Dr. John Epps was a famous writer and social reformer. He published some two dozen botanical and medical works and classical translations. He was born at Blackheath on February 15th, 1805. The family afterwards removed to Sevenoaks, and in due course young Epps was apprenticed to Mr. Durie, a London surgeon. He soon commenced to write poetry and published a tragedy dealing with the life of John the Baptist, while still a lad. After a course of study at Edinburgh he commenced to practice in London in 1827, and while there married Miss Ellen Elliott on August 24th, 1831. He started the Medical Reform Association and was one of the founders of the Homoeopathic Society. He lectured all over the country on many subjects, being particularly active in urging the abolition of capital punishment and church rates. He lived for a time at Warlingham, before moving to East Grinstead where he built The Yews, since enlarged and re-named Yewhurst. He permanently took up his residence there on April 30th, 1861, and remained for eight years, going back to London early in 1869, where he died on February 12th of that year. He had been invited to contest Northampton for Parliament, but he preferred to work outside Westminster, and became very intimate with all the great Radical leaders, the Chartists, the Cobdenites and the Friends of Italy, being on the Council of the latter Society. As a speaker and writer he won a worldwide reputation.
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