Edward Harwell

Born in nearby Chippenham in 1698 (or 1700?), Edward Harwell was a ‘surgeon’ in Newmarket from the early 1720s until his relatively young death in 1735. He was the son of William Harwell of nearby Chippenham, Cambridgeshire (also a surgeon). His mother was Ann(e) Branch of Snailwell. Edward was educated at King Edward 6th Free Grammar School in Bury St Edmunds, but unlike his older clerical brother Thomas, who also went to the Bury School, there’s no evidence that Edward went on to University. However, Edward Harwell is one of only four Newmarket medics known to have been granted a bishop’s licence to practise, which would have been granted after obtaining some experience in practice, likely with his father after his schooling. He appears also to have had two other medical brothers, John described as a surgeon who also died in 1735 and William an ‘apothicary’ who died in 1740. As far as we know only Edward worked in Newmarket. His father and all four sons are buried in a row in Chippenham churchyard (see below). Presumably at least William Harwell the father practised in Chippenham, so half counts as a Newmarket medic, Chippenham being in the practice area of today’s Newmarket surgeries. (See The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation for what ‘surgeon’ and apothe(i)cary meant at this time, the apprenticeship system and bishops’ licences).

I have not been able to find the actual bishop’s licence granted to Edward Harwell in the Diocese of Norwich archives (he was licensed by the Bishop of Norwich). It might no longer exist, but what does exist is quite interesting. It’s his statement of belief in the ‘Articles’ of the Church of England – i.e. the famous 39 articles, the C of E’s key point summary of the Christian faith. Adherence to this was required of all medics licensed to practise. Edward Harwell’s ‘subscription’, as it was called, reads as follows (transcription below; image of the actual document on the right):-

Edward Harwell's subscription to the church of England's beliefs, made when he was licensed to practise by the Bishop of Norwich (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 1).

Edward Harwell’s subscription to the church of England’s beliefs, made when he was licensed to practise by the Bishop of Norwich (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 1).

‘I Edward Harewell of Newmarket in the County of Norfolk being to be [sic] licensed to practise chyrurgery within the Diocese of Norwich do voluntarily subscribe to all y articles of Religion, and do declare y I will conform to y Liturgie of y Church of England, as – it is now by Law established. Dated y 10th day of Augt. 1723. Edward Harwell.’

[Note: his name is spelt Harewell here, but he signs Harwell, as it appears everywhere else; note also Newmarket is described as in Norfolk, presumably with the diocese of Norwich in mind!]

Edward married Elizabeth Embry in London in 1725. They don’t appear to have had any children and in his very short will of 1735 he simply left everything to his wife Elizabeth. He requested private burial at the discretion of his executors, and they chose his birthplace of Chippenham, fourth in a family row of seven Harwells (see image below). It’s of note that one of the witnesses to his will was Simon Clements, presumably the Newmarket apothecary, who was about the same age as Edward. It’s interesting to consider what their professional relationship might have been; did they perhaps work together as surgeon and apothecary in complementary roles, or were they both generalist medics who chose different terminology? Simon Clements was possibly part of the Searanckes’ practice, so perhaps Edward Harwell was too? Likewise, Edward’s working relationship with that of his father and two medical apparent brothers is interesting to consider. Was there a family practice in Chippenham that Edward left or was he in some sense a branch of it? Did the other Chippenham medical Harwells work partly in Newmarket or elsewhere too? Answers to these questions are not yet known.

The other medics in Newmarket at the time of Edward Harwell would have been Thomas Searancke 1 (twenty years his senior) Wotton Braham (who was older but interestingly died the same year as Edward and John Harwell) and the younger William Sandiver 1 (apprentice of Wotton Braham).

Note: ‘Harwell Row’ is a particularly interesting feature in Chippenham churchyard. The memorials (fully transcribed in the references below) form a row of seven to the right of the path that leads to the church door, in sequence as follows (1 being next to the path in the image below):-

Harwell Row in Chippenham churchyard (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 2).

Harwell Row in Chippenham churchyard (see below or click image for source and acknowledgements etc., ref. Image 2).

1. William Harwell 1727 (the father – surgeon)
2. Ann Harwell 1715 (wife of the above)
3. William Harwell 1740 (the apothecary son)
4. Edward Harwell 1735 (the Newmarket surgeon son)
5. John Harwell 1735 (another surgeon son)
6. Thomas Harwell 1769 (the cleric son)
7. Lydia Harwell 1786 (wife of Thomas above)

Sadly these memorials are now largely weathered beyond legibility, but most of them are fine bed-like constructions – four physicians of the body and one of the soul?!

 

Image sources and acknowledgements:-

Image 1: From the Subscription Books of the Diocese of Norwich 1723, reference NRO, DN/SUB 5/1 (cropped); image ©, reproduced with kind permission of the Norfolk Record Office.

Image 2: Photograph taken in 2015, by the author of talkingdust.net.

Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well. 

Relevant references in chronological order

1686, 1st April: William Harwell of Chippenham, surgeon, aged 24 years, married Anne Branch of Snailwell (single woman) aged 24 years, at Kennett (these villages are all only a few miles from Newmarket and in Cambridgeshire). Reference: Baunerman W, Bruce Baunerman GG. Allegations for Marriage Licences in the Archdeaconry of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk during the years 1684 to 1754. [Part 1]. London: The Harleian Society; 1918. [Note: this does not appear in the transcripts of the Kennett parish records in the Cambridgeshire County Record Office.]

1696, 24th October: Thomas son of William and Ann Harwell baptised, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Chippenham. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2005, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: this older brother to Edward went to Bury School and was admitted to Christ’s College Cambridge when 19 years of age in 1715; after obtaining his BA then MA he was elected a fellow in 1723, and held various ecclesiastical posts, the longest being vicar of Ingoldsby in Lincolnshire for nearly 30 years, but ‘He was buried in Chippenham churchyard, where many others of his family were laid’. Reference: Peile J. Biographical Register of Christ’s College 1505-1905 and of the earlier foundation, God’s house 1448-1505. Vol II 1666-1905, pg 186. Cambridge: at the University Press; 1913.]

1698, 19th May: Edward son of William and Ann Harwell baptised, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Chippenham. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2005, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

1713: Edward and Thomas Harwell, sons of William Harwell, Chippenham. Reference: S.H.A.H. Biographical List of Boys Educated at King Edward VI Free Grammar School, Bury St. Edmunds. From 1550 to 1900. Bury St Edmunds: Paul & Matthew; 1908. [Note: this book mentions that Thomas (biography 104) and Edward (biography 105) were in the school list for 1713. It mentions Thomas’ ecclesiastical career but not that Edward became a surgeon. It also mentions William the apothecary (biography 103) and John the surgeon (biography 106) but mentions having ‘no authority to include’ them. Under John’s entry it includes the comment ‘N.B. – William Harwell, the father of these four boys, died Sept 1727 aged 66, and has a stone in Chippenham churchyard.’ It also mentions the stones of the four sons, so it might be that the stones were the source of this biographical information rather than the school records (aside from the 1713 entries for Edward and Thomas), supplemented by Cambridge University biographical information for Thomas, which might be why Edward’s occupation is not mentioned, since it is mentioned only on his bishop’s licence and will, not on his memorial stone. However, it’s difficult to see how the biographer can know that they are all sons of William Harwell based simply on the stones, especially given the lack of a baptismal record for John and William, so perhaps the biographer had other sources that I am not yet aware of.]

1715, 29th September: Memorial to Ann Harwell. ‘Ann ye wife of Will Harwell Gen Who Dyed Sep ye 11 1715 Aged 56 years Also of their child lying by her’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: sadly it looks like she probably died in childbirth, all too common in those times, the baby being buried beside her.]

1715, 14th September: Mrs Ann Harwell wife of Mr William Harwell buried, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Chippenham. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2005, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

1723, 10th August: Edward Har(e)well of Newmarket licensed by the Bishop of Norwich to practise surgery: ‘I Edward Harewell of Newmarket in the County of Norfolk being to be [sic] licensed to practise chyrurgery within the Diocese of Norwich do voluntarily subscribe to all y articles of Religion, and do declare y I will conform to y Liturgie of y Church of England, as – it is now by Law established Dated y 10th day of Augt. 1723. Edward Harwell.’ Reference: NRO, DN/SUB 5/1, Subscription Books of the Diocese of Norwich, (Norfolk County Record Office, Norwich). [Note: see image above.]

1725, 15th June: Edward Harwell married Elizabeth Embry, Temple Church of England, London. Reference: England Select Marriages 1538-1973 (online database, not image), ancestry.co.uk (accessed 21st March 2015).

1725: Indenture assignment regarding property in Spittlefields to ‘Elizabeth Harwell, wife of Edward Harwell of Newmarket, Suffolk, Surgeon’ (mentions her maiden name of Embrey). Reference: CLA/007/EM/03/229 (Corporation of London Record Office, City of London). Information obtained from: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/rd/d030938e-b6c4-4a6e-8541-e04d5844d3b6 (accessed 21st March 2015).

1727, 29th September: Memorial to William Harwell. ‘Here lyeth ye body of William Harwell Sen who died Sepr ye 29 1727 Aged 66 years’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

1727, 2nd October: Mr Harwell buried (‘Wm’ in bishop’s transcript). Reference: P44/1/5, Chippenham Register No 2 1719-1813, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely) and the ‘bishop’s’ transcript. Reference: Reference: J502/48, microfilm of archdeacon’s transcripts, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). – yes this is in Bury CRO, not Cambridge.

1735, 3rd February: The will of Edward Harwell of Newmarket in the County of Suffolk Surgeon (probate 7th August 1735). Reference: The National Archives, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, PROB 11/672/275. [Note: the original will is dated 1734 – see New Year Change.]

1735, May: Memorial to Edward Harwell. ‘Here lyeth ye body of Edward Harwell who depd this life May ye 14th 1735 Aged 35 years’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: this appears to suggest that he died 1 week after he was buried (see below). Also it seems the age of 35 does not fit with his apparent baptism in 1698 above. I suspect the transcription of the memorial stone is incorrect and the age should read 37, the date perhaps 4th May. At the time of writing this page (31st March 2015) the memorial is too badly weathered to read and 30 years ago when the transcription was made it might have been easy to misread. Note the date on Thomas and Lydia Harwell’s later memorials below were obviously hard to read in 1986. Alternatively, perhaps the wrong number was carved into the stone. Floyd Peck has a stained glass window in his memory in which his year of death is incorrect!]

1735, 7th May: Mr Edward Harwell buried. Reference: P44/1/5, Chippenham Register No 2 1719-1813, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: the ‘bishop’s’ transcript adds ‘from Newmarket in Suff.’ – this is on the 1734 transcript, which runs through until May 1735. Reference: J503/8, microfilm of archdeacon’s transcripts, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). – yes this is in Bury CRO, not Cambridge.]

1735, 11th October: Memorial to John Harwell. ‘This Stone is Erected To the Memory of JOHN HARWELL SURGEON who died Oct 11 1735 Of the Day and Hour Knoweth No Man’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: the phrase ‘of the day and hour knoweth no man’ is not a reference to when John died, which is clearly stated, but points to Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 in the Bible and is about us not knowing the date when we will face God, suddenly and unexpectedly. See the pages on Francis Greene and Thomas Fraser regarding how to do that appropriately, and the life of Susan Greene outlined at the bottom of The Greenes page with its link to Robert Cooke.]

1735, 14th October: Mr John Harwell buried. Reference: P44/1/5, Chippenham Register No 2 1719-1813, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

1740, 11th March: Memorial to William Harwell. ‘To the memory of Wm Harwell Apothicary who Died Mar 11 1740’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

1740, 14th March: Mr William Harwell buried, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Reference: P44/1/5, Chippenham Register No 2 1719-1813, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

1769, 24th December: Memorial to Thomas Harwell. ‘In Memory of THE REVD MR THO. HARWELL who Died 24 Decem 17[19] Aged 77 years’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: the 19 in square brackets indicates that the transcriber was not sure of the date, which clearly from the burial record below was 69 not 19.]

1769, 26th December: Revd Thomas Harwell buried. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Chippenham. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2005, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: it’s interesting that he died on Christmas eve and was buried on Boxing day.]

1786, May: Memorial to Lydia Harwell. ‘LYDIA HARWELL wife of THOMAS HARWELL DIED May [] 1786 Aged 68 YEARS’. Reference: 7044, Chippenham Monumental Inscriptions. Monumental Inscriptions at the Parish Church of St. Margaret’s, Chippenham, Cambridgeshire. Copied by Stephen Walley of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Alan Bullwinkle of the Cambridgeshire Family History Society, August – September 1986, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: the square brackets indicate that the transcriber could not read the day.]

1786, 15th May: Mrs Lydia Harwell of Ely Trinity buried. Reference: An indexed transcription of the parish registers of Chippenham. Cambridgeshire Family History Society; 2005, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely).

Some other sources consulted include:-

Carter EH. The Norwich Subscription Books. A study of the Subscription Books of the Diocese of Norwich 1637-1800. London, Edinburgh, Paris, Melbourne, Toronto and New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd.; 1937.

Wallis PJ, Wallis RV. Eighteeth century medics. [2nd ed.]. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Project for Historical Biobibliography; 1988. [Note: this points to the 1723 bishop’s license.]

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