Securis, John (DNB00)

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SECURIS, JOHN (fl. 1566), medical writer, was born in England. His name was a latinised version of the English surname Hatchett. He studied at the university of Paris for two years about 1550, being then very young. He attended and admired the lectures of Jacobus Sylvius, and studied pharmacy in the shops of several apothecaries. He afterwards studied at Oxford, and in 1554 published ‘A Gret Galley lately com into England out of Terra noua laden with phisitions, poticaries, and surgions.’ It is a dialogue on the tokens and qualities of foolish and misguided physicians. He went to live in Salisbury, and seems to have been licensed to practise physic by the bishop. He presented a memorial to the bishop on the granting of episcopal medical diplomas. It contained seven proposals that every one who wished to practise physic in the diocese, and was not a graduate of a university, should only do so on receipt of a diploma from the bishop or his chancellor; that surgeons should be required to show that they could read and write; that apothecaries should not prescribe physic; that no unlicensed person should practise; that no one should assume a university degree which he did not lawfully possess; that midwives should be sworn before the bishop; and that apothecaries' shops should be inspected from time to time by physicians. He mentions the College of Physicians of London in this memorial with great respect. In 1561, and perhaps earlier, he began to publish ‘A Prognostication’ for the year, a small black-letter book, combining with information as to law terms advice as to when it was wise to let blood or take lenitive medicine. Then after a short preface, in which he says that he likes to practise physic better than to prophesy, there follows a prognostic of the weather for each month. He seems to have continued these till 1580 (Wood). The edition of 1562 is in the British Museum. In 1566 he published ‘A Detection and Querimonie of the daily enormities and abuses committed in physick.’ It is a small black-letter book, written in racy idiomatic English, with a Latin dedication to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, printed in italics. It discusses physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries, and lays down rules for the education and conduct of each. He expresses his belief in the power of the royal touch of the kings of England and of France. There is a preface of six eight-line stanzas of English verse, and at the end a peroration ‘to bothe the universities’ in four stanzas of the same kind. This book was reprinted in 1662 with Record's ‘Judiciall of Urines.’ The date of his death is unknown. Wood (Athenæ Oxon. i. 458) states that John Securis (or Hatchett) was at New College, Oxford; but the original register shows that Thomas Securis (or Hatchett), and no other of the name, was admitted a scholar 19 June 1552, and that his place was filled 5 Nov. 1553. He was a native of Salisbury, and was admitted on the foundation at Winchester in 1546 (information kindly sent by Dr. J. E. Sewell, warden of New College, Oxford).

A contemporary Michael Securis or Hatchett (fl. 1545), a doctor who lived in the ‘new borough of Sarum,’ was author of ‘Libri Septem de Antiquitate ac illustri Medicinæ Origine,’ extant in Digby MS. 202 in the Bodleian Library, which also contains some other medical opuscula by the same author (see Macray, Cat. Cod. MSS. Bodl. ix. 282–283).

[Works; Tanner's Bibl. p. 659; Aikin's Biogr. Memoirs of Medicine, 1780.]

N. M.