Merret, Christopher

, a physician and naturalist, born at Winchcombe, in Gloucestershire, in February 1614, was educated at Gloucester-hall, and Oriel-college, Oxford, and after taking the degree of M. D. in 1642, settled in London. He appears to have had a considerable share of practice, was a fellow of the college of physicians, and one of the original members of the philosophical society, which after the restoration became the royal society. He died in 1695. His first publication was “A Collection of Acts of Parliament, Charters, Trials at Law, and Judges’ Opinions, concerning those Grants to the College of Physicians,1660, 4to. This became the basis of Dr. Goodairs History of the College, and was followed, in 1669, by “A short View of the Frauds and Abuses committed by Apothecaries, in relation to Patients and Physicians,” which involved him in an angry controversy with Henry Stubbe. He also, in 1662, published a translation of Neri’s work, “De arte vitriaria,” with notes; but his principal work was entitled “Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum, continens Vegetabilia, Animalia, et Fossilia in hac Insula reperta,” Lond. 1667, 8vo. This, though incomplete and erroneous, was the first of the kind relating to this country, and was without doubt instrumental in promoting the study of natural history here. A great portion of his knowledge of plants was obtained through the medium of Thomas Wiliisel, a noted herbalist, whom he employed to travel through the kingdom for him during five summers. Merret communicated several papers to the royal society, which are printed in the earlier volumes of the Philosophical Transactions; particularly an account of some experiments on vegetation of the tin mines in Cornwall of the art of refining and some curious observations relative to the fens of Lincolnshire. 2


Ath. Ox. vol. II. —Pulteney’s Sketches, vol. I. p. 290.