John Grosvenor (1742–1823)

John Grosvenor was born in 1742, the son of Stephen Grosvenor and Elizabeth Tottie. His father was the sub-treasurer of Christ Church, and his mother was the daughter of the Revd Daniel Tottie of Eccleshall, Staffordshire .

Grosvenor was apprenticed to William Russell, a leading Worcester surgeon, probably with the help of his uncle, Dr John Tottie (1705–1774), who was archdeacon of Worcester as well as a Canon of Christ Church. He then went to London for hospital experience.

In 1768 Grosvenor was invited by his uncle to return in Oxford to become anatomical surgeon at Christ Church as an assistant to the physician Dr John Parsons (1742–1785). As he was not a graduate of the University, he had to be matriculated as a privileged person, and Alumni Oxonienses shows that he was admitted to the University as a “Chirurgus” on 24 February 1768, when he was about 25.

On 13 September 1770 Grosvenor was elected one of the first four surgeons of the Radcliffe Infirmary.

On 26 July 1774 an Elizabeth Grosvenor (probably his mother) was buried at St Ebbe’s Church.

Dr John Parsons died in 1785 and on 17 March 1791 Grosvenor, who was still a bachelor at nearly 40, married Dr Parsons’s widow, Ann (née Hough) at St Mary Magdalen Church. Later that year Grosvenor’s father, Stephen, died at the age of 84 and was buried on 15 December 1791 “from St Aldate’s”.

Grosvenor was one of the first surgeons to use massage for stiff joints.

In 1795, on the death of William Jackson, Grosvenor resigned his office at Christ Church and became the editor of Jackson’s Oxford Journal, a task he reckoned took just an hour a day. The newspaper was printed by Grosvenor & Hall at their Carfax office, and they became the owners after the death of Mary Jones in 1816 (with Hall becoming sole proprietor after the death of Grosvenor).

Grosvenor’s wife Ann died in 1797, and on 14 June 1813 he married at Caversham Charlotte, daughter of Charles Marsack of Caversham Park on 14 June 1813. There were no children of either marriage.

Grosvenor resigned his post as Surgeon to the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1817.

Grosvenor died at his home in St Aldate’s on 30 June 1823 at the age of 81, and was buried at St Ebbe’s Church on 5 July.

The “Will of John Grosvenor, Surgeon of Oxford” (date of probate 13 September 1823) was deposited at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury: ref PROB 11/1675.

Grosvenor’s three sisters

  • Elizabeth (born c.1745) died unmarried at the age of 90 at Beaumont Street in Marylebone, London and was buried at St Ebbe’s Church in Oxford on 12 June 1835;
  • Sarah (born c. 1747) died unmarried at the age of 40 and was buried “from St Aldate’s” at St Ebbe’s Church in 1787. A report in Jackson’s Oxford Journal states that she died following a lingering illness.
  • Frances married the City Solicitor William Elias Taunton (1744–1825), at St Ebbe’s Church on 16 September 1771. Taunton became Town Clerk of Oxford in 1794 and was knighted in 1814. He had Grandpont House in St Aldate’s built for his family home .

Portrait of Grosvenor

See also:

  • A. H. T. Robb-Smith, A short history of the Radcliffe Infirmary, pp. 37–38

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