FALLOWES, Thomas (fl 1700-1714) quack and madhouse proprietor. ALS to Benjamin Trigg 1706

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FALLOWES, Thomas (fl 1700-1714) quack and madhouse proprietor. Autograph letter signed from Thomas Fallowes to his uncle Benja[min] Trigg, ‘at Mr John Hardings at his house called Needles at Horsham Townes end Sussex’, Lambeth Marsh 9th July 1706, 1 side folio (12 inches high) bifolium with (soiled) address panel bearing a Dockwra post mark. A few small holes to paper cross-folds, and a piece of paper torn from integral blank opposite the seal. In reply to a letter from his uncle Fallowes writes a defensive diatribe in relation to his actions “How many miles have I rode, and what expense have I been at, to serve a people so base in principle, without faith, or good works, whose Religeon is only Smoking, and Sleeping and then Rising, to see how they can redicule even their best friends ………….. as for my part, I have no Sinister end, nor design but purely to Serve my friends, and Relations, howsoever to be thus treated, is the highest piece of ingratitude, now what charge I have put your Relations to, I cannot tell, but it hath cost me Six pence, to their Two pence, and I am no way Interessed in the affair, and you all know better, than to murmur, for you to charge the best of Lawyers with ill management, I think not prudent; for in short he is a friend to all, and an Enemy to none, however he will answer for himself”. The exact matter in question is not clear, but he adds “I Pray call on Robert Parsons next week, and he will answer your Necessity.  I was obliged to wait on the Queen that day, I should have mett you at Frunsum [Fensham, Surrey?]”.


Thomas Fallowes, a self appointed ‘M.D’, was famously the proprietor of the private madhouse at Lambeth Marsh during the reign of Queen Anne. In 1705 he published The Best Method for the Cure of Lunaticks, with Some Account of the Incomparable Oleum Cephalicum Used in the Same, Prepared and Administered by Tho. Fallowes, at His House in Lambeth-Marsh. Fallowes professed to be an advocate of non-restraint, stating "all the gentleness and and kindness is absolutely necessary, even in all the cases I have seen ……. I have never us’d any violence to any patient”, and at the same time ‘cashed in’ by advocating his Oleum Cepalicum (‘at four Pound a quart’) which was applied to blisters raised on the scalp. Despite his advocacy of non-restraint Fallowes was the first mad-doctor to be convicted for illegal confinement. The following announcement was published in the London Gazette 24 January 1712:

Whereas it was advertised in the Gazette of the 23d of August last (and in several other Papers) that whoever should Apprehend Thomas Fallows, late of Lambeth Marsh in the County of Surry, with a Woman a Boy as therein described, so as to deliver them to John Plumeridge, Shipwright, or John. Alderman, at Queenhith, Cheesemonger, should have 10l, Reward, since which time the Woman and Boy being returned, the said John Alderman doth hereby advertise that he will not pay any Reward for Apprehending the said Fallows.

Fallowes’ uncle Benjamin Trigg may possibly be related to the infamous William Trigg (fl.1630-1656) and his son Stephen Trigg (fl. 1660-1690), both of whom were unlicensed medical practitioners in London.