Royal College of Physicians

MS. 405: Dr. Locke’s case of the tic doloureux in the Countess of Northumberland

Locke’s notes on the case of the Countess of Northumberland, who suffered from a violent toothache, accompanied by a facial tic [“convulsio”], in December 1677. The countess, Elizabeth Wriothesley, was the widow of Joscelyn, 11th Earl of Northumberland, and the wife of Ralph Montague, then serving as English ambassador to France. Locke was in Paris at the time and was summoned to attend the countess. He communicated details of the case in letters to Dr. John Mapletoft who consulted his London colleagues Dr. John Micklethwaite, Sir Charles Scarburgh, Dr. Edmund Dickinson, and Dr. Thomas Sydenham.

The case notes consist of two quires: 8 pages in 8o and 10 pages in 4o. The notes were given to the Royal College of Physicians by Lord King.