John Hughes Bennett was born in London and received his early education at the Grammar and Mount Radford Schools at Exeter.1 His mother, an intelligent cultured woman, spent an unusual amount of time with her son, nurturing his literary and artistic tastes and instructing him in elocution and histrionics. Traveling on the Continent, especially in France, they spent many hours together before he began the study of medicine. In 1829, Bennett became apprenticed to Sedgwick, a surgeon at Maidstone; in 1833, he began formal training in medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
Lacking friends, but with a well-prepared mind and a zeal for medicine, Bennett promptly acquired a reputation as an industrious student of anatomy, physiology, and pathology. A ready discusser in the scientific sessions of the Royal Medical Society, his participation in polemics sharpened his debating skill and enhanced his knowledge in the medical sciences. The highest scholastic