1513: 5 Henry 8 c.6: An act concerning surgeons to be discharged of quests and other things.
[The causes why surgeons have been exempt from bearing of armour or other services.]
SHeweth unto your discreet wisdoms, your humble orators the wardens and fellowship of the craft and mystery of surgeons enfranchised in the city of London, not passing in number twelve persons, that whereas they and their predecessors, from the time that no mind is to the contrary, as well in this noble city of London, as in all other cities and boroughs within this realm, or elsewhere, for the continual service and attendance that they daily and nightly, at all hours and times, give to the King’s liege people, for the relief of the same, according to their science, have been exempt and discharged from all offices and business. wherein they should use or bear any manner of armour or weapon, and with like privilege have been intreated as heralds of arms, as well in battles and fields, as other places, there for to stand unharnessed and unweaponed, according to the law of arms, because they be persons that never used feats of war, nor ought to use, but only the business and exercise of their science, to the help and comfort of the King’s liege people in the time of their need:
(2) And in the aforesaid city of London, from the time of their first incorporation, when they have been many more in number than they be now, were never called nor charged to be on quest, watch, nor other office, whereby they should use or occupy any armour, or defensible geer of war, where through they should be unready, and letted to practise their cure of men being in peril:
(3) Therefore, for that there be so small number of the said fellowship of the craft and mystery of surgeons, in regard of the great multitude of patients that be, and daily chance, and infortune happeneth and increaseth in the foresaid city of London, and that many of the King’s liege people suddenly wounded and hurt, for default of help in time to them to be shewed, perish, and so divers have done, as evidently is known, by occasion that your said suppliants have been compelled to attend upon such constableship, watches, and juries, as is aforesaid;
[The surgeons of London shall be exempt from bearing armour or parish offices, &c.]
(4) be it enacted and established by the King our sovereign lord, and the lords spiritual and temporal, and by the commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, That from henceforth your said suppliants be discharged, and not chargeable of constableship, watch, and of all manner of office bearing any armour, and also of all inquests and juries within the city of London:
(5) and also that this act in all things do extend to all barber-surgeons, admitted and approved to exercise the said mystery of surgeons,
[3 H.8. c.11. 32 H.8. c.42.]
according to the form of the statute lately made in that behalf, so that they exceed not, nor be at one time above the number of twelve persons.
Source: Pickering, Statutes at Large, vol. 4.