Copy of the last will and testament with codicil of William Hunter, 1718-1783, anatomist and obstetrician

Scope and Content

  • Copy of the last will and testament of William Hunter made 23 July 1781 with codicil dated 31 August 1782

Administrative / Biographical History

William Hunter was born at Long Calderwood Farm, East Kilbride, near Glasgow, Scotland, in 1718 . He came as a student to the University of Glasgow in 1731 and later studied medicine at Edinburgh, before going to London in 1741. Hunter quickly became well-known as a physician, especially as an obstetrician, and built up a distinguished clientle, including members of the British Royal Family. He soon assembled a collection of anatomical and pathological specimens, related to his medical work. In the 1750s he began collecting art and later diversified into coins, books, manuscripts and ethnography. In 1768 he opened a medical school at his house in Great Windmill Street, Glasgow. In 1783  Hunter bequeathed his entire collection to Glasgow University, along with funds to construct a suitable Museum building. Under the terms of his will, however, his collections of books, manuscripts, coins, medals, paintings, shells, minerals, and anatomical and natural history specimens were retained in London until 1807 for the use of his nephew Matthew Baillie (1761-1823). The Hunterian Museum was subsequently built on the grounds of the University of Glasgow


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift : Dr K Bryn Thomas : 1959 : ACCN 4011

Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue available at by searching for call reference MS Gen 1000

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 14 February 2003

No alterations made to date

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Special Collections

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Dr K Bryn Thomas


None expected

Related Material

GB 247 MS Hunter: Papers of William Hunter

Location of Originals

This is a copy of the original will