Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

English physician and clergyman, founder of the Royal College of Physicians, London, b. at Canterbury about 1460; d. in London, 20 October, 1524. Nothing is known of his parents, but they seem to have been poor and obscure. His preliminary education was obtained at the monastery school of Christ Church, Canterbury, then presided over by the famous William Selling, the first great student of the "new learning" in England. Through Selling's influence Linacre entered All Souls College, Oxford, about 1480, and in 1484 was elected fellow. He distinguished himself in Greek under Cornelio Vitelli. When Selling was sent to Rome as ambassador by Henry VII, Linacre accompanied him, obtaining an introduction to Lorenzo de' Medici, who welcomed him into his own household as a fellow-student of his sons, of whom one was later to become Pope Leo X. Here under Politian in Latin, and Demetrius Chalcondylas in Greek, Linacre obtained a knowledge of these languages which made him one of the foremost humanistic scholars in England. During ten years in Italy, Linacre also studied medicine at Vicenza under Nicholas Leonicenus, a famous physician of the time, and received his degree of M.D. at Padua. Returned to England, Linacre became, after years of distinguished practice, the royal physician to Henry VIII and the regular medical attendant of Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop Warham, Primate of England, Fox, Bishop of Winchester, and many of the highest nobility of the country. He was also the intimate friend of Sir Thomas More, Erasmus, and Dean Colet. After some eleven years of a life which brought him constantly in contact with the great nobles and the best scholars of England, he resigned his position as physician to the king in 1520 to become a priest. He devoted the fortune which had come to him from his medical practice to the foundation of chairs in Greek medicine at both Oxford and Cambridge, and to the establishment of the Royal College of Physicians. This institution was for the regulation of the practice of medicine, which had fallen into disrepute in consequence of the great increase of irregular practitioners. After Linacre obtained his charter, no one except a regular physician could practice in and around London. The constitution of the college, drawn up by Linacre, and still in force, is a standing monument of his far-seeing judgment. The college is an honoured English institution and the oldest of its kind in the world. Linacre's contributions to medicine consist mainly of his translations of Galen's works from Greek into Latin. Erasmus said Linacre's Latin was better than Galen's Greek. He published the "Methodus Medendi", "De Sanitate Tuenda", "De Symptomatum Differentiis et Causis", and "De Pulsuum Usu". Linacre was greatly respected by his contemporaries; Johnson, his biographer, says, "He seems to have had no enemies", and his reputation has lasted to the present day.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter