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David Edwardes: his activities at Cambridge.

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
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  • Research Article
  • Literature
  • Medicine


Texts and Documents DAVID EDWARDES: HIS ACTIVITIES AT CAMBRIDGE by ARTHUR ROOK* and MAURICE NEWBOLD TiE IMPORTANCE of David Edwardes in the history of medicine in Britain has been effectively established by O'Malley and Russell,' in the scholarly introduction to their translation of his In anatomicen introductio luculenta et brevis. Edwardes was responsible in about 1531 for the first recorded dissection of the human body in England and in 1532/33 (1 January) he published the first book on anatomy to be written in England. Little information has been available concerning Edwardes and his career; the Dictionary of National Biography includes him under the name of Edguard an abbreviation of Edguardus, the latinized form he employed in his two publications, and states, inaccurately, that there is no record of his having the M.D. degree and that his treatise on anatomy was published on 12 January 1532. These errors were corrected by O'Malley and Russell.2 The systematic study of College and University Archives at Cambridge has recently brought to light some additional facts which supplement, and, in one instance, amend, the biography summarized by these authors. David Edwardes was born in Northamptonshire in about the year 1502. On 9 August 1517, at the age of fifteen, he was admitted as a scholar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. on 16 December 1522 and M.A. on 4 July 1525. He was elected a Fellow of his college in 1522, and he appears to have acted as Reader in Greek during the absence abroad of the regular Reader.3 In or before 1528 he moved to Cambridge. It is probable that he was a member of a college, but evidence as to the identity of the college has not been discovered. The following entry in the University Grace Book4 in the year 1528-1529 records the granting to him by the university of the M.D. degree on the basis of his having devoted seven years to the study of medicine and subject to his giving a public lecture on Galen's De differentiisfebrium; Item conceditur

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