Guersye, Balthasar (DNB00)

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GUERSYE, BALTHASAR, M.D. (d. 1557), physician, an Italian, rose to high favour at the court of Henry VIII. On 7 Nov. 1519 'Thomas Roos of London, surgeon, was bound over in 100l. not to molest Baltazar de Guerciis, or pursue an information late put into the king's Exchequer, till he prove that surgery is an handicraft' (Letters and Papers of Reign of Henry VIII, ed. Brewer, iii. pt. ii. 1562, where Roos's very curious 'proof' is given). As surgeon to Queen Catherine of Arragon, Guersye was naturalised on 16 March 1521-2 (ib. iii. pt. ii. 902). About 1530 he took the degree of M.B. at Cambridge. On 9 Nov. 1532 his services were rewarded by a grant of lands (ib., ed. Gairdner, v. 668). On 20 Aug. 1534 he obtained license to depart into Italy with three servants, five horses or geldings, and twenty crowns of the sun, baggage, &c. (ib. vii. 443). He was also surgeon to Henry VIII (ib. xi. 567), and in 1543 was engaged in collecting accusations against Archbishop Cranmer. He was by special grace admitted M.D. at Cambridge in 1546. He was excepted out of the act of general pardon 7 Edward VI, being therein described as 'Balthaser Guarsy, surgenn.' On 22 Dec. 1556 he was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians. Guersye, who had long resided in the parish of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, was buried there on 10 Jan. 1556-7. His will, in which he describes himself as 'being aged and weake of body and diseased,' was dated on 7 Jan. 1556-1557, and proved with a codicil at London on the following 18 Jan. (registered in P.C.C. 2, Wrastley). He left issue two sons, Benedick, admitted B.C.L. on 17 Feb. 1537-8 at Oxford (Reg. of Univ. of Oxford, Oxford Hist. Soc. i. 190), and Richard, and two daughters, Frances, widow of Thomas Polsted, and Mary Polley. He left a sum of money to be distributed among the poor of Tadmarton, Oxfordshire, and St. Helen's, Bishopsgate. His wife died before him.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 173; Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878, i. 57.]

G. G.