Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bidgood, John

BIDGOOD, JOHN, M.D. (1624–1690), the son of Humphrey Bidgood, an apothecary of Exeter, was born in that city 13 March 1623-4. His father was poisoned in 1641 by his servant, Peter Moore, a crime for which the offender was tried at the Exeter assizes, and executed on 'the Magdalen gibbet belonging to the city,' his dying confession being printed and preserved in the British Museum. The son was sent to Exeter College about 1640, and admitted a Petreian fellow 1 July 1642. On 1 Feb. 1647-8 he became a bachelor of physic at Oxford, but in the following June was ejected from his fellowship by the parliamentarian visitors. After this loss of his income he withdrew to Padua, then a noted school of medicine, and became M.D. of that university. With this diploma he returned to England, and, after a few years' practice at Chard, settled in his native city, where he remained until his death. On the restoration in 1660, Bidgood resumed his fellowship, and in the same year (20 Sept. 1660) was incorporated M.D. at Oxford. Two years later he resigned his fellowship, possibly because a kinsman, who had matriculated in 1661, was then qualified to hold it. His skill in medicine was shown by his admission, in December 1664, to the College of Physicians in London as honorary fellow—an honour which he acknowledged by the gift of 100l. towards the erection of their new college in Warwick Lane—and by his subsequent election in 1686 as an ordinary fellow. Some years before his death he retired to his country house of Rockbeare, near Exeter, but he died in the Close, Exeter, 13 Jan. 1690-1, and was buried in the lady chapel in the cathedral. A flat stone, with an English inscription, in the pavement indicated the place of his burial, and a marble monument with a Latin inscription to his memory was fixed in the wall of the same chapel by his nephew and heir. An extensive practice brought Dr. Bidgood a large fortune, but his good qualities were marred by a morose disposition and by a satirical vein of humour. He left the sum of 600l. to St. John's Hospital at Exeter.

[Prince's Worthies; Munk's College of Physicians (ed. 1878). i. 348; Boase's Exeter Coll. 7, 212, 229; Davidson's Bibliotheca Devon. 138; Izacke's Exeter (ed. 1731), p. 189; Register of Visitors of Oxford Univ. (Camden Soc. 1881), pp. 13, 60, 98, 188.]

W. P. C.