Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Frewin, Richard

FREWIN, RICHARD, M.D. (1681?–1761), physician and professor of history, son of Ralph Frewin of London, was admitted king's scholar at Westminster in 1693, and elected thence to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1698. He took the degrees of B.A. in 1702, M.A. in 1704, M.B. in 1707, and M.D. in 1711. In 1708 he is described at the foot of a Latin poem which he contributed to 'Exequiæ Georgio principi Daniæ ab Oxoniensi academia solutæ' (Oxford, 1708) as professor of chemistry; he was also in 1711 rhetoric reader in Christ Church. As a physician he had an excellent reputation; he attended Dean Aldrich on his deathbed. John Freind's 'Hippocrates de Morbis Popularibus' is dedicated to him, and contains a letter from him (dated Christ Church, 20 July 1710), giving an account of a case of variolæ cohærentes which he had been attending. In 1727 he was unanimously elected to the Camden professorship of ancient history, no other candidate offering himself. Hearne relates that soon after his election he bought a hundred pounds' worth of books on history and chronology, 'on purpose to qualify him the better to discharge' the duties of the office. He died 29 May 1761, having survived his children, who died young, and three wives, Lady Tyrell, Elizabeth Woodward, and Mrs. Graves, daughter of Peter Cranke. He bequeathed 2,000l. intrust for the king's scholars of Westminster elected to Christ Church, and another 2,000l. in trust for the physicians of the Radcliffe Infirmary, and left his house in Oxford, now known as Frewin Hall, to the regius professor of medicine for the time being. His library of history and literature, consisting of 2,300 volumes, he left to the Radcliffe Library. There is in that library a volume containing a collection of dried specimens of plants made by him, with his notes in manuscript on their medicinal uses. Portraits are in the hall and common room at Christ Church, and a bust, presented by Dr. Hawley in 1757, in the library there.

[List of Queen's Scholars of Westminster; Cat. of Oxford Grad.; Oxford Honours Register; Bliss's Remains of Thomas Hearne, i. 212, 237; Hearne's MS. Diary, lxi. 123, cviii. 136, cxv. 158, cxvii. 75, cxxx. 138, cxxxv. 99, cxliv. 98-9; epitaph in St. Peter's in the East, Oxford, which, however, like the Gent. Mag. (xxxi. 284), erroneously gives his age as eighty-four; in the matriculation register he was entered 4 July 1698 as seventeen, from which it appears he must have been born in 1680 or 1681; Jackson's Oxford Journal, 6 June 1761; Ingram's Memorials of Oxford, iii. (St. Peter le Baily) 15; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vi. 150; London Mag. for 1761, p. 332; inscription on the back of his miniature in the Radcliffe Library; catalogue of his books in the Radcliffe Library.]

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