Sir William Duncan, 1st Baronet

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Sir William Duncan, 1st Baronet (died 1774) was a Scottish physician. He was a fashionable society doctor in London, and physician in ordinary to George III of Great Britain.[1][2]


He was the brother of Alexander Duncan of Lundie, Forfarshire, and uncle of Adam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan.[3]

Duncan graduated M.D. from the University of St Andrews in 1751.[1] He attended George III, becoming physician in ordinary in 1760, taking the place in the new reign of Frank Nicholls; and was created a baronet in 1764. He treated the king in his first illness (1765).[4][5][6]

In partnernership with a Scottish physician, Andrew Turnbull, he obtained land grants in Florida, where they planned a new settlement, New Smyrna, using indentured labour from the Mediterranean and Negro slaves. In 1768 eight ships set off from Minorca with more than a thousand settlers on board, but on arrival they found conditions deplorable.

Duncan was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1771.[7] Towards the end of his life he moved abroad, passing his practice to Sir John Eliot.[2] He died at Naples, in September 1774.[8]

The large investment he had made at New Smyrna was lost a few years later in 1777 when the surviving indentured settlers deserted New Smyrna en masse.[9]


In 1763, Duncan married Lady Mary Tufton, daughter of Sackville Tufton, 7th Earl of Thanet.[10] He left no son, and the baronetcy died with him.[8] Lady Mary was born in 1723, and died in 1806.[11][12] She was noted for her high wigs, and supposed infatuation with Gaspare Pacchierotti.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Munks Roll Details for William (Sir) Duncan". Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b Overy, Caroline. "Eliot, Sir John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8678. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ William Anderson (1867). The Scottish nation: or, The surnames, families, literature, honours, and biographical history of the people of Scotland. A. Fullarton & co. p. 82.
  4. ^ John James Park (1814). The topography and natural history of Hampstead, in the county of Middlesex. Printed for White, Cochrane, and Co. ... and Nichols, Son, and Bentley. pp. 340–1.
  5. ^ Edward Wedlake Brayley; Gideon Mantell (1850). A Topographical History of Surrey. G. Willis. pp. 13–.
  6. ^ Henry Laurens (1968). The Papers of Henry Laurens: Sept. 1, 1765-July 31, 1768. Univ of South Carolina Press. p. 524 note. ISBN 978-0-87249-331-5.
  7. ^ "The Record of the Royal Society of London". Internet Archive. London, Printed for the Royal Society. 1901. p. 282. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  8. ^ a b William John Courthope (1835). Synopsis of the Extinct Baronetage of England: Containing the Date of the Creation, with the Succession of Baronets, and Their Respective Marriages and the Time of Death. Rivington. p. 69.
  9. ^ "Florida History Online, The Letters of Dr. Andrew Turnbull". Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  10. ^ Daniel Lysons (1811). The Environs of London: Kent, Essex, and Herts. T. Cadell and W. Davies. p. 360.
  11. ^ A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. Henry Colburn. 1839. p. 1030.
  12. ^ Charles Cornwallis Marquis Cornwallis (1859). Correspondence of Charles, First Marquis of Cornwallis. John Murray. p. 201 note 5.
  13. ^ Fanny Burney; Stewart Cooke (13 October 2011). The Court Journals and Letters of Frances Burney: Volume II: 1787. OUP Oxford. p. 252 note 708. ISBN 978-0-19-926280-9.