Sir John Floyer, M.D.


John Floyer was the third child and second son of Elizabeth Babington and Richard Floyer, of Hints Hall. Hints is a quiet village lying a short distance from Watling Street, a few miles southwest of Tamworth. In the church register at Hints there is an alteration after the entry of John's name, from 25 April to 3 March 1649. There are more interesting alterations to entries referring to other individuals in the Floyer family. When the name of John's grandfather, Ralph, appears the word "gent" has been added, and when the death of his own father, Richard, was recorded the description "Lord of the Manor of Hints" was later appended. Such was the birth of the upper middle class.

John Floyer as a younger son was obliged to choose a profession, and at the age of 15 he matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, to read medicine. Before this one presumes that he was privately tutored; he is not mentioned in the list of scholars of Lichfield Grammar School. He graduated B.A. in 1668, MB. in 1674, and M.D. in 1686. This long university training would, of course, have consisted in reading the classics, memorizing the aphorisms of Hippocrates, attending lectures and a few dissections, and writing theses and defending them in disputations.

Floyer returned to Lichfield in about 1680, and soon became a very prominent member of the community. In 1686 he was elected a justice of the peace for life; later he was elected bailiff.

The circumstances of his knighthood are shrouded in uncertainty. He was probably knighted by James II, in whose political intrigues he is usually presumed to have participated. Since he was only on the threshold of his medical career, the honour of knighthood is thought to have been conferred for political rather than medical activities. When James II visited Lichfield in 1686 Sir John was a member of the party that met him on the outskirts of the city. But if Floyer was concerned in the intrigues of the time, his local reputation does not seem to have suffered in any way.

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