Lives of the fellows

John Turton

b.1736 d.14 April 1806
AB Oxon(1756) AM(1759) MB(1762) MD(1767) FRCP(1768) FRS

John Turton, M.D., was born in Staffordshire, and educated at Queen’s college, Oxford, as a member of which he proceeded A.B. 16th June, 1756; A.M. 31st May, 1759. He was elected Radcliffe travelling fellow in May, 1761, and in September of that year was entered on the physic line at Leyden. As a member of University college he proceeded M.B. 11th December, 1762, and M.D. 27th February, 1767. He was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 24th September, 1767; and a Fellow, 30th September, 1768; was Censor in 1769, 1775,1782,1788; and was named an Elect 25th June, 1788. Dr. Turton’s progress as a physician was unusually rapid, and he accumulated a very ample fortune. In 1771 he was appointed physician to the queen’s household; in 1782, physician in ordinary to the queen, and physician extraordinary to the king; and in 1797, physician in ordinary to the king, and to the prince of Wales. Dr. Turton was a fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Royal Society of Medicine of Paris. He resigned his place of Elect 26th December, 1800, and died the 14th of April, 1806, aged seventy, leaving to his widow a life interest in the whole of his fortune, a few legacies only excepted, namely, nine thousand a year in landed estates, most of which were in Yorkshire, and sixty thousand pounds in the funds. Having no family, Dr. Turton adopted as his heir his kinsman, Mr. Edmund Peters, who assumed the name of Turton on succeeding to the property. Dr. Turton purchased Brasted-place, co. Kent, of lord Frederick Campbell, and made it his country house. He pulled down the old mansion, " venerable enough for its antiquity," said Philipott, and built the original portion of the present imposing mansion. To his new house Dr. Turton transferred some interesting mementoes of royal favour. The clock which now tells the time to the inhabitants of Brasted was a present from George III, and had once a more exalted position and the more public duty of striking the hours, as the time oracle of all London from the turret at the Horse Guards. And on the wall of the billiard-room is still preserved the document which the emperor of China had forwarded to the king illustrating the different arts and manufactures of the Celestial empire. This was a present from queen Caroline to her physician.(1)

Dr. Turton is commemorated in Brasted church by a massive white marble monument—a sarcophagus on which are placed a bible and prayer-book, and a snake coiled round a staff. The monument bears the following inscription:—
Mary the wife of John Turton, M.D.,
caused this monument to be erected
to the memory of her beloved husband.
Eminently skilled in the medical art,
He saved or lengthened the lives of others.
His own alas! This marble tells us no art could save.
With full hope in Christ, of life to come immortal,
He died April 14th, 1806, aged 70.

His widow survived until 28th January, 1810, and is also commemorated in Brasted church.

William Munk

[(1) History of Brasted, its manor, parish and church, by J. Cave Brown, A.M. 8vo. Westerham. 1874]

(Volume II, page 284)

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