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Biographical entry Sheild, Arthur Marmaduke (1858 - 1922)

MRCS July 24th 1879; FRCS Dec 18th 1883; LRCP Lond 1879; MB, BCh Cantab, 1883.

5 August 1922
Island of Coll, Hebrides
General surgeon


Born at Landawke, Laugharne, Carmarthen, the son of William Henry Sheild, of Gilfach, Pembrokeshire. He received a private education, and obtained his professional training at St. George's Hospital, where he highly distinguished himself, winning the Brackenbury Prize in Surgery, the William Brown (£40) Exhibition in 1878, and the William Brown (£100) Exhibition in 1879. He was House Surgeon at St George's Hospital, and in 1881 obtained the important appointment of House Surgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and thus came under the influence of Sir George Humphry (qv), whom he assisted in private and in many ways imitated. His three years at Cambridge left their impress on his shrewd character and gave him a university experience and degree, for he was contemporaneously, as was then possible, an undergraduate at Downing College. In 1883 he achieved the feat of passing the two parts of the FRCS in the same month. In 1884 he returned to St George's as Resident Obstetric Assistant. He was also Anaesthetist, and in 1886 Curator of the Museum. He was, however, attracted away in the same year to Westminster Hospital, where he was Assistant Surgeon, but migrated to Charing Cross Hospital, where from 1887-1893 he held the posts of Assistant Surgeon, Aural Surgeon, Demonstrator of Anatomy, and Lecturer on Practical Surgery in the Medical School. He was associated at this period with Dr Montague Murray as a private coach, and many men preparing for surgical examinations were his pupils. He was also busily engaged in other directions. Recalled to St George's as Assistant Surgeon in June, 1893, he became Surgeon to the Throat Department in 1895, and full Surgeon in 1900. He was also Surgeon to the Waterloo Road Hospital for Women and Children, and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. At the time of his death he was Consulting Surgeon to these three last-named institutions. He was also Secretary to the Medical Society of London, the old Dermatological Society, and the Surgical Section of the British Medical Association at its London Meeting, 1895; an additional Examiner in Surgery at the University of Cambridge, and an Examiner in Surgery at Apothecaries' Hall.

In 1907 he had the terrrible experience of inoculating himself with syphilis during an operation, and his health was so gravely affected that he was obliged to give up work at the age of 49, and retire to Budleigh Salterton. After a long illness, necessitating many operations, his health improved, and during the War (1914-1918) he gave his services as consulting and operating surgeon to a military hospital at Exmouth, near Budleigh Salterton. During the last fifteen years of his life Sheild was able to enjoy country pursuits and the country itself, of which he was extremely fond. He was a golfer and devoted to fishing.

While on a fishing excursion in the Island of Coll in the Hebrides, he died in the local hotel on Aug 5th, 1922, after a seizure on July 30th. He never married. He left net personalty to the value of over £91,000, and bequeathed the residue of his estate, after paying certain legacies and subject to the life interest of his sister, to the medical school of the University of Cambridge, to found a Marmaduke Sheild Scholarship in Human Anatomy, and the balance for general purposes. He was a Member of the University Club, St James's Street.

Writing to the Lancet, Sir Humphry Rolleston, who joined the staff of St George's on the same day as Sheild, affirms, in an interesting notice not marred by undue eulogy, that

"Sheild's was a complex personality and often, perhaps generally, a some¬what critical or even cynical attitude was assumed as a form of camouflage for his underlying kindly and rather sentimental nature. Thus it was that at different times his character seemed puzzling if not contradictory, at one time the hard-headed business man, at others verging on the hyperconscientious. Another side that might have remained unsuspected by those familiar only with his professional activities was his intense love of nature and of the country; it was thus that when attacked in comparatively early life with pulmonary tuberculosis he went up to a remote Scottish village with the determination that if his time was up he would at any rate get some country life and fishing first. It is perhaps fortunate that his end came when presumably he was enjoying his favourite occupation in the distant Hebrides.

"Sheild was a most impressive teacher, and irresistibly recalled Sir George Humphry's methods and manner of driving the essentials of surgical practice into students. He seemed indeed to have imbibed much from that great master."

Sheild was too, a clear and amusing speaker in the medical societies, and in private life a 'profoundly witty man', an admirable mimic, and a raconteur. His powers of mimicry are supposed not to have increased the appreciation of his seniors. At the time of his retirement his position as a consultant was such that he might have achieved a great position in the profession.


Surgical Anatomy for Students, 12mo, Edinburgh 1891; American Edition 1891.
Diseases of the Ear, 12mo, 4 plates, London, 1895.
"Diseases of the Nose", and "Injuries of the Joints and Dislocations", in Treves' System of Surgery, 1895.
"Immunity and Latency after operations for Reputed Cancer of the Breast", 8vo, London 1898, reprinted from Proc Roy Med-Chir Soc, 1897-8, x, 34.
"Diseases of the Breast", in Quain's Dictionary of Medicine.
"Diseases of the Nails", and "Tumours of the Skin", in Allbutt's System of Medicine, 1st ed, 1896
A Clinical Treatise on Disease of the Breast, 8vo, 16 plates, London 1898. In this book the author ignored many pathological aspects, keeping the clinical standpoint steadily in view. The main part of the work is a study of all the cases of disease of the breast admitted into St George's Hospital from 1865-1895. The whole large work makes for simplicity and practical advice.
Lessons on Nasal Obstruction, 8vo, Philadelphia, 1901
Eulogy on his friend and special companion C B Lockwood (qv) Lancet, 1914, ii, 1326.

Sources used to compile this entry: [St George's Hosp Gaz, 1897, v, 81, with pencil portrait, gives an amusing account of his teaching in the out-patient room. Ibid, 1903, xi, 137 with an excellent likeness - a whole-page portrait. Dr William Hunter's Historical Account of Charing Cross Hospital and Medical School, London, 1914, 169, 171. Lancet, 1922, ii, 419].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England