The Bishop of Durham, Thomas Thurlow, desperately resorted to Ward’s paste in 1791, as it had cured him of haemorrhoids in the past. Sadly for the bishop, this time his doctor John Hunter had also found a large incurable tumour, from which the paste could not save him. Hunter liked to keep medical specimens, and so today, the bishop’s rectum resides at the Hunterian Museum.
Black pepper continued to be used for piles, and even for intermittent fever, ague and gonorrhoea, right into the 20th century. Henry Wellcome produced one of his famed ‘tabloids’ (what we'd call tablets or pills today) incorporating piperine (the crystallised alkaloid derived from pepper), which was recommended for “dyspepsia and flatulence” and also, 200 years after the invention of Ward’s paste, “in the treatment of haemorrhoids”.