1699: Scottish baronet dies after “pissing hair”

George August Eliott, later Lord Heathfield, who had no trouble with hair-pissing

The Eliotts were Scottish landowners who fielded several British parliamentarians during the 17th and 18th centuries. Initially Royalist, the clan Eliott retained its holdings and influence after the Civil War. One of their number was Sir William Eliott, who became the family patriarch and second baronet when his father Sir Gilbert died in 1677. Sir William lived a full life, marrying twice and fathering seven children (eight according to some records).

When Sir William himself died on February 19th 1699, he was in the care of two prominent Scottish physicians, Sir Archibald Stevenson and Dr Archibald Pitcairne. According to their report, given to Dr John Wallace, Sir William died from an enlarged bladder stone. His last weeks were spent “pissing hairs”, followed by the torturous ritual of having them tugged out of his urethra:

“The hairs he pissed… which were a great many, and some of extraordinary length, did grow out of that [bladder] stone, because when the hairs would hang out at his penis, as they did frequently, to his great torment, [the physicians] were obliged to pull them out, which was always with that resistance as if plucked out by the root.”

The source of these miscreant urethral hairs was revealed after Sir William’s death, when Stevenson and Pitcairne performed an autopsy. They reported that:

“The stone… taken out of his bladder was about the bigness of a goose egg. The stone was hard and heavy, and for the most part covered over with a scurf [scaly texture], not unlike the lime mortar of walls, and in the chinks of the scurf there were some hairs grown out.”

Sir William’s grandson, George Augustus Eliott, joined the army and became one of the more successful commanders of his age, fighting with distinction during the Seven Years’ War, the American Revolutionary War and the Siege of Gibraltar. Sir William’s descendants still occupy the Eliott baronetcy, now onto its 12th incarnation, and the ancestral home of Stobs Castle.

Source: Letter from Dr J. Wallace FRS, October 25th 1700. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.

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