Fryer’s will.”(1)

Dr Thomas Frier, above mentioned, a brother of Dr John Frier, was a doctor of medicine of Padua, of 19th March, 1614. He was examined at our College on the 10th November, 1615, and approved for the first time, but was not again examined till the 6th December, 1622, under which date I find the following entry: “Comparuit Doctor Thomas Frier, junior, examinandus, ut petit, in Candidatum ut avus, pater, frater: examinatus ita respondit ut D D Censoribus approbaretur, pro 2nda examinatione.” On the 19th December he was again examined: “Comparuit Dr Friar 3tio examinandus. Interrogatus a Præside et tribus Censoribus approbatus pro tertiâ vice.” At the Comitia Majora next ensuing (22nd December, 1622), he was proposed by the President for admission as a Candidate, but on being ballotted for, was refused: “Dr Thomas Friar, junr, a Domino Præside proponitur pro Candidato, sed a majore parte præsentium, fabis rejicitur - fidelitatis tamen erga Regem deposcens juramentum suscipit 30 Janii sequent.” On this 30th January, 1622-3, a final but unsuccessful effort was made for his admission: “Dr Thomas Frier junr iterum à Præside propositus, negatur fabis xj sed juramentum fidelitatis spontè suscipit.” Of his subsequent career I can recover no particulars.

William Munk

[(1) Lysons’s Cambridgeshire, p.206.]

(Volume I, page 319)

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