Parr and Jenkins
OF these men, who are singular instances, of a patriarchal longevity of life, the reader may not be displeased to attend to the following well-authenticated notices concerning them.
Thomas Parr was born in the last year of King Edward the Fourth, anno 1483. He married his first wife, Jane, at eighty years of age; and, in above thirty years, she brought him but two children, the eldest of which did not live above three years. He married his second wife, Catherine, when he was an hundred and twenty years of age, by whom he had one child. He lived till he had attained to something above one hundred and fifty years of age. Thomas Earl of Arundel caused him to be brought to Westminster about two months before his death: there he passed most of his time in sleep; and an ocular witness has thus described him—
“From head to heel, his body had, all over,
A quickset, thickset, nat’ral, hairy cover.”
It is supposed this removal, by taking him from his native air, and the disturbance of much company, hastened his death. He died there, November 15, 1634, in the ninth year of King Charles the First, and was buried in the Abbey.
Henry Jenkins lived till he was an hundred and sixty-nine years of age. A remarkable circumstance discovered the age of this man. Being sworn a witness in a cause of an hundred and twenty years, the judge could not help reproving him, till he said he was then butler to the Lord Conyers; and, at length, his name was found in some old register of the Lord Conyers’s menial servants. Dr. Tancred Robinson, who sent the account of this man to the Royal Society, adds farther, that Henry Jenkins, coming into his sister’s kitchen to beg an alms, he asked him how old he was? After a little pausing, he said, he was about one hundred and sixty-two or three. The Doctor asked him, what Kings he remembered? He said, “Henry the Eighth;” What public things he could longest remember? He said, “The fight at Flowden Field.” Whether the King was there? He said, “No, he was in France; and the Earl of Surrey was General.” How old he was then? He said, “About twelve years old.” The Doctor inspected an old Chronicle that was in the house, and found that the Battle of Flowden Field was one hundred and fifty-two years before; that the Earl he named was General; and that Henry the Eighth was then at Tournay.
Jenkins from a labourer became a beggar, and could neither write nor read. He lived by alms which he collected about some places in Yorkshire. He died December the 8th, 1670; and lies buried at Bolton in that shire, where, in 1743, a monument was erected to his memory.