Lives of the fellows

Roderigo Lopus (or Lopez)

b.? d.1594

[Roderigo] Lopus (or Lopez). – The Christian name of this physician, and the date of his admission as a Fellow of the College, are not recorded. On 13th January, 1569-70, he was selected to read the Anatomy lecture at the College, but declined the duty, and paid the fine. (1) As early as 1567 Dr. Lopus was physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and a resident officer there; for between 1567 and 1575 there are various orders in the journals of the hospital for repairing his house and gardens, and to “board his parloure,” in consideration that he should be “more painful” in his care of the poor. He had forty shillings a year, which with his house and a certain allowance of “billets and coales,” were given to him for a salary.(2) Dr. Lopus was absent from England in 1589, and his name does not subsequently appear in our Annals.

Is not this the same person as Dr. Roderigo Lopez, who was physician to the Queen’s household, and was hanged in 1594 for conspiring to poison Her Majesty?

He was said to have been incited to this by the Jesuits but on no sufficient grounds. Lopez (so says Fr Garnet) was a jew – the Queen’s physician living in London, a sick man and knew no Jesuit in the world nor was acquainted with any Catholics in England that I know of.” Vide Foley’s Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus. 8oo Lond. Vol. IV p.46 & 170. In a volume (no 82) in the State Paper Office, composed entirely of Returns of the Strangers of London in 1571 in St Peter the Poor.
Doctr Lopus “Portuigale”? householder Denizen came into this realme about xii yeares past to get his lyvinge by physicke and Lewis Lopus his brother.” Vide ? Dec 3 ’59, p.448

William Munk

[(1) “Eodem die (xiii Januarii, 1569) placuit Collegio viro Lopus admoneatur ut proxime ordine humanum corpus secet publicè in Collegio ita postulantibus secandi vicibus quod si recusasset præsenti pecunia numeraret libras iiij. Qui per Bedellum insequenti die admonitus, recusavit.
“Decretum quoque est eodem die ut anatomia publicè administretur in Collegio statim post sessiones Judicum proximas ante Pascha nisi pestis quæ tunc grassabatur prohiberet et ne tuto eo tempore conveniremus in causa sit.
“Eodem die constitutum est etiam ut D. Smythe, Oxoniensis proximam Anatomiam in Collegio publice administret si D. Lupus secundo recusaret.
“1569. xv Marcii decretum est ut ob pestem differatur publica corporis humani dissectio in aliud tempus constituendum per President: et alios collegas.” (2) Sir James Paget’s Records of Harvey, 8vo, Lond., 1846, p.25.]

[ZEMAN (Frederic D.) The Amazing career of Doctor Rodrigo Lopez (?-1594) Bull. Hist. Med., 39, 4, 1965, pp.295-308. Bibliog.]

[Dr. Norman Moore gives some additional particulars of Lopez in his article on the physicians and surgeons of St. Bartholomews Hospital before the time of Harvey “in the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Reports vol. xviii and in a private letter to me 11 Apr 1883 Lopez became physn to St. Bartholomews in 1567. He ceased to be physn to that hospital in 1580 but continued to practice in London living in Mountjoy’s Inn and became physn to the Queen’s Household in 1586. He eventually agreed to be the agent of a conspiracy to murder the Queen. He was to make use of the opportunities of his office to poison her and was to receive from the King of Spain 50 thousand crowns reward. A costly ruby was seized among his effects which was thought to have been an earnest of the greater prize he was to get when the agreement was fulfilled. But the plot was discovered. Dr Lopus was tried at the Guildhall 28 Feb 1594 “and” says an historian of the time “brought forth but little.” The case was too clear against him. Two other Portugese in the plot were taken with criminating papers on them and confessed the rest. Lopus could only say that he meant to “? the Spaniard and never thought any hurt against the Queen.” He was found guilty of high treason, & was hanged at Tyburn.]

[P. Refs re Shakespeare’s Shylock being modelled on R.L. -
Ordish. Shakespeare’s London, 1897.
Lee, Sidney. The Original Shylock. Gents Mag., Feb.1880, & pref to the Temple ed of M. of V.
Wolf. The Middle Age of Anglo-Jewish History]

[Also refs to R.L. in Woodward & Cates Encyclopaedia of Chronology.]

[P. Paper read to Jewish Historical Society by Major Martin Hume, seeking to disprove R.L.’s complicity.]

[L. the Physician to Q. Eliz. served in the Spanish Armada in 1588, when he was made prisoner. Could he have been the Physician to St. Bart’s of 1575 & who subsequently deserted this country for his own, was captured & then became the Queen’s Physician? v. State Papers. Richards pp.142-3. Refs to L. the traitor in Hist. MSS. Comm., Salisbury MSS., iv, 501, 512-3.]

(Volume I, page 69)

<< Back to List