Lives of the fellows

Robert Wittie

b.1613 d.October 1684
MD Cantab MD Oxon(1680) Hon FRCP(1680)

Robert Wittie, MD – A native of Yorkshire, the only son of George Wittie of Beverley, esquire, by his wife Anne daughter of William Howard of Therne in the same county, was baptised at St Mary’s, Beverley, 14th November, 1613. He was a doctor of medicine of Cambridge (King’s college), incorporated at Oxford 13th July, 1680. Dr Wittie practised for some few years at Hull, but in 1665, when Dugdale made his visitation of the county, he was residing and practising as a physician in the city of York.

From MSS in the possession of his descendants it would seem that he was settled at York in December, 1651, and that he lived in the parish of St Martin’s, Coney-street, where his mother was buried 2nd December, 1675. On his retirement from the active exercise of his profession Dr Wittie removed to London; and was admitted an Honorary Fellow of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1680. He died in October, 1684. His will, in which he describes himself as “of the parish of St Michael Basse Shaw,” was dated 5th October, and proved 23rd October, 1684. He had married Mary the second daughter of Henry Hall of East Lilling, co York, esquire. His portrait, engraved by Cross, is prefixed to his translation of Primrose’s Popular Errors in Physick. 4to. 1651.

He was the author of the following works:-
The Antimonial Cup twice cast. Translated from J Primrose. 12mo. Lond. 1640.
Scarborough Spaw; or, a description of the Nature and Virtue of the Spaw at Scarborough, in Yorkshire. - Treatise of the Nature and Use of Water in General, and the several sorts thereof, as sea, rain, snow, pond, &c. - A short discourse concerning Mineral Waters, especially that of the Spaw. 8vo. Lond. 1660.

These three are generally found in one volume. A second edition, “corrected and augmented throughout the whole, together with an historical relation of cures done by the Waters,” appeared in 1667. Its publication occasioned a bitter controversy on the subject of the mineral waters of Scarborough, which was kept alive for several years afterwards. The chief antagonists of Dr Wittie were Dr William Simpson, a physician at Wakefield, and Dr George Tunstall, of Durham. The work on Scarborough Spa was published also in Latin, by the author, under the title of
Fons Scarburgensis, sive Tractatus de omnis Aquarum Generis Origine et Usu. Lond. 8vo. 1678.
Pyrologia Mimica; or, an Answer to Hydrologia Chemica of William Simpson, in defence of Scarborough Spaw, wherein the five mineral principles of the said Spaw are defended against all his objections. Lond. 8vo. 1669.
Gout Raptures; or, an Historical Fiction of a War among the Stars, wherein are mentioned the seven planets, the twelve signs of the zodiack, and the fifty constellations of heaven mentioned by the ancients. Lond. 8vo. 1677.
A Survey of the Heavens: a plain description of the admirable fabrick and motions of the heavenly bodies, &c. Lond. 8vo. 1680.(1)

William Munk

[(1) For much of the information concerning Dr Wittie I am indebted to John Sykes, MD, of Doncaster.]

(Volume I, page 413)

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