Nedley, Thomas (1819–99), surgeon and wit, was born in Dublin; nothing is known of his family background. Educated at Castleknock College, he then went to Scotland to study medicine and was made a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh (1851). In August 1856 he graduated MD from the University of Aberdeen; returning to Ireland, he was made an LRCPI in March 1860. He was appointed medical officer to the DMP in 1866 and later served as medical officer to All Hallows College and the board of national education.
Yet it was not as a medical man that Nedley was best known in Dublin. He was an accomplished wit and raconteur and also composed his own popular songs. These were often parodies of the Dublin street ballad, or ‘come-all-ye’, widely popular at the time. They were based on real events and included such songs as ‘Mrs Smyly’, ‘The soupers’, and ‘The lower Castle yard’. Unfortunately he did not publish his songs and they have, as a result, mostly disappeared. Excerpts from a few have survived in some biographical writings of the period, such as Frank Thorpe Porter's Gleanings and reminiscences (1875). Nedley was also an accomplished storyteller and mimic and was in demand as a dinner guest in Dublin. In an obituary in the Freeman's Journal, Judge Richard Adams wrote: ‘A profound sense of the ridiculous, a voice rich and mellow, a countenance beaming with fun, a command of the Dublin accent which was at once true to life but glorified by the touch of genius, these were his brilliant gifts. Over the functions at which his tales were related “laughter holding both his sides” presided, and happy were those who assisted thereat’ (Freeman's Journal, 26 Apr. 1899).
One of his closest friends was Fr James Healy (qv), another renowned wit. Nedley was well connected politically, numbering Lord Russell of Killowen (qv) and T. P. O'Connor (qv) among his associates. In 1880 he gave evidence to the royal commission appointed to investigate the sewage and drainage systems in Dublin. He severely criticised the development of the Drumcondra, Clonliffe, and Glasnevin areas, pointing out that the water and sewage systems in these districts were dangerously inadequate. During the second term of Lord Spencer (qv) as lord lieutenant of Ireland (1882–5) he served as surgeon to the viceregal household. He was a member of the Catholic Cemeteries Committee, and also allowed the Cecilia St. medical students to use land he owned in Sandymount as a playing field. In 1896 the first meeting of the union of Castleknock College pastmen met in his house in 3 Cavendish Row; Lord Russell of Killowen was elected as the union's first president while Nedley acted as vice-president. In failing health, he resigned as DMP medical officer in 1898. He died on 25 April 1899 and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery in a grave close to that of his friend, Fr Healy; they both specialised in a form of highly laboured wit popular at the time but latterly difficult to appreciate. Nedley married (1857) a niece of Lord O'Hagan (qv) Eliza O'Hagan, who survived him.