This database provides information on around 3500 English-speaking medical students who studied on the continent between the fifteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
The details have been compiled by H. T. Swan, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. They are taken from the manuscript notes of R. W. Innes-Smith, author of English Speaking Students of Medicine at the University of Leyden (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1932). The original manuscript material is held at the Royal College of Physicians of London.
Key to the Database
The records detail, wherever possible, for each individual their surname, first name, nationality, place of origin, university, date(s) of study, title of degree and other information available (such as other subjects studied and alternative versions of their name).
Title of Degree: The acronym NEM (No Evidence Medical) is used here to indicate where, although Innes-Smith included the student in his records, no evidence was provided to demonstrate that they were definitely a medical student. It has seemed unwise in this database to delete all apparently non-medical entries if only because of the frequency with which an individual, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, might bridge different faculties, if, for example, he practiced physic in addition to having a church preferment.
Manuscript references: A column for each student has been devoted to page numbers as they were given to the original manuscripts by the archivist of the Royal College of Physicians of London. Names such as Leyden and Munk in the reference field refer to published works (the former, Innes-Smith’s work, the latter the Munk's Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London).
Inscription Date: The date provided in the index is intended only as an early floruit to guide researchers, it is rare for exact dates of the beginning and end of a pupil’s study to have been recorded.
Duplication: No attempt has been made in the index to remove double entries, by editing or blending them, for what seems to be the same student attending more than one university. The rendering down of apparent duplications of a name to make single entries could easily be faulty and lead to misleading errors of student identification so it is hoped that the inconvenience caused by leaving them will be small.
Identifying Nationalities: The recognition of Englishness in the old registers of a continental university is not straightforward. Some of the universities linked student names with their nationality by entering words such as Anglus, Scotus, Hybernus or Americanus but many of the universities which provided only a few entries gave no such label. If the student's country of origin was not known it then became imperative that the surname itself should be understandable but Innes-Smith was often defeated and wrote that "the spelling of our names by the scribe of the day is sometimes heartbreaking, some of the names being corrupt beyond recall and identification therefore impossible". Even a name which is recorded as having come from an English-speaking country may never be correctly identified, even by future searchers, because of hopelessly corrupt spelling. Innes-Smith himself must sometimes have been forced to copy an undecipherable squiggle in the middle of a surname because the same squiggle can be recognised again in his later transcriptions.
Omitted Universities: The following 15 universities corresponded with Innes-Smith but did not provide him with names of English-speaking students of medicine. This list includes the reference numbers of the relevant correspondence in the Royal College of Physicians of London manuscripts. Avignon (MS 546/142); Aix en Provence (546/142-3); Bonn (543/43); Bordeaux (546/144) where there are two names 'comme aggreges' at the College of Medicine - de -O'Sullivan, Irlandais 1760 & de Fitzgibbon 1768; Bourgcs (Cher) (546/143); Dijon (546/144); Erfurt (543/41); Giessen (543/41); Gottingen (543/43); Valence for Grenoble (546/143); Halle (543/41) where promotions to Doctor are available from 1780 and some theses; Helmstadt (543/43); Nantes (5461144) where registers were destroyed during the Revolution but there had certainly been English, Irish and Scots students who became Doctors of Medicine; Orleans (546/143); Poitiers (546/144).