Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Frankland, Thomas (1633-1690)

FRANKLAND, THOMAS (1633–1690), impostor and annalist, was born in Lancashire in 1633. He was entered in May 1649 at Brasenose College, Oxford, and became a fellow in 1654. He proceeded to the M.A. degree on 28 June 1655, and in 1662 was proctor of the university. He took orders after his grace had been three times refused, but renounced them in order to practise medicine. He settled in London and passed as M.D., alleging when asked for particulars by members of either university that he had taken his degree at the other. He applied for admission to the Royal College of Physicians, producing a certificate to attest that the M.D. degree had been conferred on him at Oxford, 10 Oct. 1667. He was admitted a candidate of the college in December 1671, and on 29 July 1675 became a fellow. At a general election he was appointed junior censor of the college. His overbearing conduct in this office made him much disliked, especially by the juniors, some of whom caused a search to be made in the registers of Oxford University. The officers of the university certified by an instrument dated 15 Nov. 1677 that no record of his degree could be found. Frankland showed that he held the Cambridge M.D. degree, but it was proved that this had been obtained merely on the strength of his pretended Oxford degree, he having been admitted at Cambridge on 28 Feb. 1676 ‘to the same degree’ as he held from Oxford. Other charges of receiving bribes for shielding empirics were brought against him. He was disqualified for membership of the College of Physicians, but his formal ejectment does not appear to have taken place before 26 June 1682, Wood says by the connivance of the senior members. Compelled to abandon medicine, Frankland had turned his undeniable talents to historical study, and in 1681 published anonymously ‘The Annals of King James I and King Charles I,’ a folio volume of 913 pages besides preface and index. This book is largely made up of speeches in parliament and documents of state. Frankland has also been credited with the authorship of ‘The Honours of the Lords Spiritual asserted, and their privileges to Vote in Capital Cases in Parliament maintained by Reason and Precedent,’ folio, 1679. According to Wood, Frankland forged a will as well as his doctor's certificate. His name occurs as the recipient of 800l. secret service money in 1689. His misdoings brought him to the Fleet prison, where he died in 1690, and was buried in the church of St. Vedast, Foster Lane.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon., ed. Bliss, iv. 290, and Wood's Life prefixed, p. lxxviii; Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 382; Rawlinson MSS. A. 306.]

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