Doctor William Taylor McComb (1850-1902)


My mother's grandfather, William Taylor McComb, came from Dublin, Ireland, and was a physician and surgeon in Beccles. He was born in 1850 and died in 1902. He married Evelyn Augusta Kellett Melhado on 2 June 1879 at St. Stephen's Church in the Parish of St. Peter in the City of Dublin. They had one son, Arthur William Evelyn McComb. (Kellett is Evelyn's mother's maiden name.)

There was a marriage of a William McComb and a Maria Taylor in the Parish Church of St. Ann Dublin on 25th September 1847. These two must have been his parents.

The records of Queen's University Belfast show that he entered the university on 19 October 1869 at age 18. He had been educated at Dundalk Grammar School and lived at 19 Charlemont Place, Dublin, Ireland. His father was William McComb.

His qualification as LRCS & LRCP is in the registers of the RCPE. A handwritten entry, apparently signed by him, for 1878 reads:

DateName of LicentiatePlace of BirthSignature of Examiner
Double with Coll. of SurgeonsFeby 8William Taylor McCombDublinGeorge Balfour

He is listed as a Medical and Surgical Practitioner resident in Ireland in the 1879 Thom's Irish Almanac - living at the above address and being L.R.C.P. & S. Edin. In the same directory, his father-in-law Captain Melhado is shown living nearby at 1 Wilton Terrace.


There are entries in Kelly's Suffolk Directory 1900 for Beccles, where he is listed at the Hospital in Fair Close and also under the Commercial section. The latter reads:

McComb, William Taylor, L.R.C.P. & L.R.C.S. Edin., L.A.H. Dub. (firm Crowfoot, McComb & Fox), physician & surgeon, medical officer and public vaccinator, Beccles district of Wangford Union & medical officer of health to the corporation & to the workhouse, Hungate Street.
Naturally the partners are also listed:
Crowfoot, William Miller, M.B., F.R.C.S. Eng., L.S.A., J.P.
Fox, George Raymond, F.R.C.S. Eng., L.R.C.P. Lond.

English Medical directories give further details of his residences and qualifications:

The first occurrence is:
1880 - McCOMB, Wm.Taylor 3 Nightingale-pl., Beccles, Suffolk - LRCP Edin. 1878; LRCS Edin. 1878; LAH Dub. 1876; (Qu. Coll. Belf., Carm. Sch. and Richm. &c Hosp. Dub.)

1890 - McCOMB, Wm.Taylor, 2 Esdelle-terr., Beccles, Suffolk - LRCP Edin. 1878; LRCS Edin. 1878; LAH Dub. 1876; (Qu. Coll. Belf., Carm. Sch. and Richm. &c Hosp. Dub.); Surg. Beccles Hosp.

1900 & 1902 - McCOMB, Wm.Taylor, St.Deny's, London Rd., Beccles, Suffolk - LRCP Edin. 1878; LRCS Edin. 1878; LAH Dub. 1876; (Qu. Coll. Belf. and Carm. Sch.); Med. Off. Health Beccles; Med. Off. Wangford Union and Shipmeadow Workh.; Surg. Beccles Hosp.


St. Denys, Beccles
St. Denys in Hungate Street, Beccles
(a modern picture of the house)

In 1880, the directory also lists other doctors including his partners. It seems Wm Crowfoot was one of a medical dynasty!

E B Crowfoot; W E Crowfoot (retired); W M Crowfoot; R I Metcalfe.
Some of his records as Medical Officer of Health are in the Wellcome library, a good source of information about the medical profession!

Dr. McComb died at home in Beccles in 1902 at the age of 51. There are references in the local papers as noted here:
Almanack 10 Jun 1902: The death takes place at his residence in Hungate Street, of Dr. William Taylor McComb, [aged 53] after several week’s illness.
Almanack 14 Jun 1902: The funeral takes place of Dr. W. T. McComb. The Rev. Canon Rowsell officiated, and there were a number of tradesmen and members of benefit societies present.

His life is commemorated in Beccles church with a brass plaque:
In memory of / WILLIAM TAYLOR McCOMB / born Septr.1850 died June 1902 / “Come unto Me all ye that labour / and are heavy laden and I will / give you rest”

His wife Evelyn died in a nursing home in Norwich in 1941, as recorded in these newspaper extracts.


I have not investigated his siblings but know from this reference that he had some. This is almost certainly Colonel R. B. McComb.
East Suffolk Gazette 7 Dec 1925: DEATH of Colonel McComb, youngest brother of Dr WT McComb, late of Beccles. Commissioned in Army Service Corps in 1874. Service in Egyptian War 1882 (medal & Kedive’s Star); Bechuanaland Expedition 1884-85, Zulu War 1888, Boer War 1899-1902. (medals). He served throughout the Great War.


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