An Englishman who is said to have lived for 152 years. In 1635 the Earl of Arundel
, Thomas Howard
, heard of this ancient
man known as Old Parr living on one of his estates in Shropshire
. He learnt his story, and took him to London to meet the King and Court. Parr became a great celebrity, but died (ostensibly of rich living) not long after his arrival in London. He is buried in Westminster Abbey
Thomas Parr's true story probably cannot be known, but the story published by John Taylor in The Old, Old, Very Old Man was that he was born in 1483, son of John Parr of Winnington, near Shrewsbury. When he was 80 he married Jane Taylor; their son and daughter died in infancy. He also had an illegitimate child by Katherine Milton. At the age of 100 he did penance for this. After this first wife's death he married again, without issue.
His frugal diet and healthy lifestyle (an agricultural labourer) kept him very fit, except only that he had been blind for twenty years. When he died, Dr William Harvey examined him he was in good condition. It was suggested that the sudden access to wine and city pollution in his new situation had killed him off.
Parr was interred in the South Transept of the Abbey. His inscription reads
THO: PARR OF YE COUNTY OF SALLOP. BORNE
IN AD: l483. HE LIVED IN YE REIGNES OF TEN
PRINCES VIZ: K.EDW.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 l52 YEARES.
& WAS BURYED HERE NOVEMB. l5. l635.
His name became proverbial for longevity. Ambrose Bierce begins his Devil's Dictionary entry on macrobian by mentioning Methuselah and Old Parr.
There is a pub in Upper St, Islington called the Old Parr's Head.