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Dr. Robert Huick (d. 1580)
Born: circa 1515, apparently in Berkshire
Chief Physician to Queen Elizabeth I
Died: 6th September 1580 at Charing Cross, Middlesex

Robert Huick was a native of Berkshire, possibly Shinfield where he certainly held lands in later years. His family were probably the Huicks alias Hooks of Hook in Nately Scures (Hampshire). He was educated at Oxford, where he was admitted a Bachelor of Arts in 1529 and was elected fellow of Merton College in the same year. He proceeded to become a Master of Arts in February 1533. On 10th March 1535, he became principal of St. Alban's Hall in Oxford. A man of solid learning, he regarded the writings of the schoolmen with contempt, calling them "the destruction of good wits". The commissary thought this sufficient reason for depriving him of his office and he was not restored, despite the members of the hall petitioning Thomas Cromwell in his favour on 13th September 1535. In 1536, he was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians and proceeded to become a Medical Doctor at Cambridge in 1538. He was censor of the College of Physicians in 1541, 56, 57, 58 and 59, was named an elect in 1550, was president in 1551, 52 and 64, and consiliarius in 1553, 59, 60 and 61. He was physician to King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine Parr, and was also a witness of the latter's will.

In 1546, Huick sought a divorce from his wife, Elizabeth. Dr. John Croke, who tried the suit, gave sentence in favour of Mrs. Huick. Huick thereupon appealed to the Privy Council. Examinations were made at Greenwich on 11th and 12th May 1546. The Lords, after hearing both of them face to face, wrote to Secretary Petre, exonerating Mrs. Huick from all blame, and strongly condemning her husband's cruelty and deceit.

King Edward VI, by letters patent dated 4th July 1550, appointed Huick his Physician Extraordinary, with the annual stipend of 50. He was also one of the physicians to Queen Elizabeth I. On 28th February 1562, the sub-warden and fellows of Merton College addressed a letter to Sir William Cecil in favour of Huick's appointment as warden of that house. In November 1564, he was admitted a member of the Inner Temple. He took part in the Physic Act kept at Cambridge on 7th August 1564, "her majesty merrily jesting with him when he desired her licence". He also disputed in the Physic Act before the Queen at Oxford on 5th September 1566 and, on the following day, was incorporated as a Medical Doctor in that university. He was subsequently appointed Chief Physician to the Queen who, in 1570, granted him a mansion called White Webb's House in Enfield, Middlesex.

By 1575, Huick had apparently rid himself of his wife, for, on 2nd November of that year, being then resident in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, he obtained a general license to marry Mary Woodcock, spinster, of the City of London. Huick died at his house in Charing Cross on 6th September 1580. His will, dated 27th August that year, was proved on 17th April 1581. Therein he desired to be buried in the chancel of Harlington Church, Middlesex. His wife, Mary, survived him, together with two daughters by his previous marriage, Atalanta, the wife of Sir William Chetwynd of Ingestre in Staffordshire, and Anne, the wife of Sir Mark Steward of Stantney in Cambridgeshire. Anne and her husband resided occasionally at her father's country residence at Shinfield during his last years. They had at least three children: Huick who died young and was buried in Shinfield Church; Mary who married Sir William Forster of Aldermaston House; and Sir Simeon, the poet, who was born at Shinfield. Huick was author of the 'Poemata ad Regina Elizabeth' preserved in the British Museum.

Edited from Sidney Lee's 'Dictionary of National Biography' (1891).

 

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