Revd Edward STONE (1702–1768)
Discoverer of the active ingredient in aspirin
Former Hitchman brewery, West Street, Chipping Norton
Edward Stone was born at Princes Risborough in 1702. He went up to Wadham College in 1720 where he later became a Fellow. From 1738 he held livings at Horsenden, Buckinghamshire and Drayton near Banbury. In 1745 became chaplain to Sir Jonathan Cope at Bruern Abbey and served various curacies around Chipping Norton. He was also a JP for Oxfordshire, actively enforcing the Poor Law. While suffering from various ‘agues’ he resorted to a natural remedy known as Peruvian Bark, brought over by the Jesuits. He experimented by gathering and drying a pound of willow bark and creating a powder which he gave to about fifty persons: it was consistently found to be a ‘powerful astringent and very efficacious in curing agues and intermitting disorders’. He had discovered salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. In 1763 he sent a letter announcing his discovery to Lord Macclesfield, President of the Royal Society. The letter survives to this day.
He lived on the site of the Hitchman Brewery in West Street, Chipping Norton, where the plaque has been erected, and was buried at Horsenden.
In 1853 a more digestible compound of acetyl chloride and sodium salicylate was developed and later marketed by Bayer under the name Aspirin.
- Sources: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Aspirin Foundation, The Amazing Story of Aspirin (1981)
The plaque was unveiled at Hitchman Brewery, West Street, Chipping Norton on 1 October 2003 by Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board
Discovered the active
ingredient in Aspirin
whilst living near here
The Chipping Norton Society