Parr, Bartholomew (DNB00)

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PARR, BARTHOLOMEW, M.D. (1750–1810), medical writer, born at Exeter in 1750, was son of Bartholomew Parr (1713–1800) by his second wife, Johanna Burgess. His father, who had been a pupil of Smellie, was a skilful accoucheur, and was one of the surgeons to the Devon and Exeter Hospital for fifty-four years. Parr graduated M.D. at Edinburgh in 1773. His inaugural dissertation, ‘De Balneo,’ was pronounced the best of the year, and obtained the honour of a lengthy analysis in the ‘Medical and Philosophical Commentaries’ (i. 297). He then returned to Exeter, where he acquired an excellent practice. On 16 Feb. 1775, on the retirement of Thomas Glass, M.D. [q. v.], he was appointed physician to the Devon and Exeter Hospital. Parr died in Bedford Circus, Exeter, on 20 Nov. 1810, and was buried in St. Stephen's Church. He married, first, Maria, daughter of John Coddrington, by whom he had two sons—Coddrington Parr of Stonelands, Dawlish, Devonshire, and Samuel Parr of Lowestoft, Suffolk—and, secondly, on 27 May 1809, Frances Robson of St. Stephen's parish, Exeter. This lady deserted the doctor after six weeks, but continued to correspond affectionately with his sons.

Parr was one of the founders of a literary society at Exeter which included Polwhele and, for a brief period, the elder D'Israeli among its members. This society published in 1796 a volume of proceedings, in the form of a collection of essays.

Parr, who was fellow of the Royal Societies of London (elected 23 March 1797) and of Edinburgh, afforded important literary assistance to his friend Andrew Duncan the elder [q. v.], the editor of the ‘Medical and Philosophical Commentaries’ and of the ‘Annals of Medicine.’ A large number of the critical reviews in these publications were from his pen. To vol. ix. of the former serial he contributed an interesting ‘Account of the Influenza as it appeared in Devonshire in May 1782.’ His reputation rests, however, on his ‘London Medical Dictionary,’ 2 vols. 4to, 1809, a work of great research and industry.

[Medical Worthies of Devon, by William Munk, M.D., in Exeter Western Times for 1855; Gent. Mag. 1810 pt. ii. p. 595, 1811 pt. i. p. 184; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; notes kindly supplied by the Rev. T. L. Marshall of Sydenham.]

G. G.