Henry William Bull born about 1790 in Rodborough, Gloucs.

For related information see www.the-kirbys.org.ukAncestor List, Place Index and Wills Index

Parents and family

His parents have yet to be identified. The only clues are
Unfortunately Mr DEWHURST's wife and female relatives seem as much of an enigma as Mr BULLs parents and siblings! There is however one clue to DEWHURSTs family connections. The Dublin Penny Journal (Vol. 3, No. 138 (Feb. 21, 1835), p. 272) related a talk given at a late meeting of the Verulam Philosophical Society, at which the secretary C. DEWHURST read some observations concerning honey bees. This mentions a hive designed by his father the Rev. C. DEWHURST of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. In his pamphlet on the silk worm, H. W. DEWHURST mentions a C. DEWHURST of Bury St Edmunds as simply a friend.

Abstracts of records and manuscripts respecting the county of Gloucester

Birth, abt 1790

The 1851 Census gives: Age 61, name Henry W BULL, born Rodb[oro] (the last part being difficult to read), Gloucestershire. From which his birth date is about 1790. There is a Rodborough, just south of Stroud, in Gloucestershire.

Education

Henry was later a Naval Surgeon and Naval Surgeons of this period generally served an apprenticeship on land before going to sea. Henry would have been put to such an apprenticeship at age 14, so in about 1803-4. There is an index entry for the apprenticeship in 1804 of Henry W BULL (no place of residence given) to Jonothan JOHNSON, surgeon, of Bexley, Kent. [National Archives IR 1 (Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books) 39 f 155. ]

Active Naval Service

He joined the Navy when Trafalgar (21 Oct 1805) was still fresh in the national memory and was in active service for just over seven years as a naval surgeon (equivalent to the normal duration for an apprenticeship at that time).

Naval Service Record

Ship Entry Quality Discharge Y M W D
Plymo (sic Plymouth) Hosp'l 5 April 1807 Mate 25 jun 1807   2 3 3
Phœbe  7 July 1807 Assistant 18 Jan'y 1808   7 0 0
Earnest 4 March 1808 -ditto- 7 March 1809 1 0 0 4
Tyrian  13 March 1809 Surgeon 4 Nov'r 1810 1 8 1 6
Raleigh  18 Feb'y 1811 -ditto- 11 April 1814 3 1 3 4

The record is annotated 'Assist 25 March 1807' and 'Surgeon 15 Feb'y 1809'. From a later Navy List it is clear the latter is his date of promotion to that rank (see Navy List for 20 Dec 1848).

The ships

The following is based largely on details from Michael Philip's Ships of the Old Navy at The Age of Nelson site, with additional snippets from Sailing Ships Archive and Wikipedia entries for classes and specific boats. Other sources have been cited were used. Details of actions are those that took place during Henry's postings to the ship in question. Details for some of the ships may be found on the 3Decks Naval Sailing Warfare History site.

HMS Phœbe, a 36-gun fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy launched in 1795 and still operational in at least 1812. The National Maritime Museun at Greenwich holds a full model of this ship and a painting of it in action, ‘Capture of La Nereide Decr 21st. 1797.’
HMS Earnest, 14-gun brig, built in 1805 and sold in 1816.
HMS Tyrian, 10-gun Cherokee class brig-sloop of the Royal Navy (same class as HMS Beagle), launched on 16 December 1808. Sold in 1819. Brig sloops were small ships and relatively unimportant in the larger naval actions. They were used for coastal defense and patrols in places like the English Channel. HM Brig Raleigh, an 18-gun Cruizer class brig-sloop. She was launched in 1806 and used as a target from 1839 before being sold in 1841. The National Maritime Museun at Greenwich holds a full model of the ship, which in 2012 was on loan to a museum in Newfoundland.

The work

Much of the work in the North Sea related to the ongoing Napoleonic War and the need to provide escorts to our commercial fleets. However, two battles of Copenhagen (2 April 1801 and August – September 1807) ended Danish neutrality, precipitating a naval guerilla war in which small Danish gunboats sought to destroy larger British ships in the Danish and Norwegian waters (Wikipedia article on the Napleonic Wars). 

There is some fascinating background on the duties of a Naval Surgeon in the early 19th C at The Historical Maritime Society's page on Nelson's Navy. Henry started his career right at the end of this period and was probably trained for this sort of thing. In 1805 an Order in Council was passed, permitting medical officers in the navy to have their own uniform and be considered of equivalent rank to their land counterparts. This raised Senior naval surgeons to wardroom officer rank. However, the lot of an assistant surgeon was not improved and remained miserable at the time Henry joined his first ship.

After active service

Although in later years he appears in the Navy List, he clearly did not see active service again before he retired. This was not unusual for the period. Following the naval supremacy achieved by the Royal Navy at Trafalgar, many of its officers were at home on half pay for long periods.

Marriage

In 1815 he married Mary HATTON of Widford, Gloucs. in St James, Westminster, London. (Pallots Marriage Index has an entry 'St Jas Westminster, Hy Bull & Mary Hatton, 1815')

On November 13, 1816, The Morning Chronicle carried the following appeal.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING CHRONICLE,
   SIR,
  Knowing your humane disposition, I beg you will, if
possible, state in your valuable paper, the consequences
of the dreadful fire that occurred on Sunday morning
last, in Broad-street, Golden-square, at No. 8, having
begun in the shop, it was with difficulty that the lodgers
escaped with their lives. There is a Mr. Girlin (a
widower), with three children, the youngest only eight
months old, the eldest not five years, and his servant,
escaped only with their lives, the children have not the
smallest article of clothing, except night clothes they
had on at the time. Having lost near 500l. in proper-
ty, his case (being wholly uninsured) is truly pitiable.
They are taken in by Mr. Bull, surgeon, R. N. 43
Broad-street, Golden-square; where the smallest con-
tributions are most thankfully received.
               I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
                           A CONSTANT READER

The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Wednesday, November 13, 1816; Issue 14831, Pg 3, Col 2.
The name BULL is clearer in the
The Morning Post (London, England), Wednesday, November 13, 1816, which also carried the same appeal.

The Binfield years

It remains something of a conundrum how the family came to be in Binfield. There may be some link/involvement with the PITT family as Mary's Mother was in Swallowfield during this period (the PITT family had mansions in Binfield & Swallowfield). It also happens that Pitt/Putt was the surname of the local (Burford) surgeon whom Mary's Mother would have been familiar with during her time at Widford. However, there are other links between the two areas. Shortly before the BULLs appear in Binfield the POPEs had links with the HARCOURT family of Stanton Harcourt, Oxon. The TRUMBULLs of adjacent Easthampsted Park had Ralph TRUMBULL, Rector of Witney, Oxon. and the HYDEs, original owners of Swallowfield, also owned Cornbury Park at Charlbury, Oxon. There are several references that appear to suggest a social link between TRUMBULL and the JORDAN family of Witney, Oxon.
This is to Certify, that H. W. DEWHURST, Esq., Lecturer on Human and Comparative Anatomy, Zoology, &c. &c., is perfectly qualified to teach, and that he possesses every means of doing so : a Museum fast approaching to perfection, casts, plates, &c., and it is not in my power to speak too highly  of his abilities and qualifications. I therefore most strongly and earnestly recommend him as a teacher.

Signed.                       H. W. BULL,

Member of the Royal College of Surgeons
in London, and Surgeon Royal Navy.
Binfield near Bracknell, Berks.
Nov. 25th, 1828. 
He appears on the Navy List for 20th March 1934, under Surgeons, with seniority dating from 1809, listed as simply "Henry William Bull  15 Feb"
In 1840 Henry appears to have suffered a debilitating illness, which sounds suspiciously like a stroke. Together with its treatment, it is described in some detail in this extract, taken from Samuel Dickson & William Turner, The principles of the chrono-thermal system of medicine, with the Fallacies of the Faculty. In a series of lectures by Samuel Dickson, M.D. containing also an introduction and notes by William Turner M.D., London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1845, Pg 187.
From H. W. Bull, Esq., Surgeon, R.N. "
Wokingham, 5th Feb. 1843. "
Dear Sir,—I beg to forward to you a statement of my own case, and one or two cases of others treated on your plan, all of which are evidence of the value of the Chrono-Thermal System. I was attacked by paralysis on the 28th October, 1840, which deprived me of the use of my right arm and leg, affected the same side of the face, and produced some difficulty of speech. The usual plan was adopted,—bleeding, purging, leeching, mercury, and blisters. In this state I crawled on to May, 1841, when I lost more blood to prevent another anticipated attack, goaded on by what you term the bugbear CONGESTION. In this manner I went on occasionally cupping and purging, and with a very restricted diet. In consequence of all this I was much reduced, and I became exceedingly weak,—the heart palpitated very much on the least motion, and I had in addition occasional fainting fits. Last May my son sent me some extracts from your Lectures, the perusal of which induced me a few days afterwards to state by letter the particulars of my case to you. The first prescription you were so kind as to send disagreed; you then ordered quinine, and this I took with good effect. The shower-bath which you also ordered I found very beneficial. I have followed the plan laid down by you with very great advantage,—changing the different medicines from time to time as occasion required; and I can now walk two miles without assistance. I have now not only power to raise my right arm and wave it round my head, but I can lift a weight of forty pounds with it. I am now following the same plan with very good effect; I must confess I was at first startled by a practice so very different from all I had been taught in the schools, but a practice, I can truly say, to which I owe my life. Like Dr. M'Kenzie, nothing will ever induce me to lose a drop of blood again so long as it will circulate in the veins of,  (sic)
"Yours most sincerely and faithfully,
" H. W. BULL, Surgeon, Royal Navy."
Cases alluded to in the preceding letter.
" Case 1.—Mr. С was attacked with acute rheumatism in almost every joint, great difficulty of breathing, and violent pain in the chest. I prescribed an emetic, but he refused to take it,—he is a Hampshire man, and almost as obstinate as one of his own hogs. He continued in this state two days more ; at last he was prevailed on to take the emetic. It operated soon and gave him instant relief. I followed it up with quinine and colchicum : he is now quite well, and has gone to his brother's house some distance from this.
" Case 2.—A girl twelve years of age was brought to me from Binfield in convulsive fits. The pupils of her eyes were much dilated, and the fits followed each other in rapid succession. I first gave her a purgative, and followed it up with prussic acid ;—this was on a Monday. The fits became less and less frequent, and from the following Friday they entirely ceased. I also lately used the prussic acid with the best effect in the case of a child seven weeks old. "
Case 3.—A gentleman lately brought his child, a fine boy, to me for squint ; the age, two years. Some days the boy squinted less than others. I gave him six powders containing quinine and a little calomel : no other medicine was prescribed. There has been no squint since the powders were finished. In many other cases I have followed your plan with the best success.
" H. W. B."

NOTES ON THE TREATMENTS - Prussic Acid (Hydrocyanic Acid or Hydrogen Cyanide) is extremely poisonous to humans, so was clearly administered in a non-lethal dose. Calomel (Mercury Chloride) is also toxic and long term low-level exposure could result in death from mercury poisoning. This toxicity was not yet understood in 1843 and Calomel was regularly used to induce vomiting and act as a purgative. The medical benefits of Quinine in cases of Malaria are well known, but at that time it was used more generally for symptoms of fever. Many parts of the Colchicum plant are toxic, though extracts have been used in traditional medicine (in appropriate doses) to treat gout and some forms of fever. These sorts of aggressive treatments were commonplace during the so-called "Age of Heroic Medicine."

Dickson's method reduced all disease to variations on a single disoder, which he called 'ague,' and which he believed effected the healthy periodicity of natural actions. Whilst Dickson’s basic premise was misguided, it nevertheless made him an early opponent of the then-prevailing practice of blood letting. Henry BULL clearly became a convert to that cause.

The 1841 Census appears to list them at Broad Street, Wokingham, Berks [the text looks like Bread Street, but this is probably a transcription error for Broad Street, a main thoroughfare in the village]. At that time the family group comprised:

The Navy List of  20 Dec 1848 mentions no details other than his seniority (i.e. when he became an officer), 15 Feb 1809.

He signed his Will on 24 Sep 1850

The Camberwell years

In 1851 his family were residing at 1 St Thomas's Terrace, Camberwell, Surrey He refers to himself as 'Surgeon R.N.M.R.C. Lond' which probably stands for Royal Navy, Member of the Royal College [of Surgeons] as I have seen other surgeons of this period refer to themselves as 'Royal Navy, M.R.C.S.', M.R.C.S. being a well recognized qualification, with original branches in London and Edinburgh (hence the 'Lond.'). The Royal College's web site states “If your ancestor was solely a member (MRCS), it is unlikely that we will hold any detailed information.”

On 4 Oct 1851 the Reading Mercury carried in its deaths column (pg3 col 6) the following announcement of his wife's death.

On the 23rd ult., in London, after a long and painful
illness borne with christian resignation and fortitude,
Mary, the beloved wife of H. W. Bull, Esq., Surgeon,
Royal Navy, aged 61 years.

Last Will and Testament

The Will, which was proved on 15 Feb 1854. It is very short and may be summarized as follows:
Henry William BULL, Surgeon in the Royal Navy
Everything to be equally divided between his Daughters Amelia Maria BULL and Caroline Eliza BULL.
Executor Octavius OMMANNEY of Charing Cross Westminster Navy Agent
Witnesses were J PIKE & W J WHITLEY
Based on Public Records Office: prob 11/2185
A full transcription has been produced for the probate record for this will, see the Probate Records Index.

Death

14 Nov 1853, from the details in his obituary.

The Lancet carried the following very brief obituary
OBITUARY.- Died on the 14th Inst., at Walworth, HENRY
WILLIAM BULL, Esq., surgeon R.N., after being paralyzed for
fourteen years.

The lancet London: a journal of British and foreign medicine, surgery, obstetrics, physiology, chemistry, pharmacology, public health and news, Volume 2, Nov 26, 1853 (Google eBook), Pg 517, Col 2.

A similarly brief obituary was carried in The Medical Directory for Scotland
Nov. 14 [1853] - Henry William Bull, Esq. Surgeon, Royal Navy, at his residence, Walworth, after having suffered paralysis during the long period of fourteen years.

The Medical Directory for Scotland. London:John Churchill, 1854, Pg 181.

Probate was granted 15 Feb 1854.

A posthumous reference on the marriage certificate of Frederick Henry William Bull, dated 31 Aug 1860, gives his profession as 'Surgeon in the Royal Navy'.

Burial

Unknown

Descendants and notable relations

An Australian branch to the family

On 30 March 1872 the Reading Mercury carried the following announcement in its marriages column (pg5, col 7).

On the 8th Jan., at Emu Plains Station, Australia, by the
Rev. Mr Sheldon, Thomas Turnbull, Esq. to Amelia Maria,
eldest surviving daughter of the late H. W. Bull, Esq., sur-
geon, RN., late of Wokingham, Berks.

Henry William DEWHURST, scientist or swindler?

This gentleman, a nephew of Henry's, appears a rather interesting character. In his book The Natural History of the Order Cetacea and the Oceanic Inhabitants of the Arctic Region he lists his credentials as follows:
'Professor of Natural History, Human, Vetinary, and Zoological Anatomy; Fellow of the Westminster Medical, Royal Jennerian, and London Vaccine Societies; Corresponding Member of the Worcestershire Natural History Society, Honorary Member of the London Vetinary Society' before summarising some of his publications.

A search of the Internet reveals a range of his published works. They give a flavour of his interests and include:

Books and pamphlets
A series of short letters or brief reports appearing in compilations
Joint publications 
Verulam Philosophical Society publications
His publications for 1835 include some connected with a short lived learned society he established and was president of. One Charles DEWHURST was treasurer.
The obituary of Joshua BROOKES, Esq. F.R.S. in The Gentleman's Magazine notes a dinner given on 25th June 1831 for his former students who had destinguished themselves. He concluded by citing those whose distinction was in the zoological field. These included one Professor DEWHURST. (The Gentleman's Magazine, F. Jefferies, 1833, v.103 pt.1 1833, 184-185)

As far as one can tell, he seems to have been reasonably regarded as an academic, although a lot of his work seems rather derivative.

Further background

On 7 Jul 1805 one Henry William DEWHURST, born 9 Jun 1805 in Marylebone, was christened at St James, Westminster. His parents were Henry Brier DEWHURST and Elizabeth Sophia DEWHURST

On 11 May 1826 Mary MAHONEY stood trial, "indicted for stealing, on the 20th of April , 1 tea spoon, value 3s.," property of one Elizabeth Sophia DEWHURST, widow, of Upper Thornhaugh-street (now Huntley Street, Bloomsbury, Camden, London WC 1E). Elizabeth's mother, one Sarah BULL, was called as a witness. The spoon was said to be marked T.B. [The Proceeding of the Old Bailey," database, The Proceeding of the Old Bailey (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org : accessed 12 May 2013), t18260511-154.]

In 1827 Henry William DEWHURST was based at 24 Sidmouth Street, Gray’s Inn Lane where he lectured at his New Theatre of Anatomy (A Lecture Introductory to the Study of Anatomy and Physiology Delivered by Henry William Dewhurst...on Monday, October 1, 1827, at the New Theatre of Anatomy, 24, Sidmouth Street, Gray’s Inn Lane, 1827; copy originally owned by Joseph Hume, UCL Special Collections)

In 1828 he is again listed at 24 Sidmouth Street (L. Hebert ed, The Register of Arts, and Journal of Patent Inventions, vol. I, 1828)

On 11 Mar 1829 he wrote from the Theatre of Human & Comparative Anatomy‚ 4 Little Clarendon Street, to one T.Pollock‚ sending a copy of his ‘Dictionary’ [of anatomy and physiology]‚ stating that “I am my own publisher”‚ and inviting him to a lecture on the Circulation of the blood in Man and Animals. (Offer for sale of a letter dated amd signed H. W. Dewhurst, at http://www.historicalautographs.co.uk, accessed 7 Aug 2011).

On 17 Feb 1840, The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Monday, February 17, 1840; Issue 21913., carried an appeal on behalf of Professor DEWHURST, 'a deserving and truly learned man' and his four children who were described as nearly starving. Henry having been confined to his room for several months with ulcerated legs. The appeal was submitted for publication by one Henry BRIER and dated Feb. 15, 1840.

He clearly recovered for on 4 Feb 1841 he was lecturing in Witney,
Jackson's Oxford Journal (Oxford, England), Saturday, February 6, 1841; Issue 4580. Though, all does not seem to have been well and this illness looks as if it marked the start of Henry's decline into fraudulent criminality.

On the 1841 Census he appears in Lambeth and gives his occupation as Surgeon

In 1845 the London Mendicity Society cautioned their subscribers and the public against appeals from one H. W. Dewhurst, also known as Professor DEWHURST, Dr DEWHURST, Dr DEW or Mr HURST. These solicited the purchase of a book or some other charity. He had been writting similar letters for many years. The Bristol Mercury (Bristol, England), Saturday, September 27, 1845; Issue 2897

In 1847 The Liverpool Mercury stated 'The Plymouth Journal cautions the benevolent against the applications of a person styling himself the Professor Dewhurst who has been in the habit of writting the most urgent letters to the Secreteries of Literary and Mechanic's Institutes.' Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Tuesday, September 28, 1847; Issue 1925.

In 1847 the Rev. Dr. Henry DEWHURST solicited the Mayor of Preston, as a patron of Science, to buy his 'History of the Bible'. The article cites DEWHURST's letter which presents a pitiful picture (if true). No blanket, bed, bedding, table and chairs. Intends opening a school for four boys when he can pay for four more forms, then he 'will establish an evening scientific lecture for the support of his three destitute motherless children (one fourteen, is slowly recovering from brain fever).' He claimed his 'troubles arose from his own frequent illness, the want of employment, and four and half years' illness of his wife.' Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, January 27, 1850; Issue 375.

In 1849, Henry William DEWHURST, aka The Rev. Dr. 
DEWHURST, was hauled before a magistrate in Lambeth and described as a 'Swindling Schismatical Preacher' who had carried on an 'very extensive and lucrative trade' which the judge believed was put an end to. The witness against the prisoner went down with Cholera and, as as he could not be brought to trial, Henry escaped with a prison sentence of two months hard labour. The Era (London, England), Sunday, August 5, 1849; Issue 567.

On the 1851 Census he gives his profession as Schoolteacher and he was widowed.

In 1857 the Bristol and Clifton Mendicity Society were shown a letter from a Dr BRIERS in London. Instead of sending the half crown requested the society made enquiries and found that Dr BRIERS was well known 'as levying contributions on the charity under the name of Dr. or Professor Dewhurst'. The Bristol Mercury (Bristol, England), Saturday, March 21, 1857; Issue 3496.

Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2008 unless stated otherwise.