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Biographical entry Ancrum (or Ancrum), William Rutherford (1816 - 1898)

MRCS Oct 11th 1839; FRCS Dec 12th 1850; MRCP Lond 1850.

5 February 1816
Weston, Somerset, UK
9 October 1898
St Leonard's Court, Goucester, UK
General surgeon


Born at the Manor House, Weston, near Bath, on Feb 5th, 1816. Educated at private schools, and apprenticed at the age of 15 to T Taylor Griffith (qv) at Wrexham, where he is said to have had Sir William Bowman (qv) as a fellow-apprentice. Three years later he entered as a student at University College, had a brilliant career, and was elected House Surgeon, with such success that Robert Liston (qv) invited him to become his private assistant. He accepted and acted in this capacity for three years. In 1843 he left England and practised in the City of Mexico. In 1848 he was appointed Surgeon to the Naval Hospital at Valparaiso, a post he held for eleven years, during which he built up a large and lucrative practice. Returning to England, he took the FRCS on Dec 12th, 1850, having been admitted MRCS on Oct 11th, 1839. During this visit he also became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London. He resigned his practice in Mexico in 1859, returned to London and took a house, 75 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater. He retired from all practice in 1863 and bought St Leonard's Court, Gloucester.

From 1863 until his death in 1898 Ancrum took an active part in the public life of Gloucester. He served for twenty-seven years as Chairman of the County Infirmary, bringing method, order, and financial soundness into the working of the institution. A ward in the infirmary is named in his memory "The Ancrum Ward." He was appointed Chairman of the Committee of the Wotton County Asylum in 1878, and was mainly instrumental in founding and financing the second County Asylum in 1882. In 1878 he was also elected Chairman of the Barnwood House Private Asylum, which was much enlarged during his tenure of office. He was an active magistrate and was at one time Chairman of the Gloucester County Bench, a member of important Committees of the old Court of Quarter Sessions, and an Alderman of the County Council, where he was Chairman of the Prison Visiting Committee.

He married in 1852 the youngest daughter of Arthur Lewis, of Brighton, and by her had three sons and two daughters.

He was an invalid during the last three years of his life, died at St Leonard's Court, Gloucester, on Oct 9th, 1898, and was buried in the neighbouring churchyard of Upton St Leonard's.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1898, ii, 1028. Brit. Med. Jour., 1898, ii, 1375].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England