SYLVA, Bartholus


Institute of Historical Research



Margaret Pelling, Frances White

Year published


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'SYLVA, Bartholus', Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London 1550-1640: Database (2004). URL: Date accessed: 29 November 2014.


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Bartholus SYLVA


Primary occupationmedical physician (Physician to (patronized by) Burghley & Leicester 1571)
Period of medical practice1550-1581
Place of birthItalian from Turin
AddressSt Johns par Vintree ward 1576
Other notesReprimanded 1560. Accused 1569 1571. Fined & imprisoned. Nasty.

Known London address

St Johns parish, Vintree ward
ParishSt John the Baptist (Walbrook)

Censorial hearings

23? Sep 1570
Entry'Bartholus Sylva, an Italian of Turin, appeared on the charge of malpractice. Firstly (as Dr. Ludford confirmed in his presence) he had procured an abortion. Secondly he had undertaken the treatment of a certain old woman by fumigation from which she died. Thirdly he had given to a certain man called Themmes living near the Royal Exchange, when he was suffering with his lungs, an emetic of stibium in a cordial, which had made him feel worse. These incidents seemed to the President and the Censors too important to be passed over in silence. But no decision was reached because it was necessary to go the next morning to the Earl of Bedford in connection with the settlement of matters arising from the business with the surgeons: therefore he was sent away until twenty days after Michaelmas.'
Initiator of the complaintcollege member
Action takenDeferred till 20th October.
Number of crimes3
10 Jan 1571
Entry'Bartholus Sylva, an Italian, was examined and rejected by the agreement of all the Fellows, because he was as ignorant of medicine as of philosophy: he was also fined £20 because he had practised medicine for six months with great danger to the State.'
Attitude of the accusedasked for College membership
Action takenExamined, rejected, prohibited; fined £20 for previous practice.
SentenceFined £20 and rejected as Collmem
21 Dec 1571?
Entry'Bartholus Sylva was put into prison because he continued to practise medicine; he was released by the intervention of Lord Burghley and the Earl of Leicester and when offered a further examination, did not wish to accept; nor when asked did he know how to reach Sparta, mentioned in his letter of application. For this reason he was rejected, and also because his behaviour was impudent, quarrelsome and noisy, lacking consideration and respect. On these grounds therefore the majority considered that he should be committed to the Fleet prison. He was however dismissed, his fine to the officer of the Fleet being assessed at 6s. 8d. and to the Beadle at 20d., and with the instruction to come to the President's house near St. Bartholomew the Less in Smithfield on the Sunday after Christmas ...'
Action takenImprisoned, released, rejected, fined 8s.4d. only, to see President
SentenceImprisoned in the Fleet. Later released and fined 8s. 4d.
30 Dec 1571
Entry'with the instruction to come to the President's house near St. Bartholomew the Less in Smithfield on the Sunday after Christmas to see whether the College would give him a fine or imprisonment. But when according to instruction he came, it was announced that he might depart to await a further summons: the time and other circumstances of the matter dictated this course of action.'
Action takenDeferred.

SWITHEN, Grissell