Greenhill, Thomas (DNB00)

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GREENHILL, THOMAS (1681–1740?), writer on embalming, son of William Greenhill of Greenhill at Harrow, Middlesex, a counsellor-at-law and secretary to General Monck, was born in 1681, after his father's death, probably at Abbot's Langley, Hertfordshire, as his father died there. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of William White of London, who had by one husband thirty-nine children, all (it is said) born alive and baptised, and all single births except one. An addition was made to the arms of the family in 1698, in commemoration of this extraordinary case of fecundity. There are portraits of Elizabeth Greenhill at Walling Wells, near Worksop, and at Lowesby Hall, Leicestershire. Thomas was a surgeon of some repute, who lived in London, in King Street, Bloomsbury, and died about 1740, leaving a family behind him. He was the author of two papers in the 'Philosophical Transactions' of no great interest or value, July 1700 and June 1705. He is known as the author of ‘Νεκροκηδεία, or the Art of Embalming; wherein is shewn the right of Burial, the funeral ceremonies, especially that of preserving Bodies after the Egyptian method,’ pt. i. London, 4to, 1705. From another title-page it appears that the work was to have consisted of three parts, but only the first was published by subscription. It is not a book of original learning or research, but is a very creditable work for so young a man, and its information is still useful. The author's portrait by Nutting, after T. Murray, is prefixed.

[Family papers; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. ix. 512; Gent. Mag. 1805, pt. i. 405; Noble's continuation of Granger's Biog. Hist. i. 235.]

W. A. G.