Skeyne, Gilbert (DNB00)

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SKEYNE, GILBERT, M.D. (1522?–1599), physician, born at Bandodle, Aberdeenshire, about 1522, was fifth son of James Skeyne, by his wife Janet Lumsden. The father practised as a notary public at the farm of Bandodle on the Skene estate, near Aberdeen. Gilbert received his education at the grammar school of Aberdeen, and at King's College in that university, where he graduated M.A. Afterwards applying himself to the study of medicine, he graduated M.D., and was appointed medicinar or professor of medicine in King's College in 1556. In 1568 he became one of the ordinary regents of the college. He was collated to the the burse of medicine in the college in 1571. In 1575 he went to Edinburgh, where he practised physic with success, and on 16 June 1581 he was appointed doctor of medicine to James VI, with a salary of 200l. He retired from practice in 1593, and died in 1599. In 1569 he married Agnes Lawson, widow of John Uddart, burgess of Edinburgh, but had no issue.

He wrote ‘Ane Breve Descriptiovn of the Pest quhair in the cavsis, signis, and sum speciall preseruatioun and cure thairof ar contenit,’ Edinburgh (R. Lekprevit), 1568, 8vo. This curious treatise was the earliest medical work published in Scotland. It was reprinted, under the editorship of William Forbes Skene [q. v.], for the Bannatyne Club (Edinburgh, 1860, 4to), from the only known copy of the original edition, which is preserved in the Advocates' Library. To the reprint is appended ‘Ane Breif descriptioun of the qualiteis and effectis of the Well of the Woman Hill besyde Abirdene’ [Edinburgh?], 1580, 4to. This, the earliest topographical tract connected with Scotland, is thought to bear internal marks of Skene's authorship.

[Memoir by Skene; Skene's Memorials of the Family of Skene of Skene; Anderson's Officers and Graduates of King's College, Aberdeen, pp. 37, 52; Cat. of the Advocates' Library; Dickson and Edmond's Annals of Scottish Printing, pp. 236, 347; Traill's Social England, iii. 150; Lowndes's Bibl. Man., Suppl. p. 18.]

T. C.