Canon Diggens Archive

Appointment of Surgeons

Among its many self imposed duties the Church undertook the care of the sick and appointed the parish doctor. The following Extracts occur in the Church Account Book.

April 13. 1808. At a Vestry Meeting held this day in the Church it is agreed that Mr. Smith's and Mr. Daniel's bills be inspected by a competent surgeon, the patient being a pauper.

"The latest tender of the Surgeons is to have the sum of Ten Guineas if he chooses to accept it in that price, otherwise there shall be no surgeon paid with a salary".

The sequel to this decision appears under date May 4, 1809 when Mr. Robert Daniell was appointed to attend the Poor of the Parish for the sum of ten guineas without any exceptions of diseases, scald heads, amputations, fractured skulls, or any other thing whatsoever. (Probably exceptional cases cost more than the general).

These arguments however did not influence the voters. Eight accepted the surgeons terms and twenty one rejected their proposals. Accordingly Mr. W. Nicholls of Manaccan was appointed at a salary of 14 guineas to provide all medicines.

The inconvenience of this arrangement was soon felt. When Robert Boulden applied for medical assistance Mr. Nicholas had to be sent for without loss of time !

Two years later we find Mr. Robert Daniell again appointed at a salary of eighteen pounds followed by Mr. Henwood 1828 who in 1851 received twenty pounds per annum.

Surgeons. From Old Church Account Book.

In 1810 Mr. Wm Smith was appointed to attend the poor of the parish for 1 year for the sum of 10 guineas (all cases).

The following year Mr. Robert Daniell was given the office for one year at a salary of twenty guineas.

After this Mr. Henwood served alternately with Mr. Daniell for the larger sum till 1822 when the salary was reduced to 15 pounds per annum.

The answer of the Doctors to this peremptory measure was given at the Lady Day Vestry Meeting. They were willing to attend the Poor of the Parish for a sum just and reasonable, but they objected to attend all the abandoned women who might become chargeable to the parish. They would alternately provide medicine for those in St. Keverne who received parish pay for the sum of £21.0s.0d. (midwifery excepted). The population of St. Keverne was 2600, the extent great, the number of the poor receiving medical help was increasing.