Richard Manningham

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Sir Richard Manningham M.D. (1690–1759) was an English physician and man-midwife, now remembered for his involvement in the Mary Toft hoax.

Mary Toft English medical hoaxer

Mary Toft, also spelled Tofts, was an English woman from Godalming, Surrey, who in 1726 became the subject of considerable controversy when she tricked doctors into believing that she had given birth to rabbits.



The second son of Thomas Manningham, he was born at Eversley, Hampshire. He was intended, like his elder brother Thomas, for the church, and educated at Cambridge, where he graduated LL.B. in 1717. He later (1725) was mandated to take the degree of M.D. [1] [2]

Thomas Manningham (1651?-1722) was an English churchman, bishop of Chichester from 1709.

Eversley village and civil parish in the Hart district of northeast Hampshire, England

Eversley is a village and civil parish in the Hart district of northeast Hampshire, England. The village is located around 11 miles (18 km) northeast of Basingstoke and around 2.5 miles (4 km) west of Yateley. The River Blackwater, and the border with Berkshire, form the northern boundary of the parish.

Hampshire County of England

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town, with city status, is Winchester, a frequent seat of the Royal Court before any fixed capital, in late Anglo-Saxon England. After the metropolitan counties and Greater London, Hampshire is the most populous ceremonial county in the United Kingdom. Its two largest settlements, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities and the rest of the area forms the administrative county, which is governed by Hampshire County Council.

Manningham took a house in Chancery Lane, London, and lived there till 1729, when he moved to the Haymarket, then in 1734 to Woodstock Street, and in the following year to Jermyn Street, where he resided for the rest of his life. On 10 March 1720 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and on 30 September in the same year was admitted a licentiate of the London College of Physicians. On 18 February 1721 he was knighted by George I. He was the leading man-midwife of his day, and was sometimes engaged in the summer to attend ladies in the country. [1]

Chancery Lane street in the ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London

Chancery Lane is a one-way street situated in the ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London. It has formed the western boundary of the City since 1994, having previously been divided between the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden. The route originated as a 'new lane' created by the Knights Templar from their original 'old Temple' on the site of the present Southampton Buildings on Holborn, in order to access to their newly acquired property to the south of Fleet Street sometime before 1161.

Jermyn Street street in the St Jamess area of the City of Westminster in London

Jermyn Street is a one-way street in the St James's area of the City of Westminster in London, England. It is to the south of, parallel, and adjacent to Piccadilly. It is known as a street for gentlemen's clothing retailers.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

In 1739 Manningham established a ward in the parochial infirmary of St. James's, Westminster, for parturient women, the first ward of the kind established in Great Britain; he lectured there on midwifery. He died 11 May 1759 at Chelsea and was buried there. Thomas Denman praised Manningham as "successful in practice and very humane in the exercise of his art". [1]

Childbirth expulsion of a fetus from the pregnant mothers uterus

Childbirth, also known as labour and delivery, is the ending of a pregnancy by one or more babies leaving a woman's uterus by vaginal passage or Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 135 million births globally. About 15 million were born before 37 weeks of gestation, while between 3 and 12% were born after 42 weeks. In the developed world most deliveries occur in hospitals, while in the developing world most births take place at home with the support of a traditional birth attendant.

Midwifery health science and profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period (including care of the newborn)

Midwifery is the health science and health profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, in addition to the sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. In many countries, midwifery is a medical profession. A professional in midwifery is known as a midwife.

Chelsea, London area of central London, England

Chelsea is an affluent area of West London, bounded to the south by the River Thames. Its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above Sloane Square Underground station. The modern eastern boundary is Chelsea Bridge Road and the lower half of Sloane Street, including Sloane Square. To the north and northwest, the area fades into Knightsbridge and Brompton, but it is considered that the area north of King's Road as far northwest as Fulham Road is part of Chelsea.


In 1726 Manningham published Exact Diary of what was observed during a close attendance upon Mary Toft the pretended Rabbit Breeder. Mary Toft of Godalming declared that she had given birth to several rabbits, and fragments of these were produced. Manningham, working with James Douglas, showed that these were pieces of adult and not of young rabbits, and that Toft was not parturient. They absolved the credulous Nathaniel St André of complicity. In the aftermath, William Hogarth drew Toft, London gossiped of the affair, and Manningham's name became more widely known. [1] [3]

Godalming town in the Borough of Waverley in Surrey, England

Godalming is a historic market town, civil parish and administrative centre of the Borough of Waverley in Surrey, England, 4 miles SSW of Guildford. The town traverses the banks of the River Wey in the Greensand Ridge – a hilly, heavily wooded part of the outer London commuter belt and Green Belt. In 1881, it became the first place in the world to have a public electricity supply and electric street lighting.

James Douglas was a Scottish physician and anatomist, and Physician Extraordinary to Queen Caroline.

Nathaniel St André Swiss physician in England

Nathaniel St André was a Swiss physician who practised in England.

Manningham published in 1740 Artis Obstetricariæ Compendium; the parts of the subject of obstetrics are arranged in tabular forms, each tabulation being followed by a series of aphorisms. An English translation was published in 1744. In 1750 appeared his Treatise on the Symptoms, Nature, Causes, and Cure of the Febricula or Little Fever, which reached a third edition in 1755. The term "febricula" came into use; Manningham described under this one heading enteric fever, phlebitis, and the common cold. In 1756 he published in Latin Aphorismata Medica, an enlarged edition of his Compendium; and in 1758 A Discourse concerning the Plague and Pestilential Fevers, an enlargement of The Plague no Contagious Disorder, a pamphlet which he had issued anonymously in 1744. [1]

Obstetrics is the field of study concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. As a medical specialty, obstetrics is combined with gynecology under the discipline known as obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) which is a surgical field.


Thomas Manningham, his second son, graduated M.D. at the University of St Andrews, 24 May 1765, and became a licentiate of the London College of Physicians 25 June. He lived in his father's house in Jermyn Street, London, till 1780, when he went to Bath, Somerset, and died there 3 February 1794. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wikisource-logo.svg  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Manningham, Richard"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. "Manningham, Richard (MNNN717R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. Todd, Dennis. "St André, Nathanael". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24478.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Manningham, Richard"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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