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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey and St Margaret's Church are currently closed for general visiting but we remain open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily services.

The Abbey is also open for individual prayer from 10:30am - 12:30pm, Monday to Saturday.

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

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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