Lives of the fellows

Thomas Mayo

b.1790 d.13 January 1871
AB Oxon(1811) AM(1814) MB(1815) MD(1818) FRCP(1819)

Thomas Mayo, M.D., was born in London, in 1790, and was the son of John Mayo, M.D., a fellow of the college before mentioned. His scholastic education was begun under the Rev. John Smith, of Eltham, with whom he remained three years. He was then for eighteen months at Westminster, but was permitted by his father to leave it, and escape the foundation and "its peculiar training,"(1) on the pledge that he would win for himself a fellowship of Oriel. He was therefore transferred to the private tuition of the Rev. George Richards, vicar of Bampton, and formerly fellow of Oriel college, a distinguished scholar, and still remembered by his prize poem, "The Aboriginal Britons." Under Mr. Richards’s guidance he made rapid progress, and in due course was entered at Oriel college, Oxford, and gained a fellowship of that house. He passed a most brilliant examination, and took a first class in literis humanioribus. He proceeded A.B. 24th October, 1811, A.M. 1st June, 1814, M.B. 4th February, 1815, and M.D. 17th June, 1818.

He commenced the practice of his profession at Tunbridge Wells, and on the death of his father, in 1818, succeeded to a large and remunerative business there. In 1835 Dr. Mayo settled in London. He had been admitted an Inceptor-Candidate of the College of Physicians 25th June, 1816, a Candidate 30th September, 1818, and a Fellow 30th September, 1819. He was Censor in 1835,1839,1850. He delivered the Lumleian lectures in 1839 and 1842, the Harveian oration in 1841, and the Croonian lectures in 1853. He was Consiliarius in 1838, in 1842 to 1844, in 1848 to 1850, in 1852 to 1854, and lastly, in 1856, and was named an Elect 26th June, 1847. Finally, on the 5th January, 1857, he was elected President in succession to Dr. Paris, deceased, and was annually re-elected until 1862, when he was succeeded by Sir Thomas Watson, bart.

Dr. Mayo presided over the College at a most critical period in its history, when it was undergoing those changes in its constitution that were rendered necessary by the Medical Act of 21 and 22 Victoria. In the lengthened deliberations which preceded the fundamental alterations finally agreed on, Dr. Mayo, as president, took an active part, and the fellows of the College acknowledged their sense of his services by retaining him for another year in his office as president, on the change in the mode of election, when the eight elects and the exclusive election of president from and by that order were abolished, and the election to the presidency was vested in the fellows at large. On retiring from that position in 1862, it was proposed by Dr. Hawkins, seconded by Sir Charles Locock, bart., and agreed to unanimously in a very large assemblage of the fellows, "That the sincere and cordial thanks of the College be returned to Dr. Mayo, the late President, for the indefatigable zeal and entire devotion, the never-failing courtesy and dignity with which he has presided over the College during upwards of five years, and especially for his great and disinterested services in promoting and carrying into effect during his period of office important changes in the state and constitution of the College."

Dr. Mayo, on ceasing to be president, withdrew from the practice of his profession and from London. He died on the 13th January, 1871, aged eighty-one, at Corsham, Wilts, the residence of his son. Dr. Mayo was the author of—
Remarks on Insanity, founded on the practice of John Mayo, M.D., and tending to illustrate the physical symptoms and treatment of the disease. 8vo. Lond. 1817.
An Essay on the Influence of Temperament in modifying Dyspepsia or Indigestion. 8vo. Lond. 1831.
Elements of the Pathology of the Human Mind. 12mo. Lond. 1838.
Clinical Facts and Reflections, with Remarks on the Impunity of Murder in some cases of presumed Insanity. 8vo. Lond. 1847.
Outlines of Medical Proof. 8vo. Lond. 1848.
Sequel to Outlines of Medical Proof. 8vo. Lond. 1848.
Outlines of Medical Proof revised, with Remarks on its application to certain forms of Irregular Medicine. 12mo. Lond. 1850.
Medical Testimony and Evidence in Cases of Lunacy, being the Croonian lectures for 1853, with an Essay on the Conditions of Mental Soundness.
12mo. Lond. 1854.
Medical Examinations and Physicians' Requirements considered. 8vo. Lond. 1857.

William Munk

[(1) In a note to me, dated May 28, 1861, Dr. Mayo writes, "I was a fellow of Oriel, to the attainment of which honour I had pledged myself to my father, provided he would permit me to escape the ‘foundation’ of Westminster school and its peculiar training, which, combined with a very fair proportion of Latin and Greek, occasional aerostation in a blanket."]

(Volume III, page 200)

<< Back to List