Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner was a medical doctor, who discovered the vaccine that is used against smallpox and who laid the groundwork for the science of immunology.

Born on May 17, 1749, in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, in a rural vicarage, Jenner became a keen observer of nature at an early age. After nine years as a surgeon's apprentice, he went to London to study anatomy and surgery under the prominent surgeon John Hunter, then returned to Berkeley to start a country practice that lasted the rest of his life.

Smallpox, a major cause of death in the 18th century, was treated in Jenner's time by the often-fatal procedure of inoculating healthy people with pustule substances from those who had mild cases of the disease. Jenner observed, among his patients, that those who had been exposed to the much milder disease cowpox were completely resistant to these inoculations. In 1796 he inoculated an eight-year-old boy with cowpox virus; six weeks after the boy's reaction Jenner reinoculated him with smallpox virus, finding the result negative. By 1798, having added similarly successful cases, Jenner wrote An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a Disease Known by the Name of Cow Pox, a tract in which he also introduced the term virus.

Jenner encountered some public resistance and professional chicanery in publicizing his findings, and he experienced difficulties in obtaining and preserving cowpox vaccine. Nevertheless, his procedure was soon accepted, and mortality due to smallpox plunged. The procedure quickly spread through Europe and to North America. Three-quarters of a century later, the French chemist Louis Pasteur, drawing on Jenner's work, set a course for the science of immunology and the discovery of modern preventive vaccines. Jenner died in Berkeley on January 26, 1823.


Link to the Jenner Museum




To the left of the High Altar is the Jenner family vault. Edward Jenner is buried together with his father, who was Vicar of Berkeley, his mother, his wife and his elder son who died young.

      Stephen Jenner

      Sarah Jenner


      Edward Jenner


      Catherine Jenner


      Edward Jenner

      January 31. 1810

      Aged 21 Years

To the south of the chancel, above the blocked door to the Berkeley Burial Chapel, there is a tablet monument to Edward Jenner.



There is a tablet monument to Stephen Jenner in the ringing chamber.




On a mural monument

On flat stone



1873 by Hardman.
The parish memorial to Dr. Edward Jenner b.1740 d.1823.The scenes in the main panels represent some of our Lord’s miracles of healing while the smaller ones contain devices emblematic of medicine and healing.The window was increased from seven to nine lights in1843. The cost was £500. Completion of the work was held up for many years. For more details see the brass plaque above the credence.

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