Herbs in the Sixteenth Century:
Folklore, Wisdom and Medicine
Tutor: Susan Hughes
Examining the herbs and replicas of some of the equipment used to process them in the sixteenth century
The day started with an examination of the artefacts found in the area, followed by a tour of The Old Medicine House and garden. We also heard how, in the spring of 1971, after The Old Medicine House was re-erected at Blackden, wildflowers and medicinal herbs, appeared around the house. Alan and Griselda Garner found the same species growing at the original site of the house at Wrinehill, so we think that seeds had been transported in the cracks of the timbers of the house.
Susan Hughes gave an illustrated talk about the medical beliefs of the sixteenth century, and the extensive use of herbs to treat ailments to, prevent infection, alleviate the unpleasant odours that came from lack of proper sanitation, and dye fabrics. She talked about how the use of herbs was passed down in folklore and superstition and we discussed how some of these ideas still survive today.
The house was permeated by the wonderful smell of herbs that Susan had brought with her along with replicas of the some of the equipment used in Tudor times to process herbs. We made our own tussie mussies, small sachets of aromatic herbs, from the wide selection she had brought.
In the afternoon, we talked and sketched several ideas for the layout of the herb garden that we shall create in front of The Old Medicine House.
It was a most interesting and fragrant day.
Susan and her husband, Tom, can be found at www.pilgrimsandposies.co.uk.