John Betts ca.1623-1695

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John BETTS ca.1623-1695

Biographical Note

Born in Winchester, son of Edward Betts. BA Corpus Christi College, Oxford 1647; he was ejected by the parliamentary visitors in 1648 (he was a Roman Catholic later in life, and possibly by then also), began to study medicine, and proceeded MB and MD at Oxford in 1654. He became a candidate at the College of Physicians in London in 1654, and was admitted a fellow in 1664; he was censor several times during the 1670s and 80s, and made an elect of the College of Physicians in 1685. He developed a successful medical practice in London, and was a physician in ordinary to Charles II. He published a number of medical treatises.


Betts’s library, along with that of the Suffolk physician Nathaniel Fairfax, 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”. Betts’s will has no mention of books; after monetary bequests among members of his family, the residue of his estate was left to his wife.

Characteristic Markings

None of Betts’s books have been identified.


  • An excellent collection of valuable … books, [1695] (ESTC r170504).
  • Cooper, Thompson, and Patrick Wallis. "Betts, John (c. 1623–1695), physician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Munk, W. The roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 2nd edn. London, 1878.