William Becket (1684–1738) was an English surgeon and antiquary.
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient artifacts, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts. The essence of antiquarianism is a focus on the empirical evidence of the past, and is perhaps best encapsulated in the motto adopted by the 18th-century antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts, not theory."
Becket was born at Abingdon, Berkshire. In the early years of the eighteenth century he was well known in London as a surgeon and an enthusiastic antiquary. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 11 December 1718, and read three papers on The Antiquity of the Venereal Disease at its meetings during the same year ( Philosophical Transactions . vi. 368, 467, 492), and one on another subject in 1724 (Philosophical Transactions vii. 25).
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'.
Becket was an original member of the Society of Antiquaries, which was effectively established in 1717, and was on close terms with William Stukeley, William Bowyer, Browne Willis, and other antiquaries. He was for some years surgeon to St. Thomas's Hospital, Southwark, but before 1736 he had retired to Abingdon, where he died 25 November 1738. Stukeley noted in his common-place book that Becket's papers were bought by Edmund Curll, who sold them to Edward Milward.
The Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) is a learned society "charged by its Royal Charter of 1751 with 'the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries'." It is based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, and is a registered charity.
William Stukeley was an English antiquarian, physician, and Anglican clergyman. A significant influence on the later development of archaeology, he pioneered the scholarly investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire. He published over twenty books on archaeology and other subjects during his lifetime.
William Bowyer was an English printer.
Joseph Ames was an English bibliographer and antiquary. He purportedly wrote an account of printing in England from 1471 to 1600 entitled Typographical Antiquities (1749). It is uncertain whether he was by occupation a ship's chandler, a pattern-maker, a plane iron maker or an ironmonger. Though never educated beyond grammar school, he prospered in trade and amassed valuable collections of rare books and antiquities.
William Smellie (1740–1795) was a Scottish printer who edited the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. He was also a naturalist and antiquary, who was joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, co-founder of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and a friend of Robert Burns.
James Parsons FRS was an English physician, antiquary and author.
John Green Crosse, FRCS, FRS (1790–1850) was a well-known English surgeon of his day, at the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
Alexander Stuart FRS FRCP (1673–1742) was a British natural philosopher and physician.
Charles Lyttelton (1714–1768) was an English churchman and antiquary from the Lyttelton family, who served as Bishop of Carlisle from 1762 to 1768 and President of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1765 to 1768.
Andrew Coltée Ducarel, was an English antiquary, librarian, and archivist. He was also a lawyer practising civil law, and a member of the College of Civilians.
Joseph Sparke or Sparkes (1683–1740) was an English antiquary, editor of some significant chronicles.
Owen Salusbury Brereton,, born Owen Brereton, was an English antiquary.
Samuel Gale (1682–1754) was an English antiquary, a founder of the Society of Antiquaries of London.
John Ranby (1703–1773) was a prominent English surgeon, who served in the household of King George II and wrote books on surgery. His influence helped to instigate a corporation of surgeons distinct from barbers.
Henry Earle FRS (1789–1838) was an English surgeon.
Michael Tyson (1740–1780) was an English Anglican priest, academic, antiquary, and artist.
The Reverend John Hutchins (1698–1773) was Church of England clergyman, and English topographer, who is best known as a county historian of Dorset.
George William Callender (1830–1878) was an English surgeon.
Thomas Percival (1719–1762) was an English antiquary.
James Hill was an English barrister and antiquary.
Thomas Nadauld Brushfield (1828–1910) was an English alienist and antiquarian.
Sir John Tomes was an English dental surgeon.
These references are found in the DNB article referred to above.
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The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.