John Banister was born of parents of good condition, but in what part of the kingdom they lived we are not informed. He studied at Oxford, and eventually entered on the physic line. Aiken says he took a bachelor’s degree in medicine in 1573. In July of that year he certainly obtained a licence to practise from the university of Oxford, and, settling about that time at Nottingham, resided there for several years, and was in great repute both as a physician and surgeon. His fame appears to have been at the highest point about the middle of queen Elizabeth’s reign. He removed to London, and on the 15th February, 1593-4, in obedience to her Majesty’s letter to that effect, was licensed by the College of Physicians to practise under the restrictions to be presently mentioned.
ELIZABETH R. BY THE QUEEN.
Trustie and wel beloved, We greet you well. Whereas we are credibly informed that our well beloved subject, John Banister, gent., hath of long time practiced the art of Chirurgerie in sundry places of this our realme, and also in some service upon the seas, and for his honestie and skilfulness therein was heretofore entertained by our late coosens and counsellours – the Earles of Warwick and Leycester; and understanding that in the exercise of his science he hath always jointlie used the art of Physick with Chirurgerie, and that with such discretion and profit, that there hath not been made any complaint against him, but on other side divers reports that he hath doone very much good to many persons, and especially in and about our citie of London, where he desireth to end his old yeares in quietness, as I trusteth he shall do, unles he happen to be molested by any of your College by reason of his said practice. In respect of the good report which we have had of his sufficiency and honestie, and for the speciall favour we beare to all men of skill, experience, and good behaviour, we have thought good to require you forthwith, upon the rescript hereof, to take order in yor College that the said John Banister may be by you and the College licensed and tolerated to practise the science of Physick and Chirurgerie, without any yor interruption, molestation, or suite, so long as you shall not find any just and apparent cause to the contrary. Whereof we doubt not he will alwayes have an especial care.
Given under or Signet at or mannor of Otelands, the xxviii. day of Julie, in the xxxv. yeare of our Reigne.
“Quibus lectis, visum est universo Collegarum cœtui, ut respectu illarum literarum a suâ Majestate scriptarum tam gratiosè et favorabiliter, permitteretur prædictus Joannes Banister ad praxin: eâ tamen adjectâ conditione, ut in omni graviori morbo, et pleno periculi, unum aliquem ex societate Collegii ut adjutorum sibi in illâ curatione accersat et adjungat.”
When or where he died is now unknown, but it was probably in London, as there was a long memorial of him in the church of St Olave’s, Silver-street.
Banister was a voluminous writer, and to him we owe the following works:
A needful, new, and necessary Treatise of Chirurgerie, briefly comprehending the general and particular cure of Ulcers. Lond. 8vo. 1575.
The History of Man, sucked from the Sap of the most approved Anatomists. Nine Books. Lond. fol. 1578.
Compendious Chirurgery; gathered and transcribed especially out of Wecker. Lond. 12mo. 1585.
Antidotary Chirurgical; containing a variety of all sorts of Medicines, &c. Lond. 8vo. 1589. These were collected into six books, and printed (after his death) in London. 4to. 1633.