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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

Laycock resigned office in his first year

The first building, which was used from 1789 till 1867, was No. 2 on the south side of St. Mary's Churchyard, being rented for the sum of five guineas a year, until it was purchased in Feb., 1810, for the institution, jointly by Dr. Harrison and the Rev. John Fretwell, {120a} for 111 pounds 2s. 8d., the conveyance being effected by Mr. Clitherow at a charge of 13 pounds 15s. 8d. Improvements were made in this building, at a cost of 13 pounds 5s., in 1812, and of 27 pounds 15s. 7d. in 1821.

Of the first physicians, Dr. Laycock resigned office in his first year, on Sept. 29th, 1790; but Dr. Harrison continued his duties for many years, only retiring on Oct. 11th, 1821, shortly before his death. Although that gentleman carried on a private asylum, for patients mentally affected, at his own residence in West Street, {120b} he took a great interest in the Dispensary, and was indefatigable in his attendances, often at his own inconvenience. Moreover his pecuniary assistance was not small; as, besides sharing in the purchase of the premises in St. Mary's Churchyard, the accounts shew that in 1820 he paid 27 pounds, and in the following year 19 pounds 14s. 4d., for Dispensary expenses, which sums were afterwards repaid to him by the Governors; and (as will be shewn hereafter) he bequeathed at his death 100 pounds to the funds. A vote of thanks was passed to him at the annual meeting of the Governors in September of 1821, for a further gift of 21 pounds, with the expression of their regret that his valuable services could no longer be given. Associated with Dr. Harrison, in dispensary work, was Dr. Fawssett, appointed on the resignation of Dr. Laycock, who loyally co-operated with that gentleman for 33 years, and only survived him two years, dying on Oct. 16th. 1823.

Since that time almost all the medical men of the town have, in their turns, rendered useful service to the Dispensary. It would be invidious to single out any of these as being more capable, or more devoted to the work, than others; but we may mention one exceptional case, which all will recognize. From an early period medical pupils were allowed to visit the Dispensary, in order to study special cases, and the treatment they received from qualified practitioners. Among these was a young man, Mr. E. P. Charlesworth, who virtually here received the early part of his medical education. He afterwards, for some years, practised in Horncastle; and in Dec., 1807, a resolution of the Governors was passed, conveying to him their warm thanks for his generosity in relieving poor patients, often at his own expense, and for his readiness to receive them, for consultation, at his own residence, and to make up drugs for them at all hours. He subsequently removed to Lincoln, and became a noted physician, whose reputation extended considerably beyond the county. During 33 years he was one of the most active medical advisers and patrons of the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum; and, after his death in 1853, a statue of him, in white marble, was erected in the grounds of that institution.

[Picture: High Street]

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