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Roberts, Giles Lawrence, MD
1766-1834

Methodist doctor and local preacher, born in Bridport, Dorset on 21 April 1766, the son of Richard Roberts, landlord of the Ship Inn. Rejecting several alternative apprenticeships as unacceptable, he turned to the gypsies to learn from their tradition of herbal medicine. Retuning home, he set up business in his native town and the surrounding countryside, with such success that a group of the local gentry enabled him in 1794 to study at St. Thomas’s and Guy’s hospitals in London and to receive his ‘licence to practice as apothecary, surgeon and physician’. Two years later, in 1797, he received an honorary MD from the Royal College and University of Aberdeen.

For the next 37 years he busied himself both as a local physician and surgeon and also ‘a local preacher of great force, originality and eloquence’ both in Bridport and beyond. With the formation of a Wesleyan society in Bridport in 1808, it was natural that he should ally himself with it; and when the Methodists of Burton Bradstock found themselves hounded by the local curate, he lost no time in going out to support them with an impassioned sermon on Acts 17.6 which was remembered by those present for many years.

He died on 16 September 1834 and , in the absence of a graveyard at the Methodist chapel at that time, was buried at St. Mary’s churchyard with a reading from Ecclesiasticus 38 to honour his life of service to his fellow men

Sources

  • Methodist Recorder, 8 September 1960

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