John Betts, MD, was the son of Edward Betts by his wife Dorothy (Venables). He was born at Winchester, and educated at the collegiate school there, whence he was elected, in 1642, a scholar of Corpus Christi college, Oxford. He took his degree of AB 9th February, 1646; but, being ejected by the parliamentary visitors in 1648, applied himself to physic, and accumulating his degrees, proceeded doctor of medicine 11th April, 1654. He was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1654, and a Fellow 20th October, 1664. He was a member of the church of Rome, but whether by birth or conversion does not appear. His position in the College would seem to have been influenced by his religious opinions, and the varying tendencies of the times in which he lived.(1) Dr Betts was Censor in 1671, 1673, 1685, 1686, and was named an Elect 25th June, 1685. He was one of the physicians in ordinary to Charles II. On the first of July, 1689, he was returned to the House of Lords as “a Papist;” and on the 25th October, 1692, was threatened with the loss of his place as an Elect, if he did not take the oath of allegiance to the King. He did not take the oath, but was not disturbed in his position, probably on account of his age. Dr Betts was dead on the 15th May, 1695, when Dr Hulse was named an Elect in his place. He was buried at St Pancras.(2)
He was the author of -
De Ortu et Naturâ Sanguinis. 12mo. Lond. 1669.
Anatomia Thomæ Parri, annum centisimum quinquagesimum secundum et novem menses agentis; cum clarissimi viri Gulielmi Harvæi, aliorumque adstantium medicorum regiorum observationibus.
[(1) “Joannes Betts qui ob suam in Pontificis Romani superstitione contumaciam, Collegio exclusus fuit anno 1679, sed 1684 restitutus.” Dr Middleton Massey's MS notes.
(2) Lysons's Environs, vol. iii, p. 354.]