Thomas Vicary

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Thomas Vicary

Thomas Vicary (c. 1490—1561) was an early English physician, surgeon and anatomist.


Vicary was born in Kent, in about 1490. He was described as "but a meane practiser in Maidstone … that had gayned his knowledge by experience, until the King advanced him for curing his sore legge" [1] Henry VIII advanced him to the position of sergeant-surgeon to the Royal Household; and he became a leading surgeon in the City of London becoming the first master of the Company of Barber-Surgeons and again on three further occasions. He played a leading role in the 1540 Act of Union of the two guilds, appearing in Hans Holbein the Younger's painting showing the King handing the charter to Vicary himself. [2] Vicary obtained an annual right to the cadavers of four executed criminals for the Barber-Surgeons, and established the first formal teaching of anatomy at their hall. [3]

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

Maidstone the county town of Kent, England

Maidstone is a large, historically important town in Kent, England, of which it is the county town. It lies 32 miles east-south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river carried much of the town's trade as the centre of the agricultural county of Kent, known as the Garden of England. There is evidence of settlement in the area dating back before the Stone Age. The town, part of the borough of Maidstone, had a population of 113,137 people in 2011. There has been a shift in the town's economy since the Second World War away from heavy industry towards light industry and services.

City of London City and county in United Kingdom

The City of London is a city and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.

In 1546, he was appointed the first superintendent of St Bartholomew's Hospital. [4] In 1548, he was appointed resident surgical governor of St Bartholomew's Hospital, a post he held until his death. On Henry's death he continued to serve the Tudor monarchs as physician.

St Bartholomews Hospital Hospital in London

St Bartholomew's Hospital, commonly known as Barts, is a teaching hospital located in the City of London. It was founded in 1123 and is currently run by Barts Health NHS Trust.

One of the earliest works in anatomy was attributed to him, The anatomie of mans body; but it appears he republished and edited an earlier work of the Middle Ages. [1]

The Royal College of Surgeons maintains an annual lecture in his honour.

Royal College of Surgeons of England professional body in England, United Kingdom

The Royal College of Surgeons of England, is an independent professional body and registered charity promoting and advancing standards of surgical care for patients, regulating surgery, including dentistry, in England and Wales. The College is located at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London. It publishes multiple medical journals including the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Faculty Dental Journal, and the Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


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  1. 1 2 Thomas Vicary and the Anatomie of Mans Body Duncan P Thomas (Journal of Medical History 2006 April 1; 50(2): 235–246)
  2. In the collection of the National Portrait Gallery (London) (NPG D11098).
  3. Anatomy and the Anatomy Theatre (Barber Hall history) accessed 1 February 2009
  4. St Bartholomew's Hospital. Old and New London: Volume 2 (1878), pp. 359–363. Date. Retrieved 31 January 2009
  5. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Anatomy"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 930.