Fortunately we have the record of one great English surgeon of the period worthy to be placed beside even the writers already mentioned. This is John Ardern, whose name is probably a modification of the more familiar Arden, whose career well deserves attention. I have given a sketch of his work in "The Popes and Science." He was educated at Montpellier, and practised surgery for a time in France.
Gonorrhea is frankly treated under the name Shawdepisse, evidently an English alliteration of the corresponding French word. As to the instrumentation of such conditions and for probing in general, Ardern suggests the use of a lead probe, because it may readily be made to bend any way and not injure the tissues.
He is the chief representative of English surgery during the Middle Ages. Contrary to the usual impression with regard to works in medicine and surgery at this time, the book abounds in references to case histories which Ardern had gathered, partly from his own and partly from others' experience.
Those thoughts will never come home again to stay. It is strange to me that publishers should suppose that books, intimate about the invisible but abiding shadow which is often more potent than present May sunshine, should not be wanted. Take for example this book I was reading, The Squadroon, by Ardern Beaman.
Two distinguished surgeons whose names have come down to us, having studied in Paris after Lanfranc had created the tradition of great surgical teaching there, came to their homes to be centres of beneficent influence among their people in this matter. One was Yperman, of the town of Ypres in Belgium; the other Ardern of England.
The therapeutic measures that he suggests are usually very simple, in the majority of cases quite rational, though, of course, there are many superstitions among them; but Ardern always furnished a number of suggestions from which to choose. He must have been an expert operator, and had excellent success in the treatment of diseases of the rectum.