Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.
Dr. William Kerr,
doctor, M.D., surgeon.
He was Lieutenant in 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot.
Surgeon to the Royal Horse Guards Blue.
He was at the Battle of Minden in Prussia in 1759.
Left the army. Settled in Northampton in 1763.
His grave says he came to Northampton in 1763.
He was Surgeon from 1763 to 1821 at Northampton Infirmary (which was founded at a meeting in 1743, first patients 1744, now Northampton General Hospital).
He may have met his wife through his medical work. The Diceys were based in Northampton. He was a doctor, and the Diceys sold patent medicines. Her family owned the local Northampton newspaper, and the Diceys already had connections to Northampton Infirmary.
He is listed as of Northampton at mar.
William mar 1stly, 30 June 1764,
to Charlotte Dicey [born 18 Jan 1734].
She died 1769-1772.
She died before her brother's will of 1772.
Leaving William with small children.
mar 2ndly, 17 June 1773, to Mary Tompson [born 18 Feb 1754, NOT Thompson].
First amputation through the hip joint in Britain, 1779:
In 1779 in Northampton he carried out probably the first amputation through the hip joint (or hip disarticulation) in Britain. Though the patient only lived for 18 days.
His operation was written up in a 1779 paper. See also [Kaufman and Wakelin, 2004].
He lived in
Sheep St, Northampton.
Got a lease of the property dated 1784 from Northampton Corporation.
Lived there until his death.
Founder of Royal Leamington Spa, around 1784:
In around 1784 he popularised the medicinal qualities of the spa waters at Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
The first baths were erected in 1786 to his advice. He is in effect the founder of the town.
He was a Trustee of the will of his father-in-law George Tompson (died 1786)
He was an executor of the will (dated 1791) of his mother-in-law Susannah Conant (died 1794).
Founder of the new Northampton Hospital, 1793:
He helped found the new Northampton Hospital at Billing Rd, Northampton. This is where it is today. See map. Kerr started the campaign for the new hospital in 1790. The new building at Billing Road opened in 1793.
[Canter, 2005] says: "Dr William Kerr .. founded medical education in Northampton. He was the principal fundraiser for a new, larger hospital on the present hospital site, which opened in 1793."
In 1793, on the outbreak of war, he raised the Northampton Regiment of Fencible Infantry. He had his son John Manners Kerr appointed commander in 1794 or 1795. The regiment disbanded in 1801.
He also founded in 1798 the Northampton Volunteer troop of Cavalry. He was its Commandant from 1798 to its dissolution in 1823 [Obituary].
1813 portrait of him by Thomas Phillips.
He must be "William Kerr" who wit the mar of his granddau Mary Kerr in Northampton in 1816.
His will dated 24 Nov 1819, codicil 2 Dec 1819, codicil 15 Dec 1819. [1840 case] confirms the will is 1819. He describes his son as Lieutenant-General, with wife Margaret. In second codicil he leaves bequest to his 1st wife's grand-nephew Thomas Edward Dicey.
[Canter, 2005] says he practised at the hospital until he was 83 (1821).
Still living Sheep St, Northampton at death.
Dr. William dies, 1824:
He died 4 Sept 1824, at Northampton, age 86 yrs [grave], [obituary].
Though p.461 in The Edinburgh Annual Register, 1824, says died 3 Sept.
And p.389 in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1824, says died 5 Sept.
He was bur 10 Sept 1824 in a vault inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Northampton. See burial entry from here.
Will proved 8 October 1824.
Mary continued to live on Sheep St, Northampton.
She must be "Mrs. Kerr" who is mentioned on p.207 of [Cox and Serjeantson, 1897] as having donated a new organ to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1838.
Living Sheep St at death.
Mary dies, 1841:
She died 25 Dec 1841, at Northampton, age 87 yrs.
See death notice on p.227 of Gentleman's Magazine, Jan-June 1842.
She was bur 31 Dec 1841 in Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Northampton. See burial entry from here.
Dr. William had issue by 1st wife Charlotte Dicey:
Kerr popularises (and in effect founds) Royal Leamington Spa in the 1780s.
From pp.281-282 of An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town & Castle of Warwick, And of the Neighbouring Spa of Leamington by William Field (1815).
Obituary of Dr. William Kerr, pp.564-565 of Gentleman's Magazine, Volume XCIV, July-Dec 1824.
See shorter version on pp.90-91 of The New Monthly Magazine, vol.15, 1825.
Baptism of John Manners Kerr, 31 Oct 1766, Northampton, St Giles.
Entry for Dr. William Kerr in KERR of The Haie in [Burkes LG, 1886].
Carving of Northampton Hospital on the grave of Dr. William Kerr.
See full size.
The old part of Northampton General Hospital today.
Billing Road entrance. NW end of the campus.
2015 image from street view.
The "William Kerr building" at Northampton General Hospital.
It is in "Area J". SW end of the campus.
From street view.
This was built as a student accommodation block in 2005, named after Kerr. See [Canter, 2005].
It now houses the Richmond Library.
Think see Geograph.
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