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Biographical entry Melsome, William Stanley (1865 - 1944)

MRCS and FRCS 10 December 1896; BA Cambridge 1886; MA 1889; MB BCh 1893; MD 1894.

19 November 1865
Stockton, Wiltshire
11 September 1944
General surgeon


Born 19 November 1865, at Stockton, Wilts, the third child and second son of Richard William Melsome, farmer, and Sophia Dean, his wife. He was educated at Lancing College and at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he took first-class honours in both parts of the Natural Sciences Tripos, 1886 and 1887, and was elected to a Fellowship of Queens' in 1888, which he held till 1895, acting as director of medical and natural science studies at Queens' College. He took his clinical training at St Thomas's Hospital, and then served as senior demonstrator of anatomy and assistant demonstrator of physiology in the University and was for a time resident obstetric assistant at the Westminster Hospital and senior resident medical officer at the Evelina Hospital for Children. At Cambridge he worked in the University pathological laboratory with Louis Cobbett, FRCS.

After leaving Cambridge he settled in practice at Bath and was appointed assistant surgeon at the Royal United Hospitals, ultimately becoming consulting surgeon, and medical officer at Bath College. Melsome never married; he died at 29 The Circus, Bath on 11 September 1944. He was a member of the Anatomical and British Orthopaedic Societies. He believed in the claim that Francis Bacon wrote the plays of William Shakespeare, and left his collection of documents on the subject to the Bacon Society, with £4,000 for the publication of his articles. He left the residue of his great fortune in three quarters to Queens' College and one quarter to Lancing College, for scholarships.


On local and general immunity, with L. Cobbett. J Path Bact 1894-96, 3, 39.
Furuncles and carbuncles. Allbutt's System of Medicine, 1896, 1.
On the lower limitations of the pleural cavities with regard to certain surgical operations. Ann Surg 1897, 26, 417.
The value of bacteriological examination before, during, and after surgical operations. Brit med J 1898, 2, 1332.
Ueber den directen Einfluss der Entziindung auf die locale Widerstandsfahigkeit der Gewebe gegenuber der Infection, with L Cobbett. Zlb allg Path path Anat 1898, 9, 827.
Variation of the sigmoid flexure of the colon. J Anat Physiol 1893, 27, Proc Anat Soc, p xxx.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information given by T E B Pye-Smith, solicitor of Bath, on behalf of Dr Melsome's sister; The Times, 11 January 1945, will].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England Library