Alderman Edward Arris

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Alderman Edward Arris

Death: May 28, 1676 (84-85)
Place of Burial: Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Jasper Arris, of St. Sepulchre’s
Husband of Mary Arris
Father of Thomas Arris, M.D., M.P. and Private

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Immediate Family

About Alderman Edward Arris


// Few names are held in greater veneration at Barbers’ Hall than that of Edward Arris. His father, Jasper Arris, was apprenticed to Thomas Burston or Burstowe, a Surgeon and Master of the Company in 1576. Jasper Arris (probably born 1560–2), was admitted to the freedom, 3rd April, 1583, chosen a Liveryman, 22nd January, 1606, an Assistant, 3rd August, 1614, served as Warden in the years 1617 and 1622, and was reported on 8th January, 1623, as then recently deceased. There are few notices of Jasper in our books, and one of them on 21st October, 1606, is perhaps not much to his credit, as it records his fine for working on the Sabbath day; from which we may gather that he was one of those who, contrary to the Ordinances and the Statute, worked both as a Barber and Surgeon,—a practice often winked at by the Governors. His son Edward, was born in London in 1591, and was admitted to the freedom by patrimony on 21st January, 1617, having learnt his art with his father; he was admitted to the Livery 9th October, 1627, and on 30th April, 1629, granted his diploma to practise Surgery. In 1632, he was chosen Steward, and the next year Master of the Anatomy. On the 23rd April, 1640, he was elected an Assistant and served the office of Warden in 1642. On 10th February, 1648, he was appointed one of the Examiners of Surgeons, and elected Master of the Company 1651. On 3rd July, 1663, Mr. Arris was nominated by the Court of Aldermen, Alderman of the Ward of Bridge Without (loco Richard Evans) and was sworn in on the 28th July following, but this civic office was probably an uncongenial one to him, for he very shortly afterwards applied to be discharged from it, and thereupon paid a fine of £300 to the City.

In 1645 Mr. Arris founded an Anatomy Lecture, and with a characteristic modesty endeavoured to conceal the founder’s name, though his intention in this respect was necessarily frustrated when the deed of settlement had to be drawn. This, the Arrisian Lecture, still survives at the Royal College of Surgeons. (Particulars of the foundation will be found on pp. 368, 369.) In 1649, when our plate was sold, Mr. Arris re-purchased King Henry VIII’s cup, and “freely gave it againe to this Company,” for which all Barber-Surgeons and Barbers have ever after been profoundly grateful to him. He also, in 1651, gave us four silver cups. Mr. Arris’ granddaughter, Henrietta Maria Langford, seems to have got into straitened circumstances, as on 5th August, 1718, we read “It is ordered that Henrietta Maria Langford daughter of Robert Arris son of Alderman Arris Members of this Company, shall be made free without charge, in Gratitude to the Memory of Alderman Arris, in order that she may be admitted one of the Company’s Pentioners.”

Edward Arris, d. 1676 and wife Mary d. 1674. A dark plaque on the wall with busts of the deceased in wreathed circular niches, facing forward, he with long hair and trimmed beard, cloak; she with headscarf and buttoned up top, looking rather prim. A little winged cherubic head is between them. Atop, a broken pediment with a cartouche shield which may have formed the base of a cross, now lost, with a tiny red painted dragon with long swirly tail. Below, the main plaque, with little cornucopias to either side, and at the base, a skull. The plaque notes that Arris gave the Company of Surgeons (Chyrurgeons) funds for an anatomy lecture to the Hospital of St Barts, funds towards rebuilding of St Sepulchre and Christ Church Newgate, etc. Only one of their 23 children survived their mother, who was Thomas Arris, Doctor in Physic and Justice of the Peace.

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Alderman Edward Arris's Timeline

May 28, 1676
Age 85
St. Sepulchre’s, Middlesex, England