Sue Young Histories

John Tricker Conquest 1789 - 1866

April 08, 2010

John Tricker Conquest 1789 - 1866, MD Edinburgh 1813, LRCP 1819, RCP, accoucheur, was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, Lecturer in Midwifery at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Physician to the City of London Lying in Hospital, Physician to the London Female Penitentiary, Physician to the London Orphan Asylum, Consulting Physician to the Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill Homeopathic Dispensary,

Conquest must have converted to homeopathy around 1834, when he was ’forced to resign’ his post at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and was never appointed FRCP,

John Tricker Conquest - accoucheur, built up an extensive obstetric practice, and his posts included that of physician to the City of London Lying in Hospital, the London Female Penitentiary, and the London Orphan Asylum, and consulting physician to the Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill Dispensary.

In 1820 Conquest’s _Outlines of midwifery, developing its principles and practice_, intended as a textbook for students, was published. By 1854 it had passed through six editions and had been translated into several languages. In 1848 he published his popular _Letters to a Mother on the Management of Herself and her Children in Health and Disease_, which reached a fourth edition by 1852.

Conquest wrote What is homeopathy?: and is there any, and what amount of truth in it?, Letters to a Mother on the Management of Herself and her Children in Health and Disease, Outlines of midwifery, developing its principles and practice, and in 1841 he translated The Holy Bible _with Twenty Thousand Emendations _into modern English,

Of interest:

John Conquest, son of John Tricker Conquest, was Secretary to the Abney Park Cemetery Company:

On Monday 4th August 1845 eleven men held a meeting in the chapel of the newly created cemetery at Abney Park, Stoke Newington. The City’s graveyards were full to overflowing and good Christian philanthropists had set about creating new cemeteries in the suburbs and country villages around London.

The good Christian philanthropists meeting on this occasion had made their money in the City and were primarily Dissenters, always strongly represented in London. Abney Park was planned as a non-denominational cemetery and, as a consequence, was much patronised by Dissenters, replacing their previous burial ground of choice, Bunhill Fields.

The new cemetery at Abney Park was launched as a joint stock company. The philanthropists had a duty to see that there was a reasonable return on the capital invested. The old mansion of the Abney family was demolished when the cemetery was created. It had been the home not only of the Abneys but of their long-time guest, Isaac Watts, the celebrated hymn writer and dissenting divine.

The cemetery company had acceded to the request of a committee formed to erect a monument to the memory of Isaac Watts at Abney Park and the meeting was held to determine the site. It was a meeting of some of the most powerful and influential people in the City of London. This was the Diana, Princess of Wales, monument of the 1840s. The artist, who was present, was Edward Hedges Bailey, the most celebrated monumental sculptor of the day, the man who put Nelson on his column in Trafalgar Square.

So who were the other ten people? In the chair and representing the company was Alderman Kelly. Thomas Kelly (1772-1855) was a Dick Whittington character, a man who had risen from modest beginnings to be Lord Mayor and a respected Alderman.

After his father’s bankruptcy, in about 1788, Thomas Kelly (1772-1855) was sent to work at Hoggs, the publisher and bookseller, on Paternoster Row. He attended the French Protestant Church in Threadneedle St but also heard Evangelical preachers in the City and at St John’s, Bedford Row. Thomas Kelly (1772-1855) was a Christian entrepreneur of the highest order.

A publisher by trade, he had exploited the new technology of stereotyping to produce thousands of cheap copies of the Bible, with a popular commentary by Revd John Malham, as a part work. At the same time he had developed a sales force which went from door to door promoting this edition. It had made him a fortune. His Bibles actually cost more than conventional one volume editions but were available to buy in cheap instalments, 173 parts at 8d each.

From Bibles he went on to other universal texts, such as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, before turning to the street directories, with which his name is popularly associated. Thomas Kelly (1772-1855) was a Low Church Anglican and had combined faith and works to enrich himself vastly. It is estimated that he grossed over £400,000 from his Bible alone.

By the 1840s Thomas Kelly (1772-1855) was in semi retirement in Streatham but he was a vigorous promoter of the Abney Park Cemetery. He had a good record on statues, having recently presided over the commissioning of Sir Francis Chantrey’s representation of Wellington.

Also representing the company was Alderman Hunter, another former Lord Mayor, and John Foulger, a Cape merchant and a Dissenter (d1850). Foulger, who had an oil business on Ratcliff Highway, had also quit the City, in his case for Walthamstow. Foulger held the largest single block of shares in the Abney Park Cemetery Company.

With Alderman Hunter he served on the Board of the London Missionary Society, who had recently taken the risk of sending a young man called David Livingstone to work for them in Africa.

The fourth Director of the company at this meeting was Rev. James Sherman, minister of the Surrey Chapel, across the river from the City in Southwark. Rev. James Sherman had been ordained in the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, always a small denomination but historically strong in the City. Denomination was not important to Rev. James Sherman.

He was a pulpit prince in his own right, an influential commentator on public affairs and amply rewarded by his well to do church members.

Accompanying these four Directors was the company secretary, John Conquest, a lawyer and son of John Tricker Conquest 1789 - 1866, a celebrated obstetrician we would now say, though his contemporaries termed him a male midwife. It is to be regretted that these eminent directors were not keeping a closer eye on their company secretary, for John Conquest would shortly abscond with a large sum of money, but that is another story.