Baskerville, Sir Simon

, knight, of the ancient family of the Baskervilles in Herefordshire, an excellent scholar and eminent physician, famous for his skill in anatomy, and successful practice in the time of king James I. and king Charles I. was born at Exeter 1573. His lather Thomas Baskerville, an apothecary of that city, observing an early love of knowledge and thirst after learning in him, gave him a proper education for the university, to which he was sent when about eighteen years old, entering him of Exeter college, in Oxford, on the 10th of March 1591, putting him under the care of Mr. William Helm, a man no less famous for his piety than learning; under whose tuition he gave such early proofs of his love of virtue and knowledge, that he was on the first vacancy elected fellow of that house, before he had taken his bachelor’s degree in arts, which delayed his taking it till July 8, 1596, to which he soon after added that of M. A. and when he was admitted, had particular notice taken of him for his admirable knowledge in the languages and philosophy. After this, viz. 1606, he was chosen senior proctor of the university, when he bent his study wholly to physic, became a most eminent proficient, and was then in as great esteem at the university for his admirable knowledge in medicine, as he had been before for other parts of learning, taking at once, by accumulation (June 20, 1611), both | his degrees therein, viz. that of bachelor and doctor. After many years study and industry, he came to London, where he acquired great eminence in his profession; being a member of the college of physicians, and for some time also president. His high reputation for learning and skill soon brought him into vogue at court, where he was sworn physician to James I. and afterwards to Charles I. with whom, Mr. Wood tells us, he was in such esteem for his learning and accomplishments, that he conferred the honour of knighthood upon him. By his practice he obtained a very plentiful estate, and shewed in his life a noble spirit suitable to the largeness of his fortune. What family he left besides his wife, or who became heir to all his great wealth, we cannot find. He died July 5, 1641, aged sixty-eight, and was buried in the cathedral church of St. Paul. No physician of that age could, we imagine, bave better practice than he, if what is reported of him be true, viz. that he had no less than one hundred patients a, week; nor is it strange he should amass so great wealth as to acquire the title of sir Simon Baskerville the rich. 1


Biog. Brit. Prince’s Worthies of Devon. Wood’s Fasti, vol. I. Lloyd’s Memoirs, fol. p. 635.