Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cuningham, William

CUNINGHAM or KENINGHAM, WILLIAM, M.D. (fl. 1586), physician, astrologer, and engraver, was probably a native of Norfolk. He was born in 1531, and became a pensioner of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1548, but was not matriculated till 15 May 1551. In 1557 he was admitted to the degree of M.B. at Cambridge, having studied medicine for seven years, and been examined by Dr. Walker and Dr. Hatcher. He also studied in the university of Heidelberg, where he tells us he was genteelly entertained by Dr. John Langius, T. Erastus, physicians, and D. Balduinus, reader of the civil law, besides divers others, at the time of his commencement. It is supposed that he was created M.D. at Heidelberg in or about 1559, at which period he seems to have changed his name from Keningham to Cuningham. Between 1556 and 1559 he was residing at Norwich, of which ancient city he gives a very curious map in his ‘Cosmographicall Glasse.’ He afterwards attained eminence as a physician in London, being also noted for his skill in astrology. In 1563 he was appointed public lecturer at Surgeons' Hall. His town residence was in Coleman Street. Neither the date nor the place of his death has been discovered.

His works are: 1. ‘A Newe Almanacke and Prognostication collected for ye yere of our Lord mdlviii., wherein is expressed the change and ful of the Mone, with their Quarters. The variety of the ayre, and also of the windes throughout the whole yeare, with infortunate times to bie, and sell, take medicine, sowe, plant, and journey, &c. Made for the Meridian of Norwich and Pole Arckticke iii. degrees, and serving for all England. By William Kenningham, Physician,’ London, 1558, 8vo. 2. ‘The Cosmographicall Glasse, conteinyng the pleasant Principles of Cosmographie, Geographie, Hydrographie, or Navigation,’ London, 1559, fol. Dedication to Lord Robert Dudley, K.G., master of the horse, dated Norwich, 18 July 1559. This learned old treatise, so remarkable for the beauty of the print and ornaments, is amply described in Oldys's ‘British Librarian,’ pp. 26–33. Cuningham states that he was only twenty-eight years of age at the time of its publication. 3. ‘An Apology.’ 4. ‘A new Quadrat, by no man ever publish'd.’ 5. ‘The Astronomical Ring.’ 6. ‘Organographia.’ 7. ‘Gazophilacion Astronomicum.’ 8. ‘Chronographia.’ 9. ‘Commentaria in Hippocratem de Aëre, Aquis et Regionibus.’ 10. An Almanack, licensed to John Day, 1559. 11. An invective epistle in defence of astrologers. Frequently quoted in Fulke's ‘Antiprognosticon contra inutiles astrologorum prædictiones’ (1560). 12. Address to the professors of Chirurgerie, prefixed to John Halle's translation of Lanfranc of Milan's ‘Chirurgia Parva’ (1565). Dated from his house in Coleman Street, 18 April 1565. 13. Letter to John Hall, chirurgeon, 1565, Bodl. MS. 14. ‘A new Almanack and Prognostication, seruing for the year of Christ our Lorde mdlxvi., diligently calculated for the longitude of London and pole articke of the same,’ London, 1565, 8vo. 15. ‘De definitione, causis, signis, symptomatibus, et curatione Chameliantiaseos, sive morbi Gallici.’ This is mentioned by Gale in a work of his published in 1583. 16. Epistle to his approved friend Thomas Gale. Prefixed to Gale's ‘Workes of Chirurgerie,’ 1586. 17. ‘Abacus, or Book of Longitudes and Latitudes of various places,’ MS. Cai. Coll. Cantabr. 226. It is a paper volume of 133 pages 12mo, and contains descriptions of continents, countries, and cities, and geographical questions and problems, partly in Latin and partly in English. According to Tanner it is merely a portion of the ‘Cosmographicall Glasse.’ The works numbered 3 to 9 are mentioned in the ‘Cosmographicall Glasse,’ but none of them appear to have been printed.

Cuningham was an engraver as well as an author, several of the woodcuts in the ‘Cosmographicall Glasse’ being the work of his own hand. Among other curious illustrations that book contains a portrait of the author arrayed in his doctor's robes. From Cuningham's perspective map and the view in Braun, Richard Taylor made the very interesting picture of old Norwich given in his ‘Index Monasticus,’ a copy of which, by F. Basire, appears in the ‘Record of the House of Gournay.’

[Aikin's Biog. Memoirs of Medicine, p. 137; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert); Blomefield's Norfolk, iii. 278; Brydges's Restituta, iii. 235; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. iii. 1; Fulke's Defence, ed. Hartshorne, p. v; Gough's British Topography, i. 86, 87, ii. 14; Granger's Biog. Hist. (1824), i. 306; Hutchinson's Biog. Med. i. 236; Masters's Hist. of C. C. C. C. ed. Lamb, p. 476; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xi. 435, 3rd ser. iv. 305; Oldys's British Librarian, pp. 26, 46; Ritson's Bibl. Poet. p. 176; Smith's Cat. of Caius College MSS. p. 119; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 213; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

T. C.