Thomas Lorkyn ca.1528-1591

From Book Owners Online

Thomas LORKYN or LORKIN ca.1528-1591

Biographical Note

Born at Frindsbury, Kent, son of Thomas Lorkyn. BA and fellow, Queens' College, Cambridge 1551, fellow of Peterhouse 1553, MA 1555, MD 1560. He was licensed to practice medicine in 1559 and made regius professor of medicine in 1564; he was also rector of Little Waltham, Essex 1572-85. His only publication was a brief guidebook to student conduct, Recta regula et victus ratio, issued in 1562.


Lorkyn amassed a considerable library and his probate inventory lists 588 titles in 631 volumes, valued at £40 17s 11d (from a total estate valued at £510 18s 9d). About half his books were medical ones, with the remainder covering a wide range of subjects; while many were in Latin, he also had books in Greek and English. Most were printed after 1530.

His medical books were bequeathed to Cambridge University, "to be kept in the inward Librarie in a gret cubbord locked with two locks"; ca.250 books were received, and many remain in the Library today. The dispersal of his non-medical books is not recorded. The complete inventory has been edited by Elisabeth Leedham-Green (see reference below), and an analytical overview of the medical books received by the University Library will be found in Oates's History. Examples: Cambridge University Library N*.13.45(G), N*.15.20(E), P*.14.38(G), and many others there.

Characteristic Markings

Many of Lorkyn's books are inscribed with his name and/or his monogram, incorporating the letters of his name in a complex design. He often added mottoes to his titlepages (he used several), and many of his books are annotated by him. Many survive in 16th-century Cambridge bindings.