Williams, George (1762-1834) (DNB00)

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WILLIAMS, GEORGE (1762–1834), physician, was baptised at Catherington, Hampshire, on 24 Nov. 1762, being the younger son of John Williams, vicar of Catherington. Williams was entered on the foundation at Winchester in 1775, where he was distinguished for his recitations of Homer, which he had learnt from his father, and in November 1777 entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, with a Hampshire scholarship. He graduated B.A. in 1781, and became a fellow of his college, and then studied medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, proceeding M.A. in 1785 and M.D. in 1788. He then began to practise in Oxford, and in 1789 was chosen one of the physicians to the Radcliffe Infirmary. On the death of Professor John Sibthorp [q. v.] in 1796 Williams was appointed regius and Sherardian professor of botany; but in this capacity it has been said of him that he, ‘although an elegant scholar, added nothing to botanical science.’ On the death of Thomas Hornsby [q. v.], Williams was in 1810 chosen Radcliffe librarian, being the first physician to hold the office, and he carried out a scheme to devote the Radcliffe Library to books on medicine and physiology, preparing an index catalogue of the collection. In 1832 he became vice-president of Corpus, and on 17 Jan. 1834 he died at his residence in High Street, Oxford. Williams was buried in the churchyard of St. Peter's-in-the-East, Oxford; he is commemorated by a monument in Corpus Christi College Chapel. He bequeathed 500l. to improve the buildings in the Oxford Botanical Garden. Williams became a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1798, and of the Royal College of Physicians in 1799.

[Gent. Mag. 1834, i. 334; Munk's Coll. of Phys. ii. 467; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 269; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886.]

G. S. B.