rancid cheese, nettle soup and whisky

Not so long ago, the oldest patient at the Gimcrack died. He was 104 at the time, still with all his faculties intact. When he was interviewed by a local paper the previous year, he put his longevity down to a glass of whisky a day and an overriding interest in horse racing. “Everyone needs a hobby” he said.

image found here

Thomas Parr arrived at his great age by a different regime

Parr was said to have been born in 1483 near Shrewsbury, possibly at Wollaston. He joined the army around 1500 and did not marry until he was 80 years old. He had two children, both of whom died in infancy. He existed and even thrived on a diet of “subrancid cheese and milk in every form, coarse and hard bread and small drink, generally sour whey

Milk Bottle Chandelier ($2112.50) found here

When he was about 100 years old, he supposedly had an affair and fathered a child born out of wedlock. After the death of his first wife, he married a second time at the alleged age of 122 to Catherine Milton who presented him with a child.

world’s oldest father (?) found here

As news of his purported age spread, ‘Old Parr’ became a national celebrity and was painted by Rubens and Van Dyck. In 1635, the Earl of Arundel brought him to London to meet Charles I. Charles asked what Parr had done that was greater than any other man, and the latter replied that he had performed penance (for his affair) at the age of 100.

image found here

A post-mortem was performed on Parr’s body. No apparent cause of death could be determined, and it was assumed that he had simply died of overexposure. A modern interpretation of the results of the autopsy suggest that Thomas Parr was probably under 70 years of age. It is possible that Parr’s records were confused with those of his grandfather. 

Henry Jenkins was said to have been 169 years old at his death

Jenkins’s age was investigated by Ann Saville, who lived near him in Bolton-on-Swale. Several of the other villagers were about a hundred, and they said he was an old man even when they were children. He could remember historical events from ancient times. And he was often consulted by lawyers about traditional land rights.

Jenkins’ Memorial found here

One of the lawyers told how he went to see Henry Jenkins in his cottage. Outside was an old man. The lawyer asked him a question, and the man said to go inside and see his father about it. In the cottage was an aged “wreck of humanity” nodding by the fire. He was too old to understand the question. “Ask my father”, he mumbled, pointing to the back door. Out in the yard was Old Jenkins, aged 166. He was busily chopping wood, and looked younger than his grandson. His mind was perfectly clear and he told the lawyer all he wanted to know.

Wood Chopper found here

Ann Saville asked him the secret of his long life, and again he was clear. Drink plenty of tar-water and nettle soup, he advised, wear flannel next to the skin and eat simply – bread and cheese, raw onion and cold meat. Old Jenkins could never read or write. Up to the age of 161 he worked every day in his garden or doing odd jobs. For some time he was butler in the house of a local lord. The date of his service there is recorded, giving proof* of his great age.

Nettle Soup with Seared Scallop & Candied Orange Peel found here

*Take with more than one grain of salt