Thomas Parr was said to be 152 years old when he died in 1635 on a visit to London to visit King Charles 1st. If we are to believe his story, he was born in 1483 and was married when he was 80, producing two children and married for a second time at 120 years old. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
There are, or were, at least 3 London Pubs named Old Parr’s Head or Parr’s Head in Camden, Islington, and West Kensington.
This is the inscription on his tomb.
THO: PARR OF YE COUNTY OF SALLOP, BORNE.
IN AD: 1483. HE LIVED IN YE REIGNES OF TEN
PRINCES VIZ: K.ED.4. K.ED.5. K.RICH.3.
K.HEN.7. K.HEN.8. K.EDW.6. Q.MA. Q.ELIZ.
K.JA. & K. CHARLES. AGED 152 YEARS.
& WAS BURYED HERE NOVEMB. 15. 1635.
The famous William Harvey undertook an autopsy and found his internal organs to be in a good state. He suggested this might be due to Parr’s diet of
‘subrancid cheese and milk in every form, coarse and hard bread and small drink, generally sour whey’ and lived free of care.‘
Although there is considerable doubt about the veracity of his old age, BP Doughty thinks he might have been over 100 when he died, although others suggest perhaps only as old as 70 – 80.
Doughty BP. Old Parr: or how old is old? South Med J. 1988 Jul;81(7):906-8. doi: 10.1097/00007611-198807000-00023. PMID: 3293237.
Old Parr’s death is reputed on different days in the sources I found. But it seems he was buried on 15th November 1635, but died on 13th, not 14th, of November.
First published on 14th November 2022. Revised 14th November 2023