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Royal College of Physicians

ENT, Sir George (1604-1689)


Reference code(s): GB 0113 MS-ENTG

Held at: Royal College of Physicians

Title: ENT, Sir George (1604-1689)

Date(s): c.1641-1685

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 2 volumes

Name of creator(s): Ent | Sir | George | 1604-1689 | Knight | physician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Sir George Ent was born at Sandwich, Kent, on 6 November 1604, the son of Josias Ent, a Belgium merchant whose religion had forced him to flee the Netherlands and settle in England. He was educated at a school in Rotterdam. In 1624 he entered at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1627, and MA in 1631. Ent then went to Padua University, at the time the most celebrated school of medicine. He studied there for five years, graduating MD in April 1636. As was the custom of the time, congratulatory poems addressed to him by his friends were published in Padua, entitled Laureae Apollinani, with Ent's coat of arms endorsed on the title page. He was incorporated MD at Oxford in November 1638.

In 1639 he was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Ent's major work was his Apologia pro Circuitione Sanguinis, contra Aemilium Parisanum (1641; 2nd edition 1683). The book defends William Harvey's doctrine of the circulation of the blood, and is a particular reply to a Venetian physician Aemylius Parisanus. It also gives a `rational account' of the operation of purgative medicines (Munk's Roll, 1878, p.226). Both editions were dedicated to Sir Theophilus Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, and were preceded by an address to Harvey. In 1642 Ent delivered the Goulstonian Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians. He was censor of the College for twenty-two years, between 1645 and 1669.

In 1651 Ent published Harvey's De Generatione Animalium, with a dedicatory letter to the celebrated anatomist. Ent had persuaded Harvey to give him the manuscript, which Harvey had up to that point delayed publishing as he felt he might have made further observations. Ent then published the work, with the author's permission. He dedicated the book to the president and fellows of the Royal College of Physicians. Ent was a close friend of Harvey's, and when Harvey died, in 1657, he left Ent five pounds with which to buy a ring. Their friendship was immortalised by the poet John Dryden, in his Epistle to Dr Charleton.

Ent was registrar of the Royal College of Physicians for fifteen years, 1655-70, and became an elect in 1657. In 1665 Ent delivered the anatomy lectures at the College. After the last lecture Charles II, who was present at the lecture, knighted Ent in the Harveian Museum, an unprecedented event. Ent was subsequently consiliarius, advisor to the president, from 1667-69, and again from 1676-86. Ent became president of the College from 1670-75, and served again in 1682 and 1684.

He was one of the original fellows of the Royal Society, and is named in the charter as one of the first council. A collection of Ent's works, Opera Omnia Medico-Physica, was published in Leiden in 1687. It has been said of him that he was `a man of very considerable scholarship speaking and writing Latin with ease and elegance' (Whitfield, [1981], p.51).

Ent had married Sarah, daughter of the physician Othowell Meverall, treasurer of the Royal College of Physicians, in February 1645-6. Ent died at his house in the parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields, on 13 October 1689, at the age of 84. He had resigned from his position as elect at the College just a few days before his death. He was buried in the church of St Lawrence Jewry, near the Guildhall of London.

Apologia pro Circuitione Sanguinis, contra Aemilium Parisanum (London, 1641; 2nd ed. 1683)
De Generatione Animalium, William Harvey (London, 1651, published by Ent)
Animadversiones in Malachiae Thrustoni, MD, Diatribam de Respirationis usu Primario (London, 1672)
Opera Omnia Medico-Physica... Nunc Primum Junctim Edita... (Leiden, 1687)
A Collection for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, Olof Rudbeck, Philip Stansfield, & Sir George Ent, ed. by John Houghton (London, 1692)


Scope and content/abstract:

Ent's papers, c.1641-1685, consist of his Apologia pro Circuitione Sanguinis..., in his hand, thought to be a revision prepared for the second edition of the work, c.1641-1685. The volume also includes the texts of some of Ent's speeches, such as his presidential addresses at the College, 1670-1674, and 1676, and contains some accounts entered by Peter Ent, 1671-1674, who was in possession of the volume for a time; Ent's anatomical lectures, delivered at the College 13-15 April 1665, in his hand, 1665.


Language/scripts of material: Latin and English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

All requests should be referred to the Archivist

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Ent's annotated copy of his Apologia pro Circuitione Sanguinis... was previously in the possession of Peter Ent, a merchant, who may have been a brother of Ent's.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Ent's copy of his Apologia pro Circuitione Sanguinis... was presented to the College by Francis Piggott of New College, Oxford, on 2 December 1748; The provenance of the rest of the collection is unknown.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Elsewhere in the College archives there are biographical notes on Ent amongst Allan George Williams Whitfield's notes for his publication The First Thirty-Seven Registrars of the College, 1979-1981 (MS799/10).

Publication note:

Second edition of Apologia pro Circuitione Sanguinis, contra Aemilium Parisanum, George Ent (London, 1641; 2nd ed. 1683)



Archivist's note: Sources: Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. XVII, Leslie Stephen (ed.) (London, 1889) [DNB, 1889, pp.377-78]; The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Vol. I, 1518-1700, William Munk (London, 1878) [Munk's Roll, 1878, pp.223-27]; William Harvey, A History of the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood, Robert Willis (London, 1878); The First Thirty-Seven Registrars of the College, George Whitfield (privately published, [1981]).
Compiled by Katharine Martin

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Compiled September 2003

Anatomy | Biology
Blood circulation | Cardiovascular physiologic processes | Cardiovascular physiology | Circulatory and respiratory physiology | Physiology
Lectures (teaching method) | Teaching methods
Physicians | Medical personnel | Medical profession | Medical sciences
Speeches | Literary forms and genres | Literature

Personal names
Ent | Sir | George | 1604-1689 | physician

Corporate names
Royal College of Physicians of London
Royal College of Physicians | President