Walter Charleton 1619-1707
Walter CHARLETON 1619-1707
Born in Shepton Mallet, son of the Rector there. Matriculated Magdalen Hall 1635; D.Med. 1643, and appointed physician to Charles I the same year. Settled in London 1650 to practice as a physician, retaining the title of royal physician (to Charles II in exile), which continued after the Restoration. One of the earliest Fellows of the Royal Society (1662); Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians 1676, President 1689-91. Briefly left London after 1691 and lived in Nantwich, but returned and died there. Wrote numerous medical treatises; it is evident from these and from his commonplace book (BL ms Sloane 3413) that he was widely read.
His life and writings suggest someone with a sizeable private library, although known examples are relatively few and scattered (e.g. British Library 542.d.9, 1173.f.10, Ames 7/473; Cambridge UL Keynes A.3.26; Peterhouse, Cambridge K.8.13; Quaritch catalogue 1199 (1994)/48). John Moore acquired a number of books from Charleton’s library, now in Cambridge University Library. The British Library holds a number of manuscripts written by him, particularly in the Sloane collection.
Charleton inscribed his name on titlepages, and sometimes the year of acquisition; his books sometimes contain his annotations and marginalia.
- Henry, John. "Charleton, Walter (1620–1707), physician and natural philosopher." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- McKitterick, D. Cambridge University Library: a history, vol. 2, Cambridge, 1986, 93-4.
- Munk, W. The roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 2nd edn. London, 1878.