John Tylston: Physician, Author and Non-Conformist
John Tylston was born in Whitchurch on March 15th 1663-64, the eldest son of John and Hannah Tylston. His parents were devout Christians, renowned for their piety and virtue.
His biographer informs us that “when a boy, he manifested such diligence in the pursuits of learning, as raised high expectations of future eminence. After quitting school John resided with the Rev. Mr. Malden, at Alkington, near his native place, under whose tuition he perfected his skill in the Greek and Hebrew languages.”
Around 1681 John Tylston was admitted to Trinity College Oxford where he obtained a degree in Natural Philosophy. From there he went to London, where under Sir Richard Blackmore he was encouraged in the study of physic (medicine). In 1687 he was awarded a degree, Doctor of Physic, from Aberdeen University.
In June 1687 he married Katherine one of the daughters of Philip Henry, the celebrated non-conformist clergyman of Worthenbury.
He worked for about three years in Whitchurch before moving in 1690 to practice in Chester, from where he published on medical experiments.
John Tylston was recognised for his charity to the poor as much as he was for his concern over patients. He often travelled great distances to treat the poor for free and was reported as treating his non-paying patients with the same kindness and cheerfulness as his wealthy clients.
Trinity College in Oxford received a generous donation towards the building of a new chapel from him.
When his father-in-law, Philip Henry, died in 1696 John Tylston composed the epitaph in Latin on the marble tablet that stood in the old Whitchurch church. An English version of the epitaph was created in Victorian times and is housed inside St Alkmund’s church in the town. The original tablet composed by Dr Tylston is now in Broad Oak chapel at nearby Whitewell.
In March 1699 John Tylston was struck down by a violent fever which led to his death on April 8th at the age of 36.