James Caulfield in his 1820
"Portraits, memoirs, and characters, of remarkable persons: Vol.4"
gives us a glimpse of the life of this unusual character:
THE FEMALE BONE-SETTER.
Mrs. Sarah Mapp, a female of masculine habits, distinguished herself by some extraordinary cure she effected, merely resulting from personal courage.- She was called the bone-setter, or shape mistress. Her maiden name was Wallin. Her father was also a bone-setter, at Hindon, Wilts; but, quarrelling with him, she wandered about the country, calling herself crazy Sally. On her success in her profession she married, August 11, 1736, Hill Mapp, a servant to Mr. Ibbelson, mercer, on Ludgate-hill. In most cases her success was rather owing to the strength of her arms, and the boldness of her undertakings, than to any knowledge of anatomy or skill in chirurgical operations. The following particulars relative to her are collected from the Grub-street Journal, &c. and serve at least to shew, that she was a character considerable enough to deserve the satire of Hogarth.
Mrs Mapp by G Cruickshank
Colour added to the image by the webmaster in 2011
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August 19, 1736. - "We hear that the husband of Mrs. Mapp, the famous bone-setter, at Epsom, ran away from her last week, taking with him upwards of one hundred guineas, and such other portable things as lay next at hand. Several letters from Epsom mention, that the footman, whom the female bonesetter married the week before, had taken a sudden journey from thence with what money his wife had earned; and that her concern at first was very great; but soon as the surprise was over, she grew gay, and seemed to think the money well disposed of, as it was like to rid her of a husband. He took just one hundred and two guineas,"
The following verses were addressed to her in August, 1736:-
"Of late, without the least pretence to skill,
"Ward's grown a fam'd physician by a pill;
"Yet he can but a doubtful honour claim;
"While envious death oft blasts his rising fame.
"Next travell'd Taylor fill'd us with surprise;
"Who pours new light upon the blindest eyes;
"Each journal tells his circuit thro' the land;
"Each journal tells the blessing of his hand;
"And lest some hireling scribbler of the town;
"Injures his history, he writes his own.
"We read the long accounts with wonder o'er;
"Had he wrote less, we had believ' him more.
"Let these, O Mapp! thou wonder of the age!
*With dubious arts endeavour to engage :
"While you, irregularly strict to rules;
"Teach dull collegiate pedants they are fools;
"By merit, the sure path to fame pursue;
"For all who see thy art, must own it true."
September 2, 1736. - "On Friday, several persons, who had the misfortune of lameness, crowded to the White-hart Inn, in Whitechapel, on hearing Mrs. Mapp, the famous bone-setter, was there. Some of them were admitted to her, and were relieved as they apprehended. But a gentleman who happened to come by, declared Mrs, Mapp was at Epsom, on which the woman thought proper to move off,"
"September 9, 1736.
"Whereas it has been industriously (I wish I could say truly) reported, that I had found great benefit from a certain female bone-setter's performance, and that it was to a want of resolution to undergo the operation, that I did not meet with a perfect cure: this is therefore to give notice, that any persons afflicted with lameness (who are willing to know what good or harm others may receive, before they venture on desperate measures themselves) will be welcome any morning to see the dressing of my leg, which was sound before the operation, and they will then be able to judge of the performance, and to whom I owe my present unhappy confinement to my bed and chair.
September 16th, 1736. - "On Thursday, Mrs. Mapp's plate of ten guineas was run for at Epsom. A mare called "Mrs. Mapp" won the first heat, when Mrs. Mapp gave the rider a guinea, and swore if he won the plate she would give him 100; but the second and third heats were won by a chesnut mare.
"We hear that the husband of Mrs. Mapp is returned, and has been kindly received."
September 23d, 1736. - "Mrs. Mapp continues making extraordinary cures; she has now set up an equipage, and on Sunday waited on her majesty.
Saturday, October 16, 1736. - "Mrs. Mapp, the bone-setter, with Dr. Taylor, the occulist, was at the play-house in Lincoln's-inn-fields, to see a comedy called 'The Husband's Relief, with the Female Bone-setter and Worm-doctor;' which occasioned a full house, and the following epigram -
"While Mapp to th' actors shew'd a kind regard,
"On one side Taylor sat, on th' other Ward:
"When their mock persons of the drama came
"Both Ward And Taylor thought it hurt their fame;
"Wonder'd how Mapp cou'd in good humour be-
"Zounds! cries the manly dame, it hurts not me,
"Quacks without art may either blind or kill,
"But * demonstration shews that mine is skill."
And the following was sung upon the stage:-
"You surgeons of London, who puzzle your pates,
"To ride in your coaches; and purchase estates;
"Give over, for shame; for your pride has a fall,
"And the doctress of Epsom has out-done you all.
Derry down, &c.
"What signifies learning, or going to school,
"When a woman can do, without, reason or rule,
"What puts you to nonplus, and baffles your art.
"For petticoat-practice has now got the start.
Derry down, &c,
"In physics, as well as in fashions, we find, r ;
"The newest has always the run with mankind:
"Forgot is the bustle 'bout Tatlor and Ward;
"Now Mapp's all the cry, and her fame's on record.
Derry down, &c,
"Dame nature has given her a doctor's degree,
"She gets all the patients, and pockets the fee;
"So if you don't instantly prove it a cheat,
"She'll loll in her chariot whilst you walk the street.
Derry down," &c,
* This alludes to some surprising cures she performed before Sir Hans Sloane, at the Grecian Coffee-house; (where she came once a week from Epsom, in her chariot drawn by four horses) viz., a man of Wardour-street, whose back had been broke nine years, and stuck out two inches; a niece of Sir Hans Sloane in the like condition; and a gentleman who went with one shoe-heel six inches high, having been lame twenty years of his hip and knee, whom she set straight, and brought his leg down even with the other.
October 19, 1736, London Daily Post. - "Mrs. Mapp being present at the acting of the Wife's Relief, concurred in the universal applause of a crowded audience. This play was advertised by the desire of Mrs. Mapp, the famous bone-setter, from Epsom."
October 21st, 1736. -"On Saturday evening there was such a concourse of people at the Theatre Royal, in Lincoln's-inn-fields, to see the famous Mrs. Mapp, that several gentlemen and ladies were obliged to return for want of room. The confusion at going out was so great, that several gentlemen and ladies had their pockets picked, and many of the latter lost their fans, &c. Yesterday she was elegantly entertained by Dr. Ward, at his house in Pall-mall."
"On Saturday and yesterday Mrs. Mapp performed several operations at the Grecian Coffeehouse, particularly one upon a niece of Sir Hans Sloane, to his great satisfaction and her credit. The patient had her shoulder-bone out for about nine years."
"On Monday, Mrs. Mapp performed two extraordinary cures; one on a young lady of the Temple, who had several bones out from the knees to her toes, which she put in their proper places: and the other on a butcher, whose knee-pans were so misplaced that he walked with his knees knocking one against another. Yesterday she performed several other surprising cures ; and about one set out for Epsom, and carried with her several crutches, which she calls trophies of honour.'
November 18, 1736. - "Mrs. Mapp, the famous bone-setter, has taken lodgings in Pall-Mall, near Mr. Joshua Ward's."
November 25, 1736.
"In this bright age three wonder-workers rise,
"Whose operations puzzle all the wise;
"To lame and blind, by dint of manual slight,
"Mapp gives the use of limbs, and Taylor sight.
"But greater Ward," &c.
December 16, 1736. -"On Thursday, Polly Peachum, Miss Warren, (that was sister to the famous Mrs. Mapp) was tried at the Old Bailey, for marrying Mr. Nicholas; her former husband, Mr. Somers, being living."
December 22, 1737. - "Died last week, at her lodgings, near the Seven Dials, the much-talked-of Mrs. Mapp, the bone-setter, so miserably poor, that the parish was obliged to bury her."