Friday, 6 February 2015

Tapped 60 times of 240 gallons of water - Dame Mary Page (1672-1728), Bunhill Fields



Sir Gregory Page was a wealthy London merchant and shipwright and the M.P. for Shoreham in West Sussex.  He inherited his fathers brewery in Wapping but made his fortune in the East India trade, eventually becoming a director of the East India Company. He died  an immensely wealthy man in Greenwich in 1720 leaving his eldest son £700,000 and his wife and other children £100,000. He was buried in Greenwich but his ‘relict’ (i.e. wife who survived her husband) Mary Page, daughter of Sir Thomas Trotman of London is buried at Bunhill Fields, though like her husband she also died at Greenwich. The couple married in 1690 when he was 21 and she was 18 and they had four children, two girls and two boys. Her rather plain chest tomb is famous for the following inscription: 

Here Lyes DAME MARY PAGE,
Relict of Sir Gregory Page, Bart.
She departed this life March 4 1728, 
in the 56th year of her age.

And on the other side:

In 67 months she was tap'd 60 times
had taken away 240 gallons of water 
without ever repining at her case 
or ever fearing the operation.


240 imperial gallons converts to about 1,100 litres. Her contemporaries believed she suffered from dropsy but she is now widely acknowledged as being the first recorded case of Meigs syndrome (“In medicine…is the triad of ascites, pleural effusion and benign ovarian tumor (fibroma),” according to Wikipedia….)