Nathaniel Fairfax 1637-1690
Nathaniel FAIRFAX 1637-1690
Born at Rumburgh, Suffolk, son of Benjamin Fayerfaxe, rector there. BA Corpus Christi College, Cambridge 1658, MA 1661. He was ordained the same year and appointed curate at Willsham, Suffolk, but was ejected in 1662 for nonconformity. He turned to medicine, was licensed to practice at Norwich in 1665, and graduated MD at Leiden in 1670. He developed a successful practice as a physician at Woodbridge, and pursued both scientific and antiquarian interests. He contributed to the Royal Society’s Philosophical transactions and published A treatise of the bulk and selvedge of the world (1674). Several volumes of his antiquarian and heraldic collections relating to Suffolk survive in Cambridge University Library (Hengrave mss 2-19), and elsewhere.
Fairfax’s library, along with that of the London physician John Betts, was sold by auction in London, 3 June 1695. The sale catalogue lists 1040 lots, divided between medical books (502), Latin miscellaneous (196) and English miscellaneous (342); it does not distinguish as to which books came from which source. It also notes the addition of “several very good Spanish, Italian, French and Dutch books … not in the catalogue, and some pictures, that will be sold at any time to any gentleman that desires them”.
None of Fairfax’s books have been identified.
- An excellent catalogue of valuable … books, , ESTC r170504.
- Blatchly, J. M. "Fairfax, Nathaniel (1637–1690), physician and antiquary." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.