Wharton, Thomas (1614–1673), British anatomist. Wharton was a physician attached to St. Thomas's Hospital and is remembered as one of the very few physicians to remain on duty while London was ravaged by the great plague of 1665. A noted anatomist, he provided the most complete description of the glands up to that time. In 1650 he described the soft connective tissue that forms the matrix of the umbilical cord and is now known as Wharton's jelly. In 1656 he published a work describing many glands of the body, including the submandibular gland for the conveyance of saliva. He is credited with discovering the gland's duct.