Thomas Wharton (anatomist)

Last updated

Thomas Wharton
Born(1614-08-31)31 August 1614
Died15 November 1673(1673-11-15) (aged 59)
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge
Known for Submandibular duct, Wharton's jelly, Thyroid gland
Scientific career
Fields Anatomy

Thomas Wharton (1614–1673) was an English physician and anatomist best known for his descriptions of the submandibular duct (one of the salivary ducts) and Wharton's jelly of the umbilical cord.

Contents

Life

He was the only son of John Wharton (d. 10 June 1629) by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Roger Hodson (d. 10 March 1646) of Fountains Abbey, and was born at Winston-on-Tees, county Durham, on 31 August 1614. He was admitted at Pembroke College, Cambridge, on 4 July 1638, and matriculated two days later. [1] He afterwards migrated to Trinity College, Oxford, where he acted for some time as tutor to John Scrope, natural son of Emanuel Scrope, 1st Earl of Sunderland.

In 1642 he went to Bolton, where he remained three years studying; and then, having decided upon his future profession, removed to London and studied medicine under John Bathurst In 1646 he returned to Oxford, and was created M.D. on 7 May 1647. He was entered as a candidate of the College of Physicians on 25 January 1648, chosen fellow on 23 December 1650, incorporated at Cambridge on his doctor's degree in 1652, and held the post of censor of the Royal College of Physicians in 1658, 1661, 1666, 1667, 1668, and 1673.

He obtained the appointment of physician to St. Thomas's Hospital on 20 November 1659, and retained it till his death in 1673. Wharton was one of the very few physicians who remained at his post in London during the whole of the outbreak of the plague of 1665. His services were recognised by a promise of the first vacant appointment of physician in ordinary to the king. When, however, a vacancy occurred and he applied for the fulfilment of the promise, he was put off with a grant of honourable augmentation to his paternal arms, for which he had to pay Sir William Dugdale.

Wharton died at his house in Aldersgate Street on 15 November 1673, and was buried on the 20th in the church of St. Michael Bassishaw in Basinghall Street. He married Jane, daughter of William Ashbridge of London, by whom he had three sons: Thomas, father of George Wharton (both physicians; George married Anna Maria, daughter of William Petty), Charles, and William; the last two died young. His wife predeceased him on 20 July 1669, and was buried at St. Michael Bassishaw on the 23rd.

Work

Wharton described the glands more accurately than had previously been done, and made researches into their nature and use, relying on dissection and experiment. He was the discoverer of the duct of the sub-mandibulary gland for the conveyance of the saliva into the mouth, which bears his name. He made a special study of the minute anatomy of the pancreas. William Oughtred, in the epistle to his Clavis Mathematicae (London, 1648), speaks of Wharton's proficiency; and Izaak Walton, in his Compleat Angler , expresses indebtedness to Wharton, and calls him a friend.

He wrote four English verses under a fanciful engraving prefixed to a translation by Elias Ashmole, entitled Arcanum, or the Grand Secret of Hermetic Philosophy, and published in his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (London, 1652). Wharton and Bathurst had visited Arthur Dee for Ashmole (who translated his Fasciculus Chemicus , but never met him). [2] Ashmole and Wharton worked together on the catalogue of the Musaeum Tradescantianum, printed in 1650, stemming from a visit they paid John Tradescant the younger in 1650. [3] [4] Their friendship was troubled, but reconciliation took place before Wharton's death.

Wharton published Adenographia; sive glandularum totius corporis descriptio, London, 1656 (plates); Amsterdam, 1659; Oberwesel, 1664, 1671,1675; Düsseldorf, 1730. Large portions of the work were printed in Le Clerc and Mangot's Bibliotheca Anatomica, Geneva, 1699. Hieronymus Barbatus in his Dissertatio Elegantissima de Sanguine, Paris, 1667, makes use of Wharton's work.

Notes

  1. A slightly different matriculation date is given in "Wharton, Thomas (WHRN637T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. Arthur Dee, Lyndy Abraham (editor), Elias Ashmole (translator), Fasciculus Chemicus (1997), p. lxvi.
  3. "Musaeum Tradescantianum". Ashmolean Museum: British Archaeology Collections.
  4. "The Collectors - Tradescant". Ashmolean Museum: British Archaeology Collections.

Related Research Articles

Arthur Dee was a physician and alchemist.

The 1711 Sales Auction Catalogue of the Library of Sir Thomas Browne highlights the erudition of the physician, philosopher and encyclopedist, Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682). It also illustrates the proliferation, distribution and availability of books printed throughout 17th century Europe which were purchased by the intelligentsia, aristocracy, priestly, physician or educated merchant-class.

Thomas Bartholin Danish physician, mathematician and theologian

Thomas Bartholin was a Danish physician, mathematician, and theologian. He is best known for his work in the discovery of the lymphatic system in humans and for his advancements of the theory of refrigeration anesthesia, being the first to describe it scientifically.

Elias Ashmole English antiquarian, politician, officer of arms, astrologer and alchemist

Elias Ashmole was an English antiquary, politician, officer of arms, astrologer and student of alchemy. Ashmole supported the royalist side during the English Civil War, and at the restoration of Charles II he was rewarded with several lucrative offices.

<i>Fasciculus Chemicus</i> Alchemical writings compiled by Arthur Dee

Fasciculus Chemicus or Chymical Collections. Expressing the Ingress, Progress, and Egress, of the Secret Hermetick Science out of the choicest and most famous authors is an anthology of alchemical writings compiled by Arthur Dee (1579–1651) in 1629 while resident in Moscow as chief physician to Czar Michael I of Russia.

Cabinet of curiosities encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined

Cabinets of curiosities were notable collections of objects. The term cabinet originally described a room rather than a piece of furniture. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art, and antiquities. The classic cabinet of curiosities emerged in the sixteenth century, although more rudimentary collections had existed earlier. In addition to the most famous and best documented cabinets of rulers and aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science in Europe formed collections that were precursors to museums.

Musaeum

The Musaeum or Mouseion at Alexandria, which included the famous Library of Alexandria, was an institution said to have been founded by Ptolemy I Soter. This original Musaeum was the home of music or poetry, a philosophical school and library such as Plato's Academy, and also a storehouse of texts. It did not have a collection of works of art, rather it was an institution that brought together some of the best scholars of the Hellenistic world, analogous to a modern university. This original Musaeum was the source for the modern usage of the word museum.

Sir Walter Yonge, 2nd Baronet English politician

Sir Walter Yonge, 2nd Baronet of Great House, Colyton, and of Mohuns Ottery, both in Devon, was a Member of Parliament for Honiton (1659), for Lyme Regis (1660) and for Dartmouth (1667–70).

Musaeum Tradescantianum

The Musaeum Tradescantianum was the first museum open to the public to be established in England. Located in Vauxhall in south London, it comprised a collection of curiosities assembled by John Tradescant the elder and his son in a building called The Ark, and a botanical collection in the grounds of the building. Turret House, the family home, was demolished in 1881 and the estate has been redeveloped; the house stood on the site of the present Tradescant Road and Walberswick Street, off South Lambeth Road.

John Tradescant the Elder English botanist

John Tradescant the Elder, father of John Tradescant the Younger, was an English naturalist, gardener, collector and traveller.

John Tradescant the Younger British botnaist

John Tradescant the Younger, son of John Tradescant the Elder, was a botanist and gardener. The standard author abbreviation Trad. is applied to species he described.

Frederick Louis, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Landsberg

Frederick Louis was the Duke of Landsberg from 1645 until 1681, and the Count Palatine of Zweibrücken from 1661 until 1681.

Events from the year 1656 in England.

Ralph Bathurst Theologian and physician

Ralph Bathurst, FRS was an English theologian and physician.

Sir George Wharton, 1st Baronet English astrologer

Sir George Wharton, 1st Baronet was an English Royalist soldier and astrologer. He was also known for his poetry.

John Bathurst English doctor

John Bathurst (1607–1659) was an English physician. He attended Oliver Cromwell, and was twice Member of Parliament.

Walter Needham (1631?–1691) was an English physician, known as an anatomist.

References