National Records of Scotland

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Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842)

Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842)

Physiologist and surgeon

Charles Bell was born on 12 November 1774 in Edinburgh, where he later studied medicine. In 1804 he moved to London and became skilled at anatomy and surgery. He was a pioneer in the field of neurology - 'Bell's palsy' is one of the neurological conditions that he discovered. He also made a comprehensive study of gunshot wounds while treating soldiers during the Napoleonic wars. He was knighted in 1831. He died on 28 April 1842 at Hallow Park in Worcestershire while travelling to London.

Marriage in 1811

Charles Bell married Marion Shaw on 1 June 1811. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Ayr their proclamation of banns gives his occupation as 'Doctor in London' and shows that they were subsequently married.

Marriage entry for Charles Bell

Marriage entry for Charles Bell in the OPR for Ayr (48 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 578/8

1841 census

Sir Charles Bell returned to Edinburgh in 1836. The 1841 census for the parish of St Cuthbert shows Sir Charles, Professor of Anatomy, and Lady Bell at 6 Ainslie Place. Their ages are 65 and 45 years respectively - ages over 15 years were rounded down to the nearest five in the 1841 census.1841 census entry for Charles Bell

1851 census entry for Sir Charles Bell (55 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1841/685-2/107, page 15 

Testament of Sir Charles Bell

National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/62 pp 404-405

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