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Edward Augustus Giraud, Surgeon of Eythorne (Part 1)

William Sankey, Surgeon, left the Eythorne practice in 1803 to take over the practice of Mr Wood in Wingham. He was succeeded in 1804 by Edward Augustus Giraud at the age of 33, who announced 6th July 1804 that he “has taken the business Sankey at Eythorne and hopes by his care and attention to merit favour by the patients of Mr Sankey”. This suggests Giraud was new to the village.
Edward Augustus Giraud advertised himself as a Surgeon and Male Midwife. In the past male practitioners had usually only attended births at difficult labours but in the 18th Century they began to practice more as general midwives (but not without controversy). The change was driven by greater understanding of anatomy and physiology. The development of medical instruments and improved procedures was leading to more interest and involvement by some male practitioners. The term midwife means “with Woman” (who is giving birth) in Old English and hence is a non-gender specific title.
There seems to have been a delay in the takeover of the Sankey practice by Giraud due to “unavoidable circumstances” (which are not made clear) resulting in Giruad offering “to attend to any woman “gratis” until Michaelmas (29th September)” as a token of goodwill.
Edward Augustus Giraud was born in Preston, Faversham on the 8th March 1771, one of seven children. His father was Francis Frederick Giraud (born 2nd February1725, in Pinache, Württemberg, Germany), one of a family of Waldenasian Protestants. The Waldenses, also known as Vaudois, preached poverty and abstinence of sensual pleasures and had been admired by Oliver Cromwell. They came into conflict with the Catholic Church after a series of massacres and dispossessions of in Italy. Cromwell organised international action on their behalf, writing letters, raising financial contributions for victims and threatening military action. After his death the Waldenses were repeatedly persecuted and were all but annihilated in the 17th Century.
Francis Frederick Giraud’s bachelor uncle, the Rev. William Henry Giraud, Vicar of Graveney (born at La Tour in the Valley of Lucerne in 1694 and brought to England under the patronage of his godfather Lord Galway), adopted Francis Frederick Giruad when he was a lad of only twelve years and brought him back to England after a trip to Pinache to see his brother.
Francis Frederick Giraud became Vicar of Preston Church, Faversham, and held the position for 45 years (1766-1811). He was also headmaster of Faversham Grammar School (1762-1808). He was married to Jane Elizabeth Herve the only daughter of the Rev. Thomas Herve who figures in one of Hogarth’s engravings, called Noon from the set “Four Times of the Day” (published 1738) depicted standing at the door of his chapel in Hog Lane. (“Four Times of the Day” is a series of four oil paintings and are humorous depictions of life in the streets of London, the vagaries of fashion, and the interactions between the rich and poor.)
Edward Augustus Giraud married Jane Sankey on 27th March 1805 at Ss Peter & Paul, Eythorne. Jane Sankey was the stepsister of William Sankey the Surgeon. William and Jane’s father, John Sankey, born 1731, was a farmer like his father, and settled at East Langdon, where he married firstly Mary Simmonds (mother of William Sankey), and secondly Jane Rattray (Mother of Jane Sankey), daughter of the Vicar of East Langdon. John Sankey is said to have introduced the then new plant of laburnum into the village. At this time farmers did not indulge in many luxuries such as carpets, but John Sankey had one in his parlour and some of his friends thought this too grand a notion and refused to come and see him in his home! He and his two wives were buried in the churchyard which adjoins the farm and many of his descendants have been buried there since, both in his vault and near to it.

Vince Croud

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