Skip to main content

Dr William Harvey 1732?-1803, of Stoke Ferry, Norfolk

Born: 1732? and died 1803
Parents: Robert Harvey (1700-1756) and Mary Harvey (nee Wheasenham, 1701?-1777).
Brother of:
1. Robert Harvey (possibly had a son William?).
2. Mary (?-1784).
3. Elizabeth (?-1798).
4. Ann Helsham (1731?-1793) who married Dr Henry Linhooke Helsham MD (1730-1805).
5. Susan Forby nee Harvey (1732-1824) who married Thomas Forby.
He married: Not known.
They had issue: Not known.

The information I have about William Harvey comes from the following sources:
1. The book titled "Stoke Ferry" by Doris E Coates, 1980, page 61.  This mentions the doctors in the village including the Harveys and the Helshams living near the church.
2. A mention in his father's will.
3. His memorial inside All Saint's Church, Stoke Ferry.

Page 61 of "Stoke Ferry" reads as follows:

The Doctors - Harvey and Steele

In medicine, as in the law, it was traditional that sons would follow fathers and grandfathers in their professions.  This explains why just two families provided local doctors for the whole of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  It is interesting that one house (The Lodge, which together with Lodge Cottage was one property) was 'The Doctors House' from 1771 until 1954.

All the members of this family are commemerated on stone slabs in the floor of the aisle in All Saints Church, Stoke Ferry.

In 1771, when Peter Smith, grocer and draper, went bankrupt, Dr William Harvey bought his estate at public auction for £378.  It included the grocer and drapery shop with house adjoining, the old chemist's shop, and the lodge with its out-buildings and servant's quarters (now 'Lodge Cottage').  Dr Harvey and his family lived at 'The Lodge' and the two shops and houses were let.  In his medical practice he was assisted by first his brother-in-law, Henry Linhook Helsham, then by his nephew, Henry Helsham, the younger, both described as 'surgeons'.

Later owners of The Lodge found a print of William Harvey (1578-1657) who discovered the circulation of the blood and the working of the heart.  Given that the name William recurs, and the custom of sons following their father's profession, it is reasonable to assume that the doctors at Stoke Ferry were descendents of a famous ancestor.

Dr Harvey died in 1803, and Helsham the younger continued as doctor.  The widow sold the Chemist shop to Roger Micklefield and the grocer and drapery shop to Abraham West, keeping the Lodge for her family's use, and still the doctor's surgery.  In the 1820s the practice (and the Doctor's house) was brought by Dr Henry Steele, whose family continued there until 1928.


If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me.
(The Old Chemist Shop)