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Sir Charles Scarborough

Sir Charles Scarborough or Scarburgh MP FRS FRCP (29 December 1615 – 26 February 1694) was an English physician and mathematician.[1]


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).[2] 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.

Royal physician

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.[1]


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,[3] 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.[4]

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.[5][1]


  1. ^ a b c Robert L. Martensen, "Scarburgh, Sir Charles (1615–1694)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004 Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Scarborough, Charles (SCRH632C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ Availability online. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  4. ^ An Ode to Dr Scarborough.
  5. ^ Church site. Retrieved 18 July 2020.

1893 text

Charles Scarburgh, M.D., an eminent physician who suffered for the royal cause during the Civil Wars. He was born in London, and educated at St. Paul’s School and Caius College, Cambridge. He was ejected from his fellowship at Caius, and withdrew to Oxford. He entered himself at Merton College, then presided over by Harvey, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. He was knighted by Charles II. in 1669, and attended the King in his last illness. He was also physician to James II. and to William III., and died February 26th, 1693-4.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

4 Annotations

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Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

COR CAROLI is a single Star of the second Magnitude near the Great Bear so call'd in Memory of King Charles I. by Sir Charles Scarborough Physician to King Charles II.

Bill  •  Link

Sir Charles Scarborough, first physician to Charles II. James II. and William III. was, by his strong and lively parts, uncommon learning, and extensive practice, eminently qualified for that honourable station. He was one of the greatest mathematicians of his time. Mr. Oughtred informs us, that his memory was tenacious to an incredible degree; that he could recite in order all the propositions of Euclid, Archimedes, and other ancient mathematicians, and apply them on every occasion. He assisted the famous Dr. William Harvey in his book "De Generatione Animalium," and succeeded him as lecturer of anatomy and surgery. The lecture, which was founded by Dr. Richard Caldwal, was read by him in Surgeon's Hall, and continued for sixteen or seventeen years, with great applause. He, in his course, explained the nature of the muscles, and was the first that attempted to account for muscular strength and motion upon geometrical principles, and he very judiciously and happily applied mathematics to medicine in other instances. His "Syllabus Musculorum" is printed with "The Anatomical Administration of all the Muscles, &c. by William Molins, Master in Chirurgery." He was also author of several mathematical treatises, a Compendium of Lilye's Grammar, and an Elegy on his friend Mr. Cowley. He was a man of amiable manners, and of great pleasantry in conversation. Seeing the dutchess of Portsmouth eat to excess, he said to her, with his usual frankness, "Madam, I will deal with you as a physician should do; you must eat less, use more exercise, take physic, or be sick."—He died Feb. 26, 1693.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Madam, I will deal with you as a physician should do; you must eat less, use more exercise, take physic, or be sick." – Sir Charles Scarborough MD, MP, FRS (1615 – 1694) to Louise Renée de Penancoët de Kéroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth AKA "Fubs".

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.