Chamberlen, Peter (1572-1626) (DNB00)

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CHAMBERLEN, PETER, the younger (1572–1626), surgeon, younger brother of Peter Chamberlen the elder [q. v.], although bearing the same christian name, was born at 'Southampton on 8 Feb, 1572, a posthumous son. Electing,lilts his brother, to follow medicine, he became in due time a member of the Barber Surgeons' Company. About 1660, when residing in the parish of St. Anne's, Blackfriars, he obtained a license from the bishop of London to practise midwifery, and by his skill therein acquired considerable reputation and wealth. He possessed the family secret as to the midwifery forceps, and often incurred the censure of the Coll of Physicians. In October 1610 he sought to put an end to a long series of prosecutions, which had their origin in his want of medical diplomas, by joining the college, and appearing before the censors was examined for the Brat time. We are not told what the result was, but as he never proceeded further, it is probable that he was rejected for insufficient knowledge of his profession. In 1616 he interested himself in an attempt to obtain from the crown authority to organise the midwives of London into a company. On the petition being referred to the consideration of the college, they reported unfavourably of the scheme. ‘It was afterwards revived in 1684 by Chamberlen's eldest son, Dr. Peter Chamberlen, only to meet with a similar fate.

Peter Chamberlen the younger, dying at his house, in the parish of St. Anne's, Blackfriars, in August 1026 (Probate Act Book, 1628), was buried on the 16th at Downe in Kent, in accordance with the wish expressed -in his will. His will, as of London, surgeon, bearing date 12 Aug. 1626, was proved on the 22nd following (Reg. in P. C. C. 106, Hele). He had married Sara, daughter of William de Laune, a French protestant clergyman and refugee, and a licentiate of the College of Physicians. By her, who predeceased him, he had a family of five sons (of whom Peter is noticed below) and three daughters.

[Areling's The Chamberlens and the Mid-wifery Forceps, pp. 15-29.]

G. G.