Lives of the fellows

Richard (Sir) Jebb

b.1729 d.4 July 1787
MD Aberd(1751) LRCP(1755) FRCP(1771) FRS

Sir Richard Jebb, M.D., was born at Stratford, Essex, and baptized there 30th October, 1729. He was the son of Samuel Jebb, M.D., of that place, a Licentiate of the College, who has been mentioned in a former page. He was matriculated at Oxford as of St. Mary’s hall 8th April, 1747, but did not take a degree there. He is said, but, I believe incorrectly, to have graduated at Leyden. He was a doctor of medicine of Marischal college, Aberdeen, of 23rd September, 1751, and was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians 24th March, 1755. He was chosen physician to the Westminster hospital in 1754; and on the11th December, 1760, was appointed to do duty as physician to St. George’s hospital, in place of Dr. Donald Monro, then ordered abroad on his majesty’s service; and at the vacancy which occurred shortly afterwards in the medical staff of the hospital by the resignation of Dr. Batt, he was (7th May, 1762) definitively elected one of the physicians, when he resigned his office at the Westminster hospital. His private engagements increasing, he was obliged to resign the appointment in 1768. Sir Richard Jebb was admitted a Fellow of the College of Physicians, speciali gratiâ, 30th September, 1771. He was Censor in 1772, 1776, 1781; and delivered the Harveian oration in 1774. He was a fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian societies, physician extraordinary to George the Third, and physician in ordinary to the prince of Wales. When Enfield chase was disforested, Sir Richard Jebb purchased about two hundred acres, which he converted into a park, and built thereon a convenient residence, to which he gave the name of Trent-place, in commemoration of his successful treatment of the duke of Gloucester, when seriously ill at Trent some years previously. At the death of Sir Richard, the property was purchased by the earl of Cholmondeley. Sir Richard died unmarried at his house in Great George-street, Westminster, 4th July,1787, and was buried in the west cloister of Westminster abbey. A monument to his memory in Westminster abbey bears the following inscription :—
Richardi Jebb, equitis aurati,

Societ. Reg. Socii,
serenissimo Regi Georgio III,
necnon Georgio Walliæ principi,
medici primarii,
in memoriam posuit R. J.
Obiit 4to die Julii, a.d. 1787, ætatis 58.

Sir Richard Jebb’s eccentricities are matters of tradition in our profession, and many extraordinary anecdotes are related of him. His character was probably misunderstood. Dr. Lettsom, who knew him well, writes thus: "I loved that man with all his eccentricity. He had the bluntness, but not the rudeness, of Radcliffe. He had the medical perception, but not the perseverance and temporizing politeness, of Warren. In every respect, but fortune, superior to Turton; or to Baker, but in classical learning; and yet he was the unhappy slave of unhappy passions. His own sister is, and has long been, in a madhouse; the same fate attends his cousin, and a little adversity would have placed poor Sir Richard there also. There was an impetuosity in his manner, a wildness in bis look, and sometimes a strange confusion in his head, which often made me tremble for his sensorium. He had a noble, generous heart, and a pleasing frankness among his friends; communicative of experience among the faculty, and earnest for the recovery of his patients, which he sometimes manifested by the most impetuous solicitude. Those who did not well know him, he alarmed; those who did, saw the unguarded and rude ebullition of earnestness for success." A good portrait of Sir Richard Jebb, by Zoffani, is in the College. It was presented in 1827 by the Rev. Robert Fitzwilliam Hallifax, of Batchcott, near Ludlow.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 291)

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