Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.
Caleb Hillier Parry
21 October 1755 – 9 March 1822
Caleb Hillier Parry
Caleb Hillier Parry was born at Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on 21 October 1755, he was eldest son of Joshua Parry, by his wife, daughter of Caleb Hillier of Upcott, Devon. He was educated first at a private school in Cirencester, and in 1770 entered Warrington Academy, where he stayed for three years. In 1773 he became a student of medicine at Edinburgh, and continued his studies for two years in London, where he lived mainly in the house of Thomas Denman the obstetric physician. Returning to Edinburgh in 1777, he graduated M.D. in June 1778.
Parry was admitted licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London in September 1778. In November 1779 he settled as a physician at Bath, Somerset, where he remained for the rest of his life. He became physician to the Bath General Hospital, and practised successfully. In 1789 he had John Eveleigh build a house “Summer Hill Place” (now demolished) at what is now Sion Hill Place.
In October 1816 Parry suffered a paralytic stroke, which took away the use of the right side and impaired the faculty of speech. For the remaining six years of his life, he read, dictated reminiscences, and superintended his farm and gardens.
Parry was well connected, and was elected in 1800 a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1800 and received marks of distinction from many other public bodies. He died on 9 March 1822, and was buried in Bath Abbey, where a monument was erected to his memory by the medical profession of Bath.
Parry’s doctoral dissertation was De Rabie Contagiosa. He habitually noted down case histories, and a work Elements of Pathology (1815) was completed before he was disabled by illness. It was republished by his son, with an unfinished second volume, as Elements of Pathology and Therapeutics (1825). He contributed to the Philosophical Transactions, the Transactions of the Medical Society of London, and other medical publications.
Parry also made researches on special subjects:
- Inquiry into the Symptoms and Causes of the Syncope Anginosa, called Angina Pectoris, Bath, 1799; it contains observations by Edward Jenner.
- Cases of Tetanus and Rabies Contagiosa, or Canine Hydrophobia, Bath, 1814,
- The Nature, Cause, and Varieties of the Arterial Pulse, Bath, 1816, which was largely based on experiments on animals. His views were defended and expanded by his son Charles Henry Parry, in Additional Experiments on the Arteries, London, 1819.
After Parry’s death his son brought out Collections from the Unpublished Writings of Dr. Parry, 2 vols. London, 1825.
Parry also devoted attention to the improvement of agriculture, and studied the subject on a farm he had acquired near Bath. He was interested in the introduction of the merino sheep breed. He wrote in 1800 a tract on The Practicability and Advantage of producing in the British Isles Clothing-wool equal to that of Spain, and in 1807 an Essay on the Merino Breed of Sheep, which obtained a prize from the Board of Agriculture. Papers by him appeared in the Transactions of the Bath and West of England Society of Agriculture, from 1786 onwards, and in the Farmers’ Journal for 1812.
In 1778 Parry married Sarah, daughter of John Rigby of Manchester, a beauty and the sister of Edward Rigby. He left four sons, of whom Charles Henry Parry was the eldest and William Edward Parry the youngest. One son died when a child and another, George Frederic, at age 21 in 1804. There were five daughters. Of them, Emma married Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, 1st Baronet, and Mary, the youngest Thomas Garnier.