Institute of Historical Research



Margaret Pelling, Frances White

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'FORMAN, Simon', Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London 1550-1640: Database (2004). URL: Date accessed: 24 November 2014.


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NameSimon FORMAN
Primary occupationmedical physician (MD) (Physician. Magician. Astrologer. Author. Schoolmaster 1574-8)
Period of medical practice1578-1611
Place of birthEngland (Guidhampton, Wilts (son of William Foreman))
Date of birth30 Dec 1552
Date of deathSep 1611
AddressStone House, St Botolph Bishopsgate 1594. ?Barbican. Lambeth 1601-11.
Other notesOx 1573. Trouble 1594-1610. Ca 1604 - lic to pract med. See Rowse, "Tha Casebooks of Simon Forman". Reln of Thomas TWYNE 758.

Known London address

Stone House, St Botolph Billingsgate
ParishSt Botolph Billingsgate
ParishSt Giles without Cripplegate
WardCripplegate (Within & Without)

Censorial hearings

8 March 1594
EntryF, of Wiltshire but living at the Stone House, St Botolph's Billingsgate, confessed to 16 years' practice, 2 of them in London. Claimed cures for fever on Anize, Nicholas & Allen of Thames Street, and 20 others, by giving electuary of syrup of roses and wormwood water. He had read books by Corkes & Wainefleet, and diagnosed by astronomy. He was examined on astrology & medicine - answers absurd & mirth-provoking.
Attitude of the accusedconfessed
Action takenFined £5. Accepted to pay in 16 days.
SentenceFined £5 and promised to pay in 16 days
7 July 1609
EntryThe impostor Forman was to be summoned on the charge of Doctor Rawlins.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenF to be summoned.
Verdictcase not completed
Number of crimes1
m S John B 1610
EntryCollege resolved to collect evidence against F.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenEvidence to be collected.
1 Oct 1610
EntryThe President giving warning about the quacks urged that action should be taken against them and asked the Fellows with regard to Tenant, Forman and Forester to collect all the evidence they could concerning the people, month or day.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenCollege to collect evidence against F.
Verdictcase not completed
7 Nov 1595
EntryF was examined and found 'completely ignorant'. He confessed that he had read no medical writers save Cockis, 'an English writer, a very obscure man, absolutely unknown and certainly of no merit.' Was forced to confess that he practised medicine only by astrology. Was ignorant of the fundamentals.
Attitude of the accusedconfessed
Action takenImprisoned and fined £10 - the money to be used by the College.
SentenceImprisoned and fined £10
22 Dec 1595
EntryF was released from prison on the authority of the Keeper of the Great Seal. The College decided to complain to the Keeper, and ask for him to be imprisoned again.
Action takenCollege to seek his re-imprisonment.
30 Sep 1596
EntryF appeared and admitted giving compound water to Mr Sotherton, for burning fever, from which he died. F again claimed that he could understand the nature of diseases and could prescribe using astrology alone. He was questioned by the Queen's physician, Dr Smith, on astrology, and shown to be ignorant.
Attitude of the accusedconfessed
Action takenF was imprisoned.
Number of crimes1
7 Nov 1600
EntryF was to be summoned to the next Comitia.
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenTo be summoned.
Verdictcase not completed
25 June 1601
EntryCollege officials had tried unsuccessfully to arrest F, of Lambeth. 'Just as if he were in a harbour, he sailed with great joy, pleasure and complete safety.' College to send a petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury (28/06/1601), giving previous findings about F. (AC replied saying that he'd intended calling F before the Ecclesiastical Commission, and pledging the support of his own officers against F.)
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action takenPetition sent to Archbishop of Canterbury (reply favourable).
Verdictcase not completed
4 Dec 1606
EntryDr. Moundeford and Dr. Pope complained about the quack FORMAN.
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Second initiator of the complaintcollege member
Attitude of the accusedabsent
Action taken?F was summoned to January meeting (see next).
9 Jan 1607
EntryF was summoned and sent Mr Whitfield in his stead. W said that F cd not come on this day owing to more important business, and would not come on any other day unless College gave a public pledge to allow him to return.
Action taken?
30 March 1607
EntryMr Pelham, a professor of medicine, said that F made effigies of his patients and foretold their diseases, then prescribed. F had diagnosed Humphrey Weld as dropsical (true cause was arthritis). Jacob Saterthayte of Little Wood Street said that F had made an effigy of him and had charged fees of 10d., 5s. and 4s. for medicines, including purges.
Initiator of the complaintother medical practitioner
Second initiator of the complaintpatient
Action takenF was summoned, but refused to come.
Verdictcase not completed
Number of crimes3

FLUDD, Robert