Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Musgrave, William

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1341330Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 39 — Musgrave, William1894William Prideaux Courtney

MUSGRAVE, WILLIAM (1655?–1721), physician and antiquary, was third son of Richard Musgrave of Nettlecombe, Somerset. The date of his birth is given in Munk's 'College of Physicians' as 4 Nov. 1655, but according to Collinson it occurred at Charlton Musgrove in 1657. He was educated at Winchester College, being elected to a scholarship in 1669, and at New College, Oxford, where he matriculated 17 July 1675, was admitted scholar on 7 Aug. 1675, and held a fellowship from 7 Aug. 1677 to September 1692. Ten years later he contributed 55l. towards the new buildings at his college. He passed one session at the university of Leyden, his name being entered in its books on 29 March 1680, but he soon returned to Oxford, and took the degree of B.C.L. on 14 June 1682. For his distinction in natural philosophy and physic he was elected F.R.S. on 19 March 1683-4, and admitted on 1 Dec. 1684. During 1685 he acted as secretary of the Royal Society, edited the 'Philosophical Transactions' from numbers 167 to 178 (vol. xv.), and on his retirement from office was presented with a service of plate, sixty ounces in weight. Musgrave took the degree of M.B. at Oxford, by decree of convocation, on 8 Dec. 1685, and proceeded M.D. on 6 July 1689. He was one of the little set of enthusiasts who in the autumn of 1685 formed themselves into a scientific body at Oxford, and for some years he practised in that city. On 30 Sept. 1692 he was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians at London. In the previous year he settled at Exeter, and there he practised with great success until his death. His house was in St. Lawrence parish, at the head of Trinity Lane, afterwards called Musgrave Alley in recognition of his restoration and enlargement in 1694 and 1711 of the chapel of Holy Trinity. Musgrave died in December 1721, and was buried on 23 Dec. in a vault in St. Leonard's churchyard, Exeter, outside the city, as he believed that intramural burial in cities was unwholesome for the living. His wife was Philippa, third daughter of William Speke of Jordans, White Lackington, Somerset, by his wife, Anne Roynon. She died 14 Nov. 1715, aged 55, and was buried at St. Leonard's, Exeter, on 21 Nov. A handsome altar-tomb which was erected to their memory has now been removed. A portrait of Musgrave is mentioned by Bromley. Their son, William Musgrave, M.B., of King's College, Cambridge, was buried at St. Leonard's on 28 Nov. 1724. Their daughter married Thomas Brown of King's Kerswell, Devonshire.

Musgrave published at Exeter in 1703 a treatise, 'De Arthritide Symptomatica,' and in 1707 a further dissertation 'De Arthritide Anomala.' A second edition of the latter, with a treatise by Mead, was issued at Amsterdam in 1710, and new editions of both of them were included in Sydenham's 4 Opera Medica,' 1716, vol. ii. At his death he left in manuscript a treatise, 'De Arthritide primogenia et regulari,' which his son committed to the press, but did not live to see published. It remained in sheets at the Clarendon Press until 1776, when it was published by Samuel Musgrave [q. v.] Numerous articles by him, many of which are on medical points, are inserted in the 'Philosophical Transactions.'

His antiquarian investigations are described in three volumes, issued at Exeter in 1719, with the general title-page of 'Antiquitates Britanno-Belgicæ, prsecipue Romanæ figuris illustratse . . . quorum I de Belgio Britannico II de Geta Britannico III de Julii Vitalis epitaphio cum Notis criticis H. Dodwelli ; ' but the second volume originally appeared in 1716, and the third in 1711. His portrait, painted by G. Gandy in 1718, and engraved by Vandergucht, was prefixed. A fourth volume, 'quod tribus ante editis est appendix,' came out in 1720. Belga consisted, in the opinion of Musgrave, of the district from the Solent to near Henley-on-Thames and from Cirencester to Bath and Porlock, returning by Ilchester to the border of Hampshire, and his volumes contained particulars of numerous Roman remains which had been found within its borders.

For these researches Musgrave was presented by George I, or his son, the Prince of Wales, with a diamond ring (6 Aug. 1720). His account of the Roman legions, addressed to Sir Hans Sloane, and a portion of his letter to Gisbert Cuper, burgomaster of Deventer, on the Roman eagles, written to prove that they were made of some light substance and plated over, are in the 'Philosophical Transactions,' xxviii. 80-90, and 145-50 (cf. Letters of Gisbert Cuper, pp. 291, 371). Some Roman curiosities procured by Musgrave from Bath were set up by him at Exeter (Lysons, Devon, p. cccx). Numerous communications on such topics passed between him and Walter Moyle [q. v.] Further manuscript letters by him are in the Ballard collection at the Bodleian Library, xxiv. 75-85.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. (2nd edit.), i. 486–90; Dymond's St. Leonard's, Exeter, pp. 29–30; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 196; Weld's Royal Society, i. 305; Collinson's Somerset, iii. 37; Burke's Commoners, iv. 539; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Wood's Fasti, ii. 383, 396, 407; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 556–7, 776; information from the Rev. Dr. Sewell, New College, Oxford; Hearne's Collections, ed. Doble, i. 266, ii. 198, 206–8, 213, 217, 220, 347, iii. 141, 149, 182, 262, 277–9, 330; information from the Rev. J. F. Sheldon, St. Leonard's, Exeter.]

W. P. C.