William Musgrave

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For the English politician, see William Musgrave (MP). For the American football coach, see Bill Musgrave.
William Musgrave
William Musgrave, by Thomas Hawker (1640-1725), assistant[1] to the court painter Sir Peter Lely
Born 1655
Died 1721
Nationality British
Alma mater Winchester College;
New College, Oxford,
Occupation Physician
Known for Secretary to the Royal Society

William Musgrave (1655–1721) was a British physician and antiquary.


He was educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford, where he was a fellow from 1677 to 1692. In 1680 he spent a brief period at the University of Leiden.

He was elected to the Royal Society in 1684, for his work in natural philosophy and medicine. During 1685 he acted as secretary to the society and edited the Philosophical Transactions nos. 167 to 178. He was a member of the Philosophical Society of Oxford,[2][3] where he practised medicine and was awarded an M.D. on 6 July 1689. In 1692 he was elected to the Royal College of Physicians in London. He later settled in Exeter, where he practised until his death.[4][5]

His writings on medical matters included lacteals, palsy, and respiration. His important medical works concerned arthritis and its effects. His publication De arthritide symptomatica (2nd edn, 1715) included the first scientific description of ‘Devonshire colic’ (later referred to by John Huxham and George Baker).[5] His other writings included Antiquitates Britanno-Belgicae a study of Roman Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset - areas previously inhabited by the Belgae. George I presented Musgrave with a diamond ring for this work.[5]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Hayes, John T. (1992), British paintings of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Systematic Catalogue, Oxford University Press, pp. 160–161, ISBN 0-521-41066-5 
  2. ^ Molyneux, William (1684), A Letter from the Learned and Ingenious Mr. Will. Molyneux Secretary to the Society of Dublin, to Will. Musgrave L. L. B. Fellow of New Colledge, and Secretary to the Philosophical Society of Oxford, for Advancement of Natural Knowledge; Concerning Lough Neagh in Ireland, and Its Petrifying Qualitys, 14, pp. 552–554  [1]
  3. ^ Musgrave, William (1684), An Abstract of a Journal of the Philosophical Society of Oxford, being an Account of Some Experiments Relating to Digestion Read before That Society, and of a Large Bed of Glands Observ'd in the Stomach of a Jack, 14, pp. 699–701  [2]
  4. ^ Biographical sketch from the Catalogue of the Early Letters of the Royal Society.
  5. ^ a b c Alick Cameron, ‘Musgrave, William (1655–1721)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004