Rigby, Edward (1747-1821) (DNB00)

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RIGBY, EDWARD (1747–1821), physician, son of John Rigby, by his wife Sarah (d. 1773), daughter of Dr. John Taylor (1694–1761) [q. v.], the hebraist, was born at Chowbent, Lancashire, on 27 Dec. 1747. One of his sisters married Dr. Caleb Hillier Parry, and became the mother of Sir William Edward Parry [q. v.], the Arctic explorer. Educated at Dr. Priestley's school at Warrington, Rigby was apprenticed in 1762 to David Martineau, surgeon, of Norwich, and afterwards studied in London. Admitted a member of the Corporation of Surgeons on 4 May 1769, he married in the same year, and settled in Norwich. In 1776 he published ‘An Essay on the Uterine Hæmorrhage which precedes the Delivery of the full-grown Fœtus’ (3rd edit. 1784, 8vo; 6th edit., with a memoir by John Cross, Norwich, 1822, 8vo). This work was translated into French and German, and placed Rigby in the first rank of his profession. He added to his reputation by ‘An Essay on the Theory and Production of Animal Heat, and on its Application in the Treatment of Cutaneous Eruptions, Inflammations, and some other Diseases,’ London, 1785, 8vo; and ‘Chemical Observations on Sugar,’ London, 1788, 8vo. In 1786 he was foremost in establishing the Norfolk Benevolent Society for the relief of the widows and orphans of medical men. In July 1789 he visited France and other parts of the continent. His ‘Letters from France,’ addressed to his wife in 1789, were first published by his daughter, Lady Eastlake, London, 8vo, 1880, and form a useful supplement to Arthur Young's observations on the agriculture and the peasantry of France at that time. A practical agriculturist, he was the friend of Thomas William Coke of Holkham, afterwards earl of Leicester [q. v.], and experimented on his own farm at Framingham, about five miles from Norwich. In 1783 he became a member of the corporation of guardians of Norwich, and promoted the economical administration of the poor laws. But, meeting with much opposition, he resigned in the following year, when he was presented with a service of plate, in recognition of his efforts, by the people of Norwich. He became alderman in 1802, sheriff in 1803, and mayor of Norwich in 1805. He is said to have made known the flying shuttle to Norwich manufacturers, and to have introduced vaccination into that city. He died on 27 Oct. 1821, and was buried at Framingham. He married, first, Sarah, coheir of John Dybal, by whom he left two daughters, and secondly, in 1803, a daughter of William Palgrave of Yarmouth, by whom he had twelve children, four of whom, three girls and a boy, were the production of one birth on 15 Aug. 1817. His son Edward is noticed separately.

In addition to the works mentioned above Rigby published: 1. ‘An Essay on the use of the Red Peruvian Bark in the Cure of Intermittents,’ London, 1783, 8vo. 2. ‘Reports of the Special Provision Committee, appointed by the Court of Guardians, in … Norwich,’ 1788, 8vo. 3. ‘Further Facts relating to the Care of the Poor and the Management of the Workhouse in the City of Norwich,’ being the sequel of a former publication. 4. ‘Holkham, its Agriculture, &c.’, ‘Pamphleteer,’ 1813, vol. xiii.; 2nd edit. with … additions, Norwich, 1817, 8vo; 3rd edit. … enlarged, Norwich, 1818. Another edit. 1819. 5. ‘Report of the Norwich Pauper Vaccination, from 10 Aug. 1812 to 10 Aug. 1813,’ &c. [London, 1813], 8vo. 6. ‘Suggestions for an Improved and Extended Cultivation of Mangel Wurzel,’ Norwich [1815], 8vo. 7. ‘Italy: its Agriculture … from the French of Châteauvieux,’ 1819, 8vo. 8. ‘Framingham: its Agriculture, &c., including the Economy of a small Farm,’ Norwich, 1820, 8vo.

[Familiæ Minorum Gentium (Harl. Soc.), p. 1106; Ann. Reg. 1821, p. 244; W. Wadd's Nugæ Chirurgicæ, p. 138; Cross's Memoir, prefixed to 6th edit. of Rigby's Essay on Uterine Hæmorrhage; Rigby's Letters from France; Donaldson's Agricultural Biogr. p. 110; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. vii. 366.]

W. A. S. H.