Henry Purdon (1769 - 1843):
Henry Purdon was one of the first of this eminent medical family of Ulster. He rose high in the profession though he had no formal training nor study to formal qualifications.
Purdon was the eldest son of Thomas Purdon of County Westmeath, and Maria Featherstone of County Roscommon. Henry was educated largely domestically and in 1793 joined the Army Medical Service as surgeon’s mate attacked to the 41st Foot. He became a staff surgeon to the Province of Ulster (Irish Establishment) in 1798. He was living in Donegall Square, Belfast, from 1808; in 1814 he became MD of St Andrew's through testimonials rather than examination. By this time he had been surgeon to the Belfast Charitable Society since about 1804, living at 5 Wellington Place and Sans Souci Park.
Purdon married, on 15 September 1798, Anne de la Chevois-Crommelin, daughter of Samuel de la Chevois-Crommelin of Carrowdore, County Down, and Maria Dobbs. He died at Sans Souci on 11 September 1843 and was buried in Lisburn Cathedral Graveyard. One of the few acts from his colleagues which have been generally known was that he was one of the 37 doctors who had presented an inscribed gold snuffbox to Dr Samuel Smith Thomson on his retirement in 1834. Thomson was something of a Grand Old Man, involved in the foundation of the Belfast Medical School although he had retired before the School had been finally established.
RSJ Clarke: A Directory of Ulster Doctors (who qualified before 1901): Belfast, Ulster Historical Foundation, 2013
© 2020 Ulster History Circle