Richard Porter (c.1697 - 1778)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Margaret Buchanan
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About Richard Porter

Surgeon of His Majesty’s Hospital at Gosport, and one of the original trustees of the town of Gosport.

According to: http://www.henrycort.net/gramhpor.htm -

A document in the National Archives catalogue (Adm354/155/57, actually held at the Caird Library in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich), dated 17 February 1757, describes Richard as “in the 66th year of his life”. He must therefore have been born around 1691.

The document also charts his career as a naval surgeon, serving on nine ships between 1726 and 1740.

The marriage bond of Richard Porter and Rachel Hill, spinster, of the Parish of St Stephen, Walbrook, London (see sources) is dated 23 Feb 1727 (which would be 1728 in today's dating). Both were previously unmarried. Richard was said to be 30 and his bride-to-be 19. If he was 30 in 1727, then he must have been born around 1697.

The first baptism found for any of their children is of son Richard at St Stephen Walbrook, on 10 December 1728 - about 10 months after their marriage.

Some time between the baptisms of his son Moses (London, St Andrew Undershaft, 21 July 1735) and Gilbert (Titchfield, 9 February 1741/2) he has moved to Hampshire. The next child, Elizabeth, is baptised at Gosport Holy Trinity on 29 December 1745.

In the early 1750s he is recalled by the Navy to help in the preparation of the new naval hospital at Haslar, just south of Gosport.

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According to http://www.haslarheritagegroup.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=92&Itemid=143 -

WhenHaslar Hospital first opened its doors in 1753 the responsibility for the day to day running of the hospital lay with the Surgeon and agent for Gosport, Mr Richard Porter, who had for some time coped with the almost insurmountable problems in the area. Obviously this gentleman proved unsatisfactory for a letter from Vice Admiral Boscawen dated 12 April 1755 drew attention to the inadequacies of the administration of the hospital: “The hospital at Haslar is so ill conducted that it little answers the design of it”. The Admiral laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mr Porter; “The Agent is also the Surgeon, his profits by the 6/8d (33p) (a per capita payment) are above £2000 per annum and the office of agent alone is sufficient employment for him”. The income of £2000 was incredible for those days and the Admiral’s comments were endorsed by Mr Ward who was the contractor for all the stores to be used in the hospital from bedding to biscuits. “....at present there is drunkenness and all sorts of licentiousness committed by the people there, many of which are very far from being proper objects for a hospital”, Was this the staff or patients one has to ask, no doubt both. The Commissioners acted quickly and dispatched Sir Edward Hawke to investigate. The accusations were proved correct, Sir Edward on arrival at Haslar finding the gate porter missing from his post and chaos reigning in the hospital. Accordingly the Commissioners issued a series of orders in May 1755 appointing a Mr Francis Jones as Agent, Mr Richard Porter, previously both Surgeon and Agent, as the first surgeon, and the first Physician and Senior Administrator, Dr George Cuthbert. The salary of the latter gentleman was to be £200 per annum and although Richard Porters new salary is not recorded, it must be assumed that he took a substantial cut in income.

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His will, made in 1767, is witnessed by James Collins, but he still has eleven years to live. He is buried at Alverstoke St Mary on 10 February 1778.

Anyone in the eighteenth century who lives to the age of 86 can be expected to outlive some of his children. Richard’s will (made at the age of about 76) names only three: Ann, Moses and Elizabeth (married to navy officer Archibald Dickson).

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Richard Porter's Timeline

1697
1697
1727
February 24, 1727
Age 30
London
1728
1728
Age 31
1730
1730
Age 33
1735
1735
Age 38
1741
1741
Age 44
1745
1745
Age 48
1778
February 10, 1778
Age 81
Church of St. Mary, Alverstoke, United Kingdom
1778
Age 81
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