1893 text

Thomas Holliard or Hollier was appointed in 1638 surgeon for scald heads at St. Thomas’s Hospital, and on January 25th, 1643-4, he was chosen surgeon in place of Edward Molins. In 1670 his son of the same names was allowed to take his place during his illness. Ward, in his Diary, p. 235, mentions that the porter at St. Thomas’s Hospital told him, in 1661, of Mr. Holyard’s having cut thirty for the stone in one year, who all lived.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

9 Annotations

First Reading

michael j. gresk m.a.  •  Link

help! "... scald heads..." heads of what?? thanks --- mike gresk

vincent  •  Link

"scald" appears to be scabies

"...Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome
This condition is caused by systemic spread of an epidermolytic toxin produced by certain strains of staphylococci. The primary infection may be umbilical, conjunctival, nasopharyngeal or in a wound. The patient is febrile with signs of systemic toxicity. The skin is bright red, often all over, and extremely tender. The child prefers not to be held. There is superficial blistering with sheeting off of skin, leaving the appearance of a scald. The process often begins in the genital and perioral area and may become widespread...."


many referencies to scabies and some comments on scalds
"...Powder or meal was first used in Europe by the Poles, to conceal their scald heads; but the present fashion of using it, as well as the modish method of dressing the hair, must have been borrowed from the Hottentots,
young cure. ointment scurvy scald heads itch eruptions smelling..."

The South African connection of the 17c.
googling scabies: the whole medical world of cause and solutions will appear.

PaulTimbrell  •  Link

So, Holliard cut out Sam's stone. He has come on the 23rd October to give "directions" to husband and wife. Sam has recently, between 10th& 12th October, suffered an indisposition, too delicate to be published, but it prevented them celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary appropriately. Am I reading too much into these matters if I suggest that they are connected.

Terry F  •  Link


(Med.) a name popularly given to several diseases of the scalp characterized by pustules (the dried discharge of which forms scales) and by falling out of the hair.

So, scad-head might be scabies, kerion, ringworm, or tinea capitis. It seems the byproduct of poor hygiene of the scalp.

The surgeon for scald-heads removed their hair.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

A SCALD HEAD, a scurfy or scabbed Head
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

From: "Sex, Lice and Chamber Pots in Pepys' London"
By Liza Picard
Last updated 2011-02-17

Diary extract:

"4 May 1662 '...Mr Holliard came to me and let me blood, about 16 ounces, I being exceedingly full of blood, and very good. I begun to be sick; but lying upon my back, I was presently well again and did give him 5s for his pains; and so we parted.'

"Background information:

"Blood-letting had been recommended for centuries. According to the ancient Greeks, there were four 'humours' - blood, choler, and two sorts of bile - which needed to be balanced against each other. Blood-letting dealt with the first. The others might call for enemas, laxatives, and pills made of rare items such as the saliva of a fasting man and the moss that grows on an unburied skull, as well as commonplace snails and woodlice.

"Fashionable physicians could advise, apothecaries could dispense, surgeons could deal with minor ailments, the local wise woman might help, but they all cost money. Magic might work better, Samuel Pepys attributed his good health to wearing a hare's foot around his neck.

"For the poor, there were hospitals. St. Bartholomew's in Smithfield and St. Thomas's south of the river provided basic care, mostly limited to rest and food. The state of medical knowledge was still primitive. There was no antisepsis, no anaesthetic except drink and opium, and little knowledge of human physiology.

"The only surgical intervention was to remove bladder stones, a painful and common complaint. Samuel Pepys was operated on in 1658, and celebrated his survival every year."


I have also seen reports of 17th century surgeons cutting off breast cancers. Of course, by the time it's large enough to be cut like that, we know that the cancer has spread, so they were not successful in curing the poor women so "treated".

Liza Picard might have meant the only operation which had a limited SUCCESS rate was for bladder stones removal.

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