Skip to main content

Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey remains open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily Eucharist service if you are able to travel here safely within current government guidelines.

However, for the time being we are unable to open the Abbey and St Margaret’s Church for general visiting.

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


8th June 1729


16th August 1792


Writer; physician


North Cloister

John Leake
North Cloister

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

Pamela - Rector's Secretary

Twitter logo Tweet this