Lives of the fellows

Edward Wotton

b.1492 d.5 October 1555
MD Padua MD Oxon(1525) FRCP(1528)

Edward Wotton, M.D., was born in the city of Oxford, being the son of Richard Wotton, superior bedel of the university. He was educated in the grammar school adjoining Magdalen college, of which society he was subsequently made semi-commoner or demie, and fellow, as Wood conceives, after he had taken his degree of B.A. By the favour of bishop Fox, the founder, he was in 1520 made socius compar of Corpus Christi College, with leave to travel into Italy for three years. There he applied himself to the study of physic, and at Padua took the degree of doctor. On his return he was appointed Greek reader of his college, and on the 3rd March, 1525, was incorporated doctor of his faculty at Oxford.

Soon afterwards he removed to London, was admitted a Fellow of the College of Physicians 8th February, 1528, and was appointed physician to the King (Henry VIII). He served all the offices in the College; was Consiliarius 1531, 1547, 1549; Elect 1531, on the death of Dr. Fincke; Censor 1552, 1553, 1555; President 1541, 1542, 1543. He died 5th October, 1555, æt. 63, and was buried in St. Alban's church, Wood-street, Cheapside.

Dr. Wotton seems to have been the first of our English physicians who particularly applied themselves to the study of natural history. He rendered himself famous by a work on this subject entitled, De Differentiis Animalium, lib.x, Paris, 1552. Of this work Gesner, in the preface to his Historia Avium, expresses the following opinion: "Edoardus Wotton, Anglus, nuper de Animalium Differentiis libros decem edidit; in quibus, etiamsi suarum observationum quoad historiam nihil adferat neque novi aliquid doceat, laude tamen et lectione dignus est, quod pleraque veterum de animalibus scripta ita digesserit ac inter se conciliarit ut ab uno fère authore profecta videantur omnia: stylo satis æquabili et puro, scholiis etiam ac emendationibus utilissimis adjectis, et quod priusquam ad explicandas singulorum naturas accederet, quæ communia et in genere dici poterant doctissimè exposuerit." This account, thought drawn by a friendly hand, is not essentially different from the sentence of Haller: "ab eruditione magis quàm ab ipsarum rerum cognitione commendatus."(1)

William Munk

[(1) Aiken's Biographical Memoirs of Medicine. 8 vo. London, 1780.]

[Dr. Wotton was living in the parish of St. Faith in 1542 see will of William Garrard priest 1542 (19 Spert?). His own will is at Somerset House 1555 (fo.33 More). Will of his widow Katherine 1558 (17 Weller). Mr J. C. C. Smith's notes]

(Volume I, page 27)

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