Saturday, 13 December 2014

John Bowdler of Pickhurst Manor

One of the prominent families contained in the medical prescriptions ledger of Doctor Thomas Ilott Surgeon of Bromley is that of John Bowdler who resided at Pickhurst an ancient manor house which was within the parish of Hayes Kent.
The Ilott account is of interest due to Ilott's treatment of a number of members of the family.
John Bowdler (the elder) 1746-1823 had inherited a fortune when his eminent banker father died in 1785 and lived in Hayes for the years 1809-1811 covered by the Ilott Folio C ledger;the account is carried over in to Folio D which does not survive but covers 1812 onwards.
John's brother Thomas and sister Harriet or Henrietta Maria Bowdler were authors of the expurgated version of 24 Shakespeare plays in the 1807 The Family Shakspeare which was to give to the English language the phrase to bowdlerise. For more detail see Thomas Bowdler entry Wikipedia
 For further biography of John the elder derived from the Dictionary of National Biography see John Bowdler Wikipedia
Ilott treats with the prescription of Orange Peas or Citrus Aurantium John daughter Elizabeth Bowdler throughout 1809 and 1810. Elizabeth dies on 4 December 1810.My blog outlines the discovery of this unique prescription in the folio orange pea (citrus aurantium)
Also treated in the same period by Ilott are John's two sons who are eminent in their own lives.
John Bowdler the Younger 2 February 1783-2 February 1815 a lawyer and posthumous author and poet who in 1810 developed tuberculosis and spent two years in Southern Europe during his illness. It is possible that his uncle who had practiced medicine in the previous century before travelling widely in Southern Europe may have influenced his itinerary but as Ilott treats him in 1810 before he leaves for Europe and again in 1811 and the episodes of treatment presumably lead to the decision for him to leave London for Europe and subsequently to reside with an aunt near Portsmouth. His father published posthumously John the Younger's "selected Pieces in Prose and Verse". An 1818 review of this by William Roberts The British Review and Critical Journal 1818 contains some biographical detail of his childhood and legal career.
Thomas Bowdler the Younger 13 March 1782-12 November 1856 or Reverend Thomas Bowdler MA  was at the time of Ilott's treatment still a curate but was to become a Prebend at Saint Paul's Cathedral in the years prior to his death. It is likely that his wife Phoebe is also referred to in Ilott as "Mrs Thomas B".