Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Dr Henry Ronalds

Dr Henry Ronalds' thesis on heart disease, written in Latin for his medical degree (1814)

Sir Francis Ronalds' cousin Henry Ronalds (1790-1847) graduated in medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1814. The two English universities Oxford and Cambridge were still barred to religious Dissenters like the Ronalds family and he was the first amongst them to receive a higher education. He published several articles in the medical literature.

His wife Elizabeth Lucy née Robertson (1798-1892) - called Lucy - was the only child and heir of William Robertson, a merchant who made his fortune in the American fur trade and acquired significant property in Canada and northern USA. Orphaned as a child, she was brought up by a distant relative who lived in Brentford, West London, England, and was a close friend to the Ronalds nurserymen family there. Lucy chose to marry the best educated and most dapper and amiable of the Ronalds boys.

Lucy and Dr Henry had ten children but only one grandchild, who was also called Lucy. She grew up in Ontario, Canada on a farm in her great-grandfather Robertson's land holdings, and eventually inherited his whole estate after her grandmother died at age 94. She was also the only heir of her Ronalds great-grandparents' family home in Brentford.

Further Information

Dr Henry's medical papers:

- Measles (1816)
- Phrenology (1818)
- Impetigo Sparsa (1837)

The Ronalds Family in Brentford and Ontario (2016)
- published by the Brentford & Chiswick Local History Society

Before Eldon House: Lucy Ronalds Harris' Background and Upbringing (2019)
- published in the London and Middlesex Historian

Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph (2016)
- published by Imperial College Press