Lives of the fellows

Richard Chandler Alexander Prior

b.1809 d.5 December 1902
BA Oxon BM(1835) DM FRCP(1840)

Richard Alexander (later Prior) was the first son of Richard Hayward Alexander, a Corsham medical practitioner, by his wife, the daughter of George Prior of Sydenham, and was educated at Charterhouse and Wadham College, Oxford. His medical training began with his attendance at Mayo’s Anatomy School in 1830. He entered St. George’s Hospital in 1831 but weak health sent him abroad in the next year and he studied at Berlin for several months. He returned to St. George’s on his recovery, and then spent a year at Edinburgh to qualify for his Oxford B.M. degree in 1835. In 1836 he began to practise in Bath but, two years afterwards, was forced by the state of his health to move to Chippenham. Continued indisposition caused him to abandon his profession and he passed the remainder of his long life in the study of botany and literature. He travelled much in the earlier years of his retirement. A three years’ stay at Graz enabled him to form a collection of the plants of Styria, and, in South Africa, he made a notable journey by ox-wagon. Other excursions took him to North America, the West Indies and Continental countries. In 1849 he inherited property on the understanding that he would assume the name of Prior, and thereafter he divided his time between his country estate in Somerset and his town house in London. He wrote, in 1860, Ancient Danish Ballads and, in 1863, Popular Names of British Plants. A bachelor of abstemious habits, he was in his ninety-fourth year and senior Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians when he died at Regent’s Park, London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1903; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1903, 34; Al.Oxon., iii, 1154]

(Volume IV, page 24)

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