Peter Lowe (surgeon)

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Peter Lowe Peter Lowe (c.1550-1610).jpg
Peter Lowe
The grave of Peter Low, Glasgow Cathedral churchyard The grave of Peter Low, Glasgow Cathedral churchyard.jpg
The grave of Peter Low, Glasgow Cathedral churchyard
Monument to Dr Peter Lowe, inside Glasgow Cathedral Monument to Dr Peter Lowe, Glasgow Cathedral.jpg
Monument to Dr Peter Lowe, inside Glasgow Cathedral

Peter Lowe or Low (c.1550 – 1610) was a surgeon and founder of the institution now known as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Surgeon physician with surgical specialty

In modern medicine, a surgeon is a physician who performs surgical operations. There are also surgeons in podiatry, dentistry maxillofacial surgeon and the veterinary fields.

An organizational founder is a person who has undertaken some or all of the work needed to create a new organization, whether this is a business, a charitable organization, a governing body, a school, a group of entertainers, or some other kind of organization. If there are multiple founders, each can be referred to as a co-founder. If the organization is a business, the founder is usually an entrepreneur. If an organization is created to carry out charitable work, the founder is generally considered a philanthropist.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, is an institute of physicians and surgeons in Glasgow, Scotland.



Lowe was born in Scotland around 1550 and left in 1565 to study medicine on the Continent. He completed his studies in Paris and by 1589 he was chirurgian (surgeon) major to the Spanish Regiment in the service of Philip II of Spain at the siege of Paris. In the early 1590s he travelled in England with Alexander Dickson, the secretary to the Earl of Errol, who, like his master, was a Catholic. While there he surveyed several harbours, sending details back to James VI in Scotland. On his return to France he was appointed chirurgian ordinary to Henry IV of France.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Continental Europe continent of Europe, excluding European islands

Continental or mainland Europe is the continuous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and by Europeans, simply the Continent.

Philip II of Spain 16th-century King of Spain who became King of England by marriage

Philip II was King of Castile and Aragon (1556–98), King of Portugal, King of Naples and Sicily, and jure uxoris King of England and Ireland. He was also Duke of Milan. From 1555 he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands.

On his return to Scotland, he settled in Glasgow around 1598. He found that the practice of medicine in the west of the country was in the hands of "cosoners, quack-salvers, charlitans, witches, charmers, and divers other sorts of abusers."[ This quote needs a citation ] He petitioned the King, then James VI, and was granted a Charter which enabled the foundation of a medical incorporation for physicians and surgeons. The college later expanded to include dentists, making it the only institution in the British Isles to admit all three professions.

Glasgow City and council area in Scotland

Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland, and the third most populous city in the United Kingdom, as of the 2017 estimated city population of 621,020. Historically part of Lanarkshire, the city now forms the Glasgow City council area, one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the local authority is Glasgow City Council. Glasgow is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as "Glaswegians" or "Weegies". It is the fourth most visited city in the UK. Glasgow is also known for the Glasgow patter, a distinct dialect of the Scots language that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city.

British Isles Group of islands in northwest Europe

The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller isles. They have a total area of about 315,159 km2 and a combined population of almost 72 million, and include two sovereign states, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The islands of Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark, and their neighbouring smaller islands, are sometimes also taken to be part of the British Isles, even though, as islands off the coast of France, they do not form part of the archipelago.

Lowe was dispatched by James VI in 1601 to accompany the Earl of Lennox on a mission to King Henry's court in Paris. In Glasgow he married as his second wife, Helen Wemyss, the daughter of the first Protestant minister of the Cathedral.

Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox Scottish noble

Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox KG was the son of Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox and Catherine de Balsac. He was a patron of the playwright Ben Jonson, who lived in his household for five years. At the death of his brother the 2nd Duke of Lennox, he was already Earl of March and Lord Clifton of Leighton Bromswold in the peerage of England (1619) as well as 7th Seigneur d'Aubigny.

He died in 1610 and is buried in the grounds of Glasgow Cathedral against the southern boundary wall, where his grave is marked by a large monument.

Glasgow Cathedral Church in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow Cathedral, also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Kentigern's or St Mungo's Cathedral, is the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland and is the oldest building in Glasgow. Since the Reformation the cathedral continues in public ownership, within the responsibility of Historic Environment Scotland. The congregation is part of the established Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Glasgow and its services and associations are open to all. The cathedral and its kirkyard are at the top of High Street, at Cathedral Street. Immediately neighbouring it are Glasgow Royal Infirmary, opened in 1794, and the elevated Glasgow Necropolis, opened in 1833. Nearby are the Provand's Lordship, Glasgow`s oldest house and its herbal medical gardens, the Barony Hall, University of Strathclyde, Cathedral Square, Glasgow Evangelical Church, and St Mungo Museum.

A large 19th-century bronze memorial to his memory also exists on the inner north wall within Glasgow Cathedral.


He married Helen Weems, daughter of Rev David Weems of the High Kirk of Glasgow. They had a son, John Lowe. [1]


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  1. Exhibition Illustrative Old Glasgow (PDF). William Hodge & Company. 1894. p. 12. Retrieved 3 February 2019.