George Bellamy was one of Plymouth’s most celebrated medical men, even though he does not appear to have ever practised his art in the town. Born in an old house, close to St Andrew’s Church, in 1773, he was brought up by his aunt (his mother died in the act of giving birth). At an early age he served an apprenticeship under Dr Robert Mowbray in Plymouth Dock (as Devonport then was known), before completing his medical studies in London. At the age of twenty he entered naval service as surgeon’s mate on the ‘Myrmidon’, a ship commanded by his uncle, John Burrow.
Subsequently involved in many naval episodes, including the ‘Glorious 1st of June’,in 1794, he was captured the following year and thrown into a French prison where he distinguished himself by treating prisoners – almost without assistance.
In a long and colourful career he was arrested, in 1809, for arranging a duel with Dr Gasking on Plymouth Hoe. Two years later he was made Mayor of Plymouth, establishing, during his time in office, the Corporation’s right over the military authorities, to use the Hoe. Three years later, when on board the Royal yacht ‘Mary’ he was made physician to the Duke of Clarence (later William IV). A descendant of the Captain Bellamy who served Queen Elizabeth against the Armada, Bellamy was a major local landowner and lived a long life, finally taking leave of this mortal coil in 1863, in his ninetieth year.