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Dr Thomas Saffold of St Martin Ludgate

Dr Thomas Saffold


Astrologer and Physician


St Martin Ludgate

Researched by Amanda Kiujvenhoven

Dr Thomas Saffold practised his trade near the Ludgate and was well known in the area for his marketing talents. He published many handbills to advertise his nostrums (medicines) such as this one:

Here’s Saffold’s pills, much better than the rest,
Deservedly have gained the name of the best:
A box of eighteen pills for eighteen pence,
Th’ is too cheap in any man’s sense.

An anonymous Elegy of 1690 derided his poems as ‘bumfodder’ and his medical talents as quackery:

His Skill in Physick did his Fame advance,
Tho some accuse him of dull ignorance:
For let the sad Disease be what it will,
The Patients Faith helps more than the Doctors Skill;

Yet Saffold lived and worked in the parish for 25 years and made a good living. Many astrologers and doctors moved to the area, perhaps as a result of his advertising talent in a sort of seventeenth century Starbucks effect.

Saffold died in 1691 bequeathing 40\- for poor relief in his parish, and his residual estate was left to the churchwardens for parish needs.


Local churches were the focal point of sixteenth-century City life. Weekly worship and all the milestones of parishioners’ lives took place here: christenings, marriages and funerals. Many churches were lost in the Great Fire.

Read the stories of four that either survived or succumbed to the flames, and how they reemerged from the ruins.

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