Lives of the fellows

William Wagstaffe

b.1685 d.5 May 1725
AB Oxon(1704) AM(1707) MD(1714) FRCP(1718) FRS

William Wagstaffe, M.D., was descended from a very ancient family long settled at Knightcote, in Warwickshire; but was actually born in Northamptonshire. His father, who was rector of Cublington, co. Bucks, took more than ordinary care of the education of this his only son. He was placed at an excellent school in Northampton, whence, at the age of sixteen, he was removed to Lincoln college, Oxford. At the university he was distinguished, not only for the soundness of his learning, but as an agreeable and facetious companion, which made his society much sought for by persons of superior rank and standing. He took the degree of A.B. 16th June, 1704; A.M. 5th May, 1707; and had some thoughts of entering the Church; but a visit to London, to his relative the Rev. Thomas Wagstaffe, an amateur practitioner of physic, diverted him from his original intention, and induced him to apply to the study of medicine. He proceeded doctor of medicine at Oxford, accumulating his degrees, 8th July, 1714, and settling in London, was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 23rd December, 1717, and a Fellow 22nd December, 1718. He was Censor in 1720. Dr. Wagstaffe was a fellow of the Royal Society, reader on anatomy at Surgeons’ hall, and physician to St. Bartholomew’s hospital. His affairs becoming embarrassed, his spirits and his health gave way. In March, 1724-5, he took a journey to Bath, but had not been there many weeks before he relapsed. Growing progressively worse, he died in that city 5th May, 1725, in the fortieth year of his age. Dr. Wagstaffe was twice married, first to the daughter of his relative, the Rev. Thomas Wagstaffe, and secondly to a daughter of Charles Bernard, esq., Serjeant-Surgeon to queen Anne. He edited Dr. Drake’s " Anthropologia Nova," and was the author of a Letter to Dr. Andrew Tripe, at Bath, 8vo. Lond. 1719, and of a specious pamphlet against small-pox inoculation, entitled—
A Letter showing the danger and uncertainty of Inoculating the Small-pox. 8vo. Lond. 1722.

All his other writings were satirical: they were collected into one volume, and published in 1725, under the title—

Miscellaneous Works of Dr. William Wagstaffe, Physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital; with an Account of his Life and Writings.

William Munk

(Volume II, page 60)

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