Authorised form of nameMerrett; Christopher (? 1614 - 1695); physician and writer on natural philosophy
Other forms of nameMerret, Christopher
Dates? 1614 - 1695
Dates and placesBurial:
St Andrew's Church, Holborn, London, England, Europe
Research Field:
natural history; botany; glassmaking
Gloucester Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1632; BMed 1636, DMed 1643); Oriel College, Oxford (BA 1635)
Practised in London (1640-); Goulstonian lecturer at the Royal College of Physicians (1654); Keeper of library and museum at RCP (1654-1665); compiled first catalogue for the College (1660); Translated and expanded Antonio Neri's 'L'arte vertraria' [The Art of Glass] (1662); produced a new catalogue of British fauna, flora, and fossils (1667); published 'A Short View of the Frauds and Abuses Committed by Apothecaries' (1669)
FRCP (1651-1681)
Royal Society activityMembership:
Original Fellow
Election Date:
Sworn in Anniversary Day 1663
Committee appointments include:
Committee for Agriculture (1664)
Chairman of committee on history of trades
Committee to extract [John] Evelyn's papers (1662)
Other RSActivity:
Involved in botanical and natural history experiments (e.g. ingesting plants brought back by an emissary employed to collect specimens)
Collated lists of chirurgical instruments for operations intended by the Society on dead bodies.
Date of ejection/withdrawal:
22 July 1685 (due to non-payment)
RelationshipsParents: Christopher Merrett
Married: Ann Jenour [or Jenner]
Children: at least two son
Published worksRCN: 49232
RCN: 49234
General contextMerrett's professional life was heavily affected by the plague and the great fire in 1666. During the latter, the college house was destroyed and a majority of its library and records were lost. Under pressure, Merrett had to secure documentary evidence of the College's right to control medical practice in London. He was unsuccessful in shifting physicians towards new empiricism and his post of Keeper of the Library and Museum was decided to be useless after the fire. He appealed this decision twice but was further expelled as a Fellow from the College, four years before his ejection from the Society. His translation of 'The Art of Glass' reportedly spurred a continent-wide interest in glassmaking. He is furthermore credited with the discovery of a second fermentation of wine in order to make it sparkling, presented within a paper to the Royal Society in 1662.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; Foster; ODNB
OtherFormsOfName from DNB
Albert J Koinm, 'Christopher Merret's use of experiment' in NR 2000 vol 54 pp 23-32
Kathleen H Ochs, 'The Royal Society of London's History of Trades Programme: An Early Episode in Applied Science' in NR 1984-85 vol 39 pp 129-158
A Rupert Hall and Marie Boas Hall, 'The Intellectual Origins of the Royal Society - London and Oxford' in NR 1968 vol 23 pp 157-168
E N da C Andrade, 'The Birth and Early Days of the Philosophical Transactions' in NR 1965 vol 20 pp 9-27
W H G Armytage, 'The Royal Society and the Apothecaries' in NR 1954-55 vol 11 pp 22-37
G H Turnbull, 'Samuel Hartlib's Influence on the Early History of the Royal Society' in NR 1953 vol 10 pp 101-130
A C S, 'Notes on the Foundation and History of the Royal Society' in NR 1938 vol 1 pp 32-36
The election date is Merrett's re-election date into the Society after the grant of the second charter in April 1663. All Fellows admitted in a two-month window after this charter, until 22 June 1663, are considered Original Fellows. He was previously mentioned as a member on 2 January 1661.
Hunter gives birth date as 1615; 1614 possibly Old Style.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8074
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
DM/5/63Minutes of meetings of the Committee for Agriculture June-September 1664
RBO/1/4'The Art of Refining' by Dr Merrett22 February 1661
RBC/2/86'Observations concerning the Uniting of the Barks of Trees cut, to the tree itself' brought in by Christopher Merrett9 January 1667
RBC/2/37'An Account of the Tynn Mines working of Tinn in the county of Cornewall' by Christopher Merrett1663
RBC/1/4'The Art of Refining' by Christopher Merrett21 February 1661
RBO/3/47'Observations concerning the uniting of the Barks of Trees cut to the Tree itself' brought in by Christopher Merrett9 January 1667
RBO/3/48'Experiment on Aloe Americana Serratifolia, weighed' by Christopher Merrettnd
RBO/9/112'Paper concerning the mineral called Zaffora by Dr Merrett found amongst Dr Hooks Papers' by Richard Waller1713
CLP/7i/48Paper, observations of Lincolnshire by Christopher Merrett1696
CLP/10iii/2Paper, 'Some observations concerning the ordering of wines' by Christopher Merrett1662
RBC/1/66'Some Observations concerning the Ordering of Wines presented to the Royal Society' by Christopher Merret17 December 1662
CLP/3i/57a/1Manuscript, regarding glass drops by Signor [Geminiano] Montanari[1671]
CLP/3i/57aTranslation, regarding glass drops by Signor [Geminiano] Montanari[1671]
CLP/4i/50Paper, 'A table to find when the Washes [in Lincolnshire] being to be fordable' by Christopher Merrett1 January 1695
RBO/7/52'An Account of Severall Observables in Lincolnshire not taken notice of in Mr Cambden or any other Author' by Christopher Merrett, surveyor of the Port of Bostonnd
RBO/2ii/14'Some Observations concerning the ordering of Wynes [wines] presented to the Royall Society' by Christopher Merrett17 December 1662
CLP/10iii/11Paper, 'Observations concerning the uniting the barks of trees cut, to the tree it self' by [Christopher Merrett][1667]
DM/5/64Minutes of meetings of the Committee for Agriculture (endorsed as 'Transactions of the Georgicall Committee')October 1664-February 1664/5
RBO/2i/14'Some observations concerning the Ordering of Wines' by Christopher Merrett1662
CLP/9i/1Paper 'The Art of refining' by Christopher Merrett[1660]
CLP/9i/12Paper, account of tin mines and working of tin in Cornwall by Christopher Merrett 16 December 1663
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