Bayley, Walter (DNB00)

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BAYLEY, WALTER (1529–1593), physician, called in Latin Bailæus and in English books also Baley and Baily, was born at Portsham, Dorset, in which county his father was a squire. He was educated at Winchester school, and became a fellow of New College in 1550. He graduated M.B. 1557, and M.D. 1563. He was already in holy orders, and was a canon of Wells until 1579. In 1561 he had been appointed regius professor of physic at Oxford. Queen Elizabeth made him one of her physicians, he entered the service of the Earl of Leicester, and was elected fellow of the College of Physicians in 1581. He enjoyed large practice, and died in 1592–3. He is buried in the Chapel of New College, and his son William put up a tablet to his memory. In 1587 he published ‘A Brief Discours of certain Bathes … in the Countie of Warwicke neere … Newnam Regis,’ but ‘A Brief Treatise of the Preservation of the Eyesight’ is the best known of Dr. Bayley's works. It appeared in 1586, and was reprinted in 1616 at Oxford. The book contains but one observation of his own, recording how one Hoorde preserved his sight till over eighty-four years of age: ‘hee told me that about the age of forty years, finding his sight to decay, he did use eye-bright in ale for his drinke, and did also eate the powder thereof in an egge three daies in a weeke, being so taught of his father, who by the like order continued his sight in good integrity to a very long age.’ Of general history the only fact to be learned from the book is that a new method of brewing had come in in Queen Elizabeth's reign, and that some still preferred ale ‘made with grout according to the old order of brewing.’ For the rest the little treatise is merely an exposition in English of the opinions on its subject of Rhases, Avicenna, Arnaldus de Villa Nova, and other mediæval authorities.

[Munk's Roll, i.; Bayley's Brief Treatise, ed. 1616.]

N. M.