George Wyld  M.D. (17 March 1821 – 24 June 1906) was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy in 1851 after he was treated homeopathically by Dr. Robert Ellis Dudgeon for nervous tension brought on by studying for his medical degree. Wyld became a physician at the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square and the London Homeopathic Hospital at 32 Golden Square. In 1876, he served as the acting President of the British Homeopathic Society. He was also President of the Swedenborg Theosophical Society (NB: this is not the Theosophical Society, founded in 1875).

George Wyld was a founder member of the Liberal Unionist Party in 1887, an alliance with the Conservatives, and he was also a Director of the London District Railway for 20 years. George Wyld was the brother in law and cousin of John Stuart Blackie, and he was related to Prime Minister William Ewert Gladstone. George Wyld was an advocate of Turkish Baths, the Water Cure, Temperance and purity of diet and mind, and was a friend of Arthur Conan Doyle.

George Wyld practiced at 12 Great Cumberland Place. He was also listed in James John Garth Wilkinson‘s address book as residing at Wimbledon Park, Surrey.

George Wyld was born in March 1821 in Gilston, Fifeshire, the seventh son of James Wyld (1776 – 1860), a successful wine merchant and Managing Director of the Commercial Bank of Scotland (later, the Royal Bank of Scotland), and Marion Stodart (1783 – 1862).

Wyld’s family were close neighbours in Leith of William Ewert Gladstone’s uncle Thomas. The Wylds and the Gladstones were intermarried, George Wyld’s sister Eliza was married to John Stuart Blackie, and she had a prejudice against orthodox medical practitioners due to a previous ‘unhappy experience.’

George Wyld was also related to Henry Campbell Bannerman (Prime Minister 1905 – 1908), lawyer James Lorimer (1818 – 1890), and his sons Robert Stodart Lorimer (1864 – 1929) and John Henry Lorimer (1856 – 1936), the latter the father of Hew Lorimer (1907 – 1993). He was also related to Henry Cecil Kennedy Wyld (1870 – 1945), Catherine Carswell (1879 – 1946), Anna M Stoddart (1840 – 1911), David George Ritchie (1853 – 1903) (a friend of Arnold Toynbee – who was a friend of James Hinton, who was related to Mary Everest Boole, the daughter homeopath Thomas Roupell Everest), John Riddle Stodart, George Tweedie Stodart.

There were several other siblings, including Augusta, Isabella, William, Janet, Robert Stodart Wyld (1855 – 1891), Mary, and his daughter Marion Janet Wyld, married Rev. Claud Brown (1850 – 1929).

George Wyld received his education at Edinburgh Academy, before entering University College London to pursue his medical studies. He completed his medical education at the University of Edinburgh where, in 1851, he received his M.D.

In 1852, Wyld married London stockbroker’s daughter Mary Emily Kennedy (1829 – 1917). They had six children: Marion Janet (1854 – 1879), Constance Maud (1856 – 1931), George Herbert (1859 – 1944), Ida (1861 – 1929), William Edward Norman (1867 – 1936), and Grace Helen (1870 – 1950).

George Wyld had a large and successful private practice in London. He knew many of the staff of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square, including John Anderson, William Henry Ashurst, William Thomas BergerChristian Karl Josias Bunsen, William Arthur Case, James Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, Paul Francois Curie, J. M. Douglas, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of WiltonThomas Engall, Thomas Roupell Everest, G. H. Fletcher, John Fowler, Joseph GloverRobert GrosvenorRobert HamiltonJoseph Hands, Sydney HansonAmos Henriques, Thomas Higgs, Charles Hunt, T. H. Johnstone, Henry Kelsall, Joseph Laurie, Henry Victor MalanWilliam Leaf,  Charles Powell Leslie, John Miller, James More Molyneux, Chas Pasley, Mathias Roth, Frederick Sandoz, W. Stephenson, Samuel Sugden, Allan Templeton, Major Tyndale, William Warne, C. Wilkinson, James John Garth Wilkinson, David Wilson, S. Wilson and many others.

In 1858 George Wyld attended a Festival in aid of the London Homeopathic Hospital with many Aristocratic and gentry patrons also attending, alongside Dr. Ayerst, William Bayes, Hugh Cameron, Edward Charles Chepmell, William Vallancy Drury, George Napoleon Epps, Arthur Guinness, Edward Hamilton, Frantz Hartmann, Amos Henriques, Joseph Kidd, Thomas Robinson Leadam, J Bell Metcalfe, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, Henry Reynolds, John Rutherford Russell, Charles Caulfield Tuckey, Stephen Yeldham, and many others.

George Wyld was interested in mesmerism as early as 1839, and also experimented with chloroform. In addition, he was a member of the Phrenology Society in 1844, the Vice President of the British National Association of Spiritualists, having visited medium Daniel Dunglas Home, and in 1881 he became a member of the Society for Psychical Research.

George Wyld joined the Theosophical Society in 1879, and he was the President of the Theosophical Society in 1880 – 1882, although he parted company early with Madame Blavatsky and left her Theosophical Society as a result of their disagreements.

In addition to his medical and esoteric interests, George Wyld was active in the London Smoke Abatement Society and the Society for the Simplification of Legal Proceedings, believing that legal advice should be free for the poor. He advocated for many other good causes, alongside his colleague James John Garth Wilkinson. George Wyld was also on the Committee on Sanitary Science at the Society of Arts in 1857.

George Wyld contributed many articles to homeopathic publications. He also edited The life, teaching, and works of the Lord Jesus Christ, arranged as a continuous narrative of the four Gospels.

George Wyld regularly participated in homeopathic society and hospital meetings, and he attended the 2nd International Homeopathic Congress, held in London at Aberdeen House, Argyll Street, Regent Street, on 11th-18th July 1881.

Wyld was a vigorous proponent of direct vaccination, using the lymphs of calves. In May, 1878, he participated in a public debate on the subject with Darlington-based Alexander Wheeler, a voluble member of the anti-compulsory vaccination movement. Wyld published the proceedings of this debate.

In May, 1877, whilst Vice-President of the British Homeopathic Society, Wyld wrote a controversial letter to London allopathic physician B. W. Richardson in which Wyld attempted to bridge the rift between homeopaths and allopaths. This letter was reprinted in a June 1877 Lancet article by Richardson entitled “The Homoeopathic Schism,” where Wyld went so far as to describe Hahnemann’s “peculiar views” and intolerance of orthodox medical practice. Wyld’s overtures were in vain; an editorial in the same issue of The Lancet titled “Striking the Flag” ridiculed his aspirations of obtaining concessions from the profession and assured its readers that unrepentant homeopathists would continue to be excluded from the wider medical community. The contentious correspondence was reprinted in The Times newspaper where additional commentaries by leading homeopaths, including President-elect of the British Homoeopathic Congress, Dr. Alfred C. Pope, and London Homeopathic Hospital obstetrician, Dr. David Dyce Brown, made clear that Wyld’s overtures were not representative of the views of his homeopathic colleagues.

Towards the end of his career some of Wyld’s medical colleagues criticized him for his increasing involvement in spiritualism, and it was observed that his interest in this cause had affected his private practice.

In his later years George Wyld moved to Tunbridge Wells where he died peacefully at his home, “Somerville,” Mount Ephraim, in June, 1906, aged 85. His Obituary is in the British Homeopathic Review and The Homoeopathic World in 1906.

[Below, a biographical account of George Wyld compiled by his grandson]:

“… My mother’s father, George Wyld, born in 1821, also came of an old Scottish stock – in fact the Wylds claimed descent from Merlin! My great great grandfather John Wyld was in business at Penicuik; his son James married Marion Stodart, of a Lanarkshire family; her mother was Marion Haig of Bemerayde [actually Alison Turnbull; Robert Stodart’s mother was Marion Haig] – James bought Gilston in Fife, and there his large family was brought up.

“My grandfather graduated M.D. at Edinburgh and then went to London, where he built up a flourishing practice, though somewhat spoilt by his adherence to spiritualism and to homeopathy. He was one of the first volunteers in the London Scottish, of which his red beard and six foot stature must have made him a striking feature.

“In London he made the acquaintance of a family of Scottish extraction, but domiciled for a century in England – the Kennedys. It was this family with which my grandfather became friendly, and he eventually married Mary Emily Kennedy, (born in 1829), in August 1852 (recorded as George Wyld, son of James Wyld of Gilston in The Gentleman’s Magazine Vol 192).

“In religion, my forbears had all, so far back as I know of them, been adherents of Presbyterianism, except the Kennedys who were Unitarians. In 1843 ( the Disruption ) the Wylds had become enthusiastic Free Kirkers; my great aunt Augusta used to describe to me how she and other members of the family had accompanied the disrupting ministers from the Assembly in St Andrew’s, George Street, down the hill to the hall in Canon mills where they organised their schism from the Established Kirk.

“The result of migration to London however was that my grandparents ultimately conformed to the Church of England.”

And from an earlier set of writings:

“Next year [Claud Brown] married his cousin, Marion Wyld. My father’s grandfather, George Robert Broun, had married Amelia Isabella Wyld. According to a tradition the Wylds were descended from Merlin!

“In the 18th century this particular family appears at Penicuik; James, Amelia’s brother, bought a house in Fife, and became James Wyld of Gilston. He married Marion Stodart, whose mother was Marion Haig of Bemerside (Alison Turnbull: ed). They had 15 children. Robert, the eldest, was a philosopher and at one time Provost of South Queensferry. William was a soldier in the Indian Army, and fought in the Sikh war and in the Mutiny.

“George, my grandfather, was M.D. of Edinburgh, but he migrated to London; there he nearly spoilt an excellent practice by taking up Spiritualism and Homeopathy. He was also one of the first recruits of the London Scottish. He was over 6 foot and had a bushy beard, originally red; his nickname among the boys of Edinburgh was Carrotyheid.

“In London he met at church a family as large as his own named Kennedy…” George Wyld’s involvement with spiritualism is well documented on the web. You can read more about his time as President of the Theosophical Society and his subsequent rift with Madam Blavatsky, and some of his writings…. The 1861 census shows him residing at 12 Great Cumberland Street, St Marylebone, London with his wife, Emily, his first two daughters, Marion and Maud, and his first son, George, plus some servants and a lodger…’

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