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Biographical entry Walsh, John Henry (1810 - 1888)

MRCS Sept 28th 1832; FRCS Dec 24th 1844.

21 October 1810
12 February 1888
Ophthalmic surgeon


John Henry Walsh, better known by his pen name 'Stonehenge', was born at Hackney, London, on Oct 21st, 1810, the son of Benjamin Walsh. He was educated privately, and after qualifying became Surgeon to the Ophthalmic Institution. He lectured for a time on surgery and descriptive anatomy at the Aldersgate School of Medicine and practised in Worcester until he returned to London in 1852.

He always had an intense love of sport, rode to hounds, kept greyhounds, broke in his own pointers, and trained hawks. He was also fond of shooting and lost a portion of the left hand by the accidental bursting of his gun.

In 1853 he published a work on The Greyhound, on the Art of Breeding, Rearing and Training Greyhounds for Public Running, their Diseases and Treatment, by Stonehenge; 3rd ed, 1875. The treatise was based on articles written for Bell's Life and it immediately became the standard work. Three years later, in 1856, the Manual of British Rural Sports was published. It treats of the whole range of sports and of the scientific breeding of horses. The sixteenth edition appeared in 1886, by which time it had become encyclopaedic.

In 1856 he originated the Coursing Calendar and conducted it through fifty half-yearly volumes. He became editor of the Field at the end of 1856, and instituted a series of trials to show that breech-loaders were superior to muzzle-loaders (1858-1866). He also organized trials to ascertain the cause of the frequent breakages in guns, and his comments in the Field on proof powder involved him in litigation with the Birmingham Proofhouse Guardians in 1885, in which he lost the action on technical grounds.

Walsh was one of the founders of the National Coursing Club and of the All-England Lawn Tennis Club as well as of the All-England Croquet Club.

He married: (1) in August, 1833, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Stevenson, of Claines, Worcestershire, who died nine months later; (2) in 1835, Susan Emily, daughter of Jonas Malden, MD, of Worcester, who died eight months later; and (3) in 1852 Louisa, eldest daughter of the Rev William Parker. She survived her husband with two daughters. He died at 43 Montserrat Road, Putney, on Feb 12th, 1888, and was buried in the Old Cemetery on Putney Common.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Dict Nat Biog, sub nomine et auct ibi cit. The article has a bibliography].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England