Lives of the fellows

Matthew John (Sir) Tierney

b.24 November 1776 d.28 October 1845
BART MD Glasg(1802) LRCP(1806) FRCP(1836)

Sir Matthew John Tierney, Bart., M.D., was the eldest son of John Tierney, esq., of Ballyscandland, co. Limerick, by his wife Mary, daughter of James Gleeson, esq., of Rathkinnon, in the same county, and was born the 24th November, 1776. He commenced his medical education at the United Borough hospitals under the immediate superintendance of Dr. Saunders and Dr. Babington. In 1798 he was appointed by the earl of Berkeley, to whom he had been recently introduced, surgeon to his lordship’s regiment of militia. He passed the session of 1799-1800, and part of 1801 at Edinburgh, but then removed to Glasgow, where he graduated doctor of medicine 22nd April, 1802 (D.M.I. de Variola Vaccina).

He was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1806, and a Fellow 9th July, 1836. In the summer of 1802 he settled as a physician at Brighton, where he was presented by his patron the earl of Berkeley to the Prince of Wales, who soon afterwards appointed him physician to his royal highness’s household there. In 1820 he was appointed physician extraordinary to the Prince of Wales, and on the 28th January,1816, physician in ordinary to the Prince Regent.

He was created a baronet 3rd October, 1818, and in the medical arrangements consequent on the accession of George IV, was gazetted physician in ordinary to the king. He was continued in the same high office by William IV, who on the 7th May,1831, created him a knight commander of the royal Guelphic order of Hanover. Having no issue, Sir Matthew obtained a second patent of baronetcy dated 5th June, 1834, with remainder to Edward Tierney, esq., of Dublin, then crown solicitor for Ireland.

Sir Matthew Tierney died at his residence on the Pavilion parade, Brighton, 28th October, 1845, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He was a warm advocate of vaccination, to the advancement of which he devoted some of the best energies of a long professional life. He made the acquaintance of Dr. Jenner in Gloucestershire in 1798, whilst surgeon to Lord Berkeley’s regiment of militia, and he carried a practical knowledge of vaccination to Edinburgh, where he obtained the notice of Dr. James Gregory, the distinguished author of the Conspectus Medicinæ Theoreticæ, whose eldest son he vaccinated, and thus gained a stanch and powerful advocate to the cause.

He selected Cow-pock as the subject of his inaugural essay at Glasgow, and on settling at Brighton, he contributed materially to the formation of a Vaccine institution in that town—the first that was established out of the metropolis.Sir Matthew Tierney’s only literary effort was on this, his favourite subject—
Observations on Variola Vaccina, or Cow Pock. 12mo. Brighton. 1840.

William Munk

(Volume III, page 44)

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