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Grave of Thomas Newcomen
Bunhill Fields Burial Grounds, City Road, Islington, London, UK
associated engineer
Thomas Newcomen
date  8th August 1729
era  Georgian  |  category  Grave of Engineer  |  reference  TQ325823
Thomas Newcomen was the inventor of the first practical atmospheric steam engine, which was used widely in pre-Industrial Revolution Britain to pump water from mines. He died in London while staying with a friend, and was buried in an unmarked grave at Bunhill Fields Burial Grounds.
Newcomen (1663/4-1729) worked as an ironmonger in Dartmouth, Devon, before discovering he could use the pressure of the atmosphere to depress a piston in a vacuum-filled cylinder to produce mechanical power. He built his first known working engine in 1712 at the Conygree Coal Works, near Tipton in Staffordshire.
He travelled England overseeing the erection of his engines and visiting the foundries where their parts were cast. He was in London on several occasions in the years before his death, and in 1729 was staying with Edward Wallin (c.1679-1733) at his home in the parish of St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey. Wallin was a friend and fellow Baptist, and minister at Maze Pond, Southwark.
It seems that Newcomen died of a fever on 5th August 1729. His nephew John was in attendance. Newcomen was aged 65 years and 5 months. He left no will.
As a Baptist, he was buried at the non-conformist cemetery at Bunhill Fields. He was interred on 8th August 1729 in a common vault at a cost of 14 shillings (70p). The exact location of his grave is not known.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"The Steam Engine of Thomas Newcomen" by L.T.C. Rolt and J.S. Allen, Landmark Publishing, Ashbourne, second revised edition 1997
"Thomas Newcomen: The Prehistory of the Steam Engine"
by L.T.C. Rolt, David & Charles, Dawlish, 1963
Location

Grave of Thomas Newcomen