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Mr Everest, Surgeon of Eythorne (Active 1840)

It was reported in November 1840 that “His Lordship was riding in the park (Waldershare) and he dismounted to pick up his hat which had blown off. On attempting to remount, the horse reared and threw his Lordship heavily to the ground, by which he sustained a dislocation of the shoulder and a fracture of the collarbone. Mr Everest, Surgeon of Eythorne, being in immediate attendance had reduced the dislocation before the arrival of Mr Sankey.” This 21/11/1840 newspaper report is the only mention found of Mr Everest, Surgeon of Eythorne.

By early December 1840 the Earl of Guilford was “progressing as favourably as could be expected. The dislocation of his Lordship’s shoulder was soon reduced and his collarbone is not so dangerously fractured as was at first anticipated”.

It is believed that Mr Everest’s Christian name was William as there is a contemporary mention of a “William Everest, Surgeon”. In the Eythorne Tithe award schedule (signed 7th April 1845, using The Tithe Commutation surveys carried out from the 1830s to 1840s), a William Everest is shown as occupying plot 238 (see heading picture) described as House, Yard, Garden and Buildings and owned by the Earl of Guilford. This is Park End House. Next to this is plot 242, which is pastureland, also owned by the Earl of Guilford and called Doctor’s Meadow (the Earl of Guilford also owns the pasture labelled 239). The fact that this pasture is known by such a name suggests a history of occupation by Surgeons/Doctors in this part of Eythorne.

Plots 235, 236 (both pastures) and 237 (described as House, Yard and Buildings), are owned by the heirs of James Lambert (whose father was Waldershare Park Keeper), and are occupied by Frederick Chalk, also a Surgeon (of whom more in a later work). I believe that the buildings on plot 237 no longer exist and it is now unbuilt on.

It would appear that William Everest left Eythorne in 1844 as it was reported (30/2/1844) that there would be an “auction at Eythorne, of a quantity of household furniture, brewing utensils and other effects, the property of Mr Everest who is leaving the neighbourhood”.

The Mr Sankey mentioned in the first paragraph was Dr William Sankey, the appointed Medical Attendant to the Earl of Guilford’s family. He was born in Eythorne in 1789 and spent his childhood until the age of fourteen in the village. His mother (Susanna) died in 1799 when he was only 10. He moved to Wingham in 1803 with his stepmother Mary (nee Boys) and his father, also called William, who was the well-respected Eythorne Surgeon noted previously.

William Sankey the son was sent early to St Bartholomew’s Hospital (in London) for his medical education. At the age of twenty-one he was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and was then appointed on the medical staff of the army serving in Sicily and Spain. After four years of this service, serving in the Duke of Wellington’s army, he was invalided home and ordered to join the Rifle Brigade at Shorncliff (sic) in 1814. At the close of that year, he quit the army and entered into general practice. “Having been advised a sea coast residence, he commenced his professional career at Dover” (Reference: William Sankey’s obituary in The British Medical Journal Vol. 1, No. 272 (Mar. 17, 1866), p. 289). The campaign William served in was the Peninsular War (1808-1814) which was ultimately won by Britain and her allies but at a high cost in lives. Of the total number of British casualties of 35,630 in that campaign, 24,053 died of disease and not battlefield injuries illustrating serious deficiencies in nutrition, hygiene, medical knowledge and provision. It’s probable that William was invalided home due to illness and not injury. William was mentioned in despatches for his work during the campaign.

William Sankey was instrumental, along with his friend the Reverend, later Canon, John Puckle, the elected vicar, in enabling the restoration of St Mary’s Church in Dover. This now houses the main memorial to the victims of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise which capsized after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on the 6th March 1987. Dr Sankey also commissioned the building of Camden Crescent in Dover and moved into No 1 on completion. The Duke of Wellington (who William Sankey served under), the Lord Warden (1829-1852), gave Dr Sankey’s scheme his blessing.

William Sankey’s obituary states that he was “Devoted to his profession, a man of great mental and of untiring physical powers” and that he was known as “a kind friend, a valued neighbour and a thoroughly esteemed medical man among all classes for upwards on fifty years. A disease of the heart at length disabled him and he was compelled to withdraw from practice”. He died on the 5th of March 1866 at the age of 77. He is shown in later life in the attached picture.

Vince Croud

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