Greatrakes, Valentine

Greatrakes, Valentine a famous English thaumaturgist, was born at Affane, County Waterford, Ireland, February 14, 1628; At the age of thirteen he was obliged, on account of the civil troubles, to leave the College of Dublin, and take refuge with his mother in England. Some time later he fought in Ireland against the royalists, and after the disbanding of his regiment, in 1656, retired to a quiet life. He now imagined that he had received from above the power of curing the sick, which he actually proved in several cases by simply laying on his hands. This, however, drew upon him the attention of the local authorities, and being summoned before the bishop of Lismore. he was condemned, and had to abstain from his pretensions. He was afterwards called to England, where the countess Conway was afflicted by a disease which he cured. He was then called to London, where he went about daily professing to cure invalids. He excited the jealousy of the physicians, who began to write pamphlets against him, but Greatrakes did not hesitate to refer even to members of the court. He died in Ireland about 1700. See Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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