Griffith, Richard (1635?-1691) (DNB00)

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For works with similar titles, see Richard Griffith.

GRIFFITH, RICHARD, M.D. (1635?–1691), physician, born about 1635, was educated at Eton, though not on the foundation. On the recommendation of Cromwell and the council of state, he was appointed by the parliamentary visitors to a fellowship at University College, Oxford, on 1 Sept. 1654 (Register, Camd. Soc. p. 399). He graduated B.A. 7 July 1657, M.A. 3 May 1660, and had thoughts of becoming a preacher, but ‘being not minded to conform he left the college, and applied his mind to the study of physic’ (Wood, Fasti Oxon., ed. Bliss, ii. 198, 224). He took the degree of M.D. at Caen in Normandy on 12 June 1664, was admitted an honorary fellow of the College of Physicians in the following December, and having been created a fellow by the charter of James II, was admitted as such on 12 April 1687. He was censor in 1688 and 1690, and registrar for 1690. For some years he practised at Richmond, Surrey, but died in the parish of St. Nicholas Acons, London, in September 1691 (Probate Act Book, P.C.C.1691,f.152), and was buried in the church of Datchet, Buckinghamshire, near his deceased wife and child. In his will, dated on 4 Sept. 1691, and proved on the 8th (P.C.C. 138, Vere), he mentions property at various places in Surrey and houses in Old Street, St. Luke's, London. He married, first by license dated 18 Jan. 1678-9, Miss Jane Wheeler of Datchet (Chester, London Marriage Licences, ed. Foster, col. 591). By her, who died in 1680 (Letters of Administration, P.C.C., 7 June 1680), he had a son Richard, baptised at Richmond on 13 March 1679-80 (parish register), and buried with his mother at Datchet. His second wife, Mary, daughter of Richard Blackman, apparently of Punchins, near Stoke-next-Guildford, Surrey, survived him without issue. Griffith was the author of a somewhat venomous treatise entitled ‘A-la-Mode Phlebotomy no good fashion; or the copy of a Letter to Dr. [Francis] Hungerford [of Reading], complaining of…the phantastick behaviour and unfair dealing of some London physitians… Whereupon a fit occasion is taken to discourse of the profuse way of Blood-Letting,’ &c, 8vo, London, 1681. The immediate cause of Griffith's wrath was the supercilious treatment recommended by a London physician (formerly a 'journeyman' to Dr. Willis), who on being summoned to see an aged lady patient of his at Richmond, insisted on her being let blood, which no doubt accelerated her death. Wood (loc. cit.), followed by Harwood (Alumni Eton. p. 229), confuses Griffith with another Richard Griffith, a native of Abinger, Surrey, who passed from Eton to King's College, Cambridge, in 1629, and died in college at the close of 1642 (cf. Addit. (Cole} MS. 5816, ff. 121, 174).

[Information from J. Challenor Smith, esq.; Reg. of Visitors of Univ. of Oxford (Camd. Soc.), pp. 174, 399, 557; Munk's Coll. of Phys., 1878, i. 470-1.]

G. G.