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Richard Boteler, Surgeon of Eythorne

Richard Boteler was born in 1716 to Thomas Boteler of Eastry and Elizabeth Philpot. He became a surgeon in Eythorne and practised there for forty years. He married Ann Jager (b. 1721) in 1742 and they had four children.

Elizabeth Boteler , b. 1743, christened Nov 13, 1743, Eastry, Kent
William Boteler, b.1745, christened Oct 23, 1745, Eastry, Kent, d. 1818
Susanna Boteler, b. Nov 1746, d. May 15, 1799. Married William Sankey October 2nd1786.
Anna Maria Boteler, b.1747. Died in 1765 aged 16 and buried in Ss Peter & Paul Eythorne.

Anne Jager, was the daughter of Robert Jager of Canterbury. She had first been married to Jacob Wood (see later).

Richards only son, William Boteler (1745 –1818), was born in Eastry, where many generations of the Boteler family had lived, and was the last male descendant of that line. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (F.S.A.) and made a number of important discoveries but his other claim to fame was in contributing to Edward Hasted’s History of Kent. Hasted acknowledged Mr. Boteler’s major contribution in his preface to the 4th volume of his 12 volume “History of Kent”. Mr. Hasted also dedicated the 9th volume of the second edition to William Boteler saying how the public were indebted to him for the pleasure and information his work would give to them.

William Sankey was born on January 1, 1763 to John Sankey and Mary Simmonds and decided to be a doctor. He was first apprenticed to a surgeon (as was common at this time). After his apprenticeship was over, he went to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, where he fully qualified as a surgeon, returning to Kent as assistant to Mr. Richard Boteler of Eythorne He married Richard Boteler’s daughter Susanna on 27/10/1786. When Richard died in 1792 (Wednesday 22nd February) he left his practice to his son-in-law, William Sankey although in all probability the practice had passed to William earlier and Richard was retired when he died.

Richard was well respected as a doctor during his forty years of practice in Eythorne and must have been a common sight as his obituary notice in the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1792 noted that he “disliked horses so mostly walked upwards of twenty miles a day”.

Whilst William Sankey was working in Eythorne he collaborated with William Wood (Surgeon at Wingham and Fellow of the Royal Linnean Society in London ) on a paper published in “Medical Facts and Observations” in October 1799. It stated “Having lately received from my friend Mr. William Sankey, a respectable surgeon at Eythorne, in this neighbourhood, a very remarkable case of hairy concretions found in the human stomach; I take the liberty of communicating it, for insertion, if you think it deserving of a place, in the Medical Facts and Observations”. It concerns the death of Mary Spain (aged 22), under the care of William Sankey, who died from the build up her own undigested hair in her body and includes drawings of the “concretions” found after death.

William’s wife Susanna died on May 25th 1799, leaving William (Sankey) with two sons, William and Henry and one daughter, Maria. He soon found a lady willing to become his second wife, Mary, daughter of Mr. John Boys a gentleman farmer of Betteshanger, and by her he had eleven more children.

William Sankey practised for many years at Eythorne but in 1803 removed to Wingham having been offered the practice of his first wife’s brother-in-law, Mr. Wood (his collaborator on the paper above). It was a good country practice, comprising not only Wingham but nine other little villages nearby. This position offered more possibilities of work and a better income, so he took it, partly for the sake of educating his family – the practice at Eythorne not being a very lucrative one.

Edward Augustus Giraud (1771-1827) , took over William Sankey’s practice as Surgeon of Eythorne in 1804.

There is a monument to Richard Boteler and his family in Ss Peter & Paul, the first name being of Anna Maria who sadly died young. The inscription on black marble reads:

Under this Stone in a brick’d Grave are deposited the remains of Anna Maria, Daughter of Richard BOTELER of this Parish Gent, and Ann his Wife, who died September ye 7th 1765, aged 16 Years. Also of Ann Wife of the above mentioned Richard BOTELER and Daughter of Robert JAGER of the city of Canterbury, who died April 25th 1787 aged 79 Years. Also of the above mentioned Richard Boteler Gent who died February 22nd1792 aged 75 years. He left surviving issue by Ann his wife Elizabeth, William and Susanna.

Vince Croud

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