Etherised: ‘a plodding antiquary’

For many years I have slept poorly. By 5 am I am generally up and about. If I could sing I would join the dawn chorus!

In current times, where we live with essential restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I take my once daily exercise locally.

So, in hours before most are awake, I have been visiting local churchyards. Here I find inaction and distance: a special place where I can be respectful and social.

In Tullibody Churchyard I came across  – this now time-worn memorial – to Magnus Retzius Simpson:

Magnus Retzius Simpson was the youngest son of Dr James Young Simpson.

Dr James Young Simpson, “a man of enormous energy and great personal charm”, reported his discovery of the anaesthetic effects of chloroform in 1847. The practice of Medicine and Surgery was forever changed by his discovery:

Dr James Young Simpson named his youngest son Magnus Rezius after a Swedish obstetrician that he much admired.

The Simpson family were from Bathgate in West Lothian [I was aware of this, as after working as a doctor in Clackmannanshire for nearly 15 years, I spent my last years as an NHS doctor in West Lothian].

So why then, was this son of anaesthetics, buried in Tullibody?

This report in a November 1884 edition of the Alloa Advertiser explains:


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