Richard of Wendover (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 48
Richard of Wendover

by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford
1904 Errata appended.

RICHARD of Wendover (d. 1252), physician, was a canon of St. Paul's, in which church he held at one time the prebend of Ealdland, probably succeeding Roger Niger [q. v.] in 1229. He afterwards held the prebend of Rugmere, which previously to 1250 he had exchanged for that of Neasden. Matthew Paris (v. 299) mentions that he was at one time physician to Gregory IX, who, on his death in 1241, gave Richard a crucifix containing relics, which Richard in his turn bequeathed to St. Albans. He died in 1252, his obit at St. Paul's being observed on 5 March (Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 36, 145, 183). He left bequests to various bodies, including the hospital of St. James's, near London, to have prayers said for his soul.

Richard of Wendover, the canon of St. Paul's and physician, is to be carefully distinguished from Richard de Wendene or de Wendover (d. 1250), bishop of Rochester, as well as from the famous jurist, Ricardus Anglicus, who has been himself confused with Richard Poor, bishop of Durham [see Poor, Richard, ad fin.]; and, finally, from another Richard who was celebrated as a physician in the early part of the thirteenth century, and had been physician at Montpellier, of whom Gilles du Corbeil (fl. 1222), in his ‘Compendium Medicinæ,’ says:

    Qui vetulo canos profert de pectore sensus
    Ricardus senior, quem plus ætate senili
    Ars facit esse senem.

There can be little doubt, however, that Richard of Wendover is identical with a second famous physician, Richard the Englishman, who had studied medicine at Paris and Salerno, and was author of the ‘Practica sive medicamenta Ricardi,’ in which reference is made to the writer's practice at Bologna and Spoleto, and of the ‘Tractatus de Urinis,’ whose author is sometimes styled ‘Ricardus Anglicus,’ and sometimes ‘Ricardus Salernitanus.’ Gilbert the Englishman [q. v.] cites a treatise ‘De Urinis’ as by Master Richard, one of the most skilful of all doctors. Richard is mentioned as a celebrated physician by John of Gaddesden [q. v.] and others.

The following writings are ascribed to Richard the famous physician, although all may not be from the same pen: 1. ‘Micrologus Magistri Ricardi Anglici,’ MS. Bibl. Nat. 6957. This treatise, which is not found entire in any manuscript, is a sort of brief medical encyclopædia; it is a compilation from Greek and Arabic writers, though it shows some independence of thought and originality of expression. Probably most of the following are really parts of the ‘Micrologus,’ for in a preface to this work Richard speaks of its contents or ‘rules touching the urine,’ on anatomy, purging medicines, and the prognostics of diseases. 2. ‘Anatomia,’ MSS. Bibl. Nat. 6988, 7056, Ashmole MS. 1398, ii. 2, in the Bodleian Library. In Merton College MS. 324, f. 150 b, there is ‘Liber Anathomiæ partim ex Ricardo Salernitano confectus.’ 3. ‘Practica,’ MSS. Bibl. Nat. 6957, 7056: inc. ‘Acutarum est alia terciana,’ and Balliol College, 285, ff. 47–63, where it is styled ‘Micrologus.’ Both the ‘Anatomia’ and ‘Practica’ are in fact parts of the ‘Micrologus.’ 4. ‘De Signis prognosticis.’ Inc. ‘Finis Medicinæ dumtaxat,’ under this title in MSS. S. Germain des Prés, 1306, 6954 in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Univ. Libr. Cambridge, MS. Ee. ii. 20, f. 40 b, and Ii i. 17, f. 158. In Gonville and Caius College MS. 117 as Signa Ricardi, in Exeter College 35 f. 108 as Signa Medicinalia, and in MS. Bibl. Nat. 7056 as ‘Summa de signis dierum criticorum.’ M. Littré thinks the treatises ‘De Crisi’ and ‘De Pulsibus’ are parts of this work. This theory is in part confirmed by St. Peter's College, Cambridge, MS. 218, which gives under one head ‘Summa Ricardi de criticis diebus et pulsibus, et de modo conficiendi et medendi,’ but in the same manuscript ‘De Crisi, Phlebotomia’ appear separately. The part ‘De Pulsibus’ is contained in New College MS. 167, f. 2. Another fragment of the same treatise has been printed under the title ‘De signis febrium’ in the ‘Opus aureum ac præclarum,’ Venice, 1514, fol.; Lyons, 1517, 4to; Basle, 1535, fol. 5. ‘De modo conficiendi et medendi,’ MS. Univ. Libr. Cambr. Ee. ii. 20, ff. 13–17, and Gonville and Caius College MS. It is clear from St. Peter's Coll. MS. 218 that this is part of the same treatise as No. 4. M. Littré thinks it is perhaps identical with the ‘Practica,’ No. 2. Very probably the identification should also extend to the ‘Compendium Medicinæ’ of Bodleian MS. 2462, f. 516, and the ‘Summa Ricardi’ of other manuscripts. All of them are probably more or less considerable fragments of the ‘Micrologus.’ 6. ‘De Phlebotomia,’ inc. ‘Medelam membrorum duplicem,’ MS. Bibl. Nat. 6988, MS. Cambrai 815, St. Peter's Coll. MS. 218. 7. ‘De Urinis,’ inc. in some copies ‘Circa urinas quinque sunt pensanda,’ in others ‘Quinque attenduntur generalia.’ All copies seem to have prefixed a distich of which the first line is:

    Qui cupit urinas mea per compendia scire.

New Coll. MS. 167, f. 6; Exeter Coll. 35, All Souls' Coll. 80; Merton Coll. 324 (as ‘Ricardi Salernitani); Gonville and Caius Coll. MS. 95, MS. Cambrai, 815. In MS. Bibl. Nat. 7030 there is a tract ‘De Urinis’ attributed to Richard which begins ‘Quum secundum Avicennam viginti sint colores urine,’ which, however, is no doubt by Walter Agilon. In Cambr. Univ. Libr. MS. Ii. i. 17, there is a third tract beginning ‘Præsentium Corporis.’ 8. ‘Repressiva,’ MS. Univ. Libr. Cambr. Ee. ii. 20, f. 24, inc. ‘Laxativa solent,’ Gonville and Caius Coll. MS. 95. This is no doubt the part of the ‘Micrologus’ which treats of purging medicines, as indicated by Richard in his prologue to that work (Hist. Litt. xxi. 383). In Balliol Coll. MS. 285, f. 226, there is ‘Liber Ricardi de Laxativis,’ inc. ‘Dupplici causa me cogente.’ 9. ‘Tabulæ cum commentario Joannis de Sancto Paulo,’ MS. St. Peter's Coll. 218. 10. ‘Liber Ricardi,’ MS. Gonville and Caius (Bernard, I. iii. 120). In verse, inc. ‘Adsit principio sancta Maria meo;’ a few lines are printed by M. Littré. It is likely enough by Richard, who shows a taste for versifying in his other works. But at the end the author is called Ricardinus; this suggests that the author was Richard of Bloxham, author of the ‘Knowyng of Medicynes after Richardyne’ in Ashmole MS. 1498. 11. ‘Practica sive Medicamenti Ricardi,’ MS. Bibl. de l'Arsenal 73, inc. ‘Caritatis studio et brevitatis causa.’ In Cambr. Univ. Libr. MSS. Ee. ii. 20 and Ii i. 17, there is a ‘Practica Ricardi’ beginning ‘Habemus ab antiquis.’ St. Peter's College, Cambridge, MS. 218, contains, under the name of ‘Ricardus Anglicus,’ besides Nos. 9, 6, 5, 4, and the treatise ‘De Crisi’ already named, the following three, 12. ‘Quæstiones Coll. Salernitani de Coloribus.’ 13. ‘Consilia Medica,’ and 14. ‘De Naturali Philosophia.’ In MS. Magd. Coll. Oxon. 145, f. 46 b there is 15. ‘De Ornatu libellus secundum magistrum Ricardum,’ which may be by Richard the physician.

[Matthew Paris; Newcourt's Repertorium; Dugdale's Hist. of St. Paul's; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. 624; Simpson's Documents illustrating Hist. of St. Paul's (Camden Soc.); Hist. MSS. Comm. 9th Rep. App.; Histoire Littéraire de la France, xxi. 383–93, art. by M. Littré; Coxe's Cat. MSS. in Coll. Aulisque Oxon.; Catalogue of MSS. in Cambr. University Library; Bernard's Catalogus MSS. Angliæ.]

C. L. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.233
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
201 i 10f.e. Richard of Wendover: after physician insert although all may not be from the same pen