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Scarborough was born in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Westminster, in 1615, to Edmund Scarburgh and his wife Hannah (Colonel Edmund Scarburgh, prominent Virginia colonist, was his brother), and was educated at St Paul's School, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (BA, 1637, MA, 1640) and Merton College, Oxford (MD, 1646). While at Oxford he was a student of William Harvey, and the two would become close friends. Scarborough was also tutor to Christopher Wren, who was his assistant for a time.
Following the Restoration in 1660, Scarborough was appointed physician to Charles II, who knighted him in 1669; Scarborough attended the king on his deathbed, and was later physician to James II and William and Mary. During the reign of James II, Scarborough served (from 1685 to 1687) as Member of Parliament for Camelford in Cornwall.
Scarborough was an original fellow of the Royal Society. As a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the author of a treatise on anatomy, Syllabus Musculorum, which was used for many years as a textbook, and a translator and commentator on the first six books of Euclid's Elements, published in 1705. He also appeared as the subject of a poem by Abraham Cowley.
Scarborough died in London on 26 February 1694 and was buried at Cranford, Middlesex. St Dunstan's Church there has a monument to him in Latin and English (as "Scarburgh"), erected by his widow.
- Robert L. Martensen, "Scarburgh, Sir Charles (1615–1694)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004 Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Scarborough, Charles (SCRH632C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Availability online. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
- An Ode to Dr Scarborough.
- Church site. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .