BUTLER, George

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Institute of Historical Research

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Author

Margaret Pelling, Frances White

Year published

2004

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'BUTLER, George', Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London 1550-1640: Database (2004). URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=17286 Date accessed: 17 September 2014.


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George BUTLER

Biography

NameGeorge BUTLER
GenderMale
Primary occupationmedical empiric (Quack & ?prophet 1604. King's servant 1631.)
Period of medical practice1604-1643
Other notesKing's servant - royal protection. Multiply in trouble 1617-33. Had Archbishop of Canterbury's licence. Raach p.199 - some confusion. His ex-servant Mrs. Lander (872) is in trouble in 1640.

Censorial hearings

4 July 1617
EntryB was summoned but excused himself as he was the king's servant, and was needed to attend him.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Pressure applied by Collegeyes
Action taken?None.
Verdictcase not completed
13 June 1623
EntryCollege resolved to fine B £10 and imprison him.
Action takenB fined £10 and imprisoned.
Verdictguilty
SentenceFined £10 and imprisoned
2 June 1624
EntryThe President complained of B.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Action taken?
Verdictcase not completed
Number of crimes1
m Palm Sun 1625
EntryDr Clement complained that B gave a purge to a child of Mr Needham.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Action taken?
Verdictcase not completed
Number of crimes1
1 Sep 1626
EntryB was accused by Richard Holland, Amie his wife, Anthony Browne of Bernard's Inn. There was a counsellor's warrant deferred by the Lord Treasurer for B's treatment of Browne. Dr Raven was appointed to draw a certificate against B to be sent to 'ye Lordes'.
Initiator of the complaintperson unconnected with the patient or the case
Second initiator of the complaintperson unconnected with the patient or the case
Third initiator of the complaintperson unconnected with the patient or the case
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence against B to be sent to `ye Lordes'.
Verdictguilty
SentenceEvidence against B to be sent to `ye Lordes'.
Number of crimes1
Michaelmas 1626
EntryThen the President made a speech denouncing the quacks, namely Butler, Blanke, and Thomson: he resolutely bound all by the oath.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?
m S Thomas 1626
EntryThe President asked us to report quacks: he named Blanke, DuVal, Butler, Aire and Bugg and the charge against them.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?
16 Feb 1627
EntryMr. SHEPHEARDE confessed that he had been exhorted by DAY to agree to join the others and oppose the College and that with BUTLER.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?None, to B.
16 March 1627
EntryBrowne, the College's attorney, said that B had stupefied Mrs Hutcheman with narcotic pills, then puffed a powder up her nose to revive her - she had died within the hour. B had allegedly done the same to Mrs Knight of Southwark and to a boy, a bookseller's servant of St Paul's Churchyard.
Initiator of the complaintperson unconnected with the patient or the case
Action takenB to be prosecuted at law (see next).
Verdictguilty
SentenceTo be prosecuted at law
Number of crimes3
19 March 1627
EntryB sought leave to reply to the College's action. This was granted provided that he appointed guarantors in case he lost. B had then brought an action against Dr GILBOURNE 321 (LRCP).
Action taken?
4 May 1627
EntryApothecaries THOMAS 731, HINSON 399 and the successor of WHETLYE 799 were accused of supplying B.
Action taken?
5/6 May 1620
EntryB was investigated by the President, Dr Paddy and the Censors. B confessed to giving medicine, but only preparatory to surgery, and said that he had a licence for this from the Abp of Cant. Admitted giving 3 pills & a purge to Mrs Style of Bennet Hill (her husband testified that she had died). Style's lawyers were Mr Dide & Mr Pridokes of Temple. Style left his patent at the College.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Second initiator of the complaintspouse of the patient
Pressure applied by Collegeyes
Action takenSee next.
Number of crimes1
16 Oct 1628
EntryAt this Comitia it was arranged since the day approached on which the case of the College against [blank] Butler the mountebank was to be dealt with in the court at Westminster before the judges, that a certain number of Fellows should be chosen to be present there. Dr. Harvey, Dr. Goulston, Dr. Baskerville, Dr. Crooke, Dr. Meverall and Dr. Ridgley were chosen.
Action takenLaw-suit to go ahead.
3 June 1629
EntryIt was stated that choice had been made of those who were to wait upon the advocates of the College in the case against Butler. Those elected were Dr. Harvey, the Treasurer and the four Censors.
Action takenSix Fellows to consult with College lawyers about lawsuit against B
5 Feb 1630
EntryHenry DICKMAN 225, accused by Frederick Porter, said that the plaintiff had gone with him to Bulter: and that the use of the [turbinth mineral] pills was approved by Bulter but dissuaded him from the use of [Dickman's] dietetic potion, which the patient had taken for four days.
Initiator of the complaintpatient
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?None to B.
5 March 1630
EntryThe apothecary Henry DICKMAN 225 (q.v.) had been accused (5 Feb 1630) of giving Frederick Porter dangerous mineral pills, which ulcerated his mouth. D had said that B had approved the pills. He now produced a written statement from B undertaking Porter's treatment. Mr Seman (friend) said B examined P's urine. (Before B was called, Porter had been taking medicines from Dr. Meverall for a month, but with little improvement.) B prescribed a potion for S's maid, which DICKMAN supplied. It was not French pox (?).
Initiator of the complaintother medical practitioner
Action takenSee next.
Number of crimes1
15 March 1630
EntryDr Clement, Dr Baskerville and Dr Crooke were asked by the President to meet Dr Lister and together with him to wait upon the Lord Chamberlain and obtain leave from him for the College to pursue its law suit against George Bulter.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenCollege to get Lord Chamberlain's per to pursue lawsuit against B.
22 March 1630
EntryB was now Surgeon Extraordinary to the Queen. College wished to proceed against him. The Lord Chamberlain gave his permission.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenB to be prosecuted. See also next.
Verdictguilty
SentenceB to be prosecuted at law
9 April 1630
EntryHINSON 399 (apothecary) complained of B.
Initiator of the complaintpatient
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenHINSON was ordered to find better evidence.
Number of crimes1
4 June 1630
EntryMr Browne, the College's attorney, advised on the case against B.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken[Case to go ahead, presumably.]
5 Nov 1630
EntryDr Grent reported that B had given a purge to Browne, grocer, of Friday Street, for a swelling in his armpit, and that Browne had died. To be investigated more fully. There was a story that the preacher of St Dunstan's in the West had died under B's care. The Beadle was to investigate this report.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenFurther investigations to be made.
Number of crimes2
26 Nov 1630
EntryBarbara Harbottle said that when she was servant to Mr Wise B had given Wise 14 purging pills &c., and sleeping draughts, which had killed him.
Initiator of the complaintfriend/neighbour/acquaintance of the patient
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected. See next.
Number of crimes1
12 May 1620
EntryGeorge Thorowgood, draper, of St Paul's Churchyard, had been cured of a great inflammation by B, by purging and surgery. George Gilbert, proctor, of Knightrider Street, had been cured by the same means.
Action taken?See next.
Number of crimes2
3 Dec 1630
EntryMargaret Wise, wife of Richard Wise, and Amy Wise, RW's sister, accused B of treating RW with purges and sleeping draughts, so that he died.
Initiator of the complaintspouse of the patient
Second initiator of the complaintrelative of the patient
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected. See next.
Number of crimes1
10 Dec 1630
EntryLetter was received by the President from B.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenB's appeal / arguments rejected. See next.
7 Jan 1631
EntryDalsfield and Mrs Wise accused B of giving medicine to Wise, who died. Dalsfield had called in Dr Baskerville. Temperance Ellis, who lived with B, said that 3 were under cure at B's house, and that a minister, Mr Eaton, was still there. A woman had come 20 miles to B and had died 3 weeks afterwards, the body being secretly carried away by water.
Initiator of the complaintperson unconnected with the patient or the case
Second initiator of the complaintspouse of the patient
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected.
Number of crimes2
28 Jan 1631
EntryDr Saunders charged B with giving mercury pills to the wife of Capt. Paparelli of Redriff, causing severe salivation. Dr Goulston knew about the case.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Second initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected.
Number of crimes1
4 Feb 1631
EntryThe President complained to Dr Smith that he had allowed Mr THOMAS 731 (B's apothecary) to attend his anatomy dissection.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?See next.
11 Feb 1631
Entry(1) Temperance Ellis presented a petition claiming that B had imprisoned her. College decided to send her to the Lord Chief Justice for a decision. (2) B was included in a list of illegal practitioners who gained immunity as the King's servants. This list was sent with a petition to the Lord Chamberlain. (Others on it were TRIGG 746, BUGGS 130, HILL 395, BLAYDEN 93, BLANKE 92, DUNCOMBE 240.)
Initiator of the complaintfriend/neighbour/acquaintance of the patient
Second initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenPetition sent. Reply said that Coll. could prosecute these people.
Number of crimes2
4 March 1631
EntryDr Crooke said that B had given a pill and apozeme to Mr Dagges.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected.
Number of crimes1
15 April 1631
EntryMr Gipson, the College's attorney, was to be asked if he would solicit Mr Moyle (senior) against B.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenB to be sued in the Court of the Exchequer.
Number of crimes1
3 June 1631
EntryWilliam TRIGGE, accused of giving physic to Mr Goodridge, said that 'first by enquyrye hee found that Mr. Butler had given him pills to purge and a pill to rest'. Also, Mr. Thomas was 'accused to bee Butlers Apothecarye and assistante'; he 'excused him selfe slightlye', but was defiant when threatened with the College's interdiction.
Initiator of the complaintother medical practitioner
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?None to B.
25 June 1631
EntryMr Whistler's sister had died in B's house. Dr Chamberlen was to investigate.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenDr Chamberlen to collect evidence.
Number of crimes1
2 June 1620
EntryDr Paddy said that B had handed over his letters patent from the Archbishop of Canterbury, from the Lord Chancellor and from the Master of the Rolls, 'to be cancelled'.
Action taken?College cancelled his permissions to practice.
23 Sep 1631
EntryDr Saunders said that B had given 8 - 10 mineral pills to Mr Askue of Bridwell dock.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected.
Number of crimes1
30 Sep 1631
EntryDr Oxenbridge accused B of bad practice in the case of one Carter.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected. See next.
Number of crimes1
2 Nov 1631
Entry'Consideration to be had about collecting good proofes against George Butler, John Buggs and William Trigge'.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence to be collected.
26 March 1632
EntryIt was reported that B had given medicine to Mrs Hyre at Southwark mart.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected.
Number of crimes1
30 May 1632
EntryB had sent a letter to Dr Winston, but Dr Winston did not present it.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenLetter not accepted.
8 June 1632
EntryA petition from B was presented to the President, in which he asked for a licence to practise. The President refused to accept anything of the kind from such a man as B and deferred it to the College.
Action takenDeferred till 2 pm next Monday.
3 July 1632
EntryB had sent a letter to the President.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenB/the matter was put off.
1 Oct 1632
EntryOther suits against B were to be suspended if he paid the fine.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenLawsuits to be suspended if B paid fine.
5 April 1633
EntryB was mentioned in Jeames Ashman's complaint against Lawrence COTTON 193 (q.v.). Before going to COTTON, A had been to B, presumably with no result.
Initiator of the complaintpatient
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence collected. See next.
Number of crimes1
15 April 1633
EntryPlans were made to print the College's case against B [presumably now complete].
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?Lawsuit presumably went ahead now? See next.
1 Sep 1620
EntryB claimed not to know that his licence had been cancelled and denied Dr Clement's charge of treating Thomas Carr, feltmaker. He also denied that he had a retailer for his medicines (as the President had alleged). He said that his only medicine was for a sore leg, and he would stop using that.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Action takenProhibited from practice.
Verdictguilty
SentenceProhibited from practice
Number of crimes1
3 July 1633
EntryLord Heath, the Lord Chief Justice, wrote (at X's request) hoping that B's promise of £36 wd be sufficient for the College [to release him from prison?].
Action taken?Accepted, presumably. Had promised to pay £36 of fine.
5 July 1633
EntryB's fine of £36 was brought. (He had been fined £66 at the King's Bench at Easter, and by Heathe's request was to pay £36 now and the last £30 on the 20th November.)
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenB to be released at Lord Chief Justice's request. He paid £36 fine
17 Nov 1634
Entry'Dr. Alston enformeth that the elder Dr. Boett gave phisicke in Finche lane, Mr. Butler made the phisicke whoe is to enforme further therof.'
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Action takenB to inform the College further.
Verdictcase not completed
17 Sep 1622
EntryB was accused by Marget Shover of agreeing to cure her pox for 20s. and of giving her 4 or 5 purges and an unction, which effected no improvement.
Initiator of the complaintpatient
Action taken?
Verdictcase not completed
Number of crimes1
7 May 1623
EntryB was mentioned and discussed.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken[B must have been summoned.] See next.
9 May 1623
EntryB appeared and denied practice. He was no graduate, yet knew Latin, and resented the President's harshness. Said that Dr Palmer 'bad him come here no more'. He practised as a surgeon, in diseases if they were ulcerate. Wd not name his medicines. Dr Clement accused him of having medicines made by apothecaries John THOMAS 731 (Wood Street) and by Mr WHETLYE 799 for c.£100 p.a. - B admitted this.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Action takenCensors reported to Judges (*) on some of B's cases & his ignorance
16 May 1623
EntryMargaret Shover said that B gave her 25 pills and 4 purges - she had pawned her petticoat [to pay him]. B had promised her help in 7 days, or £100. B had also anointed the body and throat of another woman, who 'continued in great weakness'.
Initiator of the complaintpatient
Action takenSee next.
Number of crimes2


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