William Barrowby

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William Barrowby
William Barrowby
William Barrowby
Born 1681 (1681)
Died 30 December 1751 (1751-12-31) (aged 70)
Occupation English physician

William Barrowby FRS FRCP (1682 – 30 December 1751) was an English physician.

Early life and education[edit]

Barrowby was born in London, the son of Dr. William Barrowby, a physician established first in Oxford and afterwards in London. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford. According to the DNB, he then moved to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he took the degrees of M.B. in 1709, and of M.D. in 1713.[1] He was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians in 1718, and F.R.S. in 1721.


He published Syllabus Anatomicus prælectionibus annuatim habendis adaptatus, London, 1736. He translated two medical works by Jean Astruc in 1737–8. He is stated, on somewhat doubtful authority, to have been one of the authors of A Letter to the Real and Genuine Pierce Dod, M.D., actual physician of St. Bartholomew's Hospital: plainly exposing the low absurdity or malice of a late spurious pamphlet falsely ascribed to that learned physician, 1746. A controversy about inoculation was going on, and Dr. Dod had published some notes of cases which illustrated his view that the practice was dangerous. He had added other cases and an empty Latin letter. The long pamphlet of Dod is written in a pompous style, and contains very little medical information. The title of the attack by Barrowby and Meyer Löw Schomberg indicates its method of ridicule. The task was an easy one, but the performance is abusive, coarse, and without scientific merit. The only happy hit in it is on the case of Lord Dorchester, who had taken an overdose of opium. Dod had mentioned among many irrelevant facts that the nobleman when recovering sent for his chaplain to read to him, and Barrowby says: "We have a beautiful instance of the pious simplicity of past ages, p. 34, in the marquis's calling for his chaplain to read to him when he grew less desirous of sleep, whereas we observe most modern lords employ their chaplains chiefly from an aversion to all other opiates." In the Rawlinson MSS. (in the Bodleian) it is said of Barrowby that "this wretch, tho' a monster of lewdness and prophaneness", took part in the riots at the Drury Lane Theatre in December 1743. He is satirised in a book called the World Unmasked (1738). Barrowby became Dr. Dod's colleague at St. Bartholomew's in 1750, when for the first time the hospital had three physicians instead of two.

Dr. Barrowby held office for less than two years, and died on 30 December 1751 of cerebral hæmorrhage.


  1. ^ Venn suggests there may be some confusion between father and son. "Barrowby, William (BRWY730W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Barrowby, William". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.