Brethren Archive

Dr Thomas Mackern

Born: 1819
Died: 7th November 1874

Birth Location
Death Location

Intro, Biographical Information, Notes etc:


Dr. Mackern, who died on 7th November 1874, at Eastbourne in the 56th year of his age, was a native of Limerick. He studied medicine at the Dublin Hospitals, and was admitted a Licentiate of the Irish College of Surgeons in 1842. He commenced practice in the neighbourhood of Liverpool, where he succeeded in securing the confidence of a considerable clientele. Disheartened by the uncertainties of the prevailing therapeutic doctrines, he was induced to study homoeopathy, and the result of his doing so was, that he thenceforward practiced homoeopathically.
To remain steadily at work in one locality was to him impossible, and, consequently, he every three or four years made a voyage to Australia, New Zealand, California, or the West Indies, often being absent from England for a whole year at a time. An interesting paper by him on "Our position at the Antipodes,"* which contains an account of the progress of homoeopathy in Australia, and of his efforts to place it on a firm basis in the estimation of the colonists, was the result of one of these excursions.
Dr. Mackern possessed in a very marked degree, the power of attaching patients to himself, and of inspiring them with a full confidence in his ability to be useful to them. Somewhat eccentric in character, of an anxious and restless temperament, he was withal an eminently benevolent man, ever striving to do good in many ways. He took a lively interest in the personal welfare of his patients, and was to many not only a medical adviser, but a counsellor in individual and family troubles and anxieties. His long absences from home had no influence in diminishing his practice. A week after his return, the demands upon his professional services were generally as large as ever, and whether he landed at Melbourne or Jamaica, he usually found patients waiting for him.
His death arose from double pneumonia, which had been silently gaining ground for at least ten days before he could be prevailed upon to take to his bed. He was then seen by Dr. W. Bell, who subsequently attended him, conjointly with his brother-in-law, Dr. Kidd. A post mortem examination revealed almost complete consolidation of both lungs, together with effusion into both pleura and pericardium.
* Brit. Journ. Hom., vol. xviii., p. 101.

Michael said ...
The year of birth given by Sue Young (1807, see external link) is obviously wrong. According to his obituary in "The Monthly Homœopathic Review", 1 Dec 1874, p. 775, he was "in the 56th year of his age" when he died.
Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 : 14:27
Timothy Stunt said ...
The fact that Thomas Mackern's sister was married to the homoeopathic Dr Joseph Kidd is a reminder (though the homoeopathic enthusiast, Sue Young, seem to be unaware of it) that the great Dr Joseph Kidd (1824-1918), Disraeli's physician, was also associated with the Brethren, as was made clear by 'Septima' (Grace Hurditch, later Mrs Grattan Guinness, 1877-1967) in her account of her childhood ('Peculiar People' pp. 52-54). Some of this account was used (almost word for word, in places) by Margaret Fisher in 'Grandmother's Tracks : the Story of Ruth Alice Fisher,1875-1959' (2010 available on line at For Joseph Kidd (but no mention of his connection with Brethren) see pp.11-12. Timothy Stunt
Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 : 20:13
Tom said ...
Do you know what happened to Kidd at the end of his life? I think he left 'Brethren'? His grave (picture on Places pace) is somewhat 'mysterious'.
Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017 : 15:46
Samko said ...
Portraits of the seventies
by Russell, GWE, 1853-1919: Publication date 1916
PublisherLondon, T. F. Unwin, Ltd
This book (found on has a page-full of comment on Dr J Kidd, and notes how he would treat patients from either OB or Exclusive background. It mentions his remarkable medical triumph in the recovery from Bright's Disease of the Prime Minister , Disraeli, at the time of the Berlin Conference. From other sources it appears Dr Kidd, also treated CH Spurgeon for the same diagnosis.
Dr Kidd wrote an account of the last illness of Disraeli in which he comments on some spiritual conversations he had with his patient, "To myself sitting by his bed at night he spoke twice on spiritual subjects, on a manner indicating his appreciation of the work of Christ and of the Redemption." That would be enough to have a contemporary physician struck off by the GMC, and maybe the day is not too far away when it might be deemed PC enough to have posthumous "striking off" of historical figures in medicine for violating modern standards....
Sunday, Jun 2, 2019 : 08:45

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