He graduated from the University of Oxford, where he was an exhibitioner at University College tutored by Obadiah Walker, to become a Fellow of Lincoln College.
A number of landmark buildings in Oxford, including the Radcliffe Camera (in Radcliffe Square), the Radcliffe Infirmary, and the Radcliffe Observatory were named after him. The John Radcliffe Hospital, a large tertiary hospital in Headington was also named after him. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine in 1682 and moved to London shortly afterwards.
There he enjoyed great popularity and became royal physician to William III and Mary World War II On his death in the following year, his property was bequeathed to various charitable causes, including Street Bartholomew"s Hospital and University College, Oxford, where the Radcliffe Quad is named after him.
The charitable trust founded by his will of 13 September 1714 still operates as a registered charity. 1. Among the many singularities related of Radcliffe, it has been noticed that, when he was in a convivial party, he was unwilling to leave it, even though sent for by persons of the highest distinction.
Whilst he was thus deeply engaged at a tavern, he was called on by a grenadier, who desired his immediate attendance on his colonel. But no entreaties could prevail on the physician to postpone his revelry.
"Sir," quoth the soldier, "my orders are to bring you." And being a very powerful man, he took him up in his arms, and carried him off per force.
After traversing some dirty lanes, the doctor and his escort arrived at a narrow alley. "What the Devil is all this," said Radcliffe, "your colonel doesn"t live here?"
"Number," said his military friend, "my colonel does not live here – but my comrade does, and he"s worth two of the colonel, so by God, doctor, if you don"t do your best for him, it will be the worst for you!"
2. To confer medical authority upon themselves, doctors of the day often published their theories, clinical findings, and pharmacopoeia (collections of "receipts" or prescriptions).
Radcliffe, however, not only wrote little but also took a certain iconoclastic pride in having read little, remarking once of some vials of herbs and a skeleton in his study: “This is Radcliffe’s library.” However, he bequeathed a substantial sum of money to Oxford for the founding of the Radcliffe Library, an endowment which, Samuel Garth quipped, was "about as logical as if a eunuch should found a seraglio."
The John Radcliffe Hospital and the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford are named after John Radcliffe, as is Oxford Radcliffe Private Healthcare which is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
4th Parliament of Great Britain]
In 1690 he was elected Member of Parliament for Bramber, Sussex and in 1713 member for Buckingham.