Packe, Christopher (1686-1749) (DNB00)

PACKE, CHRISTOPHER, M.D. (1686–1749), physician, doubtless son of Christopher Packe [q. v.] the chemist, was born at St. Albans, Hertfordshire, on 6 March 1686. He was admitted to Merchant Taylors' School on 11 Sept. 1695 (Register, ed. Robinson, i. 334). He was created M.D. at Cambridge (comitiis regiis) in 1717, and was admitted a candidate of the College of Physicians on 25 June 1723. At the request of Robert Romney, the then vicar, he gave an organ to St. Peter's Church, St. Albans, which was opened on 16 Jan. 1725–6 (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire i. 120). About 1726 Packe settled at Canterbury, where he practised with much reputation for nearly a quarter of a century. He died on 15 Nov. 1749 (Gent. Mag. 1749, p. 524), and was buried in St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury. He had married on 30 July 1726, at Canterbury Cathedral, Mary Randolph of the Precincts, Canterbury (Reg. Harl. Soc. p. 77). His son Christopher graduated M.B. in 1751 as a member of Peterhouse, Cambridge, practised as a physician at Canterbury, and published ‘An Explanation of … Boerhaave's Aphorisms … of Phthisis Pulmonalis,’ 1754. He died on 21 October 1800, aged 72, and was buried by the side of his father.

Packe had a heated controversy with Dr. John Gray of Canterbury respecting the treatment of Robert Worger of Hinxhill, Kent, who died of concussion of the brain, caused by a fall from his horse. The relatives, not satisfied with Packe's treatment, called in Gray and two surgeons, who, Packe alleged in letters in the ‘Canterbury News-Letter’ of 8 and 15 Oct. 1726, killed the patient by excessive bleeding and trepanning. He further defended himself in ‘A Reply to Dr. Gray's three Answers to a written Paper, entitled Mr. Worger's Case,’ 4to, Canterbury, 1727.

Packe wrote also: 1. ‘A Dissertation upon the Surface of the Earth, as delineated in a specimen of a Philosophico-Chorographical Chart of East Kent,’ 4to, London, 1737. The essay had been read before the Royal Society on 25 Nov. 1736, and the specimen chart submitted to them. 2. ‘Ankographia, sive Convallium Descriptio,’ an explanation of a new philosophico-chorographical chart of East Kent, 4to, Canterbury, 1743. The chart itself, containing a ‘graphical delineation of the country fifteen or sixteen miles round Canterbury,’ was published by a guinea subscription in 1743.

His letters to Sir Hans Sloane, extending from 1737 to 1741, are in the British Museum, Additional (Sloane) MS. 4055.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. 1878; Smith's Bibl. Cantiana; Gough's British Topography.]

G. G.