Charles Wingfield (1786/7–1846)

Charles Wingfield


Charles Wingfield (1786/7–1846) was the son of the Revd John Wingfield of St Chad, Shrewsbury

Charles Wingfield was trained as a house surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. His younger brother Edward John, however, was destined to follow his father into the Church and was sent to Christ Church, Oxford in 1820 at the age of 18.

Charles served as assistant surgeon at the General Hospital in Calcutta, and then worked as a surgeon in Liverpool, where he must have met his future wife Hannah Brancker (1788–1870), daughter of Peter Whitfield Brancker Esq, who had been Mayor of Liverpool in 1801/2, and Hannah Aspinwell.




Left: Portrait of Charles Wingfield
in 1839 by D. Bridges

Wingfield first came to Oxford as an assistant to the well-known local Oxford doctor William Tuckwell, and on 24 May 1816 at the age of about thirty he was matriculated as a “privilegiatus” of the University of Oxford .

In 1817 the post of surgeon to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford became vacant and there was a contested election between D’Arville and Wingfield. Two of the doctors at the Infirmary, Edward Hitchings and William Cleoburey, were very much against Wingfield’s candidature, because if he were to be elected, “one half of the surgical department of this institution will be in the hands of one firm”; but Tuckwell campaigned vigorously for Wingfield, publishing a leaflet arguing that it was no detriment to have on the staff of the Infirmary the assistant of one of its surgeons. It was a very close election on 10 December 1817 (Wingfield won by 71 votes to 70) and Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported that a number of subscriptions entitling donors to vote were made on the day of the election.

Wingfield married Hannah Brancker at St Peter’s Church in Liverpool on Thursday 22 September 1819, and the marriage was announced both in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 25 September and the Liverpool Mercury of 1 October. The Oxford paper described Charles as being a surgeon of St Thomas, Liverpool (which must surely have been wrong), while the Liverpool paper described him as being of Oxford.

Wingfield became one of the leading surgeons in Oxford and took an active part in the early days of the Providential and Medical and Surgical Association. He remained Surgeon to the Radcliffe Infirmary for the rest of his life. He was elected FRCS in January 1844.

Kettell Hall

Initially the Wingfields lived in a house opposite St John’s College, where their only daughter, Mary, was born: she was baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 29 April 1821.

They then moved to Kettell Hall in Broad Street (left). Mary died here at the age of 4½ and was buried at St Mary Magdalen Church on 15 September 1825.

The Revd Edward John Wingfield, Charles’s younger brother, died at Kettell Hall on 4 February 1830 when he was only 28 and was buried at St Mary Magdalen Church two days later.

Dr Charles Wingfield himself died of cholera at the age of 59, and was buried at St Mary Magdalen Church on 10 May 1846. The report of his death in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 16 May 1846 (p. 3) reads: “On Monday last, at his house in the Broad-street, after two days’ illness, Charles Wingfield, Esq. an eminent surgeon of this city, aged 59.”

Mrs Hannah Wingfield remained for another 24 years as a widow in Kettell Hall.

Wingfield Convalescent Home

In the 1860s Mrs Wingfield gave £2,500 towards the building of the Wingfield Convalescent Home in memory of her husband on the corner of Old Road and Windmill Road: it was opened in 1872.

This later became the Wingfield Hospital, and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre is built in the garden of the Convalescent Home (right), which was demolished in 2007.


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