Lives of the fellows

Richard Caldwell

b.c.1513 d.1584
AB Oxon(1533) AM(1538) MD(1554) FRCP(1559)

Richard Caldwell, M.D. - This worthy benefactor of the College was born in Staffordshire, about the year 1513. He was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, of which house he was afterwards a fellow. He took the degree of A.B. 20th July, 1533; A.M. 12th March, 1538; entered on the study of physic, and in the thirty-second year of his age became one of the senior students of Christchurch, a little after its last foundation by Henry VIII. He took the degree of doctor of medicine 9th May, 1554, and was examined, approved, and admitted a Fellow of the College of Physicians on one and the same day, viz., 22nd December, 1559. The Annals, under this date, speak of him as follows: "Qui Richardus Caldwell propter doctrinam, gravitatem, et probitatem, eodem die, et iisdem comitiis examinatus, approbatus, et in Collegium cooptatus est." He was appointed Censor the very day of his admission into the College, and again in 1560, 1561, 1564; Elect, 27th January, 1560; Consiliarius, 1562, 1563, 1569; and President in 1570.

"His affections," says Dr. Goodall, "were such to the College, that he, with the Lord Lumley, in the twenty-fourth year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, procured Her Majesty's leave, under the broad seal, to found a surgery lecture in the College, and to endow it with forty pounds per annum, which is laid as a rent-charge, upon the lands of Lord Lumley and Dr. Caldwell, and their heirs for ever. The words of the letters run thus: "Solvend. eidem Præsidenti, et Collegio seu Communitati, et successoribus suis annuatim, ad usum lectoris artis seu scientiæ chirurgiæ, infra domum sive Collegium Medicorum Londin. in perpetuum alend. et manutenend. juxta ordinationes et statuta, dicti Joannis domini Lumley et Richardi Caldwell, in medicina doctoris, fact. &c." This generous and noble gift of Dr. Caldwell's and the Lord Lumley's was so highly resented [underlined in the text and ‘?’ added] by the College, that immediately letters were drawn up and presented to both of them by the President, Dr. Gifford, wherein they did not only acknowledge their great obligations due for this so honourable and generous a donation, most thankfully by them accepted, but as a testimony thereof did immediately decree that one hundred pounds should be forthwith taken out of their public stock, to build the College rooms more ample and spacious, for the better celebration of this most solemn lecture."

On the 15th November, 1572, Dr. Caldwell by a vote of the College was excused from attendance at the comitia. He died in 1584 [P: 1585?], and was buried in St. Benet's church, by St. Paul's Wharf. [His will proved 26 Oct. 1584 is at Somerset House (31 Watson) Mr Challenor Smith's Notes]. Camden, in his "Annals of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth," gives the following sketch of this worthy man: "Hoc anno fato functus R. Caldwallus, e collegio Ænei Nasi, Oxon. medicinæ doctor, qui, ut de repub. bene mereretur, (adscito in partem honoris Barone Lumleio) lectionem chirurgicam, honesto salario, in Medicorum Collegio Londini a Thoma Linacro fundato, instituit. Juxtaque ad S. Benedict. inhumatur, monumento laqueis, plinthesis, et carchesiis, scamno Hippocratis glossocomiis, et aliis chirurgicis, et Oribasio et Galeno machinamentis exornato." (1)

Wood tells us, that he wrote several pieces on subjects relating to his profession, but does not specify what they were. He mentions, however, a work written by Horatio More, a Florentine physician, entitled, The Tables of Surgery, briefly comprehending the whole art and practice thereof which Dr. Caldwell translated into English, and published in London in 1585.

William Munk

[(1) "Vir singulari eruditione inclytus, inclytum quoque favoris et æstimationis Collegarum exemplum, quem unus, idemque dies, candidatum, socium, et censorem salutavit dignissimum. Ib illo Prælectiones chirurgicæ nobis decretæ fuerunt: nec id quidem incommodo consilio, quippe cum nihil magis medendi artem conferat quam naturæ contemplatio et ejus solertiæ in istiusmodi morbis sanandis, quæ sensibus apprimè objiciuntur; noluit vir doctissimus ut a scienta nostra earum rerum coguitio secerneretur a quibus primam originem duxit medicina." Oratio Harveiana habita 18 Oct., 1722. Auctore Henrico Plumptre, p.14.]

[Caldwell, Richard. Short account of his life see Holinshed’s Chronicles. v.4, 1808, p.534.]

(Volume I, page 59)

<< Back to List