Vicary, Thomas (DNB00)

VICARY, THOMAS (d. 1561), surgeon, whose name is often written Vicars, Vikes, and Vycars, in contemporary records, was probably a native of Kent, and was a member of the Barbers' Company of London. In 1525 he was elected third warden. In 1528 he was upper warden, and in 1530 was elected master, to which annual office he was again elected in 1541, 1546, 1548, and 1557, a frequency of presidency to which no other member of the guild has ever attained. In 1528 he was surgeon to Henry VIII at a salary of 20l. a year; in 1530 he obtained a promise of the reversion of the office of sergeant-surgeon to the king; succeeded in 1536, and held the office, then worth 26l. 13s. 4d. a year, till his death. The Barbers and Surgeons were united on 25 July 1540 by an act of parliament (32 Henry VIII, cap. 42), incorporating them as ‘The Maisters or Governours of the Mystery and Comminalte of Barbours and Surgeons of London.’ The company employed Holbein to paint a picture in which the king on his throne, with his two physicians, Sir William Butts [q. v.] and Dr. John Chambre [q. v.], and their apothecary, kneeling on his right, presents the act, which is painted with a seal as if it were a charter, to Vicary who, with fourteen others, surgeons and barbers, is on his knees. The picture was probably completed during the mastership of Vicary (September 1541 to September 1542). In 1546, on the grant of Henry VIII's second charter to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, the city undertook its refitting, and Vicary was on 29 Sept. 1548 appointed a governor, and was reappointed each year till June 1552, when he was made ‘one of the assistants of this house for the terme of his life’ (original Minute Book). On 2 Oct. 1554 it was ordered that he should have the oversight of all such officers as be within the hospital, in the absence of the governors. He lived in the hospital, where his house was kept in repair by the governors, and he received an annual grant of livery of ‘fyne newe collour’ of four yards, at 12s. a yard. He was superior to William Cartar, Thomas Bailey, and George Vaughan, the first surgeons; and his friendly relations with the two who survived him are shown by his bequest to Bailey of a gown of brown blue lined and faced with black budge, a cassock of black satin, his best plaister-box, a silver salvatory box, and all his silver instruments; and to George Vaughan of a doublet of crimson satin.

Vicary continued sergeant-surgeon to Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, and in 1554 was appointed surgeon to Philip. He was granted a lease for twenty-one years of parts of the dissolved abbey of Boxley in Kent, the lands of which had been given to Sir Thomas Wyatt (Tanner, Notitia, p. 213), and in 1542 he, with his son William, was appointed bailiff of the manor of Boxley, and received a regrant of the office from Philip and Mary in 1555 (Furnivall, Foretalk, p. 7). He bought a house and land in the same district. He married the sister of Thomas Dunkyn, a yeoman of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, and by her had one son, William. In December 1547 he married Alice Bucke of London, who survived him. He made his will on 27 Jan. 1561 in St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and died at the end of that year. His will was proved on 7 April 1562. Besides bequests to his family and friends, he left a shilling each to forty poor householders living within the hospital walls, and ten shillings each to the chaplain, matron, steward, cook, and porter of St. Bartholomew's. He alludes to his possession of the ‘Surgery’ of Guido and of Vigo, and of other books, but mentions no work by himself. ‘A profitable treatise of the Anatomie of Man's Body,’ of which the earliest extant edition is of 1577, is stated on the title-page to have been compiled by him. It is dedicated to Sir Rouland Haiwarde, the president, and the governors, by William Clowes (1540–1601) [q. v.], William Beton, Richard Story, and Edward Bayly, the then surgeons to the hospital. The book, as has been proved by Dr. J. F. Payne in an elaborate examination of its contents (British Medical Journal, 25 Jan. 1896), is a transcript of a fourteenth-century manuscript in English, which is itself based upon Lanfranc and Henri de Mondeville, with a few short additional passages. Its anatomy therefore belongs to the knowledge existing before Vesalius, and does not represent the full knowledge of Vicary's time. His book was reprinted by the Early English Text Society in 1888.

[Original minute-books of St. Bartholomew's Hospital; Paget's Records of Harvey, 1846; Young's Annals of the Barber-Surgeons, 1890; Moore's Physicians and Surgeons of St. Bartholomew's Hospital before the time of Harvey in St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, vol. xviii.; Furnivall's Life prefixed to Vicary's Anatomy (Early English Text Soc.), 1888, where many original documents are printed.]

N. M.