Francis, Thomas (DNB00)

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FRANCIS, THOMAS, M.D. (d. 1574), president of the College of Physicians, a native of Chester, was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, as a member of which he was admitted B.A. 19 June 1540, and M.A. 7 July 1544. 'After he had taken the degree of M. of A.,' says Wood, ' he applyed his studies to the theological faculty, but the encouragement thereof being in these days but little, he transfer'd himself to the school of physicians, and, with the consent and approbation of Dr. Wryght, the vice-chancellor, was entred on the physic line, 4 [7] Aug. 1550. In the year after, I find him supplying the place and office of the king's professor of physic, being, I presume, only deputy for Dr. John Warner' (Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 143-4). He received the degree of M.B. and license to practise 9 March 1554-5, and commenced M.D. on the following 29 July (Reg. of Univ. of Oxford, Oxf. Hist. Soc. i. 198, 299). In the beginning of 1554-5 he succeeded Warner in the regius professorship, which he resigned in 1561 to become provost of Queen's College. The appointment was not a popular one, and 'serious disturbances' took place at his inauguration (Letter of Francis, Calfhill, and others to Cecil, dated from Oxford, 11 May 1561 in Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547-80, p. 175). He retired from the provostship in 1563. He was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians, 21 Oct. 1560, at the comitia specially convened for that purpose. He was censor in 1561 and the three following years; was provisionally named elect 30 Sept. 1562 in place of Dr. John Clement, 'a second time gone abroad,' and was definitely appointed to that office 12 May 1564. He was president of the college in 1568, and consiliarius in 1571. Francis was physician in ordinary to Queen Elizabeth, and, according to Wood, much respected by her. While president he had some trouble with the quack Eliseus Bomelius [q. v.], whom he was obliged to prosecute for practising physic without a license from the college. Bomelius in his letters to Cecil offered to expose the ignorance of Francis in Latin and astronomy, but at the prospect of his enlargement apologised for having circulated such false statements (ib. pp. 292, 304). Francis lived in Silver Street, in the parish of St. Olave, London. He died in 1574. By his will, dated 8 April and proved 9 Nov. 1574, though he left his wife Anne comfortably provided for, he was more solicitous for the welfare of one 'Edwarde Marbecke alias ffraunces, a yonge childe, nowe or late withe me in house dwellinge.' He names as his executors Roger Marbeck and John Riche (will registered in P. C. C. 41, Martyn).

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. (1878), i. 61-2.]

G. G.