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We all at sometime during our lives will have the
need of medical advice or assistance. Below are five surgeons/doctors
who served the parish of Mattishall for well over 140 years. The
first record dates from 1806 & then 1832 where The Medical and
Surgical Association lists John Ballard Pitt Esq as Surgeon of Mattishall
Norfolk. We see later John Pitt's son married Dr George Taylor's
In the early 1800's, living at Mattishall was Lionel
Palmer (alias Rainbird) a Surgeon (also known as Lawrence) and
his wife Eleanor. During their time here they had two children baptised
at Old Moor Chapel, on Bardley Moor, by the Rev Carter an inderpendant
minister. They were Henry, Dec 3, 1806, Alfred, Nov 18th 1808.
Henry became a surgeon in his own right and was known as Henry
Palmer Rainbird. He married Mary Ann Mann of North Tuddenham,
daughter of Edward Man a farmer and his wife Sarah. In 1833 Henry
ran in money problems and his creditors sued him, the outcome is
unknown. Mary Ann died (date unknown) and Henry now a widower married
Margaret Meachen a spinster and famers daughter at Yaxham on January
7th 1859. Margaret was the daughter of Charles Meachen a farmer.
In 1861 Henry and Margaret were living at Spring Lane, Badley, Yaxham,
his ocupation was, Pensioner Ej S. Henry died in 1864 age 58, he
was buried on July 21st at St Peter's churchyard, Yaxham. Margaret
died in 1866 and was buried on May 5th with Henry at Yaxham.
1806: The Poll of Knights for the county of Norfolk,
Mattishall - Robert Thorne, Surgeon
John Ballard Pitt: 1816 - 1900
John Pitt was born in 1816 at Highley Shropshire the son of Richard
Pitt a Gentleman. He married Jane Elizabeth Gandon Warcup at East
Dereham in the Sep quarter of 1847. Jane was the daughter of William
Mark Warcup a Surgeon of East Dereham and his wife Martha Ellis
of Norwich. John and Jane had two children, Richard Warcup Pitt
born 1848 and Caroline Ballard Pitt born 1849 - He studied at the
University College, London, and practised at Norwich, where he was
Surgeon to the Henstead Union Workhouse, and filled other posts
including surgeon to Mattishall before residing in St Stephen's
Street Norwich. Among his posts were: Surgeon to the City Dispensary;
Medical Referee to the Norwich Union Life Assurance Society; Hon
Secretary to the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, later
the British Medical Association; Member of the Pathological Society
of Norwich; Surgeon to the Oddfellows; Surgeon to the Norwich Union;
Member of the Norwich Medico-Chirurgical Society. This was before
1881 when the family moved to Grove House, Scarning, East Dereham
the family home of the Warcup's (Jane's parents). John took the
position of Medical Officer of Health for the Henstead Rural District,
and Surgeon to the Boys' Home, Norwich. He had retired for thirteen
years before his death at Scarning in 1900 at the age of 89.
John's wife's brother, Thomas Chute Ellis Warcup
was a Chaplain & Naval Instructor in the Royal Navy and served
in the Baltic in the 1853-1856 Crimean War. He is mentioned in the
Rev Benjamin Armstrong's Diary's - 1856 January 8th, Called on young
Warcup, the Naval Chaplain recently returned from the Baltic. It
goes on to give brief details of the conflict with the Russians
- 1860: Jun 27 - The Globe, London - At Melbourne Australia, the
death of the Rev Thomas C. E. Warcup, Chaplain of H. M. S. Pelorus.
HMS Pelorus was a 22-gun Pearl-class wooden screw corvette launched
in 1857 and broken up for scrap in 1869. She participated as part
of a squadron after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Then she was sent
to the China Station during the Second Opium War until May 1859
when she sailed for Australian Station. 1860: April 21st, Gentleman's
Magazine - Clergy deceased - At Melbourne, the Rev Thomas Chute
Ellis Warcup, Chaplain of HMS/ Pelorus/, only son of William Mark
Warcup, MD of Scarning, Norfolk, and grandson of the late William
Warcup, Staff Surgeon in the Island of St Vincent - It does not
give cause of death.
John's daughter Caroline Ballard Pitt married Richard
John Tacon born at Eye Suffolk on May 7th 1878 at Norwich. In 1881
they were living at Rollesby Norfolk with their two daughters. Richard's
occupation was record as the Rector of Rollesby - Richard was born
March 26th 1847 the 3rd son of Charles Tacon, of Mansion House,
Eye and Mary Anne, daughter of Robert Girling. Richard's father
was a solicitor, a member of the family who bought the Eye Brewery
from Richard Cobbold and mayor of Eye for nine successive years
and held many public offices. He was a very wealthy and generous
man who gave money to many deserving causes including a new clock
and bell tower for the Town Hall in 1897. Rev Richard did his M
A at University of Cambridge was J P For County Norfolk and Lord
Of Manor Of Claydon, Suffolk. By 1891 they had seven children. Richard
John Tacon was born in the June quarter of 1845 and was Rector St
George's church Rollesby for nearly sixty years. The gift of £657
a year was in the hands of the Tacon brewing family. In 1872 Richard
was the current owner and presented himself to the living. He transformed
the interior of St George's Church and it is because of Rev Richard
St George Church has a large collection of Victoria glass windows.
Caroline died in 1921 age 71 and Rev Richard died March 11th 1929
John's son Rev Richard Warcup Pitt married Charlotte
Heyhoe Taylor the daughter of our next parish doctor - see below......
Second - Dr George Taylor (below)
Dr. George Taylor: 1817 - 1900
The above picture is taken from a newspaper sadly we don't have
the original. It shows Dr George Taylor who is seen with his horse
and gig. He retired after 46 years service. The article states this
picture was taken early 1900's although it was probably taken in
the 1890's as the doctor died in 1900 aged 82.
With him, we now believe is his groom and gardener, Mr Thomas William
Jarrett, born in the June quarter of 1841 at Swanton Morley. It
is believed Thomas had been in the employ of the doctor for several
years as he is found on both the 1881 and 1891 census living next
door to the doctor on South Green, Mattishall with his wife Sarah
Anne Jarrett nee Whiterod and their family. Thanks to Mark Britton
for spotting this.
Dr George Taylor was born in 1817 at East Beckham
near Upper Sheringham, Norfolk the son of Edmund Taylor a Farmer
and his wife Susannah. Nothing is known of his early years but we
can assume he had private schooling before entering medical school
and then on to a hospital as a Junior Doctor. In 1849 at the age
of 32 he married Charlotte Heyhoe Howlett at Western Longville Norfolk.
Charlotte was the daughter of the late Thomas Howlett and his widow
Charlotte Heyhoe a Farmer of 200 Acres at Hungate, Western Longville.
Dr Taylor's wife's Aunt (mother's sister) was Sarah Carnell Howlett,
she married Wright Godard Wigg a Farmer who's daughter would in
1886 marry Dr William Henry Griffith-Williams (picture below) the
next doctor to practice at Mattishall (hope you can follow this!).
Dr George and Charlotte had two daughters, Charlotte Heyhoe Taylor
named after her mother born 1850 and Mary Heyhoe Taylor born 1852.
Mary died at six weeks old and is buried at All Saints churchyard
Western Longville. In the earliest census of 1851 Dr Taylor was
living on Church Square but by 1861 he and his family were living
at South Green in the new house he had specially built which also
included his surgery.
Dr Taylor's wife Charlotte Heyhoe Taylor died suddenly
on November 12th 1887 aged 63 at Noth Lopham where she had gone
the day before to prepare the house for the homecoming from their
honeymoon of her daughter and new husband Mr. and Mrs. Pitt. The
writer in the Parish Magazine said - To say that Mrs. Taylor will
be missed is only to say half the truth - we have lost a true friend.
Charlotte Taylor's funeral took place at Yaxham on Novermber 18th
where she was buried in St Peter's Churchyard with her mother and
two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary - There is a window in the south
aisle of All Saints Church Mattishall in her memory.
Dr George Taylor continued
working in Mattishall and the large area around it for another six
years, retiring at the age of 75. He died on Saturday, the 6th January,
1900 after only a day's illness aged 82 and was buried on June 10th
also at St Peter's Churchyard Yaxham with his wife and her family.
In 1919 the clock in the tower of All Saints Church was donated
in Dr Taylor's memory. There is a brass plaque on the wall:
The Clock in this tower was given to mark the hour for prayer
or work or rest and in ever loving memory of
George Taylor for forty six years a surgeon in Mattishall.
And of Charlotte Heyhoe his wife who lie interred in Yaxham
And also as a thank offering to Almighty God for a time of
peace after The Great War.
By C.H.P and R.W.P daughter and son in law.*
Days and months quickly flying blend the living with the
* Charlotte Heyhoe Pitt nee Taylor
and Rev Richard Warcup Pitt.
Worth a mention - Dr Taylor had a very loyal live-in
servant, her name was Harriett Skipper who was born in Mattishall
in 1841 the daughter of William Skipper a farm labourer and his
wife Esther Frost who lived at Welgate. Harriett worked for the
Taylor's from at least 1861 till Dr Taylor's death in 1900. It appears
Harriett was very much thought of by Charlotte, Dr Taylor's daughter
for Harriett had been part of her life since she was a young girl.
In 1901 Harriett had moved to Saxlingham Nerthergate to be with
Charlotte and her husband (Rev Pitt). From all accounts Harriett
had been given her own cottage where she was recorded as a Retired
Domestic Servant. Harriett died in the December quarter of 1921
at Saxlingham Nethergate aged 80. This would equate to over 60 years
Dr Taylor's daughter Charlotte Heyhoe Taylor married
the Rev Richard Warcup Pitt on October 25th 1887. Richard Warcup
Pitt was born in 1848 in Scarning, near Dereham the son of Mattishall's
first mentioned doctor (above) John Ballard Pitt a Surgeon of St
Stephens Street Norwich and his wife Jane Elizabeth Gandon Warcup
of East Dereham. Although by 1881 the family had moved to Grove
House Scanning as mentioned above.
Taken from 'Towards A History Of Mattishall'
Young Charlotte married Richard Warcup Pitt, Clerk in Holy Orders,
Curate of North Lopham, formerly of Great Yarmouth, on the 25th
October, 18872° The marriage ceremony was performed by the
Vicar, Mr. A.J. Hunter, assisted by the Revd. Canon Du Port, Rector
of Denver, who had been twenty-three years Vicar of Mattishall.
On arrival at the South door of the Church, the bride, leaning
on her father's arm and attended by six bridesmaids and two pages,
was met by the Clergy and choir. The familiar wedding hymn 'The
voice that breathed o'er Eden' was sung as the procession moved
up the nave to the Chancel step. After the ceremony the newly-weds
signed the Register in the side chapel and then returned to the
Taylor residence (now known as Murlough) at South Green through
a series of triumphal arches which had been erected for the occasion
between their house and the Church. Meanwhile .... the bells then
rang out a merry peal which was continued at intervals during
Luncheon was served in a beautifully fitted up
marquee in the garden. Later the wedding presents, numerous and
handsome, were on view to the guests and our informant wishes
us to understand that among them ..., none touched Miss Taylor
more deeply and none will be more valued than the handsome lamp
given by those with whom she had been so long associated - the
teachers in our Sunday School.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor with their usual kindliness
invited the choir, the ringers and the poor of the Parish to a
dinner which was served in the large room at the Swann Inn at
5 o'clock on Thursday, the 27th October, 1887. A meal of hot meats
and plum pudding was enjoyed by 120 persons. The Taylors received
their guests and ministered to their comfort by carving the joints
and waiting at the tables, assisted by the bridesmaids and by
Miss Hurdley, Mr. Sidney Taylor, Mr. Riches and the Vicar. Songs
were sung by son of the guests during the evening, and at 8 o'clock
ended the .... joyous celebration of the marriage of one who had
endeared herself by her quiet, unassuming and loving work to all
the people among whom she had lived from her childhood.
Rev Pitt went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
University in 1868 and received his BA in 1872 and MA in 1875. He
was ordained a deacon in York in 1873, and priest in 1874. He was
Assistant Master at Doncaster Grammar School between 1872 and 1881;
Curate of Christ’s Church Doncaster 1873 – 1881; Curate
of St. Paul’s, Burton on Trent 1881 – 1885; Curate at
Great Yarmouth 1885 – 1887; Curate at North with South Lopham
1887 to 1892. He joined St. Mary’s Saxlingham Nethergate with
Saxlingham Thorpe in 1892. Following his retirement, aged 69 in
1918, he was a licensed Preacher for the Norwich Diocese until his
death in 1943. In 1883 the Rev Pitt was admitted as a member of
the Midland Counties Association of Change Ringers.
Charlotte died on March 14th 1928 age 77. Rev Pitt
died on March 20th 1943 age 94. They are both buried in St Mary's
churchyard Saxlingham. Charlotte and Peter had one daughter Winifred
Heyhoe Pitt (born in the June quarter of 1889) who married Vyvyan
George Hooper Hicks, a solicitor. The Rev. Pitt left an estate valued
at £44,788 18s which in today's money (2016) would be worth
just under £2M.
Third - Dr William Henry Griffith-Williams (below)
The late Dr Richard Hughes & Mattishall Surgery ©
Dr William Henry Griffith-Williams with his wife Emily Marian
Wigg and their son Athur Griffith-Williams
Location is unknown but could be the rear of one of the houses on
Dr. William Henry Griffith-Jones: 1862 -
Kellys Directory of 1900 lists Mattishall's surgeon and medical
officer as being Dr. William Griffiths-Williams. By 1916 his son
Arthur is listed as surgeon. As there was no dentist in the village
they also extracted teeth. The Doctor lived and had his surgery
at Doctors House in Doctors Lane, South Green (now New Lane). The
lane was called Doctors Lane by the locals as in those days many
people took that route to visit the surgery. The surgery had two
rooms, a waiting room with partly glass walls and benches round
the walls, and Dr. Williams’ consulting room.
Dr Williams was born in the June quarter of 1862
at Llanfynydd a small village, parish and community in Carmarthenshire,
Wales the son of the Revd George Griffith Williams and Jane Margretta
Lewis. From what we see of the 1881 census Dr Williams and his future
wife Emily Marian Wigg were living within only a few miles of each
other in Cardigan, Wales.
Emily's father was Wright
Godard Wigg a Norfolk famer who was born at Dereham in 1822. For
reasons unknown after farming in Weston Market near Thetford in
1861 then Shipdham Road, East Dereham in 1871 we find he had moved
all his family to the other side of the country to farm in Wales
according to the 1881 census. In 1886 the family were back in Norfolk
as Emily and Dr William married in the September quarter of that
year in the Mitford district. It is unclear at this time precisely
as to what church but it is likely to have been Mattishall for in
1891 we find Emily's father farming at the west end of the village,
on the census record it has 4 Dereham Road Mattishall. It is possible
that they choose Mattishall for their new home as Dr Taylor's wife
Charlotte was Wright Godard Wigg's Aunt (his mother's sister) and
as Dr Taylor was now in his 70's and a widower an ideal replacement
would be his new great nephew, Dr William Griffith-Williams who
was living at Church Square with his wife Emily and their three
year old son Arthur Griffith Williams where we think the above picture
was taken. It is also noted that Emily and her sister Sarah Heyhoe
Wigg were married at the same time so it is possible this could
have been a double wedding. Emily's sister Sarah and her husband
Jermyn William Wigg were farming at Dumpling Green in the same census.
In the early days.
Dr William Henry Griffith-Jones
died in 1917 aged 55 and was buried on November 21st at Mattishall
Cemetery. His wife Emily died in 1930 age 67 and was buried on November
15th also at Mattishall Cemetery - Their son
Arthur Griffith-Williams took over the practice from 1917 -1949
Fourth - Dr Arthur Griffith-Williams (below)
Dr Arthur Griffth-Williams: 1887 - 1957
- Sadly we don't have a picture of Dr Arthur as an Adult.
There was a medical payment scheme run by the Oddfellows Club where
you paid a yearly subscription which entitled you to free medicine
and sickness benefit. People had to pay for treatment until the
National Health Service started in 1946. If Dr. Williams put you
on ‘the panel’ because you could not work you were paid
a meagre sum of money to live on. Home visits were said to cost
5s. in the 1930s. Many of the villagers said that if you had a cold
you were given brown medicine, and if you had stomach ache then
it was white. It was a last resort for you to be sent to hospital.
There were very few proprietary medicines and people used to treat
themselves. Blackcurrant tea, with camphorated oil rubbed on the
chest was a treatment for colds, and children had brown paper smeared
with lard or goose fat wound round their chests until their cough
or cold had gone. If you suffered from indigestion you took hot
water in spoonfuls.
Dr Griffith-Williams was driven in a pony and trap
by Mr. Wake, who was also the gardener, and later when he had a
car by Mr. Harry Eastell. When most of the cars were black Dr Arthurs
was a bright green. Mr. Eastell lived in a cottage in Doctors Lane.
Medicines to outlying farms would be delivered by Hewitt the butcher
whilst he was on his rounds. Dr Arthur married Dorothy Isbell Gillett
in March quarter of 1922. Dorothy was the daughter of Robert Howard
Gillett a Farmer of 680 acres at Halvergate near Acle, Norfolk and
his wife Ellen Isbell Doyle of Lewes Sussex.
Gillett family are mentioned in 'The Genealogical and Heraldic History
of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain', their linage can be traced
back to the early part of the 14th centry and Dorothy's father was
at that time the then representative of the family. Arhur and Dorothy
had one daughter Theodora Ursula Griffith-Williams born 1924 at
Dr. Arthur Griffith-Williams retired after the second world war
in about (1948-49) and the practice was taken over by Dr. Thompson,
who bought the Doctors house and grounds. Dr Arthur, his wife and
daughter apparently moved to Halvergate the birth home of Dorothy
and her family. Dr Arthur died in 1958 age 71 and Dorothy died 1973
aged 87 both are buried in St Peter's & St Paul's churchyard.
Their daughter Theodora never married and died September 29th 1998
age 76. She is also buried in the parish churchyard with her parents.
1957: Newspaper cutting -
A noticeable record of 64 years in medical practice by father
and son in the Mattishall area is recalled by the death of Dr
Arthur Griffith-Williams who died on Wednesday age 70. He had
been living at Saxlingham Nethergate since his retirement in 1949
following a breakdown in health due to over work. His practice
covered 27 villages and when he retired there were many presentations
from grateful patients. Educated at Haileybury
and Trinity College, Cambridge Dr Griffith-Williams took his M.R.C.S.
and L.R.C.P. at the London Hospital were he was for four years.
Afterwards he became resident surgical officer and house physician
at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital working under the late Sir
Hamilton Ballance. On the outbreak of the
First World War he joined the R.A.M.C. serving until late 1917,
most of the time in France. On the death
of his father Dr Griffith-Williams took over the Mattishall and
district practice, father and son between them being the local
doctor in that area for a total of 64 years. In the Second World
War he offered his services to the R.A.M.C. again but his district
practice was considered of first importance. In addition however
he became medical officer to R.A.F. Hockering. Dr Girffith-Williams
is survived by his wife and daughter, who is a radiographer at
Dr Arthur's medical records have been deposited at the Norfolk
Item 113 - Title Records of
the medical practice of Dr A. Griffith-Williams, Mattishall - Date
1906-1949 - Description: Ledgers of patients' accounts and day books
of visits made and treatments given - Access Status: Open - Access
Conditions: Note that in accordance with practice relating to public
medical records, access to this material is restricted for 100 years
from the date of its creation.
Firth - Dr Charles Samson Thomson (below)
Dr Charles Samson Thompson
MB, CBH, DPH
1913 - 1991
After the 2nd World War, Charles
Thompson settled in Norfolk and was initially engaged in public
health work, but in 1948 he took over a large singlehanded rural
practice based in Mattishall, Norfolk. For the next 25 years he
remained in this practice, managing without a partner until 1961.
He was looked on by many of his patients as a friend and helped
them in many ways beyond the bounds of duty. He succeeded in combining
the virtues of the pre-NHS family doctoring with the practice
of modern medicine. On his retirement he moved to Keswick, though
he returned to Norfolk most years to look up his old friends while
doing locum work.
His hobbies were tinkering about with motor cars and, more recently,
oil painting. A sincere Christian, he was a church elder at the
Presbyterian church in Norwich for several years . He married
Betty in 1940; they had six children, of whom one son is a doctor.
Written by Dr N R Houlston.
Charles Samson Thompson, formerly
a general practitioner in Mattishall, Norfolk, 1948-73, died on
May 18th 1995. Born Workington 1913; educated Haberdashers' Aske's
School, London, and Queens University of Belfast (MB, BCh, BAO
1936). Medical Superintendent, Norfolk County Isolation Hospital
and venereal diseases clinics, East Dereham, and medical officer
of health, Mitford and Launditch rural district and Dereham urban
district. During war served as Royal Army Medical Corps in Middle
East and Greece (mentioned in dispatches twice).
At his retirement presentation about
800 hundred crowded into the Secondary Boys’ School at Dereham
where he received a silver salver and cheque and his wife received
a carriage clock. In all £1019 was contributed to the presentation
fund and the doctor and his wife plan to spent the balance on
a sailing boat to use on Derwent Water when they retire to Cumberland
On behalf of his patients the Rev H.L.H Townsend of Lyng said there
was a fear with the introduction of the Welfare State in 1947 that
doctors would become ‘glorified civil servants’ and
that something precious would be lost. It was soon after this that
Dr Thomson moved to Mattishall and he showed himself from the outset
to be entirely old-fashioned - not in medical knowledge or methods,
but in the wonderful way he undertook his duties. In the course
of his work he always went far beyond the call of duty. Dr Thomson
said that there was a tendency in some quarters to think that the
day of the family doctor was ending and that life was becoming less
and less personal. This wonderful evening, he said proved that this
was far from being the case, and it was a great comfort to him.
As an epilogue, Dr Thomson a dedicated Presbyterian preached his
farewell sermon at Holy Communion at Mattishall Church which was
packed for the occasion on Sunday evening. One of the treasured
gifts he took away with him was the Book of Honour which had been
signed by his friends while it was on view in Mattishall Post Office
for 28 days.
The Thomson family has medical blood in their veins,
and his father Dr Charles I. Thomson was with the Ministry of Health
in his native Ayr for 20 years. Before taking over the Mattishall
practice Dr Thomson also work for the Ministry of Health. His wife
Elizabeth was a nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and
their son Andrew, is a medical student at Glasgow University, where
his grandfather commenced his medical training.
The late Dr Richard Hughes & Mattishall Surgery ©
Picture taken in 1987
More familiar faces - Dr Kenneth Rhys Webb, Dr Richard John Ribbon
Hughes, Dr Nigel Ravenscroft Houlston and Dr Adrian Hodge.
|Mattishall Surgery Website: HERE