Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trye, Charles Brandon

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TRYE, CHARLES BRANDON (1757–1811), surgeon, descended from the ancient family of Trye of Hardwicke in Gloucestershire, was elder son of John Trye, rector of Leckhampton, near Cheltenham, by his wife Mary, daughter of the Rev. John Longford of Haresfield, near Stroud. He was born on 21 Aug. 1757, and his parents died while he was at the grammar school in Cirencester. He was apprenticed in March 1773 to Thomas Hallward, an apothecary in Worcester, and in 1778 he became a pupil of William Russell, then senior surgeon to the Worcester Infirmary. At the expiration of his indentures in January 1780 he came to London to study under John Hunter (1728–1793) [q. v.], and was appointed house apothecary or house surgeon to the Westminster Hospital, acting more particularly under the influence of Henry Watson, the surgeon and professor of anatomy at the Royal Academy. He acted as house surgeon for nearly eighteen months, and his skill as a dissector appears to have attracted the notice of John Sheldon [q. v.], who engaged him to assist in the labours of his private anatomical school in Great Queen Street. Sheldon's illness and his enforced retirement from London led to the connection being severed, and Trye returned to Gloucester, where he was appointed house apothecary to the infirmary on 27 Jan. 1783, and shortly after quitting this post he was elected in July 1784 surgeon to the charity, a position he filled until 1810. He was admitted a member of the Corporation of Surgeons on 4 March 1784. In 1793 he established, in conjunction with the Rev. Thomas Stock, a lying-in charity in Gloucester, which, after being carried on by them for seven years almost entirely at their own expense, has since been supported by the public. In 1797 he succeeded under the will of his cousin, Henry Norwood, to a considerable estate in the parish of Leckhampton, near Cheltenham, but he still continued to practise his profession, for he devoted his rents to the payment of his cousin's debts. He opened up the stone quarries at Leckhampton Hill, and constructed a branch tramway, opened on 10 July 1810, to bring the stone from the quarries to within reach of the Severn at Gloucester. He was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society on 17 Dec. 1807, and at the time of his death he was a member of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh. Trye was a man of considerable local importance. As a surgeon he acquired unusual skill in performing some of the most difficult operations. He was the steady friend and promoter of vaccination, and Jenner had a high opinion of his abilities.

He died on 7 Oct. 1811, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary de Crypt at Gloucester. A plain tablet, with an inscription prepared by himself, was put up in the church at Leckhampton, while a public memorial to perpetuate his memory was placed in Gloucester Cathedral. He married, in May 1792, Mary (d. 1848), the elder daughter of Samuel Lysons, rector of Rodmarton, near Cirencester (and sister of the author of the ‘Environs’), by whom he had ten children, and of these three sons and five daughters survived him.

Trye published: 1. ‘Remarks on Morbid Retentions of the Urine,’ Gloucester, 1774, 8vo; another edition, 1784. 2. ‘Review of Jesse Foote's Observations on the Opinions of John Hunter on the Venereal Disease,’ London, 1787, 8vo. This is the work by which Trye is now best known. It is a spirited defence of his old master against the scurrilous attacks of his enemy. 3. ‘An Essay on the Swelling of the Lower Extremities incident to Lying-in Women,’ London, 1792, 8vo. 4. ‘Illustrations of some of the Injuries to which the Lower Limbs are exposed,’ London, 1802, 4to. 5. ‘Essay on some of the Stages of the Operation of cutting for Stone,’London, 1811, 8vo.

There is a medallion-bust of Trye by Charles Rossi, R.A., in the west end of the north aisle of Gloucester Cathedral. It was engraved by J. Nagle from a drawing by Richard Smirke.

[A Sketch of the Life and Character of the late C. B. Trye, by D. Lysons of Rodmarton, privately printed, 4to, Gloucester, reprinted with additions at Oxford, 1848, 32mo; Med. and Phys. Journal, 1811, xxvi. 508; Fosbroke's Gloucester 1819, p. 149; Gent. Mag. 1811, ii. 487; valuable information kindly obtained by Mr. H. Y. J. Taylor of Gloucester, Dr. Oscar Clarke, physician to the Gloucester Infirmary, and from the late James B. Bailey, librarian to the Royal College of Surgeons of England.]

D’A. P.