Skip to main content

John Leake

Dr John Leake, man-midwife, was buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey on 16th August 1792 aged 65. He has no monument or inscribed gravestone. The Abbey burial book says he was:

...buried by the Reverend Mr Bennett in a lead coffin...opposite Chamber's monument, five feet from the church walls and three feet two inches under the stone.

He was born on 8th June 1729 in Cumberland, son of the Reverend William Leake. Apprenticed to a surgeon in London he later travelled abroad and then was licensed to practice in London in 1766. He taught midwifery and was regarded as the founder of the Westminster Lying-In Hospital (for women and single mothers). Also a writer, his many books include Introduction to the theory and practice of midwifery. His brother William was a surgeon at St Philip's in Minorca. He died at his house in Parliament Street.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Dr John Leake's Hospital...a history...1765-1971 by P. Rhodes, 1977

Born

8th June 1729

Buried

16th August 1792

Field

Writer; physician

Location

North Cloister

John Leake
North Cloister

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related Commemorations

John Hunter

John Hunter

1728-1793
Scientist, Physician and Doctor
Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith

1731-1774
Writer
Richard Cumberland

Richard Cumberland

1732-1811
Writer and Playwright
Christopher Anstey

Christopher Anstey

1724-1805
Writer and Poet
Edmund Ayrton

Edmund Ayrton

1734-1808
Musician and Composer
James Macpherson

James Macpherson

1736-1796
Writer and Poet

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

spacer

The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

Twitter logo Tweet this