William Harvey: Contributions, Hospitals, Achievements, Facts & Books

William Harvey is an infamous English physician who contributed significantly to the world of anatomy and physiology. He was the one who thoroughly explained in detail the systematic circulation and transportation of blood from the heart to the brain and several parts of the body.

From this article, we will let you each and everything about this fantastic physician. Before going through some heavy stuff, let’s quickly know William from these quick facts;

Some Quick Facts About William Harvey

Full Name

William Harvey

Nick Name

William Harvey Carney

Birth Date

April 1, 1578

Age of Death

79 years old

Cause of Death

Cerebral hemorrhage


June 3, 1657



Birth Place

Folkestone, Kent, England

Father’s Name

 Thomas Harvey

Mother’s Name

Joan Halke




Blood Circulation








King’s School, Caius College, Royal College of Physicians,  University of Padua



Marital Status



Elizabeth Browne


33 pounds a year

Social Media


William Harvey Parents, Siblings, Nationality

This English physician was born on the 1st of April in 1578 in Folkestone, Kent, England. He was raised by his father, Thomas Harvey, who actively worked as a jurat of Folkestone and mayor in 1600. Thomas portrait is still available on the central panel of a wall of the dining room at Rolls Park, Chigwell, in Essex.

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The father and son shared common feelings with each other. William used to rust his father so much that he made him the treasurer of their wealth when Harvey received great estates. Not to mention, this physical was the first child and had eight other siblings. Similarly, his mother’s name was Joan Halke, who had a total of seven sons and two daughters.

Childhood and Education

It is reported that since William’s childhood, he was calm, diligent, and intelligent. He enrolled in one of the schools in Folkestone, where he learned Latin. Later on, he joined King’s School and studied there for five years. Soon after that, he set his journey on matriculation at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge in the year 1593. 

Moving on, in 1597, Harvey graduated from Caius with a Bachelor of Arts. Then he ventured out to France, Germany, Italy, where he entered the University of Padua in 1599. Amidst his study, he befriended Hieronymus Fabricius and read Fabriclus’s De Venarum Ostiolis. He was also the one who tutored him. At the age of 24, he graduated as a Doctor of Medicine.

William Harvey
William Harvey is an English physician

Eventually, William returned to his hometown and became a fellow of Gonville and Claus College. Later he established himself in London and joined the Royal College of Physicians on 5 October 1604. Soon Harvey became a fellow of the college on 5 June 1607. Later, he agreed to work at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and by 1609 he succeeded Dr. Wikinson and became in charge of the hospital.


William’s career was influenced by Elizabeth Browne. Soon after their marriage, this physician became physician to Elizabeth’s successor James I and James’ son Charles when he became. Both of the royals were impressed by his work and encouraged his research.

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Later on, William extended his research through the dissection of animals. He disclosed his finding at the College of Physicians in 1616. He published his theories in the book named Exercitatio Anatomica de Motv Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus’ (‘An Anatomical Study of the Motion of the Heart and of the Blood in Animals’).

William Harvey
William’s book Exercitatio Anatomica de Motv Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus’

The book thoroughly explained how the heart transported blood in a circular course through the body. His discovery attracted a lot of audiences from England. He is also the one who suggested that humans and other mammals reproduce through the fertilization of an egg by sperm. To prove this theory, it took two centuries, and the mammalian egg was observed.

William Harvey Hospital

William Harvey Hospital is one of the three leading hospitals in the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. It is situated in Willesborough, Ashford, and si named after this talented physician. For the time being, the hospital employs approximately 2,500 people and consists of 476 beds. The hospital was built in 1973, commissioned in 1977, and opened in the year of 1979. It extends up to 30 acres.

In 2014, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust searched for a partner to make a private unit at this site. In 1978, the MP for Ashford, Keith Speed, chastised proposals that services will need patients to be bussed back to the old hospital when William Harvey Hospital opened.

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In 2000, media reported that the patient’s life was at risk due to lack of staff. Damian Green criticized the management of the NHS in parliament. He also claimed that the patients who have been waiting in the accident and emergency department for 24 hours.

Wife and Kids

William walked down the aisle as soon as he got his admission to the Royal College of Physicians. He married a beautiful daughter of Lancelot Browne, Elizabeth Brown. Just like this physician, his father-in-law was also a medical doctor and both of them did not have any kids.

Cause of Death, Burial

During his old age, William became the victim of insomnia, gout, kidney stones. Some even say that before his death, Harvey decided to take his life with an alcoholic tincture of opium (laudanum). However, he failed to do so. This physician used to spent his time half in brother Eliab’s house and a half in Daniel’s house.

William Harvey
Harvey died because of Cerebral Hemorrhage

William retired from his work and hospital and used to read general literature to kill his time. Unfortunately, Harvey died on 3 June 1657 in the house of Eliab. The cause of death was due to cerebral hemorrhage. His body was buried in Hempstead, Essex, and a funeral process was initiated on 26 June 1657. As per his desire, “William was laid in the chapel between the bodies of his two nieces, and like them, he was last in the lead, coffin-less.”

Salary and Mansion

It is reported that during William’s time in the St Bartholomew’s Hospital, he made up to 33 pounds a year. Even though he had two marvelous houses in West Smithfield, he stayed in a small house in Ludgate.

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After his demise, he left his wealth and goods in his extended family’s hand and left some of them to the Royal College of Physicians.

William Harvey Books

  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  • The Circulation of the Blook: And Other Writings
  • La Circulation Du Sanf; Des Mouvements Du Coeur Chez L’Homme Et Chez Les Animaux
  • The Works of William Harvey, M.D
  • The Ear in Health and Disease, With Practical Remarks On The Prevention And Treatment of Deafness
  • The Visitations of Northamptonshire Made in 1564 and 1618-19: With Northamptonshire Pedigrees from Various Harleian Mss
  • The Visitations of Suffolk Made by Hervey, Clarenceux, 1561, Cooke, Clarenceux, 1577, and Raven, Richmond Herald, 1612, with Notes and an Appendix of Additional Suffolk Pedigrees
  • The Visitation of Norfolk in the Year 1563: Taken by William Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms
  • The Four Visitations of Berkshire Made and Taken by Thomas Benolte, Clarnceuc, Anno 1532; By William Harvey, Clarnceux, Anno 1566; By Henry Cheating, Clarenceux, Anno 1623; And by Elias; Vol
  • Lectures on the Whole of Anatomy: An Annotated Translation of Prelectiones Anatomine Universalis
  • On Corpulence in Relation to Disease: With Some Remarks on Diet (1872)
  • Spanish for the Rest of Us

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William Harvey Quotes

  • “Doctrine once sown strikes deep its root, and respect for antiquity influences all men.”
  • Very many maintain that all we know is still infinitely less than all that still remains unknown.
  • The heart is the household divinity which, discharging its function, nourishes, cherishes, quickens the whole body, and is indeed the foundation of life, the source of all action.
  • Civilization is only a series of victories against nature.
  • I profess to learn and to teach anatomy not from books but from dissections, not from the tenets of Philosophers but from the fabric of Nature.
  • Nature is a volume of which God is the author.
  • Moderate labor of the body conduces to the preservation of health and cares for many initial diseases.
  • “The heart of animals is the foundation of their life, the sovereign of everything within them, the sun of their microcosm, that upon which all growth depends, from which all power proceeds.”
  • ― William Harvey, An Anatomical Disquisition on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  • Only by understanding the wisdom of natural foods and their effects on the body shall we attain mastery of disease and pain, which shall enable us to relieve the burden of mankind.
  • I found the task so truly arduous… that I was almost tempted to think… that the movement of the heart was only to be comprehended by God. For I could neither rightly perceive at first when the systole and when the diastole took place by reason of the rapidity of the movement…”
  • ― William Harvey, On The Motion Of The Heart And Blood In Animals
  • Good, God! how should the mitral valves prevent the regurgitation of air and not of blood?”
  • ― William Harvey, On The Motion Of The Heart And Blood In Animals


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