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Shirley Tebay, Dent historian. Constructed Close (Dent) Family Tree. She found a discrepancy. Emma Mason could not have been the mother of the William Close born 1710 in Dent as she died in 1694. This therefore means that John Close must have re-married.  


PDR Borwick 1991 “An English Provincial Society N. Lancs 1770 – 1820

Writing this article for his PhD. Thesis Borwick draws heavily on William Fleming Diaries – ten volumes (1798 – 1819) written by W.Fleming of Pennington, seven of which are on microfilm in Lancaster and Liverpool Universities and Barrow Library.

Borwick describes Close as a poor doctor – not a doctor at all really but a surgeon apothecary and states that Harper Gaythorpe had written a hagiography.

Fleming diaries.

Close attempted to improve the lot of the urchins of Dalton by starting a small music school and even Fleming, who despised Daltonians in general even more than Close in particular, conceded that much good resulted from the establishment

A real doctor?

A letter from Irene Ferguson – assistant to University Archivist, Edinburgh. - no record of Close as an Edinburgh University graduate, but he could have received his qualification from the Royal College of Surgeons. The University Librarian, Ms. Marianne Smith has stated that Edinburgh University was the centre of excellence and that the Munro brothers were the leading medical authorities of their day.

Phone  call to Dr. Jean Turnbull, head of the Centre for N.W. Regional Studies, resulted in an order being placed for the recently published “A Fylde Country Practice” – Medicine and Society in Lancashire circa 1760 –1840  by Steven King.

*   surgeon apothecaries were the forerunners of today’s GPs.

**  this word was used by Borwick who thought Gaythorpe had written the history of a ‘saint’.

The world’s first female doctor and was Elizabeth Blackwell (1821- 1910)

She was born in Bristol; her father was in sugar refining business. In 1832 the family emigrated to America. Gynaecological surgery in 1835 was murderous. Doctors were actually killing patients by internal applications of leeches. Doctors had to count leeches to see if any crept into the uterus and stayed there sucking away. They were cauterising vagina with poisonous solutions. Clitoridectomy was performed as a cure for masturbation.


Harper Gaythorpe lived at 3 Prospect Road. His works were located at 12 Harrison Street. He was an engraver, die sinker (an engraver of dies), and an illuminator.

Dies – 1) an engraved device for stamping a design on coins, medals etc.        

            2) a device for stamping, cutting or moulding material into a particular shape.

                He was a friend of James Melville – fellow historian.