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Dawson, Ambrose (DNB00)


DAWSON, AMBROSE, M.D. (1707–1794), physician, son of William Dawson of Langcliff, Yorkshire, was born at Settle, Yorkshire, in 1707. After education at Giggleswick school, he entered at Christ's College, Cambridge, and graduated in that university M.B. 1730, M.D. 1735. In 1737 he was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians, was censor four times, and delivered the Harveian oration in 1744. His oration was printed in the following year, and is a respectable piece of Latin prose. He was elected physician to St. George's Hospital, 27 April 1745, and held the office for fifteen years. His house was in Grosvenor Street, London, and he was famous for his kindness to the poor. When he gave up practice in 1776, the parish of St. George's, Hanover Square, presented him with a piece of plate in recognition of his services to the poor of the parish. He retired to his paternal estate of Langcliff Hall, but did not give up interest in his profession, for in 1778 he published ‘Thoughts on the Hydrocephalus Internus’ (London) and ‘Observations on Hydatids in the Heads of Cattle’ (London). Little was then known of the anatomical changes which accompany effusion into the cavities of the brain and nothing of the natural history of the entozoa, so that neither work is now read, nor had they many readers when published. The books were perhaps first indications that their author found time hang heavy on his hands in the country. Want of his usual occupations affected his health, and a little later he removed to Liverpool, where he continued to reside till his death on 23 Dec. 1794. He was only ill for a few days, and was at the time of his decease the oldest fellow of the College of Physicians. He was buried at Bolton, Yorkshire, the home of his maternal ancestors.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878, ii. 134; MS. Admission Book of Christ's College, Cambridge.]

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