Sir John Pringle

On the wall of the south transept of Westminster Abbey is a memorial of grey and white marble to Sir John Pringle, physician, by sculptor Joseph Nollekens. On a pyramid is a portrait relief medallion within oak leaves and beneath is the staff of Esculapius and various books. The background is in the form of drapery and the coat of arms shows "three escallops, an escutcheon of Ulster, with a crescent for difference". The monument was erected by his nephew and heir Sir James Pringle and the inscription reads:

Sacred to the memory of Sir JOHN PRINGLE, Baronet, who was at an early period of life Professor of Moral Philosophy in the university of EDINBURGH: afterward physician to the ARMY, to the PRINCESS OF WALES, to the QUEEN and to KING GEORGE III. President of the ROYAL Society; member of the ROYAL Academy of SCIENCES at Paris etc.etc. His medical and philosophical knowledge, his inviolable integrity, and truely Christian virtues rendered him an honour to his age and country. He was born in SCOTLAND in April 1707 and died in LONDON in January 1782.

John was born on 10th April 1707 in Roxburghshire, son of Sir John Pringle and his wife Magdalen. He attended the universities of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh and pursued his medical studies in Leiden and Paris. In 1742 he was appointed physician to the British army and was instrumental in improving care in field hospitals. He was one of the first to make a study of epidemiology and prevention of infection in army hospitals and published several books. Continuing his practice in London he was appointed physician to the Duke of Cumberland and later to the King. In 1752 he married Charlotte Oliver but they had no children. He died on 18th January 1782 and was buried in St James' church, Piccadilly, London.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004

The website of the Clan Pringle


10th April 1707


18th January 1782


Physician; doctor


South Transept

Memorial Type


Material Type


Sir John Pringle
Sir John Pringle
Sir John Pringle
Sir John Pringle memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster