William Bayes 1823 – 1882

William Bayes 1823-1882 MD 1850, was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy. Educated at University College London, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, member of the Royal College of Physicians,

Bayes became a physician at the London Homeopathic Hospital alongside Frederick Hervey Foster Quin and Robert Ellis Dudgeon.

William Bayes was a Co Editor of the Monthly Homeopathic Review, with Alfred Crosby Pope, and John Ryan, and the Editor of The London and Provincial Homeopathic Medical Directory,

In 1856 William Bayes said that science will have difficulty accepting homeopathy, and that the only proof, until science and chemistry matures sufficiently, with be the ‘vital test’- the effect of curing; in fact studying homeopathy without studying its pharmacopoeia is like trying to understand Hamlet without knowing the prince.

William Bayes practiced in Brighton, and he encountered homeopathy whilst travelling abroad. Returning to Englad, he settled in Cambridge and aired his support for homeopathy by publishing a tract Truth in Medicine which began a lively debate in the local press. When Bayes applied for a post at Addenbrookes, uproar ensued.

From Some Abiding Themes Hewn from British Homeopathic History by Peter Morrell. ‘… In contrast to devotees of high potency, for doctors like ‘… John James Drysdale… low dilutions did best and he found no advantage above the 3rd decimal…’ (Frank Bodman, Richard Hughes Memorial LectureBritish Homeopathic Journal 59, (1970). Page184). Thus the 3x became the officially approved and standard tool of UK homeopathic practice from 1830 to 1900. The early UK homeopaths therefore comprised ‘… a remarkably able cohort of 3x men –  Stephen YeldhamJohn Galley BlackleyJohn Moorhead Byres MoirWashington EppsC T Knox Shaw, etc…’ to which we can also add the names of ‘… John EppsPaul Francois CurieDavid Wilson as well as Alfred Crosby PopeRichard HughesDavid Dyce Brown,… William BayesThomas Robinson Leadam and Robert Ellis Dudgeon…’’ (A Taylor Smith, letter re Dr Borland’s ObituaryBritish Homeopathic Journal 50.2, (July 1961). Page 119 and page 123).

Bayes was the Vice President of the Midland Homeopathic Society in 1866,

Bayes moved to Bath in 1869 and then to London. The tactics of allopathic ostracism helped to spread homeopathy, allowing a network of homeopaths to embed institutions themselves, rather than try to enter allopathic institutions. Thus homeopaths duplicated the apparatus of hospitals and dispesaries, journals and societies, resulting in a proliferation of homeopathic hospitals, chemists, practices and other services.

In his letter to the British Journal of Homeopathy 1862, William Bayes wrote (on Medical Terrorism):

It does not appear clear whether you mean that the Colleges would have rejected me, if I had told them that I intended to practice homeopathy… In adopting homeopathy into my practice, I have broken no clause in the Medical Act, nor any bye law of the College of Physicians or the College of Surgeons… ‘

In the 1850’s the London Homeopathic Hospital was established as a teaching centre. This merged in the late 1870’s (after Frederick Hervey Foster Quin’s death) with the London Homeopathic Hospital. It was chiefly run by Robert Ellis Dudgeon and William Bayes… Leading figures of this period include William Bayes, Robert Ellis Dudgeon and Richard Hughes….

William Bayes 1823-1882 Physician and Writer Educated at University College, London. MRCS in 1840’s, Hon MD Lambeth 1850. Founded London School of Homeopathy on 15th December 1876. He died at 88 Lansdowne Place, Brighton on 8th December 1882. In the 1881 Census, there is a William Bayes, Physician, aged 58, born (Kings?) Lynn, Norfolk and living at 82 Redcliffe Gardens, Kensington, London (in 1881).

Volume II, The History of Homeopathy, contains contributions both foreign and domestic. Appropriately enough, the first section is a 90 page history of homeopathy in Germany 1794-1875, including statistics about certain hospitals and dispensaries, written by Carl Gustav Puhlmann and Clotar Mueller. This is followed by an historical and statistical report on homeopathy in the United Kingdom, specifically Great Britain and Ireland, each section written by a different member of the British Homeopathic Society: C. B. Kerr, Herbert Nankivell, Richard Hughes, Alfred Crosby Pope and William Bayes.

William Bayes’ Obituary is in the American Observer Medical Monthly, Volume 19 1882,

William Bayes wrote A letter to the Medical Acts Commission on the claims of the homoepathic public and homoepathic physicians to consideration under any new medical act, Indigestion: its homeopathic treatment with eight remedies, Rheumatism: its homeopathic treatment with eight remedies, Sea Sickness: its homeopathic treatment with eight remedies, Two Sides to a Question: A Few Observations on Mr. Braithwaite’s “Temperate … , Medical Terrorism in 1862, The Position of Homœopathy in the Rational Practice of Medicine, Applied homoeopathy : or specific restorative medicine, and he contributed regularly to the homeopathic Journals Transactions, The Journal of the British Homeopathic Society, Medical Press and Circular, The Clinique and many others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *