Biographies of Homeopaths

Philip Wynter Wagstaff 1811 – 1894

Sue Young
Written by Sue Young

Sue Young presents a biographical sketch of Dr. Philip Wynter Wagstaff and his wife Elizabeth, who was a lay homeopath.

Reprinted with permission from Sue Young’s vast collection of Homeopathy biographies – http://sueyounghistories.com/

 

Philip Wynter Wagstaff (1811-1894)  MRCS 1834, MD 1834 was an orthodox physician who practiced mesmerism and was an advocate of homeopathy (Anon, The Zoist: a journal of cerebral physiology and mesmerism, Volume 9, (H. Baillière, 1852). Page 19-25)). In 1851, his assistant John Wallis also practiced mesmerism. Philip Wynter Wagstaff’s 2nd wife Elizabeth (Eliza) Hetty Hall Wagstaff (?1826-10.2.1914) (Ancestry.co.uk) was a  clairvoyant medium, nurse, a phrenologist, and a lay homeopath.

Philip Wynter Wagstaff was the physician, and his wife Eliza was the homeopathic nurse and clairvoyant medium for David Jones, William Forbes Lawrie, Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer Lytton (son of Edward Bulwer Lytton), Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin and Rose La Touche, Joan Severn, John Russell 1st Earl Russell and his wife Katharine Louisa Russell Viscountess Amberley, William Francis Cowper Temple 1st Baron Mount Temple and his family, Paulina Jermyn Trevelyan, and Constance Lloyd Wilde.

Philip Wynter Wagstaff and his wife Eliza were friends of John Ashburner, George H. Barth, John Elliotson, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (possibly), Spencer Timothy Hall, Augustus John Cuthbert Hare, James John Garth Wilkinson, and many others. Mesmerist George H Barth was also an acquaintance of Elizabeth (Eliza) Hetty Hall Wagstaff in 1851, and he described her:

‘… This lady is by far the best medical clairvoyant whom I have met with, and I have seen as many as most men…’

It is notable that Philip Wynter Wagstaff and his wife Eliza were never attacked by skeptics in their time. Indeed Philip Wynter Wagstaff was awarded all the accolades of his orthodox profession throughout his working life, as was his son! This was despite Philip Wynter Wagstaff being married to a female practicing lay homeopath, an advocate of mesmerism and his attendance at the British Homeopathic Society Dinner on 1st July 1869. (Anon, The Homeopathic Medical Directory of Great Britain and Ireland 1870, (Henry Turner, 1870). Page 295). The fact that Philip Wynter Wagstaff was appointed District Registrar for Toddington (?year) (Anon, Bedfordshire Magazine, Volumes 22-23, (Crescent Press, 1991). Page 123) amply illustrated his acceptance and inclusion within orthodox medical society at a time when fraternising with homeopaths was strictly forbidden and policed assiduously!

Philip Wynter Wagstaff’s cases were also reported in the orthodox medical press at this time (Anon, The Medical Times and Gazette, Volume 1, Adherent multilocular cyst – two tappings- ovariotomy-recovery by Mr. Wagstaff of Leighton Buzzard, (J. & A. Churchill, 1868). Page 577).

Philip Wynter Wagstaff assisted in a surgical operation alongside his othodox colleagues in 1861, even though it was expressly disallowed for anyone in contact with homeopathy at this time (Thomas Spencer Wells, Diseases of the ovaries, their diagnosis and treatment, (J. Churchill and sons, 1865). Page 92).

Also note that Philip Wynter Wagstaff’s son was also awarded similar respect and inclusion (‘… The loyal toasts having been given from the chair, Mr Pitcaithley gave the ” Imperial Forces,” which was replied to by Colonel Porteous ; ” Our Quests,” proposed by Mr D. P. Laird, was replied to by Dr Wagstaff, of Leighton Buzzard…’ Anon, Transactions of the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society, Volumes 1-18; Volumes 1903-1905,(Douglas & Foulis, 1904). Page 310).

It is fascinating to note that Philip Wynter Wagstaff’s acceptance by orthodoxy was so complete, that in 1892, Philip Wynter Wagstaff was a member of the advisory committee for the International Peace Bureau (1892-1951), the forerunner to the United Nations (Anon, Rapport du Comité consultatif: Report of the Advisory committee, International Financial Conference, League of Nations (Imprimé pour la Société des nations, Harrison & sons, 1892). Page 676). See also : .

‘… At Broadlands, a veritable coven of female mediums assembled, among them Annie Andrews (now Mrs. Edward Acworth, after her marriage to a Brighton doctor [Edward Acworth (?1804-?1874)])…’ [This is the only reference that can be found to Annie Andrews who has unfortunately been lost to history]. Amongst this glittering gathering, Phillip Wynter Wagstaff and his young wife Eliza were frequent guests. Eliza was the most favourite friend, confidante and homeopathic practitioner to William Francis Cowper Temple 1st Baron Mount Temple and his wife Lady Georgiana Tollemache Mount Temple who lived at this famous country house, Broadlands. James John Garth Wilkinson was a lifelong friend of the Temples and he knew Eliza and Phillip Wagstaff well (Philip Hoare, England’s lost Eden: adventures in a Victorian utopia, (Fourth Estate, 21 Feb 2005. Page 270)

About the author

Sue Young

Sue Young

Sue Young obtained a degree in psychology from City University London and subsequently studied homoepathy at CPH and also trained with Robert Davidson. She has been a practicing homeopath for over 20 years and says she owes her life and health to homeopathy. Sue also studied history and archaeology at Birbeck College, which fueled her deep interest in the past. These days she spends much of her time researching and writing fascinating biographies of homeopaths throughout history. You can see the fruits of her labor here : http://sueyounghistories.com/

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