Betts, John

, an eminent physician in the seventeenth century, was son of Mr. Edward Betts by his wife Dorothy, daughter of Mr. John Venables, of Rapley in Hampshire. He was born at Winchester, educated there in grammar learning, afterwards elected a scholar of Corpus Christ! college in Oxford, in February 1642, and took the degree of bachelor of arts, February 9, 1646. Being ejected by | the visitors appointed by the parliament in 1648, he aplied himself to the study of physic, and commenced doctor in that faculty, April 11, 1654, having accumulated the degrees. He practised with great success at London, but chiefly among the Roman catholics, being himself of that persuasion. He was afterwards appointed physician in ordinary to king Charles II. The time of his death is not certainly known. Dr. Belts wrote two physical treatises, the first, “De ortu et natura Sanguinis,” Lond. 1669, 8vo. Afterwards there was added to it, “Medicinse cum Philosophia natural i consensus,” Lond. 1662, 8vo. Dr. George Thomson, a physician, animadverted upon our author’s treatise “De ortu et natura Sanguinis,” in his tl True way of preserving the Blood in its integrity,“Dr. Bett’s second piece is entitled” Anatotnia Thomse Parri annum centesimum quinquagesimurn secundum et novem menses agentis, cum clarissimi viri Gulielmi Harvaei aliorumque adstantium medicorum regiorum observationibus." This Thomas Parr, of whose anatomy, Dr. Bctts, or rather, according to Anthony Wood, Dr. Harvey drew up an account, is well known to have been one of the most remarkable instances of longevity which this country has afforded. He was the son of John Parr of Winnington, in the parish of Alberbury, in Shropshire, and was born in 1483, in the reign of king Edward the Fourth. He seems to have been of very different stamina from the rest of mankind, and Dr. Fuller tells us that he was thus characterised by an eyewitness,

"From head to heel, his body had all over,

A quick-set, thick-set, nat’ral hairy cover."

At an hundred and twenty (or, more probably, an hundred and two), he married Catherine Milton, who had a child by him and after that sera of his life he was employed in threshing, and other husbandry work. When he was above an hundred and fifty-two years of age, he was brought up to London, by Thomas, earl of Arundel, and carried to court. The king said to him, “You have lived longer than other men, what have you done more than other men” He replied, “I did penance when I was an hundred years old.” He slept away most of his time while he lived in London, which was only two months. He died in the Strand, on the 15th of November, 1635, and was buried in Westminster-abbey. His death is thought to have been accelerated by the change of his place and mode | of living, and by the troublesome concourse of visitors and spectators. There is said to be a portrait of him in Belvoir castle, and another in Ashmole’s museum. The most valuable was in the collection of the duchess of Portland. The fullest account of him extant, is in his “Life,” by Taylor, in the Harleian Miscellany. 1


Biog. Brit. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. Dodd’s Cb. Hist. vol. III.