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William Rhys Williams

Williams was born 7 March 1839 and was a doctor

He was the second son of Dr John Calthrop Williams, a NOttongham doctor of some repute, and Anne, eldest daughter of Reverend George Sanders, rector of Wollaton. They had five children – two sons and three daughters. Both sons went to Merchant Taylors School.

William was admitted to the school in December 1848 and became head of school and won a classical scholarship. He won an Exhibition to St Thomas’s Hospital in 1855, gained his MD from St Andrews in 1862, was made LKQCP in Ireland in 1865 and MRCP Edinburgh in 1866. He served as the Commissioner in Lunacy in 1878, having specialised in mental illness.

He became Assistant Medical Officer to the Derby County Asylum, and then Assistant Medical Officer in the Three Counties Asylum, before becoming Assistant Physician at Bethlem under Dr Helps, whose health at that time was failing, so that almost the entire medical charge of the hospital fell on him. So well did he perform his duties that he was appointed Superintendent of Bethlem three years later, at the early age of thirty-two, which office he held for 12 years. Whilst at Bethlem he also lectured on mental disease at St Thomas’s Hospital and in 1878 he was appointed a Commissioner in Lunacy. 

In 1869 joined the Pathological Society, contributing a paper to the ‘St.Thomas’sHospital Reports’ on “Sudden Recovery in Cases of Insanity,” and several shorter communications to the medical journals. Failing health necessitated his retirement from the post of Commissioner in Lunacy in 1889, and an attack of bronchitis terminated his life on November 28th, at the comparatively early age of fifty-six. He died at his residence at Leamington.

Initiated into Stuart Lodge No 540, Bedford in 1861, he served as Master in 1877. He also joined Strong Man Lodge No 45. He was made an Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies by Grand Lodge.