William Turton

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William Turton (21 May 1762 – 28 December 1835) was an English physician and naturalist. He is known for his pioneering work in conchology, and for translating Linnaeus' Systema Naturae into English.


He was born at Olveston, Gloucestershire and was educated at Oriel College, Oxford. He commenced in practice as a physician at Swansea, where he worked for fifteen years. He then moved in turn to Dublin, Teignmouth, and Torquay. He devoted his leisure time to natural history, especially conchology. He published several illustrated shell books, and a translation of Gmelin's edition of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae in 1806. His works on conchology have been described as "seminal".[1]

In 1817, while he was a physician at Teignmouth, he treated Tom Keats, youngest brother of the Romantic poet John Keats, for consumption.[2]

He moved to Bideford, Devon, in 1831, and died there. His shell collection is now located at the Smithsonian Institution.[1]

The bivalve genus Turtonia (J. Alder, 1848)[3] and the species Galeomma turtoni[4] are named for him.



  1. ^ a b Oliver, P. Graham (3 June 2020). "W. Turton". Colligo. 3 (1). Kathy Talbot, Barbara Fredriksson, Victoria Tomlinson, Mark Lewis & Douglas Fraser.
  2. ^ Gigante, Denise (2011). The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George. Harvard: Harvard University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0674725959.
  3. ^ "Turtonia Alder, 1848". WoRMS World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  4. ^ Turton, W. (1825). "Description of some new British shells". Zoological Journal. 2: 361.

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