Portrait of Bathurst, 1676, by David Loggan.
Hothorpe, Northamptonshire, England
|Died||1704 (aged 83–84)|
|Alma mater||Trinity College, University of Oxford|
|Title||Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford|
Oxford science and medicine
He originally intended a career in the Church of England, and was ordained in 1644, but his prospects were disrupted by the English Civil War, and he turned to medicine. He collaborated with Thomas Willis, and it was to Bathurst that Willis dedicated his first medical publication, the Diatribae Duae of 1659.
Bathurst was active in the intellectual ferment of the time, and very well connected. In the account given by John Wallis of the precursor groups to the Royal Society of London, Bathurst is mentioned as one of the Oxford experimentalists who gathered from 1648–9. Also in that group were Willis, William Petty and Seth Ward. The group expanded in the 1650s when it gathered around John Wilkins of Wadham College, close however to Oliver Cromwell, and then included also Jonathan Goddard, Thomas Millington, Laurence Rooke, and Christopher Wren. Later Robert Boyle joined.
Bathurst belonged also to the overlapping circle of physicians following the tradition of William Harvey, and which included again Willis, George Ent, Walter Charleton, Nathaniel Highmore, and Charles Scarburgh; these were royalists who had attended Charles I of England. In the celebrated case of Anne Greene, who survived a hanging, the physicians intending to dissect the cadaver were Bathurst, Petty, Willis, and Henry Clerke.
He worked in practical medicine under the physician Daniel Whistler (1619–1684). This was during the First Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 to 1654, when Whistler was in charge of wounded naval personnel. He theorised fruitfully in 1654 on respiration, in a dissertation for his higher medical degree, and his ideas were later taken up, by Boyle and John Mayow.
On the English Restoration in 1660 he reverted to a career in the church. There is a story that he had acted as archdeacon and deputy to Robert Skinner, Bishop of Oxford, who was imprisoned by the Parliamentarians. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1663, and was made President of Trinity College in 1664, where he initiated building work to designs by Christopher Wren, a personal friend. He also swayed Samuel Parker from Presbyterian views to an Anglican outlook.
In 1670, he was Dean of Wells Cathedral. For three years from 1673, he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, earning a complimentary reference in a John Dryden poem. John Harris, a Trinity College student in the 1680s, wrote about the intellectual and scientific atmosphere of the college under Bathurst.
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| President of Trinity College, Oxford
| Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University