Belchier, John (DNB00)

BELCHIER, JOHN (1706–1785), surgeon, was born at Kingston, Surrey, and educated at Eton. On leaving school he was apprenticed to Cheselden, head surgeon at St. Thomas's Hospital. By perseverance Belchier became eminent in his profession, and in 1736 he was appointed surgeon to Guy's Hospital. In 1732 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and his name appears on the list of the council from 1769 to 1772. He contributed some papers to the society's 'Philosophical Transactions.' On Belchier's retirement from the office of surgeon of Guy's Hospital he was elected one of its governors, and also a governor of St. Thomas's Hospital. He had an exaggerated reverence for the name of Guy, saying 'that no other man would have sacrificed 150,000l. for the benefit of his fellow creatures.' In the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for 1743 is the following story: 'One Stephen Wright, who, as a patient, came to Mr. Belchier, a surgeon, in Sun Court, being alone with him in the room clapt a pistol to his breast, demanding his money. Mr. Belchier offered him two guineas, which he refused; but, accepting of six guineas and a gold watch, as he was putting them in his pocket Mr. Belchier took the opportunity to seize upon him, and, after a struggle, secured him.' Belchier died suddenly in Sun Court, Threadneedle Street, and was buried in the founder's vault in the chapel attached to Guy's Hospital.

[Philosophical Transactions of the London Royal Society, abridged; Gent. Mag. 1785.]

P. B. A.