William Gilgeous Guyana Ireland

Biography of William Gilgeous

William Benjamin Gilgeous was the son of John Jacob Gilgeous of Barbados. The family was living in British Guyana, however, at the time he began his studies in medicine at Glasgow University. He enrolled there in two sessions, 1825-26 and 1827-28. He did not graduate, however, but completed his medical education at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating M.B. in 1836. He practised in Black Rock, Dublin, where he married Anna Wilson on 21st September 1837.

There are several references in the proceedings of learned societies to his interest in natural history, especially but not exclusively, birds. Thanks to a reference by H. D. Richardson on ‘Dogs: Their Origin and Varieties’ it is known that he owned a Spanish or Cuban Mastiff, a ‘remarkably fine specimen of this breed’ which ‘fell into the possession of Dr. Gilgeous, of Demerara’.

His father, John Jacob, was a wealthy Demerara planter. He owned the Windsor Castle plantation, and was awarded £18139 1s 7d when he applied for compensation for the ‘loss’ of 333 enslaved persons in 1836. He also had an interest as a creditor in another plantation, ‘Better Success’, which, after his death, became the subject of a case litigated by his heirs, Sarah Maria and Dr. William Benjamin Gilgeous. The case wound its way from the courts of the colony and ended on appeal to the Privy Council in 1854.

William continued to practice in Ireland and named his house Windsor Lodge, no doubt reflecting his Demerara plantation connection to Windsor Castle estate.

H.D.Richardson, Dogs:Their Origins and Varieties https://archives.org

‘John Jacob Gilgeous’, Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/7196


Other Online Resources

Archival Materials

  • Medical Directory 1851
  • Nineteenth Century British Newspapers
  • University of Glasgow Archives, Medical Matriculations


William Gilgeous
GU Degree:
University Link: Student
Occupation categories: M.D. (Medical Doctor)
English snippet: Medical Student at the University of Glasgow, 1825-26 and 1827-28.
Record last updated: 19th Jul 2022

Country Associations

Guyana Guyana

Ireland Ireland

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University Connections

University Roles

  • Student