Lives of the fellows

William Chambers

b.1699 d.8 July 1785
MD Leyden Ex LRCP(1724)

William Chambers, M.D., was born at Hull, and educated under Boerhaave at Leyden. He was entered on the physic line there 24th September, 1721, being then twenty-two years of age, and in due course took his degree of doctor of medicine. He was admitted an Extra-Licentiate of the College of Physicians 8th October, 1724; and then settled in his native town, Hull, where, having practised with the most distinguished reputation and success for more than half a century, he died on the 8th July, 1785, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. "He had been brought up in infancy with all the respectable part of the town of his own age, and had attended in infancy almost all the juniors; hence he was long considered not only as the physician, but the friend of all the best families in the town. He had outlived a variety of competitors, and was now yielding from the influence of opinion to others, who saw him failing from age and imbecility of body, though his mind was as strong as ever. He did not live to see, or rather did not adopt the nomenclature or nosology of Dr. Cullen, just then coming into general vogue, and he could not bear to hear of a Scotch diploma. Dr. Chambers frequently returned one-half of the money which his patients thought he had deserved, but which he thought they were imprudent in giving. A gentleman assured me (1) that he had often been obliged to take back a part of what he had presented him withal; and on some occasions he had found it necessary to give him a larger sum than usual, in order that he might accept a portion back again." No wonder that under these circumstances he died poor.

Dr. Chambers was buried in the church of the Holy Trinity, Hull, where a monument to his memory bears the following inscription:—

"Within the adjacent vault
are deposited the remains of
William Chambers, M.D.,
who, after sixty years’ extensive and disinterested practice,
concluded a beneficial life the 8th day of July, 1785,
in the 86th year of his age.
By his wife, Ellen, daughter of Richard Bagshaw,
of the Oakes, in the county of Derby, esquire,
he had eleven children,
nine of whom are interred in the same vault with their parents."

William Munk

[(1) For these particulars I am indebted to Sir James Alderson, who has obliged me with this and other extracts from a MS. By his father, Dr. John Alderson, formerly of Hull, containing a series of very interesting sketches of his contemporaries]

(Volume II, page 87)

<< Back to List