Sunday, 27 December 2020 12:13

POYNTZ ADAMS 1789-1870 Part 1.

POYNTZ ADAMS 1789-1870 Part 1. POYNTZ ADAMS 1789-1870 Part 1. POYNTZ ADAMS 1789-1870 Part 1. POYNTZ ADAMS 1789-1870 Part 1.
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Grandson of George Foxton of Kibworth
correspondence with his uncle Rev.Thomas Thomas.

‘A youngest son who had to make his own way’

Whilst Poyntz Adams did not live in Kibworth except on visits his grandfather was George Foxton who lived in Manor Farmhouse, Main Street, Kibworth Harcourt and his aunt Elizabeth Thomas, nee Foxton. His mother Sarah was born, lived her early life and was married in Kibworth before moving to Essex. (see The Foxton Family of Kibworth-modern). From the Rev Thomas Thomas’s’ correspondence we see that Dr Poyntz Adams was educated and financed by him. The letters reveal the difficulties and hardships facing a young man of small means but the ambition to undertake medical training in the early 1800’s.

Poyntz Adams went as a medical student to London in 1810; he gives us an outline of his weekly schedule in letters written to his uncle and sponsor Rev.Thomas Thomas.
It was this uncle who funded him throughout his studies and training to become a surgeon and who helped him to set up his first practice at Chipping Sodbury.

Days began with classes on midwifery with Mr Haighten from 7.45 to 9 o’clock and then from 10am to 11am he studied medicine or chemistry with Doctors Babbington, Curry, Marcet and Allen. In the afternoons he had lectures on anatomy by Henry Cline or the famous Astley Cooper. On Monday and Wednesday evenings Mr Haighton lectured on physiology, followed by
Cooper on surgery.Tuesdays and Friday evenings brought Dr Curry or Dr Cholmeley on the theory of medicine, with the added bonus on Tuesdays of a lecture by Mr Allen on experimental philosophy.

On the 7th December 1810 writing from London Poyntz thanks his uncle for sending him £16 then he mentions Mr Hetling of Bristol a surgeon at Bristol Infirmary, who he has been a pupil to and who is anxious to help Poyntz find employment.

‘ I thought Sodbury would be an eligible situation for me to begin to practice for myself and he was of the same opinion having practised there himself for several years.
There is an opening there. He also further mentions your kindness saying ‘if I may remain another course of lectures in Town it will be to my advantage.’
‘I am at a loss to express my feelings for your kind goodness.’
Poyntz then seeks his uncle’s advice. He says that he attended the midwifery sessions with success on a very difficult case and that he has become a member of the Medical Society at Guy’s hospital which entitles him to attend lectures there for life,

‘it’s where the most eminent practitioners converse and any member is at liberty to speak upon any subject that may occur’

‘we have been obliged to pay 4 guineas for every subject to dissect’

‘Though I am not entered as a hospital pupil, I have the opportunity to see several operations performed by Mr Astley Cooper in Guy’s hospital who is much esteemed in his practice.
I consider myself particularly fortunate in being with Mr Hetling and for the opportunities I have had by attending him in his practice especially at the Bristol infirmary.’

‘The class that attends Guy’s and St Thomas’s is the most numerous of any in London being upwards of 230. My time being wholly taken up in attending the lectures, I have not had any opportunity to see any amusements therefore cannot give you any description of London.’

In January 1811 from London Poyntz begins,

‘ I am sorry to say that several of our pupils are ill from a putrid fever’

He continues by saying that he will have to pay 8 guineas to Mr Cline and Cooper for the next course of anatomical lectures and dissections and 3 guineas to Dr Haighton for another course of midwifery that will commence on the 1st February.

‘ My Board and lodgings amount to £1. 14s a week. Dissecting is very expensive’

Poyntz is keen to try the ‘Royal College of Surgeons’ exams next May but worries that they will not accept him as he has not registered at one of the London Hospitals.

Two months later in March 1811 he writes again from London. Poyntz is still waiting to hear from Mr Hetling re: his place at Sodbury. He notes his lectures will not finish until after the 20th May but he is anxious to leave London soon because another surgeon is after the same placement at Sodbury. Poyntz continues saying that he does not want to ask for new clothing but,
’they are gone so shabby that I am ashamed to go out’. The dictionary you kindly recommended me I have bought price 3 shillings.’ He continues by listing his expenses as follows:

Lodgings 19th Feb to March 5th 1811 £1.16s
Dinner £1.10s
Bread 7s 6d butter 6s 13s 6d
Coals and Wood 7s Candles 3d 6d 10s 6d
Washing 7s 6d Clean shoes 3s 10s 6d

Sugar 1s 6d, tea 2s , coffee 1s 6d 5s
Letters 2s
Entick’s dictionary 3s
Lower extremity Feb 17th £1.2s
Dr Haighton £3 3s

The next month 5th April 1811 Poyntz is writing yet again to his uncle say that he has been days without any moneyed that,

‘the time is drawing on very fast when I must quit London having received a letter from Mr Hetling since I wrote to you last regarding my settling at Sodbury.’

Mr Hetling recommends that Poyntz Adams needs £15-£20 a quarter for one year’

‘there is no doubt that I might succeed, which I will return as soon as my bills are paid me.
I should like to leave London to Bristol about the 10th May before I go to Sodbury .
I currently owe about £15 expenses and I also enclose an account of my surgical instruments’
‘I hope about £12 exclusive of the £15 already owing and the instruments will be sufficient to defray my other expenses and take me to Bristol.’

Amputation instruments £5
Trepanning Instruments £3
A Scarificator £1.10s
Midwifery Instruments £3 3s
Tooth Instruments 15s
Three silver catheters £1.1s
Elastic Bottle and pipe for £1.10s
Two tracers for Tipping 12s

Researched and written by Jeni Molyneux
December 2020

Additional Info

  • Year: 1789
  • Acknowledgement: Northampton County Record Office
    Pembrokeshire County Record Office
    National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
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