John Arderne
John Arderne

JOHN ARDERNE, of Newark, Surgeon, (b. 1307), and SIR ADAM EVERINGHAM, of Laxton.

From the year 1349, when the terrible pestilence called the Black Death appeared, until 1370, John Arderne lived in Newark, and practised surgery, although not a Doctor of Medicine, yet he "was the first Englishman who displayed much skill in surgery." (Dict. Nat. Biography), for he was not an imitator, but gained bis knowledge by personal experience, and although skilled in surgery, he attributed his success entirely to Providence. He was very successful at Newark, in healing, but in 1370 he removed to London.

Adam de Everingham in 1341, on the death of his father, succeeded him, having estates in many of the parishes of Nottinghamshire. He was a distinguished soldier, being present at the battle of Crecy, where the Black Prince distinguished himself. Unfortunately, Sir Adam suffered from fistula, a painful complaint. He consulted many surgeons in France, but was deemed incurable, and returned home to die, where John Arderne sought him out, and haying treated him for six months he was perfectly cured, and lived twenty to thirty years afterwards. This, which was Arderne's first case, brought him much honour and praise throughout England. His charges of a hundred shillings for a cure appear large, for money was then worth at least twenty times its present value.

Arderne wrote his first book on Fistula in 1349, so he would see the re-building of Newark Church stopped, and he wrote a second book in London in 1377, and numerous MSS., which are in the British Museum.

H.R.H. the Prince of Wales recently (1923) called the attention of the Doctors to Arderne's work, describing him as "a very chivalrous gentleman;" so Newark has the honour of having had the first English surgeon. (C. Brown's "History of Newark," and "The Children's Newspaper").

DR. JOHN STORER, (1747-1837) with medical skill united a fine character, so that he had the confidence of the principal families in both town and county, and was recognised as the head of the local medical profession. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society. He took a leading part in the founding of the Nottingham General Hospital, of which he was appointed Consulting Physician Extraordinary for life. He was actively engaged in the establishment of the Sneinton Lunatic Asylum, and was the father of the Vaccine Institution. He became the first President of the Bromley House Library, where a portrait of him was painted for the proprietors by Thomas Barber, and for many years he presided over the local Auxiliary of the Bible Society. He resided at Thurland Hall, and after his retirement, at Lenton Firs, where he died. He was buried at Hawksworth.

One of his sons was George Storer, M.P. for South Nottinghamshire.

JOHN ATTENBOROUGH, (1756-1843), for sixty-one years Surgeon to the Nottingham General Hospital; introduced vaccination into Nottingham against much hostility, and when small pox was raging, his. first patient was his own son, who, with another, having recovered, the prejudice largely subsided, and his surgery on Beast Market Hill became crowded, but he made no charge to the poor, and thanked them for their attendance, being satisfied that the operation would be for the public good.

SIR JAMES BARDSLEY, (d. 1876), was born at Lenton. He, in 1823, was appointed Physician to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, succeeding his uncle who had served there thirty-three years. He was the first physician in Manchester to receive the honour of knighthood, and was Physician Extraordinary to the Prince Consort.

GEORGE ALFRED WALKER, (1807-1884), Surgeon, philanthropist, and sanitary reformer, born at Nottingham. His schoolmaster was Henry Wild, a Quaker, and ha early studied medicine, and singularly enough his attention was early directed to the densely packed graveyards in the town. He went to London, became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and subsequently commenced practice at 101, Drury Lane, where his surgery was surrounded by intramural churchyards. He published in 1839 "Gatherings from Graveyards," gave evidence before a Select Committee of the House of Commons on the horrors of the graveyards and grave pits. He published a book on the " Graveyards of London," and from that time was known as "Graveyard Walker." One book followed another, with lectures and other efforts. He found, and obtained possession of, a great death trap in which ten thousand bodies had been interred underneath a chapel (59 ft. by 29 ft.). These were removed at his own cost to Woburn cemetery. In 1850 he succeeded in obtaining the Act of Parliament restricting burials in towns. He died at Ynysfarg House, Barmouth.

HENRY JEPHSON, (1794-1878), M.D., of the Royal Leamington Spa, was born at Sutton-in-Ashfield, where his father was a framesmith, or, in other words, a maker and repairer of stocking machines. After his schooldays he went to be a chemist's assistant at Mansfield, where in an experiment he lost two of his fingers. He then went to St. George's Hospital, London, and there by diligent study and much self-denial, he was able to take the first step towards obtaining a medical degree, which was his ambition. Leaving London, he became an assistant to a surgeon at Leamington, and was soon made his partner, but becoming the most popular of the two, the partnership was dissolved, and he practised on his own account. Desiring to reach the higher ranks of his profession he sold his practice, and went to Glasgow University, where he obtained the M.D. After a short time he was induced to return to Leamington, and having repaid the surgeon who had bought his practice, he set up as a physician. Possessing now a skilled capacity to diagnose disease and prescribe its remedy, with great force of character, strong individuality, affability and kindness to the poor, he soon built up a reputation and practice that was described as enormous, for he was sent for far and wide, and he drove long journeys, his carriage being fitted up with sleeping accommodation. He made much use of the mineral springs in the town, hence the saying, ''Jephson made Leamington and Leamington made Jephson." His insistence on walking and diet gave occasion for much humourous comment, "The secret is his, of perpetual motion."

On the walls of the Royal Pump Room is his portrait, the cost being defrayed by public subscription. The Town Council named the public gardens Jephson Gardens, having a temple with dome supported by seven columns, in the centre of which is a life-sized statue of Jephson.

Every day he set apart a certain portion of his time for gratuitous attention to the poor. He liberally subscribed to charities, giving for several years as much as £500 a year to the local hospital. The Church and the College received much at his hands.

But overwork laid him low, and in 1848 he was smitten with total blindness, and so continued for thirty years, living in comparative quietness, full of honours and deservedly esteemed. He had married in 1824 Annie Eliza, daughter of the Rev. J. W. Geldart, LL.D. The union was a happy one, terminating on the eve of the celebration of their golden wedding in 1874, by her death, leaving him four years in solitude, for their only son had died in infancy.

JOHN HIGGINBOTTOM, (1789 (?) -1876), was a surgeon, and lived half a century in the house West of High Pavement Chapel, No. 4, afterwards removing to 110, Mansfield Road. A man of studious habits and scientific observation, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. His forte was abstinence from intoxicating liquors. For twenty years he prescribed stimulants, but for forty-three years he relinquished their use altogether, from a full conviction of their inefficiency, and their dangerous qualities as a medicine. In the early part of the last century blood-letting was prescribed, and this being abandoned, alcoholizing patients followed, the first named "remedy" destroyed hundreds of lives, and the last named, thousands.

In a Temperance tale, entitled "By the Trent," written by Mrs. E. S. Oldham, which in 1864, out of ninety-nine manuscripts submitted to the adjudicators, won the First Prize of £250, Nottingham appears as "the large manufacturing town of Trentham," and reference is made to its meadows, and the footpath leading to the Ferry, and the village of St. Wilfrid's on the other side of the river. Mrs. Oldham, who was a native of Nottingham, interweaves a good deal of local scenery, and a number of local worthies, among whom is Mr. Wilbraham, the doctor, always styled "Doctor Wilbraham" although not a physician, who went his morning rounds; "a gray horse and a species of hooded chaise conducted him every day to the houses of his patients far and near, and he was now seated beside the servant-man who was driving, with a heap of books and papers in the ample recesses of the hooded seat." (p. 294). This is an exact description of Mr. Higginbottom, and Mrs. Oldham, in a personal letter to him, dated Novvember 29th, 1866, said "When she wrote of him in her little book it was with many pleasant memories in her heart of his friendship to herself and family, and of his noble and self-denying efforts to promote true temperance in her native town."

JOHN J. BIGSBY, (1792-1881), Geologist and Physician, was born at Nottingham; took his M.D. at Edinburgh, joined the Army Medical Corps, and went to the Cape of Good Hope, and afterwards to Canada. In 1819, having examined and studied the geology of Canada, he was instructed to make a report, thereon. He became Secretary of the Boundary Commission. Having retired, he for nearly 20 years practised Medicine at Newark, and, removing to London, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. For twenty years he was studying rocks, and reporting the results of the researches. He founded the Bigsby Medal of Geology. He wrote several works.

WILLIAM HENRY RANSOM, (1824-1907) was the principal physician in Nottingham, and lived many years at No. 26, Low Pavement. Born at Cromer, and apprenticed at sixteen to a medical practitioner, he at nineteen proceeded to University College, London. Here two years later, in a stiff examination he and Huxley (afterwards the great Professor) had a neck and neck race, and Ransom came out first, winning an exhibition. "If," wrote Huxley, "Ransom had worked less hard I might have been first and he second, in which case I should have obtained the exhibition, should not have gone into the navy, and should have forsaken science for practice."* Dr. Ransom afterwards studied in Paris and Germany. He settled in Nottingham, and was from 1854 to 1890 Physician to the General Hospital. He was, in 1870, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his knowledge of physiology and original observations in ovology. Various scientific papers were written by him, but in addition to his professional work, in which he excelled, he will be remembered best in regard to the social work in which he took a keen interest. For fifteen years he served in the Robin Hoods. He promoted the work of Higher Education in connection with the Mechanics' Institution and the University Extension lectures, and the Nottingham University College, of which body he was a governor.

A marble medallion of him, enclosed in an alabaster frame, the work of Mr. F. W. Pomeroy, A.C.A., was presented by the Ransom Memorial Committee to the General Hospital, and is fixed in the entrance hall, inscribed with the words, "Eminent in his profession, distinguished for his scientific work, honoured for his public services, beloved for his fearless integrity, justice and kindness."

WILLIAM BRAMWELL RANSOM, (1861 (?) -1909), M.A., M.D., Camb. B.Sc, Lond. F.R.C.P., Senior Physician to the Nottingham General Hospital in succession, to his father, and Physician to the Sherwood Forest Sanatorium for Consumption, which in his honour was named, and is called, "The Ransom." He was educated at Cheltenham College, and University College, London, where he headed the list, and carried off the University scholarship and medal. He afterwards went to Cambridge!, where on account of his great interest in physiology he was sent by the University to do original work at Naples, and in Brittany. He gained other honours, and then settled in Nottingham (1890) where he speedily became the leading physician in the city and county. "I never wish to meet a nicer or fairer man in consultation," was said of him.

When Dr. Koch announced the discovery of tuberculin, Dr. Ransom went straight off to Berlin to secure a supply of the new specific, and for seventeen years he was the devoted servant of the General Hospital, giving Sunday mornings, and five or six hours to out-patients on Friday afternoons. He devoted much time to the Notts. Convalescent Homes. He was a Governor of the Nottingham High School, and a member of the Council of the University College. He wrote many articles for the medical papers. He became a martyr to his profession, contracting the disease he had done so much to relieve in others. A medallion in marble of him, like that of his father and by the same artist, is in the entrance hall of the General Hospital, inscribed with the motto, "He spent his life in the service of his fellow men." The cost of the memorial tablet was defrayed out of a public subscription, and a fund was raised in his honour, the interest of which was for several years through the Charity Organization Society devoted to the aid of persons afflicted by the malady to which Dr. Ransom fell a victim. (See Brit. Med. Journal).

In the Report of the General Hospital for 1923 it is stated "The Ransom Memorial Committee have very kindly offered a gift of between £2,000 and £3,000 for the purpose of providing a Pathological Laboratory as a Memorial to the late Doctors W. H. and W. B. Ransom, and this offer has been gratefully accepted."

CHARLES BELL TAYLOR, (1829-1909), was an ophthalmic surgeon, the son, brother and uncle of a family of veterinary surgeons. He apprenticed himself to a Mansfield surgeon, graduated at Edinburgh University, pursued his studies in Paris, was Medical Superintendent at a Liverpool Asylum, and settled in his native town in 1859, when he joined the staff of the Nottingham and Midland Eye Infirmary, and thenceforward devoted his special attention to that branch of his profession, in which he became eminently skilful as an operator, and gained a great reputation, not only locally, but in London and abroad. He took a prominent part in obtaining a repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act. He was a strong opponent of vivisection and compulsory vaccination. He abstained from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee, and took only two meals a day. His white ponies will long be remembered. He left a fortune of £160,000, mostly to societies. He died at Beechwood House, Woodborough Road, in 1909, aged eighty. (See "Old Nottingham Suburbs," p. 178).

DR. E. J. STEEGMANN, (d. 1923), O.B.E., M.B., Surgeon Commander R.N.V.R., was the grandson of Edward Steegmann, who was a member of the Nottingham Town Council, and Sheriff in 1848. After his education and graduation he became lecturer in hygiene, a barrister-at-law of Gray's Inn, medical officer of health, from 1901-9, and was responsible for the introduction of a number of measures of preventive medicine. He was appointed, in 1901, Secretary to the Royal Commission on Human and Animal Tuberculosis. In 1914-17 he served with the Fleet in the North Sea and Mediterranean, afterwards undertaking special sanitary enquiries for the Admiralty at Sierra Leone and elsewhere. He was employed by the Ministry of Health as an additional medical officer for international medical questions, which led to his being appointed by the League of Nations, in 1921, to undertake the preliminary work of organization necessary for the establishment of a section of Hygiene at Geneva. ("The Times.")

Marshall Hall, see " Families." I. Massey, see " Benefactors."


Francis Willoughby
Francis Willoughby

FRANCIS WILLOUGHBY, (1635-1672), F.R.S., was a great student of Nature, and travelled and wrote much. At Cambridge he became skilled in mathematics. In 1661-2 he accompanied his friend and tutor, John Ray, through England, Scotland, and Wales making observations of Nature, antiquities, commerce, and other objects worthy of note and study, and these Ray published. The year following they with two others passed through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, making notes, and brought back specimens, made experiments, compiled tables, etc. He had pleasure in obtaining knowledge at first hand, and then in communicating it to others; for Ray had taught him to think of labouring for the threefold object of the glory of God, the assistance of others in the same study, and the honour of his native land. He succeeded to the estates in 1665. On his untimely death, in 1672, his eldest son was created a baronet, who dying, his younger brother was raised to the peerage.

Francis Willoughby was a fine character, with a determination to be useful. His tomb is at Middleton, Warwickshire. His portrait is in the Library at Wollaton Hall.

JOHN RAY, (1627-1705), was teacher, assistant, friend and companion of Francis Willoughby, the naturalist philosopher, and in the "Report of the Manuscripts at Wollaton Hall" repeated reference is made to him. His father was a blacksmith, but the son, being an observer of nature around him, and studious, was sent to Cambridge, where he obtained the degree of M.A., and became a lecturer, first in Greek and afterwards in Mathematics. When about thirty years of age he took a tour through the Midland counties, and afterwards through Scotland, making observations of Nature. In 1660 he was ordained as a clergyman of the Church of England. When the Act of Uniformity was passed, however, he would not comply with it, and so resigned his fellowship, but continued in the church as a lay worker. He and Francis Willoughby now took a tour through England, Scotland and Wales, and later, on the continent, collecting specimens and making notes with a view to publication, and for which he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. His friend and patron, Francis Willoughby, died suddenly, and thus cut short a promise of great usefulness, but he left Ray £60 a year, who continued in the family as tutor of the two sons, for twenty-seven years residing at Wollaton Hall, or Middleton Hall, or elsewhere, during which he was compiling and publishing the extensive notes that he and Francis Willoughby had made.

Erasmus Darwin

ERASMUS DARWIN, B.A., M.D., F.R.S., (1731-1802), was born at Elston Hall, near Newark, and after being educated at Chesterfield and Cambridge, and studying medicine at Edinburgh, he tried to settle at Nottingham as a Physician, but unsuccessfully, so he removed to Lichfield, and prospered and married. "By his first wife he was grandfather of Charles Darwin; by his second, of Francis Dalton." (Chambers). Robert Waring of Wilford, who died in 1662, was an ancestor of the family. Outside his professional practice Darwin had many and varied interests. He was a lover of plants, and had a botanical garden of eight acres. He was poetically inclined, and wrote "The loves of the Plants," and "The Botanical Garden." He was very inventive in mechanics, and designed quite a number of domestic and industrial machines, besides being a sanitary reformer in regard to sewers, burials in churches, etc. He wrote philosophical and medical papers. He removed to Derby, and later to Breadsall, where he died. He has the credit of predicting steam locomotives, writing in 1791:—

"Soon shall thy arm,
unconquered steam afar,
Drag the slow barge,
or drive the rapid car."

ROBERT WARING DARWIN, (1766-1848), son of Erasmus, became a Fellow of the Royal Society, but had a greater honour in being the father of Charles Robt. Darwin, 1809-82, the author of "Origin of Species."

THOMAS ORDOYNE, Nurseryman, Newark, in 1807 compiled and published "Flora Nottinghamiensis," or a systematic arrangement of plants growing in the County of Nottingham, and where and when found.

GODFREY HOWITT, Nottingham, Physician, to the General Hospital, in 1839 compiled and published "The Notts. Flora," being a list of the Flowering Plants, Ferns, Mosses, Lichens, etc. Wylie records his kindness to Millhouse the poet, and says that he "took a sincere interest in the local as well as general progress of literature and science."

GEORGE GREEN, (1793-1841), a distinguished Mathematician, was born at Sneinton. His father was a miller, who owned, and worked, and probably built the tall wind com mill on Belvoir Hill, near Sneinton church. In 1828 he published by subscription "An Essay on the application of Mathematical analysis to the theories of Electricity and Magnetism." This paper was printed in Nottingham, and limited to about one hundred copies. It occupies over 100 pages in "Mathematical Papers of the late George Green." Edited by N. M. Ferrers, M.A., (Macmillan & Co., publishers, 1871). He commenced residence at Caius College, Cain-bridge, in 1833, and in 1837 took his B.A. as Fourth Wrangler. He was elected to a Fellowship in 1839, but died two years afterwards. The Dictionary of National Biography says that at the University he "as a mathematician stood head and shoulders above all his companions in and outside the University."

The paper of 1828 was reprinted in Paris in 1845, and Sir William Thomson, afterwards Lord Kelvin, wrote that "Green's Memoir creates a great sensation here." "All through his life Thomson continued to cherish his youthful enthusiasm for the men who had inspired him. Fourier and Green in the domain of mathematical physics, Faraday in that of experimental science, were the Di majores of his veneration." (Life of Lord Kelvin, p. 112). Other papers were "On the Motion of Waves," "Sound," "Light," etc. A paper on "The Vibrations of Pendulums in Fluid Media was read before the Royal Society in Edinburgh in 1833. His last production was a paper read in 1839. Of how Green obtained his early training we have no information. He says that he had "been obliged to obtain the little knowledge he possessed, at such intervals, and by such means, as other indispensable avocations which offer but few opportunities of mental improvement afforded." Does this mean that he worked in the mill?

Fortunately, the mill will be preserved as a monument of a distinguished man. There being no heirs, the Government sold the Green estate, which consisted of the dwelling house, the mill, and a number of gardens. Mr. Oliver W. Hind, B.A., L.L.M, purchased the estate) and, in 1923, repaired the building of the mill, and having removed the broken and useless sails, covered the top with copper, and had a memorial plate attached, recording its connection with the mathematician,

DR. JOHN PERCY, (d. 1889), was the son of Henry Percy, Solicitor, Wheeler Gate, who resided in the house to the West of the entrance to Brougham Chambers, and who was Clerk to the Nottingham Canal Co., the old Water Works Co., and other institutions. The son was born in 1817, educated at Southwell, studied at Paris and subsequently at Edinburgh, where he, in 1839, graduated as M.D., receiving a gold medal for a thesis on the "Detection of Alcohol in the Brain." He also received medals for proficiency in botany and general merit. He settled down to medical practice in Birmingham, became Physician of the Queen's Hospital, and his pathological researches were recognised by his election in 1847 as a Fellow of the Royal Society. He made a thorough study of the ''Manufacture of Metals'' from the principal ores, devoting himself especially to wrought iron and steel, and also to the properties of nickel, manganese, extraction of cobalt, the use of sodium hyposulphite for silver extraction, the effect of phosphorous on copper, etc.

When the Royal School of Mines was founded in 1851, Dr. Percy left Birmingham, and became Lecturer on Metallurgy. A "Systematic Analysis and Collection of the Iron Ores of Great Britain" was made for the Great Exhibition of 1851, and afterwards published in a Memoir of the Royal Geological Society. He wrote monumental works on Fuel, Fireclays, Iron and Steel, Dead, Copper, Silver, Gold, etc., which are said to be marvels of genius and industry. He served on Royal Commissions on Coal, and Ordnance Stores, and superintended the ventilation of the Houses of Parliament. He was an excellent artist and photographer, and received the Albert Gold Medal of the Society of Arts on his deathbed, when he exclaimed, "My work is done!"

He had all the characteristics of the Percy family, being tall, spare, with strongly marked features.

JOHN RUSSELL HIND, (1823-1895), Astronomer, was born in Nottingham, his father being a lace manufacturer. At twelve years of age he began to observe the heavens, and at sixteen became a regular contributor on astronomical subjects to the "Nottingham Journal." He obtained a situation in the Greenwich Observatory, and afterwards took charge of one in Regent's Park. He discovered ten asteroids, two comets, fifteen new variable stars, etc., and wrote four books, and many articles, on astronomy. He became the Secretary, and afterwards President, of the Royal Astronomical Society; F.R.S., LL.D., etc., and received many honours, which he deserved, for he was an unwearied worker and diligent student. The Government conferred upon him a pension of £200 a year. (Wylie).

DR. E. COBHAM BREWER, (d. 1897, aged 87), resided for some years at Edwinstowe vicarage, and there died, and was buried in the churchyard. His daughter is the wife of the Rev. H. T. Hayman, M.A., who was at that time Vicar of the parish, and is well known as the Chaplain of the Robin Hoods, and in Masonic circles. Dr. Brewer at Cambridge in 1836 took a first class degree, and became LL.D. five years later. He formed the habit of putting down in a note-book all kinds of scientific information in the form of question and answer, and hence arose two books, "A Guide to Science," and "Dictionary of Phrase and Fable." In the edition of the latter, published in 1894 by Cassell, is a portrait of the author in his eighty-fifth year, shewing a massive head, and his exceedingly small hand-writing. In the preface, which is dated at Edwinstowe, the author tells how the subjects had been under consideration for fifty years, and the first edition published then twenty-five years before. This issue is marked "126th thousand."

HERBERT SPENCER, (1820-1903), the great thinker, born at Derby, lived for four years in the house now used as "The Spread Eagle Inn," Alfreton Road, Nottingham. He, in his autobiography, refers to his delight in rambling amid the gorse bushes and blue-bells of Nottingham Forest. He does not appear to have had a happy home, or agreeable schooling. After many early struggles in life, he became a prolific writer, and author of many philosophical books.

EDWARD J. LOWE, (1825-1900), F.R.S., and of other learned Societies, of Highfield House, Lenton, began his daily scientific observations in the house that is to be a part of the University, he being then fifteen years of age. In 1846 he published "A treatise on Atmospheric Phenomena," and later, "The Climate of Notts." and "The Conchology of Nottingham." He then turned his attention to astronomy, and Broadgate House, Beeston, was specially built for an observatory, the roof being adapted for instruments to rest and work upon it, and here were brought, in 1855, the famous Lawson astronomical instruments. His meteorological observations formed the basis of the records of the weather published daily in "The Times" newspaper. He, jointly with Mr. Scofferon, in 1860, wrote "Practical Meteorology," being one of the "Circle of the Sciences " series. He was one of the Founders of the Meteorological Society; invented the powder tests for ozone; and was the leading authority on British Ferns, about which he wrote several books. His last book was on "Natural Phenomena and Chronology of the Seasons," 1870.

It is fitting that the grounds of Highfield House, where much scientific work was done, should become the site of the North Midland University.

COLONEL A. E. LAWSON LOWE, F.S.A., (d. 1888), Beeston, son of E. J. Lowe, was a diligent and accomplished scholar, and an able antiquarian. He was the author of Historical Records of the Royal Sherwood Foresters, and commenced—but was not able to proceed with—"The History of Broxtowe Hundred." His early death was lamented.

* Life and Letters of Huxley, 1900 : II. 133.