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Nartli (EarDltna ^UU 


This book was presented by 

Frederick L. Wei Iman 

S00271327 M 


This book is due on the date ii 
below and is subject to an oven 
as posted at the Circulation Des 

JAN 2 61977 

--<^ 2 7 1977 
MAR 1 1 ^981 

DtC 2 1991 


"The Lely is an herbe vvyth a whyte 
floure. And though the levys of the floure 
be whyte : yet wythin shyneth the lyke- 
nesse of golde."— Bartholom^us Anglicus 

i^circ. 1260). 


From a 12th century copy of the Hevbariimi of Apuleitts, now in the Library 
of Eton College 

DAe A 




Illustration of the "lilie" from the Saxon 
translation of the Herbarium of Apuhiui 






Made in Great Britain 




The writing of this book on that fascinating and somewhat 
neglected ^ branch of garden Hterature — the old EngHsh Herbals — 
has been a labour of love, but it could not have been done 
without all the kind help I have had. My grateful thanks 
are due to the authorities at the British Museum, to Professor 
Burkitt of Cambridge, and very specially to Mr. J. B. Capper 
for invaluable help. I am indebted to Dr. James, the Provost 
of Eton, for his kind permission to reproduce an illustration 
from a twelfth-century MS. in the Library of Eton College for 
the frontispiece. I find it difficult to express either my indebted- 
ness or my gratitude to Dr. and Mrs. Charles Singer, the former 
for all his help and the latter for her generous permission to 
make use of her valuable bibUography of early scientific manu- 
scripts. I am further indebted to Dr. Charles Singer for reading 
the chapter on the Anglo-Saxon herbals in proof. For their kind 
courtesy in answering my inquiries concerning the MS. herbals 
in the libraries of their respective cathedrals, I offer my grateful 
thanks to the Deans of Lincoln and Gloucester Cathedrals, and 
to the Rev. J. N. Needham for information concerning the 
herbals in the library of Durham Cathedral; to the librarians 
of the following colleges — All Souls' College, Oxford; Balliol 
College, Oxford; Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge; Emmanuel College, Cambridge; 
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; Magdalene College, 
Cambridge; Peterhouse, Cambridge; Jesus College, Cambridge; 
St. John's College, Oxford, and Trinity College, Cambridge; 

^ It is a remarkable fact that even the eleventh edition of the omniscient 
Encyclopa-dia Briiannica has no article on Herbals. 


to the librarians of Durham University, Trinity College, Dublin, 
the Royal Irish Academy, and the National Library of Wales ; 
to the Honble. Lady Cecil for information respecting MSS. in 
the Hbrary of the late Lord Amherst of Hackney ; and to the 
following owners of private libraries — the Marquis of Bath, 
Lord Leconfield, Lord Clifden, Mr. T. Fitzroy Fenwick of 
Cheltenham, and Mr. Wynne of Peniarth, Merioneth. For in- 
formation respecting incunabula herbals in American libraries 
I am indebted to Dr. Arnold Klebs and to Mr. Green of the 
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. 

No pains have been spared to make the bibliographies as 
complete as possible, but I should be glad to be told of any 
errors or omissions. There are certain editions of Banckes's 
Herbal and The Crete Herhall mentioned by authorities such 
as Ames, Hazlitt, etc., of which no copies can now be found 
in the chief British libraries (see p. 204 et seq.) . If any copies of 
these editions are in private libraries I should be grateful to hear 
of them. The rarest printed herbal is " Arbolayre contenat la 
qualitey et vertus proprietiez des herbes gomes et simeces extraite 
de plusiers trailers de medicine content davicene de rasis de con- 
statin de ysaac et plateaire selon le conu iisaige bien correct.*' 
(Supposed to have been printed by M. Husz at Lyons.) It 
is believed that there are only two copies of this book now 
extant. One is in the Bibhotheque Nationale, Paris; the 
other was sold in London, March 23, 1898, but I have been 
unable to discover who is the present owner. For this or any 
other information I should be most grateful. 

Eleanour Sinclair Rohde. 


The Anglo-Saxon Herbals i 

Evidence of the existence of books on herbs in the eighth century — 
Tenth-century manuscripts — Their importance as the first records of 
Anglo-Saxon plant lore and of folk medicine of a still earlier age — Pre- 
liminary survey of the more important manuscripts — Leech Book of 
Bald — Authorship and origin — Oldest Leech Book written in the 
vernacular in Europe — Saxon translation of the Herbarium Apuleii 
Platonici — Illustrations — Saxon translation of the n^pi At5a!;,ea>v — The 
Lacnunga — Importance of these manuscripts to the student of folk lore — 
Folk lore of the origin of disease — Doctrine of the " elf -shot " — " Flying 
venom " — Doctrine of the worm as the ultimate source of disease — 
Demoniac possession — Herbal remedies — Picturesqueness of Saxon 
methods of treating diseases — Smoking patient with fumes of herbs — 
Cattle similarly treated — Use of herbs as amulets — Binding on with red 
wool — Specially sacred herbs — Charms and incantations to be used in 
picking and administering herbs — Transference of disease — Predomi- 
nance of the number nine — Ceremonies to be observed in the picking 
of herbs — Nature-worship in these ceremonies — Eostra — Prayer to 


Later Manuscript Herbals and the Early Printed Herbals . 42 

Later manuscript herbals — Copies of Macer's herbal — Treatise on the 
virtues of rosemary sent by the Countess of Hainault to Queen Philippa 
cf England — Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De Proprietatibiis rerum — Popu- 
larity of his writings — Characteristics of De herbis — Trevisa's translation 
— Bartholomaeus on the roje, the jviolet, etc. — Pleeting pictures of 
mediaeval life in De herbis — Feeding swine, making bread, building 
houses, making linen, life in the vineyards, woods, etc. — Wynken de 
Worde's poem at the end of his edition of De Proprieiatibus rerum — 
Banckes's Herbal — Possible sources — Later editions — Rose recipes — 
Mediaeval belief in wholesomeness of fragrant herbs — Descriptions of 
herbs in Banckes's Herbal — " The boke of secretes of Albartus Magnus " — 
Herb lore and magic — The Crete Herball — Its origin — Peter Treveris — 
Characteristics of this herbal — The vertnose book of Jjie Dystillacion of 
the Waters of all maner of Herbes. 



Turner's Herbal and the Influence of the Foreign Herbalists . 75 
William Turner — Cambridge with Nicholas Ridley — Travels abroad — 
Bologna — Luca Ghini — Conrad Gesner — Cologne — Appointed chaplain 
and physician to the Duke of Somerset — His early writings on herbs — 
Turner's Herbal — Illustrations — Characteristics of the book — Descrip- 
tions of herbs — North-countrj'- lore — Old country customs — Influence 
of the foreign herbalists on the later English herbals — Leonhard Fuchs — 
Rembert Dodoens — Charles de I'Escluse — Matthias de I'Obel — Lyte's 
translation of Dodoens' Cruidtboeck — Illustrations — Rani's little Dodoen. 

Gerard's Herbal .......... q8 

Popularity of Gerard's Herbal — Its charm — Gerard's boyhood — Later 
life — His garden in Holborn — Friendship with Jean Robin, keeper of the 
royal gardens in Paris — Origin of Gerard's Herbal — Illustrations — Old 
behefs in the effects of herbs on the heart and mind — Use of herbs as 
amulets — Other folk lore — Myth of the barnacle geese — Origin and 
history of the myth — Old English names of plants — Wild flower life of 
London in Elizabeth's day — " Master Tuggie's " garden in W^est- 
minster — Shakespeare and Gerard. 


Herbals of the New World 120 

Herbals written in connection with the colonisation of America by the 
Spaniards and English — Early records of the plant lore of the Red 
Indians — English weeds introduced into America and first gardens in 
New England — Joyfull Newes from out of the newe founde worlde — 
Gums used by the Red Indians — " Mechoacan " — " The hearbe tabaco " 
— First account and illustration of this plant — Its uses by the Red 
Indians in their religious ceremonies and as a wound-herb — Origin of the 
name " Nicotiana " — Sassafras — Use by the Spanish soldiers — Root 
used as a pomander in Europe in time of plague — New Ene^land's 
Rarities discovered — Weeds introduced into America with the first 
Colonists — First list of English plants grown in New England gardens — 
The American Physitian — The " Maucaw " tree — Use of the seed 
by the Red Indians — Cacao and the making of chocolate — Cacao 
kernels used as tokens — James Petiver — The South-Sea Herbal. 

John Parkinson, the Last of the Great English Herbalists . 142 

John Parkinson — The Paradisus — Myth of the vegetable lamb — 
Origin of the myth — Characteristics of the book — An Elizabethan 
flower-garden — Lilies, anemones, gilliflowers, cucko-flowers, etc. — 



Sweet herbs : rosemary, lavender, basil, thyme, hyssop — The kitchen 
garden — The orchard — Theatnim Botanicum — Its importance — Old 
belief in the power of herbs against evil spirits — Folk lore in this 
Herbal — Bee lore — Beauty recipes — Country customs and beliefs. 


Later Seventeenth-century Herbals and Sixteenth- and Seven- 
teenth-century Still-room Books 163 

Later seventeenth-century Herbals — Revival of belief in astrological 
lore — Nicholas Culpeper — His character — Popularity in the East End 
of London — His Herbal — Coles's Art of Simpling — Doctrine of Signatures 
— Herbs used by animals — Plants used in and against witchcraft — 
Coles's astrological beliefs — On the pleasures of gardening — Still-room 
books — Their relation to herbals — The Fairfax still-room book — An old 
love-letter — Recipes : "To make a bath for melancholy." " Balles for 
the face," " For them theyr speech faileth " — Lady Sedley her 
receipt hook — Noted contributors to this book — Mary Doggett Her 
Book of Receipts, 1682 — Recipes : " A pomander for balme water," 

I " To dry roses for sweet powder," '" A perfume for a sweet bagg " — 
The Countess of Kent's still-room book—" A comfortable cordial to 

' cheer the heart " — Try on 's still-room book — Sir Kenelm Digby — 
Charm of his books — Recipes : " Sweet meat of apples," " Wheaten 

I Flommery," " A Flomery Caudle," " Conserve of Red Roses " — The •' 
old herb-gardens — Fairies and herb-gardens — Revival of the old belief 

J in the communion between stars and flowers. 


English Herbals 189 

L Manuscript herbals, treatises on the virtues of herbs, etc. Manu- 
scripts written in Latin after 1400 are not included in this list. 

II Printed books. The herbals are listed according to authors, or, in 
the case of anonymous works, according to the names by which they 
are usually known, and full titles, etc., of all known editions are given. 
In cases where only one copy of an edition is known the library 
where it is to be found is indicated. Editions mentioned in Ames, 
Hazlitt, etc., but of which no copies are now known, are Usted, but 
in each case the fact that the only mention of them is to be found in 
one of the above is stated. 

Foreign Herbals 225 

This list includes only the chief works and those which have some 
connection with the history of the herbal in England. 

Index 237 


Facing pa^e 

Herbs being dug up and made into Medicines under the direction 

OF A Sage ....... Frontispiece 

Aesculapius Plato and a Centaur from the Saxon Translation of 

THE '' Herbarium of Apuleius " . . . . . . lo 

Mandrake from a Saxon Herbal ....... 22 

(i) Artemisia and (2) Blackberry, from a Saxon Herbal . . 30 

From a Saxon Herbal 40 

Woodcut of Trees and Herbs from the Seventeenth Book of " De 

Proprietatibus Rerum " . . . . . . . .48 

Initial Letters from '' Banckes's Herbal " 56 

Woodcut from the Title-page of the " Crete Herball " (1526) . 64 

Woodcut of Peter Treveris' Sign of the " Wodows " from the 

" Crete Herball " (1529) -7° 

Woodcut from the Title-page of the Fourth Edition of the 

" Crete Herball " (1561) 74 

Illustrations from Turner's " Herball " 88 

Portrait of John Cerard from the First Edition of the 

" Herball " (1597) 104 

/Illustrations of Sassafras and Tobacco from Nicholas Monardes' 


Title-page of Parkinson's " Paradisus " (1629) .... 144 

Title-page of Parkinson's " Theatrum Botanicum " (1640) . . 152 

Portrait of John Parkinson from the " Paradisus " (162^ . . 160 

Nicholas Culpeper from '' The English Physician Enlarged " . . 166 

Frontispiece of " The Curious Destillatory/' by Thomas Shirley, 

M.D., Physician in Ordinary to His Majesty (1677) . . 174 




" Everything possible to be believ'd is an image of truth." 

William Blake. 

There is a certain pathos attached to the fragments from 
any great wreck, and in studying the few Saxon manuscripts, 
treating of herbs, which have survived to our day, we find 
their primary fascination not so much in their beauty and 
interest as in the visions they conjure up of those still older 
manuscripts which perished during the terrible Danish invasions. 
That books on herbs were studied in England as early as the 
eighth century is certain, for we know that Boniface, " the 
Apostle of the Saxons," received letters from England asking 
him for books on simples and complaining that it was difficult 
to obtain the foreign herbs mentioned in those we already 
possessed. 1 But of these manuscripts none have survived, the 
oldest we possess being of the tenth century, and for our know- 
ledge of Anglo-Saxon plant lore we look chiefly to those four 
important manuscripts — the Leech Book of Bald, the Lacmmga 
and the Saxon translations of the Herbarium of Afuleius and 
the so-called Ylepl LiZa^ewv. 

Apart from their intrinsic fascination, there are certain 
considerations which give these manuscripts a peculiar import- 
ance. Herb lore and folk medicine lag not years, but centuries, 

1 Nee non et si quos saecularis scientiae Hbros nobis ignotos adepturi sitis, 
ut sunt de medicinahbus, quorum copia est aliqua apud nos, sed tamen seg- 
menta ultra marina quae in eis scripta comperimus, ignota nobis sunt et 
difficilia ad adipiscendum. — Bonifac., Epistolcs, p. 102. 


behind the knowledge of their own day. Within hving memory 
our peasants were using, and in the most remote parts of these 
islands they use still, the herbal and other remedies of our 
Saxon ancestors. They even use curiously similar charms. 
The herb lore recorded in these manuscripts is the herb lore, 
not of the century in which they were written, but of the dim 
past ages pictured in the oldest parts of Widsifh and Beowulf. 
To the student of English plant lore, the Herbarium of Apuleius 
and the liepX AiSa^ecov are less interesting because they are 
translations, but the more one studies the original Saxon 
writings on herbs and their uses, the more one realises that, 
just as in Beowulf there are suggestions and traces of an age 
far older than that in which the poem was written, so in these 
manuscripts are embedded beliefs which carry us back to the 
dawn of history. It is this which gives this plant lore its 
supreme interest. It is almost oversvhelming to recognise that 
possibly we have here fragments of the plant lore of our ancestors 
who hved when Attila's hordes were devastating Europe, and 
that in the charms and ceremonies connected with the picking 
and administering of herbs we are carried back to forms of 
religion so ancient that, compared to it, the worship of Woden 
is modern. Further, it is only in these manuscripts that we 
find this herb lore, for in the whole range of Saxon literature 
outside them there is remarkably little mention of plant life. 
The great world of nature, it is true, is ever present ; the ocean 
is the background of the action in both Beowulf and Cynewulf, 
and the sound of the wind and the sea is in every line. One is 
conscious of vast trackless wastes of heath and moor, of impene- 
trable forests and terror-infested bogs; but of the details of 
plant life there is scarcely a word. In these manuscripts alone 
do we find what plant life meant to our ancestors, and, as with 
all primitive nations, their belief in the mystery of herbs is 
almost past our civilised understanding. Their plant lore, 
hoary with age, is redolent of a time when the tribes were stiU 
wandering on the mainland of Europe, and in these first records 


of this plant lore there is the breath of mighty forests, of marsh 
lands and of Nature in her wildest. We are swept back to an 
epoch when man fought with Nature, wresting from her the 
land, and when the unseen powers of evil resented this conquest 
of their domains. To the early Saxons those unseen powers 
were an everyday reality. A supernatural terror brooded over 
the trackless heaths, the dark mere pools were inhabited by 
the water elves. In the wreathing mists and driving storms of 
snow and hail they saw the uncouth " moor gangers," " the 
muckle mark steppers who hold the moors," or the stalking 
fiends of the lonely places, creatures whose baleful eyes shone 
like flames through the mist. To this day some of our place 
names in the more remote parts of these islands recall the 
memory of those evil terrors. In these manuscripts we are 
again in an atmosphere of eotens and troUs, there are traces of 
even older terrors, when the first Teuton settlers in Europe 
struggled with the aborigines who lived in caves, hints as elusive 
as the phantom heroes in the Saxon poems, and as unforgettable. 
Still more remarkable is the fact that beneath the super- 
structure of Christian rites to be used when the herbs were being 
picked or administered we find traces not merely of the ancient 
heathen religion, but of a religion older than that of Woden. It 
has been emphasised by our most eminent authorities that in 
very early times our ancestors had but few chief gods, and it is a 
remarkable fact that there is no mention whatever of Woden in 
the whole range of Saxon literature before the time of Alfred. 
In those earlier centuries they seem to have worshipped a personi- 
fication of Heaven, and Earth, the wife of Heaven, and the Son, 
whom after ages called Thor. There were also Nature deities, 
Hrede, the personification of the brightness of Summer, and 
Eostra, the radiant creature of the Dawn. It will be remembered 
that it was the worship, not of Balder, but of Eostra, which 
the Christian missionaries found so deeply imbedded that they 
adopted her name and transferred it to Easter. For this we 
have the authority of Bede. Separate from these beneficent 


powers were the destroying and harmful powers of Nature — 
darkness, storm, frost and the deadly vapours of moorland and 
fen, personified in the giants, the ogres, the furious witches that 
rode the winds and waves; in fact, the whole horde of demons 
of sea and land and sky. It is the traces of these most ancient 
forms of religion which give to the manuscripts their strongest 

Many of us miss all that is most worth learning in old 
books through regarding anything in them that is unfamiliar 
as merely quaint, if not ridiculous. This attitude seals a book 
as effectually and as permanently as it seals a sensitive human 
being. There is only one way of understanding these old writers, 
and that is to forget ourselves entirely and to try to look at 
the world of nature as they did. It is not " much learning " 
that is required, but sympathy and imagination. In the case 
of these Saxon manuscripts we are repaid a thousandfold; for 
they transport us to an age far older than our own, and yet in 
some ways so young that we have lost its magic key. For we 
learn not only of herbs and the endless uses our forefathers made 
of them, but, if we try to read them with understanding, these 
books open for us a magic casement through which we look 
upon the past bathed in a glamour of romance. Our Saxon 
ancestors may have been a rude and hardy race, but they did 
not live in an age of materialism as we do. In their writings 
on herbs and their uses we see " as through a glass darkly " a 
time when grown men believed in elves and goblins as naturally 
as they believed in trees, an age when it was the belief of every- 
day folk that the air was peopled with unseen powers of evil 
against whose machinations definite remedies must be applied. 
They believed, as indeed the people of all ancient civilisations 
have believed, that natural forces and natural objects were 
endued with mysterious powers whom it was necessary to 
propitiate by special prayers. Not only the stars of heaven, 
but springs of water and the simple wayside herbs, were to 
them directly associated with unseen beings. There are times 


when one is reminded forcibly of that worship of Demeter, 
" nea.rer to the Earth which some have thought they could 
discern behind the definitely national mythology of Homer." 
They believed that the sick could be cured by conjurations and 
charms, as firmly as we believe to-day in curing them by sug- 
gestion — is there any real difference between these methods? 
— and when one reads the charms which they used in adminis- 
tering their herbs one cannot help wondering whether these 
were handed down traditionally from the Sumerians, those 
ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia who five thousand years 
before Christ used charms for curing the sick which have now been 
partially deciphered from the cuneiform inscriptions. But before 
studying the plant lore therein contained, it may be as well to 
take a preliminary survey of the four most important manuscripts. 
The oldest Saxon book dealing with the virtues of herbs 
which we possess is the Leech Book of Bald, dating from about 
A.D. 900-950. Unlike some other MS. herbals of which only a 
few tattered pages remain, this perfect specimen of Saxon work 
has nothing fragile about it. The vellum is as strong and in 
as good condition as when it first lay clean and untouched 
under the hand of the scribe — Cild by name — who penned it 
with such skill and loving care. One's imagination runs riot 
when one handles this beautiful book, now over a thousand 
years old, and wonders who were its successive owners and how 
it has survived the wars and other destructive agencies through 
all these centuries. But we only know that, at least for a time, 
it was sheltered in that most romantic of all English monasteries, 
Glastonbury. 1 This Saxon manuscript has a dignity which is 
unique, for it is the oldest existing leech book written in the 
vernacular. In a lecture delivered before the Royal College of 

1 A catalogue of the books of that foundation cited by Wanley (Hickes, 
Thesaur. Vol. II. Praef. ad Catalogum) contains the entry " Medicinale 
Anglicum," and the MS. described above has on a fly-leaf the now almost 
illegible inscription " Medicinale Anglicum." There is unfortunately no 
record as to the books which, on the dissolution of the monasteries, may 
possibly have found their \vay from Glastonbury to the royal library. 


Physicians in 1903, Dr. J. F. Payne commented on the remark- 
able fact that the Anglo-Saxons had a much wider knowledge 
of herbs than the doctors of Salerno, the oldest school of medicine 
and oldest university in Europe. " No treatise," he said, " of 
the School of Salerno contemporaneous with the Leech Book of 
Bald is known, so that the Anglo-Saxons had the credit of 
priority. Their Leech Book was the first medical treatise written 
in Western Europe which can be said to belong to modern 
history, that is, which was produced after the decadence and 
decline of the classical medicine, which belongs to ancient 
history. ... It seems fair to regard it [the Leech Book], in a 
sense, as the embryo of modern English medicine, and at all 
events the earliest medical treatise produced by any of the 
modern nations of Europe." The Anglo-Saxons created a 
vernacular literature to which the continental nations at that 
time could show no parallel, and in the branch of literature 
connected with medicine, in those days based on a knowledge 
of herbs (when it was not magic), their position was unique. 
Moreover, the fact that the Leech Book was written in the 
vernacular is in itself remarkable, for it points to the existence 
of a class of men who were not Latin scholars and yet were 
able and willing to read books. The Leech Book belongs to 
the literary period commonly known as the school of Alfred. 
It was probably written shortly after Alfred's death, but it is 
more than probable that it is a copy of a much older manuscript, 
for what is known as the third book of the Leech Book is evi- 
dentl}^ a shorter and older work incorporated by the scribe when 
he had finished the Leech Book proper. 

The book itself was written under the direction of one Bald, 
who, if he were not a personal friend of King Alfred's, had at 
any rate access to the king's correspondence; for one chapter 
consists of prescriptions sent by Hehas, Patriarch of Jerusalem, 
to the king.^ We learn the names of the first owner and scribe 

^ This chapter consists of prescriptions containing drugs such as a resident 
in Syria would recommend. It is interesting to find this illustration of Asser's 


from lines in Latin verse at the end of the second part of 
the MS. 

" Bald is the owner of this book, which he ordered Cild to write, 
Earnestly I pray here all men, in the name of Christ, 
That no treacherous person take this book from me, 
Neither by force nor by theft nor by any false statement. 
Why ? Because the richest treasure is not so dear to me 
As my dear books which the Grace of Christ attends." 

The book consists of 109 leaves and is written in a large, 
bold hand and one or two of the initial letters are very faintly 
illuminated. The writing is an exceptionally fine specimen of 
Saxon penmanship. On many of the pages there are mysterious 
marks, but it is impossible to conjecture their meaning. It 
has been suggested that they point to the sources from which 
the book was compiled and were inserted by the original 

The Leech Book of Bald was evidently the manual of a 
Saxon doctor, and he refers to two other doctors — Dun and 
Oxa by name — who had given him prescriptions. The position 
of the leech in those days must have been very trying, for he 
was subjected to the obviously unfair competition of the higher 
clergy, many of whom enjoyed a reputation for working 
miraculous cures.^ The leech being so inferior in position, it is 
not surprising that his medical knowledge did not advance on 

statement, that he had seen and read the letters which the Patriarch of 
Jerusalem sent with presents to the king. From Asser also we learn that 
King Alfred kept a book in which he himself entered " Httle flowers culled 
on every side from all sorts of masters." " Flosculos undecunque collectos 
a quibus Hbet magistris et in corpore unius Hbelli mixtim quamvis sicut tunc 
suppetebat redigere." — Asser, p. 57. 

1 The stories of miraculous cures by famous Anglo-Saxon bishops and 
abbots are for the most part too well known to be worth quoting, but the 
unfair treatment of the leech is perhaps nowhere more clearly shown than 
in Bede's tale of St. John of Beverley curing a boy with a diseased head. 
Although the leech effected the cure, the success was attributed to the bishop's 
benediction, and the story ends, " the youth became of a clear countenance, 
ready in speech and with hair beautifully wavy." 


scientific lines. He relied on the old heathen superstitions, pro- 
bably from an instinctive feeling that in pagan rehgion, combined 
with the herb lore which had been handed down through the 
ages, the mass of the people had a deep-rooted faith. Nothing 
is more obvious in the Leech Book than the fact that the virtues 
ascribed to the different herbs are based not on the personal 
knowledge of the writer, but on the old herb lore. This gives 
the Leech Book its special fascination; for it is the oldest 
surviving manuscript in which we can learn the herb lore of our 
ancestors, handed down to them from what dim past ages we 
can only surmise. We have, therefore, to bear in mind that 
what may strike our modern minds as quaint, or even grotesque, 
is in the majority of instances a distorted form of lore which 
doubtless suffered many changes during the early centuries of 
our era. Nearly all that is most fascinating in the Leech Book 
is of very ancient Indo-Germanic or Eastern origin, but one 
cannot help wondering how much the Saxons incorporated of 
the herb lore of the ancient Britons. Does not Pliny tell us 
that the Britons gathered herbs with such striking ceremonies 
that it would seem as though the Britons had taught them to 
the Persians? 

One cannot read Bald's manuscript without being struck by 
his remarkable knowledge of native plants and garden herbs. 
We are inferior to our continental neighbours in so many arts 
that it is pleasant to find that in the ancient art of gardening 
and in their knowledge of herbs our Saxon forefathers excelled. 
It has been pointed out by eminent authorities that the Anglo- 
Saxons had names for, and used, a far larger number of plants 
than the continental nations. In the Herbarium of Apuleius, 
including the additions from Dioscorides, only 185 plants are 
mentioned, and this was one of the standard works of the early 
Middle Ages. In the Herbarhcs of 1484, the earliest herbal 
printed in Germany, only 150 plants are recorded, and in the 
German Herharius of 1485 there are 380. But from various 
sources it has been computed that the Anglo-Saxons had names 


for, and used, at least 500 plants.^ One feels instinctively that 
the love of flowers and gardens was as deep-rooted in our 
ancestors as it is in our nation to-day, and though we do not 
know exactly what they grew in their gardens — which they 
called wyrt5erd (literally, herb-yard) — we do know that the 
marigolds, sunflowers, peonies, violets and gilly-flowers which 
make the cottage gardens of England so gay and full of colour 
to-day were also the commonest plants in the Saxon gardens. 
Fashions in large gardens have changed throughout the centuries, 
and there are stately gardens in this country famed the world 
over. But in regard to our cottage gardens we are staunchly 
conservative, and it is assuredly the cottage garden which 
is characteristically English. Incidentally, one cannot help 
regretting that so many of our old Saxon plant names have 
fallen into disuse. " Waybroad," for instance, is much more 
descriptive than " plantain," which is misleading.^ " Maythen " 
also is surely preferable to *' camomile," and " wergulu " is 
more characteristic of that fierce weed than " nettle." Those 
of us who are gardeners will certainly agree that " unfortraedde " 
is the right name for knotweed. And is not "joy of the 
ground " a delightful name for periwinkle? 

The oldest illustrated herbal which has come down to us 
from Saxon times is the translation of the Latin Herbarium 
Apuleii Platonici.^ The original Latin work is believed to date 

1 A small but striking instance of Saxon knowledge, or rather close 
observation, of plants is to be found in the following description of wolf's teazle 
in the Herbarium of Apuleius : — " This wort hath leaves reversed and thorny 
and it hath in its midst a round and thorny knob, and that is brown-headed 
in the blossoms and hath white seed and a white and very fragrant root." 
The word " reversed " is not in the original and was therefore added by the 
Saxon translator, who had observed the fact that all the thistle tribe protect 
their leaves by thorns pointing backwards as well as forwards. 

2 It is interesting to remember that even as late as the sixteenth century 
plantain was called " waybroad." See Turner's Herbal. 

3 There are numerous Latin MSS. of this book, chiefly in Italian Hbraries, 
several being in the Laurentian Library at Florence. The book was first 
printed at Rome, probably soon after 1480, by Joh. Philippus de Lignamine, 
who was also the editor. De Lignamine, who was physician to Pope Sixtus IV., 


from the fifth century, though no copy so ancient as this is in 
existence now. The name Apuleius Platonicus is possibly 
fictitious and nothing is known of the writer, who was, of 
course, distinct from Apuleius Madaurensis, the author of the 
Golden Ass. The Saxon translation of this herbal (now in the 
British Museum) is supposed to date from a.d. 1000-1050, and 
belongs to the school of ^Ifric of Canterbury. The frontispiece 
is a coloured picture in which Plato is represented holding a 
large volume which is being given him by ^Esculapius and the 
Centaur, and on the other side of the page is a blue circle spotted 
with white and red, within which is the name of the book : 
" Herbarium Apuleii Platonici quod accepit ab Escolapio et 
Chirone centauro magistro Achilhs." The book consists of 132 
chapters, in each of which a herb is described, and there are 
accompanying illustrations of the herbs. Throughout the book 
there are also remarkable pictures of snakes, scorpions and 
unknown winged creatures. It has been pointed out that the 
figures of herbs are obviously not from the original plants, but 
are copied from older figures, and these from others older still, 
and one wonders what the original pictures were like. It is 
interesting to think that perhaps the illustrations in this Saxon 
herbal are directly descended, so to speak, from the drawings of 
Cratevas,^ Dionysius or Metrodorus, of whom Pliny teUs us 
" They drew the likeness of herbs and wrote under them their 
effects." The picture of the lily is very attractive in spite of 
the fact that the flowers are painted pale blue. The stamens in 

says that he found this MS. in the hbrary of the monastery of Monte Cassino. 
In the first impression the book is dedicated to Cardinal de Gonzaga ; in the 
second impression to Cardinal de Ruvere. (The copy in the British Museum 
is of the second impression.) In this small quarto volume the illustrations 
are rough cuts. It is interesting to remember that these are the earliest 
known printed figures of plants. The printed text contains a large number 
of Greek and Latin synonyms which do not appear in the Saxon translation. 
Subsequent editions were printed in 1528 (Paris) and in the Aldine Collection 
of Latin medical writers, 1547 (Venice). 

1 Cratevas is said to have lived in the first century B.C. Phny, Dioscorides 
and Galen all quote him. 



W^fm^^'f^^:-. ' 


^*'^^l ' 

>UU!.. . ..jXjyAV-. 


From the Saxon translation of the Heyhariiwi of Apuletus (Cott. Vit., C. 3, folio 19a) 


the figure stand out beyond the petals and look like rays of 
light, with a general effect that is curiously pleasing. One of 
the most interesting figures is that of the mandrake (painted in 
a deep madder), which embodies the old legend that it was 
death to dig up the root, and that therefore a dog was tied to 
a rope and made to drag it up. It is the opinion of some 
authorities that these figures show the influence of the school 
represented by the two splendid Vienna manuscripts of 
Dioscorides dating from the fifth and seventh centuries. There 
is no definite evidence of this, and though the illustrations in 
the Saxon manuscript show the influence of the classical 
tradition, they are poor compared with those in the Vienna 
manuscript. To some extent at least the drawings in this 
herbal must necessarily have been copies, for many of the 
plants are species unknown in this country. 

The Saxon translation of the Uepl AtSa^icov (Harl. 6258) is 
a thin volume badly mutilated in parts. Herr Max Lowenbeck ^ 
has shown that this is in part translated from a treatise by an 
eleventh-century writer, Petrocellus or Petronius, of the School 
of Salerno — the original treatise being entitled Practica Petrocelli 
Salernitani? As has been pointed out by many eminent 
authorities, the School of Salerno, being a survival of Greek 
medicine, was uncontaminated by superstitious medicine. Con- 
sequently there are striking differences between this and the 
other Saxon manuscripts. The large majority of the herbs 
mentioned are those of Southern Europe, and the pharmacy is 
very simple compared with the number of herbs in prescriptions 
of native origin. As Dr. J. F. Payne ^ has pointed out, Herr 
Lowenbeck's important discovery does not account for the whole 
of the Enghsh book. The order of the chapters differs from 
that of the Salernitan writer; there are passages not to be 
found in the Practica, and in some places the English text gives 

^ Erlanger, Beiirdge zur englischen Philologie, No. XII. (TrcpJ StSa^ewi'), 
eine Sammlung von Rezepten in englischer Sprache. 

2 Printed by De Renzi in Collectio Salernitana, Vol. IV. (Naples, 1S56). 

3 English Medicme in the Anglo-Saxon Times. 


a fuller reading. It is fairly evident that the Saxon treatise is 
at least in part indebted to the Passionarms by Gariopontus, 
another Salernitan writer of the same period. 

The Lacnunga (Karl. 585), an original work, and one of 
the oldest and most interesting manuscripts, is a small, thick 
volume without any illustrations. Some of the letters are 
illuminated and some are rudely ornamented. At the top of 
the first page there is the inscription " Liber Humfredi Wanley," 
and it is interesting, therefore, to realise that the British Museum 
owes this treasure to the zealous antiquarian whose efforts 
during the closing years of the seventeenth and early years of 
the eighteenth century rescued so many valuable Saxon and 
other MSS. from oblivion. ^ 

To the student of folk lore and folk custom these sources of 
herb lore are of remarkable interest for the light they throw on 
the beliefs and customs of humble everyday people in Anglo- 
Saxon times. Of kings and warriors, of bards and of great 
ladies we can read in other Saxon literature, and all so vividly 
that we see their halls, the long hearths on which the fires were 
piled, the openings in the roof through which the smoke passed. 
We see the men with their " byrnies " of ring mail, their crested 

^ On the preceding blank page there is an inscription in late seventeenth- 
century handwriting — 

" This boucke with letters is wr [remainder of word illegible] 

Of it you cane no languige make. 

A happie end if thou dehre [dare] to make 

Remember still thyn owne esstate, 

If thou desire in Christ to die 

Thenn well to lead thy lif applie 

barbara crokker." 
It is at least probable that Wanley, who at this period was collecting Anglo- 
Saxon manuscripts for George Hickes, secured this MS. from " barbara 
crokker." Her naive avowal of her inability to read the MS. suggests that 
she probably had no idea of the value of the book, and when one remembers 
Wanley's reputation for driving shrewd bargains one cannot help wondering 
what he paid for this treasure. Those must have been halcyon days for 
collectors, when a man who had been an assistant in the Bodleian Library 
with a salary oi £12 a year could buy Saxon manuscripts ! 


helmets, their leather-covered shields and deadly short swords. 
We see them and their womenkind wearing golden ornaments 
at their feasts, the tables laden with boars' flesh and venison 
and chased cups of ale and mead. We see these same halls at 
night with the men sleeping, their " byrnies " and helmets 
hanging near them, and in the dim light we can make out also 
the trophies of the chase hanging on the walls. We read of 
their mighty deeds, and we know at least something of the 
ideals and the thoughts of their great men and heroes. But 
what of that vast number of the human kind who were always 
in the background ? What of the hewers of wood and drawers 
of water, the swineherds, the shepherds, the carpenters, the 
hedgers and cobblers? Is it not v/onderful to think that in 
these manuscripts we can learn, at least to some extent, what 
plant life meant to these everyday folk? And even in these 
days to understand what plant life means to the true countrj^man 
is to get into very close touch with him. Not only has suburban 
life separated the great concentrated masses of our people from 
their birthright of meadows, fields and woods; of Nature, in 
her untamed splendour and myster}^, most of them have never 
had so much as a momentary glimpse. But in Saxon times 
even the towns were not far from the unreclaimed marshes and 
forests, and to the peasant in those days they were full not 
only of seen, but also of unseen perils. There was probably 
not a Saxon child who did not know something of the awe of 
waste places and impenetrable forests. Even the hamlets lay 
on the very edge of forests and moors, and to the peasant these 
were haunted by giant, elf and monster, as in the more inacces- 
sible parts of these islands they are haunted still to those who 
retain something of primitive imagination. And when we study 
the plant lore of these people we realise that prince and peasant 
alike used the simple but mysterious herbs not only to cure 
them of both physical and mental ills, but to guard them from 
these unseen monsters. Of the reverence the}'' paid to herbs 
we begin to have some dim apprehension when we read of the 


ceremonies connected with the picking and administering of 

But, first, what can we learn of the behefs as to the origin 
of disease? Concerning this the great bulk of the folk lore in 
these manuscripts is apparently of native Teutonic origin, or 
rather it would be more correct to speak of its origin as Indo- 
Germanic; for the same doctrines are to be found among all 
Indo-Germanic peoples, and even in the Vedas, notably the 
Atharva Veda. Of these beliefs, the doctrine of the " elf-shot " 
occupies a large space, the longest chapter in the third book of 
the Leech Book of Bald being entirely " against elf-disease." 
We know from their literature that to our Saxon ancestors 
waste places of moor and forest and marshes were the resort of 
a host of supernatural creatures at enmity with mankind. In 
the Leech Book of Bald disease is largely ascribed to these elves, 
whose shafts produced illness in their victims. We read of 
beorg-selfen, dun-aelfen, muntselfen. But our modern word 
" elf " feebly represents these creatures, who were more akin to 
the " mark-stalkers," to the creatures of darkness with loathsome 
eyes, rather than to the fairies with whom we now associate the 
name. For the most part these elves of ancient times were 
joyless impersonations and creatures not of sun but of darkness 
and winter. In the gloom and solitude of the forest, ** where 
the bitter wormwood stood pale grey " and where " the hoar 
stones lay thick," the black, giant elves had their dwelling. 
They claimed the forest for their own and hated man because 
bit by bit he was wresting the forest from them. Yet they 
made for man those mystic swords of superhuman workmanship 
engraved with magic runes and dipped when red hot in blood 
or in a broth of poisonous herbs and twigs. We do not under- 
stand, we can only ask, why did they make them? What is 
the meaning of the myth? The water elves recall the sea 
monsters who attended Grendel's dam, impersonations of the 
fury of the waves, akin to Hnikarr, and again other water elves 
of the cavernous bed of ocean, primeval deadly creatures, 


inhabiting alike the sea and the desolate fens, " where the elk- 
sedge waxed in the water." If some were akin to the Formori 
of the baleful fogs in Irish mythic history and the Mallt-y-nos, 
those she-demons of marshy lands immortalised by the Welsh 
bards, creatures huge and uncouth " with grey and glaring 
eyes," there were others who exceeded in beauty anything 
human. When Csedmon wrote of the beauty of Sarah, he 
described her as " sheen as an elf." With the passing of the 
centuries we have well-nigh forgotten the black elves, though 
they are still realities to the Highlander and too real for him to 
speak of them. But have we not the descendants of the sheen 
bright elves in the works of Shakespeare, Milton and Shelley? 
One feels very sure that our Saxon ancestors would have under- 
stood that glittering elf Ariel as few of us are capable of 
understanding him. He is the old EngHsh bright elf. Did not 
Prospero subdue him with magic, as our ancestors used magic 
songs in administering herbs " to quell the elf " ? Here is one 
such song from the Leech Book of Bald, and at the end a 
conjuration to bury the elf in the earth. 

" I have wreathed round the wounds 
The best of healing wreaths 
That the baneful sores may 
Neither burn nor burst, 
Nor find their way further, 
Nor turn foul and fallow, 
Nor thump and throle on, 
Nor be wicked wounds, 
Nor dig deeply down ; 
But he himself may hold 
In a way to health. 
Let it ache thee no more 
Than ear in Earth acheth. 

Sing also this many times, * May earth bear on thee with all her 
might and main.' " — Leech Book of Bald, III. 63. 

This was for one '* in the water elf disease," and we read 
that a person so afflicted would have livid nails and tearful 
eyes, and would look downwards. Amongst the herbs to be 


administered when the charm was sung over him were a yew- 
berry, lupin, helenium, marsh mallow, dock elder, wormwood 
and strawberry leaves. 

Goblins and nightmare were regarded as at least akin to 
elves, and we find the same herbs were to be used against 
them, betony being of peculiar efficacy against " monstrous 
nocturnal visions and against frightful visions and dreams." ^ 
The malicious elves did not confine their attacks to human 
beings ; references to elf-shot cattle are numerous. I quote the 
following from the chapter " against elf disease." 

** For that ilk [i. e. for one who is elf-shot]. 

"Go on Thursday evening when the sun is set where thou 
knowest that helenium stands, then sing the Benedicite and 
Pater Noster and a litany and stick thy knife into the wort, 
make it stick fast and go away; go again when day and night 
just divide; at the same period go first to church and cross 
thyself and commend thyself to God; then go in silence and, 
though anything soever of an awful sort or man meet thee, say 
not thou to him any word ere thou come to the wort which on 
the evening before thou markedst; then sing the Benedicite 
and the Pater Noster and a litany, delve up the wort, let the 
knife stick in it ; go again as quickly as thou art able to church 
and let it lie under the altar with the knife; let it lie till the 
sun be up, wash it afterwards, and make into a drink with 
bishopwort and lichen off a crucifix ; boil in milk thrice, thrice 
pour holy water upon it and sing over it the Pater Noster, the 
Credo and the Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and sing upon it a litany 
and score with a sword round about it on three sides a cross, 
and then after that let the man drink the wort ; Soon it will be 
well with him." — Leech Book, 111. 62. 

The instructions for a horse or cattle that are elf-shot runs 
thus : — 

^ Herb. Ap., I. 


" If a horse or other neat be elf-shot take sorrel-seed or 
Scotch wax, let a man sing twelve Masses over it and put holy 
water on the horse or on whatsoever neat it be ; have the worts 
always with thee. For the same take the eye of a broken 
needle, give the horse a prick with it, no harm shall come." — 
Leech Book of Bald, I. 88. 

Another prescription for an elf-shot horse runs thus : — 

" If a horse be elf-shot, then take the knife of which the 
haft is the horn of a fallow ox and on which are three brass 
nails, then write upon the horse's forehead Christ's mark and 
on each of the limbs which thou mayst feel at : then take the 
left ear, prick a hole in it in silence, this thou shalt do; then 
strike the horse on the back, then will it be whole. — And write 
upon the handle of the knife these words — 

" Benedicite omnia opera Domini dominum. 

" Be the elf what it may, this is mighty for him to 
amend." — Leech Book of Bald, I. 65.1 

Closely allied to the doctrine of the elf-shot is that of " flying 
venom." It is, of course, possible to regard the phrase as the 
graphic Anglo-Saxon way of describing infectious diseases ; but 
the various synonymous phrases, " the on-flying things," " the 
loathed things that rove through the land," suggest something 
of more malignant activity. As a recent leading article in The 
Times shows, we are as a matter of fact not much wiser than 
our Saxon ancestors as to the origin of an epidemic such as 
influenza. 2 Indeed, to talk of " catching " a cold or any infec- 

1 For " elf-shot " herbal remedies see also Leech Book, III. i, 61, 64. 

2 " The visitation raises again questions which were so anxiously pro- 
pounded three years ago. In what manner does an epidemic of this kind 
arise? How is it propagated? We are still to a great extent in the dark 
in regard to both these points. Indeed, it has recently been suggested that 
we do not ' catch ' influenza at all, but that certain climatic or other con- 
ditions favour the multiplication on an important scale of micro-organisms 
normally present in the human air passages. It would be foohsh to pretend 



tious disease would have struck an Anglo-Saxon as ludicrous, 
mankind being rather the victims of " flying venom." In the 
alliterative lay in the Lacniinga, part of which is given below, 
the wind is described as blowing these venoms, which produced 
disease in the bodies on which they lighted, their evil effects 
being subsequently blown away by the magician's song and the 
efficacy of salt and water and herbs. This is generally supposed 
to be in its origin a heathen lay of great antiquity preserved 
down to Christian times, when allusions to the new religion 
were inserted. It is written in the Wessex dialect and is believed 
to be of the tenth century, but it is undoubtedly a reminiscence 
of some far older lay. The lay or charm is in praise of nine 
sacred herbs (one a tree) — mugwort, waybroad (plantain), 
stime (watercress), atterlothe (?), may then (camomile), wergulu 
(nettle), crab apple, chervil and fennel. 

" These nine attack 

against nine venoms. 
A worm came creeping, 

he tore asunder a man. 
Then took Woden 

nine magic twigs, 
[&] then smote the serpent 

that he in nine [bits] dispersed. 
Now these nine herbs have power 

against nine magic outcasts 

against nine venoms 

& against nine flying things 

[& have might] against the loathed things 

that over land rove. 

Against the red venoms 

against the runlan [?] venom 

against the white venom 

against the blue [ ?] venom 

against the yellow venom 

against the green venom 

against the dusky venom 

against the brown venom 

against the purple venom. 

to any opinion on a subject which is at present almost entirely speculative : 
yet the theory we have quoted may serve to show how complicated and 
difficult are the issues involved."— r/z^ Times, January 13, 1922. 


Against worm blast 
against water blast 
against thorn blast 
against thistle blast 
Against ice blast 
Against venom blast 

if any venom come 

flying from east 

or any come from north 

[or any from south] 

or any from west 

over mankind 
I alone know a running river 

and the nine serpents behold [it] 
All weeds must 

now to herbs give way, 

Seas dissolve 

[and] all salt water 

when I this venom 

from thee blow." ^ 

In the chapter in the Leech Book of Bald ^ containing the 
prescriptions sent by the Patriarch of Jerusalem to King Alfred, 
we find among the virtues of the " white stone " that it is 
" powerful against flying venom and against all uncouth things," 
and in another passage ^ that these venoms are particularly 
dangerous " fifteen nights ere Lammas and after it for five and 
thirty nights : leeches who were wisest have taught that in 
that month no man should anywhere weaken his body except 
there were a necessity for it." In the most ancient source of 
Anglo-Saxon medicine — the Lacnunga — we find the following 
" salve " for flying venom : — 

" A salve for flying venom. Take a handful of hammer 
wort and a handful of maythe (camomile) and a handful of 
waybroad (plantain) and roots of water dock, seek those which 

1 Translation from Dr. Charles Singer's Early English Magic and Medicine. 
Proceedings of the British Academy. 

2 Leech Book of Bald, Book II. 64 

^ Id. Book I. 72. For other references to fiv'ing venom see Leech Book 
of Bald, I. 113; II. 65. 


will float, and one eggshell full of clean honey, then take clean 
butter, let him who will help to work up the salve melt it thrice : 
let one sing a mass over the worts, before they are put together 
and the salve is wrought up." ^ 

But it is in the doctrine of the worm as the ultimate source 
of disease that we are carried back to the most ancient of sagas. 
The dragon and the worm, the supreme enemy of man, which 
play so dominating a part in Saxon literature, are here set 
down as the source of all ill. In the alliterative lay in the 
Lacnunga the opening lines describe the war between Woden 
and the Serpent. Disease arose from the nine fragments into 
which he smote the serpent, and these diseases, blown by the 
wind, are counteracted by the nine magic twigs and salt water 
and herbs with which the disease is again blown away from the 
victim by the power of the magician's song. This is the 
atmosphere of the great earth-worm Fafnir in the Volsunga 
Saga and the dragon in all folk tales, the great beast with 
whom the heroes of all nations have contended. Further, it is 
noteworthy that not only in Anglo-Saxon medicine, but for 
many centuries afterwards, even minor ailments were ascribed 
to the presence of a worm — notably toothache. In the Leech 
Book we find toothache ascribed to a worm in the tooth (see 
Leech Book, II. 121). It is impossible in a book of this size to 
deal with the comparative folk lore of this subject, but in 
passing it is interesting to recall an incantation for toothache 
from the Babylonian cuneiform texts ^ in which we find perhaps 
the oldest example of this belief. 

" The Marshes created the Worm, 
Came the Worm and wept before Shamash, 
What wilt thou give me for my food ? 
What wilt thou give me to devour ? 

^ Lacnunga, 6. 

2 Cuneiform Texts, Part XVII. pi. 50. 


Let me drink among the teeth 

And set me on the gums, 

That I may devour the blood of the teeth 

And of the gums destroy their strength. 

Then shall I hold the bolt of the door. 

So must thou say this, O Worm, 

May Ea smite thee with the might of his fist." 

Closely interwoven with these elements of Indo-Germanic 
origin we find the ancient Eastern doctrine which ascribes 
disease to demoniac possession. The exorcisms were originally 
heathen charms, and even in the Leech Book there are many 
interesting survivals of these, although Christian rites have to a 
large extent been substituted for them. Both mandrake and 
periwinkle were supposed to be endowed with mysterious powers 
against demoniacal possession. At the end of the description 
of the mandrake in the Herharium of Apuleius there is this 
prescription : — ■ 

" For witlessness, that is devil sickness or demoniacal \ 
possession, take from the body of this same wort mandrake by 
the weight of three pennies, administer to drink in warm water 
as he may find most convenient — soon he will be healed." — 
Herh. Ap., 32. 

Of periwinkle we read : — 

" This wort is of good advantage for many purposes, that is 
to say first against devil sickness and demoniacal possessions 
and against snakes and wild beasts and against poisons and for 
various wishes and for envy and for terror and that thou mayst 
have grace, and if thou hast the wort with thee thou shalt be 
prosperous and ever acceptable. This wort thou shalt pluck 
thus, saying, * I pray thee, vinca pervinca, thee that art to be 
had for thy many useful qualities, that thou come to me glad 
blossoming with thy mainfulness, that thou outfit me so that I 
be shielded and ever prosperous and undamaged by poisons and 
by water ; ' when thou shalt pluck this wort thou shalt be 


clean of every uncleanness, and thou shalt pick it when the 
moon is nine nights old and eleven nights and thirteen nights 
and thirty nights and when it is one night old." — Herb. Ap. 

In the treatment of disease we find that the material remedies, 
by which I mean remedies devoid of any mystic meaning, are 
with few exceptions entirely herbal. The herb drinks were made 
up with ale, milk or vinegar, many of the potions were made of 
herbs mixed with honey, and ointments were made of herbs 
worked up with butter. The most scientific prescription is 
that for a vapour bath,^ and there are suggestions for what may 
become fashionable once more — herb baths. The majority of 
the prescriptions are for common ailments, and one cannot help 
being struck by the number there are for broken heads, bleeding 
noses and bites of mad dogs. However ignorant one may be 
of medicine, it is impossible to read these old prescriptions without 
realising that our ancestors were an uncommonly hardy race, 
for the majority of the remedies would kill any of us modern 

^ The directions for the vapour bath are given in such a brief and yet 
forceful way that I cannot imagine anyone reading it without feehng at the 
end as though he had run breathlessly to collect the herbs, and then prepared 
the bath and finally made the ley of alder ashes to wash the unfortunate 
patient's head. Like all these cheerful Saxon prescriptions, this one ends 
with the comforting assurance " it will soon be well with him," and one wonders 
whether in this, as in many other cases, the patient got well in order to avoid 
his friends' ministrations. The prescription for a vapour bath made with 
herbs runs thus : — 

" Take bramble rind and elm rind, ash rind, sloethorn, rind of apple tree 
and ivy, all these from the nether part of the trees, and cucumber, smear wort, 
everfern, helenium, enchanters nightshade, betony, marrubium, radish, agri- 
mony. Scrape the worts into a kettle and boil strongly. When it hath 
strongly boiled remove it off the fire and seat the man over it and wrap the 
man up that the vapour may get up nowhere, except only that the man may 
breathe ; beathe him with these fomentations as long as he can bear it. Then 
have another bath ready for him, take an emmet bed all at once, a bed of 
those male emmets which at whiles fly, they are red ones, boil them in water, 
beathe him with it immoderately hot. Then make him a salve. Take worts 
of each kind of those above mentioned, boil them in butter, smear the sore 
hmbs, they will soon quicken. Make him a ley of alder ashes, wash his head 
with this cold, it will soon be well with him, and let the man get bled every 
month when the moon is five and fifteen and twenty nights old." 





(Sloane 1975, folio ^ga) 


weaklings, even if in robust health when they were administered. 
At times one cannot help wondering whether in those days, 
as not infrequently happens now, the bulletin was issued that 
" the operation was quite successful, but the patient died of 
shock ! " And, as further evidence of the old truth that there 
is nothing new under the sun, it is pleasant to find that doctors, 
even in Saxon days, prescribed " carriage exercise," and more- 
over endeavoured to sweeten it by allowing the patient to " lap 
up honey " first. This prescription runs thus : — 

" Against want of appetite. Let them, after the night's 
fast, lap up honey, and let them seek for themselves fatigue in 
riding on horseback or in a wain or such conveyance as they may 
endure." — Leech Book, 11. 7. 

In the later herbals, " beauty " recipes are, as is well known, 
a conspicuous feature, but they find a place also in these old 
manuscripts. In the third book (the oldest part) of the Leech 
Book there is a prescription for sunburn which runs thus : — 

" For sunburn boil in butter tender ivy twigs, smear there- 
with." — Leech Book, III. 29. 

And in Leech Book II. we find this prescription : — 

" That all the body may be of a clean and glad and bright 
hue, take oil and dregs of old wine equally much, put them into 
a mortar, mingle well together and smear the body with this in 
the sun." — Leech Book, 11. 65. 

Prescriptions for hair falling off are fairly numerous, and there 
are even two — somewhat drastic — prescriptions for hair which 
is too thick. Sowbread and watercress were both used to make 
hair grow, and in Leech Book I. there is this prescription : — 

" If a man's hair fall off, work him a salve. Take the mickle 
wolf's bane and viper's bugloss and the netherward part of 
burdock, work the salve out of that wort and out of all these and 
out of that butter of which no water hath come. If hair fall 


off, boil the polypody fern and foment the head with that so 
warm. In case that a man be bald, Plinius the mickle leech 
saith this leechdom : * Take dead bees, burn them to ashes, 
add oil upon that, seethe very long over gledes, then strain, 
wring out and take leaves of willow, pound them, pour the juice 
into the oil; boil again for a while on gledes, strain them, 
smear therewith after the bath." — Leech Book, I. 87. 

The two prescriptions for hair which is too thick are in the 
same chapter : — 

" In order that the hair may not wax, take emmets' eggs, 
rub them up, smudge on the place, never will any hair come up 
there." Again : " if hair be too thick, take a swallow, burn 
it to ashes under a tile and have the ashes shed on." 

There are more provisions against diseases of the eye than 
against any other complaint, and it is probably because of the 
prevalence of these in olden days that we still have so many 
of the superstitions connected with springs of water. Both 
maythen (camomile) and wild lettuce were used for the eyes. 
In the following for mistiness of eyes there is a touch of pathos : — 

** For mistiness of eyes, many men, lest their eyes should 
suffer the disease, look into cold water and then are able to see 
far. . . . The eyes of an old man are not sharp of sight, then 
shall he wake up his eyes with rubbings, with walkings, with 
ridings, either so that a man bear him or convey him in a wain. 
And they shall use little and careful meats and comb their heads 
and drink wormwood before they take food. Then shall a 
salve be wrought for unsharpsighted eyes ; take pepper and beat 
it and a somewhat of salt and wine; that will be a good salve." 

One prescription is unique, for the " herb " which one is 
directed to use is not to be found in any other herbal in existence. 
This is " rind from Paradise." There is a grim humour about 
the scribe's comment, and one cannot help wondering what was 
the origin of the prescription : — 


" Some teach us against bite of adder, to speak one word 
' faul.' It may not hurt him. Against bite of snake if the man 
procures and eateth rind which cometh out of Paradise, no 
venom will hurt him. Then said he that wrote this book that 
the rind was hard gotten." 

These manuscripts are so full of word pictures of the treat- 
ment of disease that one feels if one were transported back to 
those days it would in most cases be possible to tell at a glance 
the " cures " various people were undergoing. Let us visit a 
Saxon hamlet and go and see the sick folk in the cottages. On 
our way we meet a man with a fawn's skin decorated with little 
bunches of herbs dangling from his shoulders, and we know 
that he is a sufferer from nightmare.^ Another has a wreath 
of clove-wort tied with a red thread round his neck. He is a 
lunatic, but, as the moon is on the wane, his family hope that 
the wearing of these herbs will prove beneficial. We enter a 
dark one-roomed hut, the dwelling of one of the swineherds, but 
he is not at his work ; for it seemed to him that his head turned 
about and that he was faring with turned brains. He had 
consulted the leech and, suggestion cures being then rather more 
common than now, the leech had advised him to sit calmly 
by his fireside with a linen cloth wrung out in spring water on 
his head and to wait till it was dry. He does so, and, to quote 
the words with which nearly all Saxon prescriptions end, we 
feel " it will soon be well with him." Let us wend our way to 
the cobbler, a sullen, taciturn man who finds his lively young 
wife's chatter unendurable. We find him looking more gloomy 
than usual, for he has eaten nothing all day and now sits moodily 
consuming a raw radish. But there is purpose in this. Does 
not the ancient leechdom say that, if a radish be eaten raw 
after fasting all day, no woman's chatter the next day can 
annoy? In another cottage we find that a patient suffering 
from elf-shot is to be smoked with the fumes of herbs. A huge 

^ Leech Book, I. 60. 


quern stone which has been in the fire on the hearth all day is 
dragged out, the prepared herbs — wallwort and mugwort — are 
scattered upon it and also underneath, then cold water is poured 
on and the patient is reeked with the steam " as hot as he can 
endure it." ^ Smoking sick folk, especially for demoniac 
possession, is a world-wide practice and of very ancient origin. 
There is no space here to attempt to touch on the comparative 
folk lore of this subject. Moreover, fumigating the sick with 
herbs is closely akin to the burning of incense. Even in ancient 
Babylonian days fumigating with herbs was practised.^ It was 
very common all through the Middle Ages in most parts of 
Europe, and that it has not even yet died out is shown by the 
extract from The Times given below.^ I have purposely put 
in juxtaposition the translation of the ancient Babylonian 
tablet and the extract from The Times. 

1 Lacnunga, 48. 

2 In an incantation against fever we find the instruction : — 

" The sick man . . . thou shalt place 

thou shalt cover his face 

Burn cypress and herbs 

That the great gods may remove the evil 
That the evil spirit may stand aside 

May a kindly spirit a kindly genius be present." 

R. Campbell Thompson, Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia, p. 29. See 
also p. 43. Cf. also Tobit vi. 7. 

3 A Pomeranian Rite. — An attempt was made a few days ago to cast a 
devil out of a woman living in a village of the Lauenberg district of Pomerania, 
on the Polish frontier. She appears to have been of a sour and somewhat 
hysterical temperament, and three of the village gossips came to the con- 
clusion that she was a victim of diabolical possession and resolved to effect 
a cure by means of enchantment. They first of all gathered the herbs needed 
for the purpose in the forest at the proper conjunction of the stars. Then 
a tripod was formed of three chairs, and to these the patient was bound. 
Beneath her was fixed a pail of red-hot coal on which the herbs were scattered. 
As the fumes of the burning weeds veiled the victim the three neighbours 
crooned the prescribed exorcism. The louder the woman shrieked the louder 
they sang, and after the process had been continued long enough to prove 
effective, in their opinion, they ran away, believing that the devil would run 
out of the woman after them. She, however, continued to shriek. Her 
cries were heard by a man, who released her. — The Times, December 5, 1921, 


It is noteworthy that not only human beings, but cattle 
and swine were smoked with the fumes of herbs. In the 
Lacnunga, for sick cattle we find — " Take the wort, put it upon 
gledes and fennel and hassuck and * cotton ' and incense. Burn 
all together on the side on which the wind is. Make it reek 
upon the cattle. Make five crosses of hassuck grass, set them 
on four sides of the cattle and one in the middle. Sing about 
the cattle the Benedicite and some litanies and the Pater Noster. 
Sprinkle holy water upon them, burn about them incense and 
cotton and let someone set a value on the cattle, let the owner 
give the tenth penny in the Church for God, after that leave 
them to amend; do this thrice." — Lacnunga, 79. 

" To preserve swine from sudden death sing over them four 
masses, drive the swine to the fold, hang the worts upon the four 
sides and upon the door, also burn them, adding incense and make 
the reek stream over the swine." — Lacnunga, 82. 

Herbs used as amulets have always played a conspicuous 
part in folk medicine, and our Saxon ancestors used them, as 
all ancient races have used them, not merely to cure definite 
diseases but also as protection against the unseen powers of 
evil,^ to preserve the eyesight, to cure lunacy, against weariness 
1 It is interesting to find the same beliefs amongst the ancient Babylonians. 
" Fleabane on the lintel of the door I have hung 
S. John's wort, caper and wheatears 
With a halter as a roving ass 
Thy body I restrain. 
O evil spirit get thee hence 
Depart O evil Demon. 

In the precincts of the house stand not nor circle round 

' In the house will I stand,' say thou not, 

' In the neighbourhood will I stand,' say thou not. 

O evil spirit get thee forth to distant places 

O evil Demon hie thee unto the ruins 

Where thou standest is forbidden ground 

A ruined desolate house is thy home 

Be thou removed from before me. By Heaven be thou exorcised 

By Earth be thou exorcised." 

Trans, of Utukke Limnute Tablet " B." R. C. Thompson, 
Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. 


when going on a journey, against being barked at by dogs, for 
safety from robbers, and in one prescription even to restore a 
woman stricken with speechlessness. The use of herbs as amulets 
to cure diseases has almost died out in this country, but the use 
of them as charms to ensure good luck survives to this day — 
notably in the case of white heather and four-leaved clover. 

There is occasionally the instruction to bind on the herb with 
red wool. For instance, a prescription against headache in the 
third book of the Leech Book enjoins binding waybroad, which 
has been dug up without iron before sunrise, round the head 
*' with a red fillet." Binding on with red wool is a very ancient 
and widespread custom.^ Red was the colour sacred to Thor 
and it was also the colour abhorred not only by witches in 
particular but by all the powers of darkness and evil. An 
ancient Assyrian eye charm prescribes binding " pure strands 
of red wool which have been brought by the pure hand of . . . 
on the right hand," and down to quite recent times even in 
these islands tying on with red wool was a common custom. 

Besides their use as amulets, we also find instructions for 
hanging herbs up over doors, etc., for the benefit not only of 
human beings but of cattle also. Of mugwort we read in the 
Herharium of Apulehis, " And if a root of this wort be hung 
over the door of any house then may not any man damage the 

" Of Croton oil plant. For hail and rough weather to turn 
them away. If thou hast in thy possession this wort which is 
named * ricinus ' and which is not a native of England, if thou 
hangest some seed of it in thine house or have it or its seed in 
any place whatsoever, it turneth away the tempestuousness of 
hail, and if thou hangest its seed on a ship, to that degree 

^ Sonny {Arch. f. Rel., 1906, p. 525), in his article " Rote Farbe im Toten- 
kulte," considers the use of red to be in imitation of blood. The instruction 
to bind on with red is found even in the Grele Herball of 1526. " Apium is 
good for lunatyke Folke yf it be bounde to the pacyentes heed with a lynen 
clothe dyed reed," etc. 


wonderful it is, that it smootheth every tempest. This wort 
thou shalt take saying thus, ' Wort ricinus T pray that thou be 
at my songs and that thou turn away hails and hghtning 
bolts and all tempests through the name of Almighty God who 
hight thee to be produced ' ; and thou shalt be clean when thou 
pluckest this herb." — Herb. Ap., 176. 

" Against temptation of the fiend, a wort hight red niolin, 
red stalk, it waxeth by running water ; if thou hast it on thee and 
under thy head and bolster and over thy house door the devil 
may not scathe thee within nor without." — Leech Book, III. 58. 

" To preserve swine from sudden death take the worts 
lupin, bishopwort, hassuck grass, tufty thorn, vipers bugloss, 
drive the swine to the fold, hang the worts upon the four sides 
and upon the door." — Lacnunga, 82. 

The herbs in commonest use as amulets were betony, vervain, 
peony, yarrow, mugwort and waybroad (plantain). With the 
exception of vervain, no herb was more highly prized than 
betony. The treatise on it in the Herbarium of Apuleius is sup- 
posed to be an abridged copy of a treatise on the virtues of this 
plant written by Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor 
Augustus. No fewer than twenty-nine uses of it are given, and 
in the Saxon translation this herb is described as being " good 
whether for a man's soul or his body." Vervain was one of the 
herbs held most sacred by the Druids and, as the herbals of 
Gerard and Parkinson testify, it was in high repute even as 
late as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It has never 
been satisfactorily identified, though many authorities incline 
to the belief that it was verbena. In Druidical times libations 
of honey had to be offered to the earth from which it was dug, 
mystic ceremonies attended the digging of it and the plant was 
lifted out with the left hand. This uprooting had always to be 
performed at the rising of the dog star and when neither the 
sun nor the moon was shining. Why the humble waybroad 
should occupy so prominent a place in Saxon herb lore 


it is difficult to understand. It is one of the nine sacred 
herbs in the aUiterative lay in the Lacnunga, and the epithets 
"mother of worts" and "open from eastwards" are applied 
to it. The latter curious epithet is also applied to it in 
Lacnunga 46, — " which spreadeth open towards the East." 
Waybroad has certainly wonderfully curative powers, especially 
for bee-stings, but otherwise it has long since fallen from its 
high estate. Peony throughout the Middle Ages was held in 
high repute for its protective powers, and even during the closing 
years of the last century country folk hung beads made of its 
roots round children's necks.^ Yarrow is one of the aboriginal 
Enghsh plants, and from time immemorial it has been used in 
incantations and by witches. Country folk still regard it as one 
of our most valuable herbs, especially for rheumatism. Mug- 
wort, which was held in repute throughout the Middle Ages 
for its efficacy against unseen powers of evil, is one of the nine 
sacred herbs in the alliterative lay in the Lacnunga, where it is 
described thus : — 

" Eldest of worts 
Thou hast might for three 
And against thirty 
For venom availest 
For fljdng vile things, 
Mighty against loathed ones 
That through the land rove." 

Harleian MS. 585. 

With the notable exception of vervain, it is curious how little 
prominence is given in Saxon plant lore to the herbs which were 
held most sacred by the Druids, and yet it is scarcely credible 
that some of their wonderful lore should not have been 
assimilated. But in these manuscripts little or no importance 
attaches to mistletoe, holly, birch or ivy. There is no mention of 
mistletoe as a sacred herb.^ We find some mention of selago, 

1 See W. G. Black, Folk Medicine. 

2 Even modern science has not yet succeeded in solving some of the 
mysteries connected with this remarkable plant. For instance, although the 

,- _c 
« o 


generally identified with lycopodium selago, of which Pliny tells us 
vaguely that it was " like savin." The gathering of it had to be 
accompanied in Druid days with mystic ceremonies. The Druid 
had his feet bare and was clad in white, and the plant could not 
be cut with iron, nor touched with the naked hand. So great 
were its powers that it was called " the gift of God." Nor is 
there any mention in Saxon plant lore of the use of sorbus 
aiicuparia, which the Druids planted near their monolithic 
circles as protection against unseen powers of darkness. There 
is, however, one prescription which may date back to the Roman 
occupation of Britain. It runs thus : " Take nettles, and seethe 
them in oil, smear and rub all thy body therewith ; the cold will 
depart away." ^ It has always been believed that one of the 
varieties of nettle (Urtica pilidifera) was introduced into England 
by the Roman soldiers, who brought the seed of it with them. 
According to the tradition, they were told that the cold in 
England was unendurable ; so they brought these seeds in order 
to have a plentiful supply of nettles wherewith to rub their 
bodies and thereby keep themselves warm. Possibly this 
prescription dates back to that time. 

From what hoary antiquity the charms and incantations 
which we find in these manuscripts have come down to us we 
cannot say. Their atmosphere is that of palaeolithic cave- 
drawings, for they are redolent of the craft of sorcerers and they 
suggest those strange cave markings which no one can decipher. 
Who can say what lost languages are embedded in these unin- 
telligible words and single letters, or what is their meaning? 
To what ancient ceremonies do they pertain, and who were the 

apple and the pear are closely related, mistletoe very rarely grows on the 
pear tree, and there is no case on record of mistletoe planted on a pear tree 
by human hands surviving the stage of germination. There are, it is true, 
two famous mistletoe pears in this country — one in the garden of Belvoir 
Castle and the other in the garden of Fern Lodge, Malvern, but in both cases 
the seed was sown naturally. It grows very rarely on the oak, and this possibly 
accounts for the special reverence accorded by the Druids to the mistletoe 
oak. 1 Leech Book, I. 8i. 


initiated who alone understood them? At present it is all 
mysterious, though perhaps one day we shall discover both their 
sources and their meaning. They show no definite traces of the 
Scandinavian rune-lays concerning herbs, though one of the 
charms is in runic characters. It is noteworthy that in the third 
book, which is evidently much older than the first two parts of 
the Leech Book, the proportion of heathen charms is exceptionally 
large. In one prescription we find the names of two heathen 
idols, Tiecon and Leleloth, combined with a later Christian 
interpolation of the names of the four gospellers. The charm 
is in runic characters and is to be followed by a prayer. Many 
of the mystic sentences are wholly incomprehensible, in others we 
find heathen names such as Lilumenne, in others a string of words 
which may be a corrupt form of some very ancient language. 
Thus a lay to be sung in case a man or beast drinks an insect 
runs thus : — " Gonomil, orgomil, marbumil, marbsai, tofeth," 

If some of the charms have a malignant sound, others were 
probably as soothing in those days as those gems are still which 
have survived in our inimitable nursery rhymes. 

For instance, the following has for us no meaning, but even 
in the translation it has something of the curious effect of the 
words in the original. A woman who cannot rear her child is 
instructed to say — " Everywhere I carried for me the famous 
kindred doughty one with this famous meat doughty one, so 
I will have it for me and go home." 

In the Lacnunga there is a counting-out charm which is a 
mixture of an ancient heathen charm combined with a Christian 
rite at the end. 

" Nine were Noddes sisters, then the nine came to be eight, 
and the eight seven, and the seven six, and the six five, and the 
five four, and the four three, and the three two, and the two one, 
and the one none. This may be medicine for thee from scrofula 

^ Lacnunga, 9, 


and from worm and from every mischief. Sing also the Benedicite 
nine times." — Lacnunga, 95.^ 

One of the most remarkable narrative charms is that for 
warts copied below from the Lacnunga. It is to be sung first 
into the left ear, then into the right ear, then above the man's 
poll, then " let one who is a maiden go to him and hang it upon 
his neck, do so for three days, it will soon be well with him." 

" Here came entering 
A spider wight. 

He had his hands upon his hams. 
He quoth that thou his hackney wert. 
Lay thee against his neck. 
They began to sail off the land. 

As soon as they off the land came, then began they to cool. 
Then came in a wild beast's sister. 

Then she ended 
And oaths she swore that never could this harm the sick, nor him who could 

get at this charm, nor him who had skill to sing this charm. Amen. 

Fiat." — Lacnunga, 56. 

Of the world-wide custom of charming disease from the 
patient and transferring it to some inanimate object we find 
numerous examples. This custom is not only of very ancient 
origin, but persisted until recent times even in this country. 
As commonly practised in out-of-the-way parts of Great Britain 
it was believed that the disease transferred to an inanimate 
object would be contracted by the next person who picked it 
up, but in the Saxon herbals we find an apparently older custom 
of transferring the disease to " running water " (suggestive of 
the Israelitish scapegoat), and also that of throwing the blood 
from the wound across the wagon way. These charms for 
transferring disease seem originally to have been associated 
1 This closely resembles a Cornish charm for a tetter. 

" Tetter, tetter, thou hast nine brothers, 
God bless the flesh and preserve the bone ; 
Perish thou, tetter, and be thou gone. 
Tetter, tetter, thou hast eight brothers." 

Thus the verses are continued until tetter having " no brother " is ordered 
to be gone. — R. Hunt, Popular Romances of the West of England, p. 414. 


with a considerable amount of ceremonial. For instance, in 
those to cure the bite of a hunting spider we find that a certain 
number of scarifications are to be struck (and in both cases an 
odd number — three and five) ; in the case of the five scarifica- 
tions, " one on the bite and four round about it," the blood is to 
be caught in " a green spoon of hazel-wood," and the blood is 
to be thrown " in silence " over a wagon way. In the Lacnunga 
there are traces of the actual ceremonial of transferring the 
disease, and the Christian prayer has obviously been substituted 
for an older heathen one. The charm is in unintelligible words 
and is followed by the instruction, " Sing this nine times and the 
Pater Noster nine times over a barley loaf and give it to the horse 
to eat." In a " salve against the elfin race " it is noticeable that 
the herbs, after elaborate preparation, are not administered to 
the patient at all, but are thrown into running water. 

" A salve against the elfin race and nocturnal goblin visitors : 
take wormwood, lupin. . . . Put these worts into a vessel, set 
them under the altar, sing over them nine masses, boil them in 
butter and sheep's grease, add much holy salt, strain through a 
cloth, throw the worts into running water." — Leech Book, III. 6i. 

One charm in the Lacnmiga which is perhaps not too long to 
quote speaks of some long-lost tale. It appears to be a fragment 
of a popular lay, and one wonders how many countless genera- 
tions of our ancestors sang it, and what it commemorates : — 

" Loud were they loud, as over the land they rode, 
Fierce of heart were they, as over the hill they rode. 
Shield thee now thyself ; from this spite thou mayst escape thee ! 
Out little spear if herein thou be ! 

Underneath the linden stood he, underneath the shining shield. 
While the mighty women mustered up their strength ; 
And the spears they send screaming through the air ! 
Back again to them will I send another. 
Arrow forth a-flying from the front against them ; 
Out little spear if herein thou be ! 
Sat the smith thereat, smoke a little seax out. 
Out little spear if herein thou be ! 
Six the smiths that sat there — making slaughter-spears : 


Out little spear, in be not spear ! 

If herein there hide flake of iron hard, 

Of a witch the work, it shall melt away. 

Wert thou shot into the skin, or shot into the flesh, 

Wert thou shot into the blood, or shot into the bone, 

Wert thou shot into the limb — never more thy life be teased ! 

If it were the shot of Esa, or it were of elves the shot 

Or it were of hags the shot ; help I bring to thee. 

This to boot for Esa-shot, this to boot for elfin-shot, 

This to boot for shot of hags ! Help I bring to thee. 

Flee witch to the wild hill top 

But thou — be thou hale, and help thee the Lord." 

Who were these six smiths and who were the witches ? One 
thinks of that mighty Smith Weyland in the palace of Nidad 
king of the Niars, of the queen's fear of his flashing eyes and the 
maiming of him by her cruel orders, and of the cups he made 
from the skulls of her sons and gems from their eyes. We 
think of these as old tales, but instinct tells us that they are 
horribly real. We may not know how that semi-divine smith 
made himself wings, but that he flew over the palace and never 
returned we do not doubt for an instant. To the fairy stories 
which embody such myths children of unnumbered generations 
have listened, and they demand them over and over again 
because they, too, are sure that they are real. 

Nor is the mystery of numbers lacking in these herbal 
prescriptions, particularly the numbers three and nine. In the 
alliterative lay of the nine healing herbs this is very conspicuous. 
Woden, we are told, smote the serpent with nine magic twigs, 
the serpent was broken into nine parts, from which the wind 
blew the nine flying venoms. There are numerous instances 
of the patient being directed to take nine of each of the ingre- 
dients or to take the herb potion itself for three or nine days. 
Or it is directed that an incantation is to be said or sung three 
or nine times, or that three or nine masses are to be sung over 
the herbs. This mystic use of three and nine is conspicuous in 
the following prescription : — 

" Against dysentery, a bramble of which both ends are in 


the earth take the newer root, delve it up, cut up nine chips 
with the left hand and sing three times the Miserere mei Deus 
and nine times the Pater Noster, then take mugwort and ever- 
lasting, boil these three worts and the chips in milk till they get 
red, then let the man sip at night fasting a pound dish full . . . 
let him rest himself soft and wrap himself up warm; if more 
need be let him do so again, if thou still need do it a third time, 
thou wilt not need oftener." — Leech Book, IL 65. 

The leechdom for the use of dwarf elder against a snake-bite 
runs thus : — ^ 

" For rent by snake take this wort and ere thou carve it off 
hold it in thine hand and say thrice nine times Omnes malas 
bestias canto, that is in our language Enchant and overcome all 
evil wild deer ; then carve it off with a very sharp knife into three 
parts." — Herb. Ap,, 93. 

Some of the most remarkable passages in the manuscripts 
are those concerning the ceremonies to be observed both in the 
picking and in the administering of herbs. What the mystery 
of plant life which has so deeply affected the minds of men in all 
ages and of all civilisations meant to our ancestors, we can but 
dimly apprehend as we study these ceremonies. They carry us 
back to that worship of earth and the forces of Nature which 
prevailed when Woden was yet unborn. That Woden was the 
chief god of the tribes on the mainland is indisputable, but even 
in the hierarchy of ancestors reverenced as semi-divine the 
Saxons themselves looked to Sceaf rather than to Woden, who 
himself was descended from Sceaf. There are few more haunting 
legends than that of our mystic forefather, the little boy asleep 
on a sheaf of corn who, in a richly adorned vessel which moved 
neither by sails nor oars, came to our people out of the great 
deep and was hailed by them as their king. Did not Alfred 
himself claim him as his primeval progenitor, the founder of 

^ For further instances of the mystic use of three and nine see also Leech 
Book, I. 45, 47, 67. 


our race? There is no tangible link between his descendant 
Woden and the worship of earth, but the sheaf of corn, the symbol 
of Sceaf, carries us straight back to Nature worship. Sceaf 
takes his fitting place as the semi-divine ancestor with the lesser 
divinities such as Hrede and Eostra, goddess of the radiant 
dawn. It is to this age that the ceremonies in the picking of 
the herbs transport us, to the mystery of the virtues of herbs, 
the fertility of earth, the never-ceasing conflict between the 
beneficent forces of sun and summer and the evil powers of the 
long, dark northern winters. Closely intertwined with Nature 
worship we find the later Christian rites and ceremonies. For 
the new teaching did not oust the old, and for many centuries 
the mind of the average man halted half-way between the two 
faiths. If he accepted Christ he did not cease to fear the great 
hierarchy of unseen powers of Nature, the worship of which was 
bred in his very bone. The ancient festivals of Yule and Eostra 
continued under another guise and polytheism still held its 
sway. The devil became one with the gloomy and terrible 
in Nature, with the malignant elves and dwarfs. Even with the 
warfare between the beneficent powers of sun and the fertility 
of Nature and the malignant powers of winter, the devil became 
associated. Nor did men cease to believe in the Wyrd, that 
dark, ultimate fate goddess who, though obscure, lies at the back 
of all Saxon belief. It was in vain that the Church preached 
against superstitions. Egbert, Archbishop of York, in his 
Penitential, strictly forbade the gathering of herbs with incanta- 
tions and enjoined the use of Christian rites, but it is probable 
that even when these manuscripts were written, the majority 
at least of the common folk in these islands, though nominally 
Christian, had not deserted their ancient ways of thought.^ 

^ St. Eloy, in a sermon preached in a.d. 640, also forbade the enchanting 
of herbs : — 

" Before all things I declare and testify to you that you shall observe 
none of the impious customs of the pagans, neither sorcerers, nor diviners, 
nor soothsayers, nor enchanters, nor must you presume for any cause to 
enquire of them. . . . Let none regulate the beginning of any piece of work 


When the Saxon peasant went to gather his heahng herbs he 
may have used Christian prayers ^ and ceremonies, but he did 
not forget the goddess of the dawn. It is noteworthy how 
frequently we find the injunction that the herbs must be picked 
at sunrise or when day and night divide, how often stress is laid 
upon looking towards the east, and turning " as the sun goeth 
from east to south and west." In many there is the instruction 
that the herb is to be gathered " without use of iron " or " with 
gold and with hart's horn " (emblems of the sun's rays). It 
is curious how little there is of moon lore. In some cases the 
herbs are to be gathered in silence, in others the man who gathers 
them is not to look behind him — a prohibition which occurs 
frequently in ancient superstitions. The ceremonies are all 
mysterious and suggestive, but behind them always lies the 
ancient ineradicable worship of Nature. To what dim past 
does that cry, " Erce, Erce, Erce, Mother of Earth " carry us? 

" Erce, Erce, Erce, Mother of Earth ! 
May the All-Wielder, Ever Lord grant thee 

by the day or by the moon. Let none trust in nor presume to invoke the 
names of daemons, neither Neptune, nor Orcus, nor Diana, nor Minerva, nor 
Geniscus nor any other such folhes. ... Let no Christian place hghts at the 
temples or the stones, or at fountains, or at trees, or at places where three 
ways meet. . . . Let none presume to hang amulets on the neck of man or 
beast. . . . Let no one presume to make lustrations, nor to enchant herbs, 
nor to make flocks pass through a hollow tree, or an aperture in the earth ; 
for by so doing he seems to consecrate them to the devil. Let none on the 
kalends of January join in the wicked and ridiculous things, the dressing 
Hke old women or hke stags, nor make feasts lasting all night, nor keep up 
the custom of gifts and intemperate drinking. Let no one on the festival of 
St. John or on any of the festivals join in the solstitia or dances or leaping 
or caraulas or diabolical songs." — From a sermon preached by St. Eloy in 
A.D. 640. 

^^ A Christian prayer for a blessing on herbs runs thus : — 
" Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui ab initio mundi omnia instituisti et creasti 
tam arborum generibus quam herbarum seminibus quibus etiam benedictione 
tua benedicendo sanxisti eadem nunc benedictione olera ahosque fructus 
sanctificare ac benedicere digneris ut sumentibus ex eis sanitatem conferant 
mentis et corporis ac tutelam defensionis eternamque uitam per saluatorem ani- 
marum dominum nostrum iesum christum qui uiuit et regnat dominus in 
secula seculorum. Amen." 


Acres a-waxing, upwards a-growing 

Pregnant [with corn] and plenteous in strength ; 

Hosts of [grain] shafts and of gUttering plants ! 

Of broad barley the blossoms 

And of white wheat ears waxing. 

Of the whole earth the harvest ! 

Let be guarded the grain against all the ills 

That are sown o'er the land by the sorcery men, 

Nor let cunning women change it nor a crafty man." 

And that other ancient verse : — 

" Hail be thou, Earth, Mother of men ! 
In the lap of the God be thou a-growing ! 

Be filled with fodder for fare-need of men ! " 

It is of these two invocations that Stopford Brooke (whose 
translations I have used) writes : " These are very old heathen 
invocations used, I daresay, from century to century and from 
far prehistoric times by all the Teutonic farmers. Who * Erce ' 
is remains obscure. But the Mother of Earth seems to be here 
meant, and she is a person who greatly kindles our curiosity. 
To touch her is like touching empty space, so far away is she. 
At any rate some Godhead or other seems here set forth under 
her proper name. In the Northern Cosmogony, Night is the 
Mother of Earth. But Erce cannot be Night. She is (if Erce 
be a proper name) bound up with agriculture. Grimm suggests 
Eorce, connected with the Old High German ' erchan ' = 
simplex. He also makes a bold guess that she may be the 
same as a divine dame in Low Saxon districts called Herke or 
Harke, who dispenses earthly goods in abundance, and acts in 
the same way as Berhta and Holda — an earth-goddess, the 
lady of the plougher and sower and reaper. In the Mark she is 
called Frau Harke. Montanus draws attention to the appearance 
of this charm in a convent at Corvei, in which this line begins — 
* Eostar, Eostar, eordhan modor.' . . . The name remains 
mysterious. The song breathes the pleasure and worship of 
ancient tillers of the soil in the labours of the earth and in the 
goods the mother gave. It has grown, it seems, out of the 
breast of earth herself ; earth is here the Mother of Men. The 


surface of earth is the lap of the Goddess ; in her womb let all 
growth be plentiful. Food is in her for the needs of men. 
* Hail be thou, Earth ! ' I daresay this hymn was sung ten 
thousand years ago by the early Aryans on the Baltic coast." 

Even in a twelfth-century herbal we find a prayer to Earth, 
and it is so beautiful that I close this chapter with it : — 

" Earth,^ divine goddess, Mother Nature who generatest all 
things and bringest forth anew the sun which thou hast given 
to the nations ; Guardian of sky and sea and of all gods and powers 
and through thy power all nature falls silent and then sinks in 
sleep. And again thou bringest back the Hght and chasest 
away night and yet again thou coverest us most securely with 
thy shades. Thou dost contain chaos infinite, yea and winds 
and showers and storms ; thou sendest them out when thou wilt 
and causest the seas to roar; thou chasest away the sun and 
arousest the storm. Again when thou wilt thou sendest forth 
the joyous day and givest the nourishment of life with thy 
eternal surety; and when the soul departs to thee we return. 
Thou indeed art duly called great Mother of the gods; thou 
conquerest by thy divine name. Thou art the source of the 
strength of nations and of gods, without thee nothing can be 
brought to perfection or be born ; thou art great queen of the 
gods. Goddess ! I adore thee as divine ; I call upon thy name ; 
be pleased to grant that which I ask thee, so shall I give thanks 
to thee, goddess, with one faith. 

** Hear, I beseech thee, and be favourable to my prayer. 
Whatsoever herb thy power dost produce, give, I pray, with 
goodwill to all nations to save them and grant me this my 
medicine. Come to me with thy powers, and howsoever I may 
use them may they have good success and to whomsoever I may 
give them. Whatever thou dost grant it may prosper. To 
thee all things return. Those who rightly receive these herbs 

1 Translation from Early English Magic and Medicine by Dr. Charles 
Singer. Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. IV. 

5 -S 


from me, do thou make them whole. Goddess, I beseech thee ; 
I pray thee as a suppHant that by thy majesty thou grant this 
to me. 

" Now I make intercession to you all ye powers and herbs 
and to your majesty, ye whom Earth parent of all hath produced 
and given as a medicine of health to all nations and hath put 
majesty upon you, be, I pray you, the greatest help to the human 
race. This I pray and beseech from you, and be present here 
with your virtues, for she who created you hath herself promised 
that I may gather you into the goodwill of him on whom the art 
of medicine was bestowed, and grant for health's sake good 
medicine by grace of your powers. I pray grant me through 
your virtues that whatsoe'er is wrought by me through you may 
in all its powers have a good and speedy effect and good success 
and that I may always be permitted with the favour of your 
majesty to gather you into my hands and to glean your fruits. 
So shall I give thanks to you in the name of that majesty which 
ordained your birth." 



" Spryngynge t3mie is the time of gladnesse and of love ; for in Sprynging 
time all thynge semeth gladde ; for the erthe wexeth grene, trees burgynne 
[burgeon] and sprede, medowes bring forth flowers, heven shyneth, the see 
resteth and is quyete, foules synge and make theyr nestes, and al thynge that 
semed deed in wynter and widdered, ben renewed, in Spryngyng time." — 
Bartholom^us Anglicus, circ. 1260. 

Between the Anglo-Saxon herbals and the early printed 
herbals there is a great gulf. After the Norman Conquest the 
old Anglo-Saxon lore naturally fell into disrepute, although 
the Normans were inferior to the Saxons in their knowledge of 
herbs. The learned books of the conquerors were written 
exclusively in Latin, and it is sad to think of the number of 
beautiful Saxon books which must have been destroyed, for 
when the Saxons were turned out of their own monasteries the 
Normans who supplanted them probably regarded books written 
in a language they did not understand as mere rubbish. Much 
of the old Saxon herb lore is to be found in the leech books 
of the Middle Ages, but, with one notable exception, no important 
original treatise on herbs by an English writer has come down 
to us from that period. The vast majority of the herbal MSS. 
are merely transcriptions of Macer's herbal, a mediaeval Latin 
poem on the virtues of seventy-seven plants, which is believed 
to have been written in the tenth century. The popularity of 
this poem is shown by the number of MSS. still extant. It 
was translated into English as early as the twelfth century with 
the addition of *' A fewe herbes wyche Macer tretyth not." ^ 
In 1373 it was translated by John Lelamoure, a schoolmaster 

1 See BibHography of English MS. Herbals. 


of Hertford. On folio 55 of the MS. of this translation is the 
inscription, " God gracious of grauntis havythe yyeue and 
ygrauted vertuys in woodys stonys and herbes of the whiche 
erbis Macer the philosofure made a boke in Latyne the whiche 
boke Johannes Lelamoure scolemaistre of Herforde est, they 
he unworthy was in the yere of oure Lorde a. m. ccc. Ixxiij 
tournyd in to Ynglis." Macer' s herbal is also the basis of a 
treatise in rhyme of which there are several copies in England 
and one in the Royal Library at Stockholm. This treatise, 
which deals with twenty-four herbs, begins thus quaintly — 

" Of erbs xxiiij I woll you tell by and by 
Als I fond wryten in a boke at I in boroyng toke 
Of a gret ladys preste of gret name she barest." 

The poem begins with a description of betony, powerful against 
" wykked sperytis," and then treats, amongst other herbs, of 
the virtues of centaury, marigold, celandine, pimpernel, mother- 
wort, vervain, periwinkle, rose, lily, henbane, agrimony, sage, 
rue, fennel and violet. It is pleasant to find the belief that only 
to look on marigolds will draw evil humours out of the head and 
strengthen the eyesight. 

" Golde [marigold] is bitter in savour 
Fayr and 3elw [yellow] is his flowur 
Ye golde flour is good to sene 
It makyth ye syth bryth and clene 
Wyscely to lokyn on his flowris 
Drawyth owt of ye heed wikked hirores [humours]. 

Loke wyscely on golde erly at morwe [morning] 
Yat day fro feueres it schall ye borwe : 
Ye odour of ye golde is good to smelle." 

The instructions for the picking of this joyous flower are given 
at length. It must be taken only when the moon is in the sign 
of the Virgin, and not when Jupiter is in the ascendant, for 
then the herb loses its virtue. And the gatherer, who must be 
out of deadly sin, must say three Pater Nosters and three Aves. 
Amongst its many virtues we find that it gives the wearer a 


vision of anyone who has robbed him. The virtues of vervain 
also are many; it must be picked " at Spring of day " in *' ye 
monyth of May." Periwinkle is given its beautiful old name 
"joy of the ground " (" men calle it ye Juy of Grownde ") 
and the description runs thus : — 

" Parwynke is an erbe grene of colour 
In tyme of May he beryth bio flour, 
His stalkys ain [are] so feynt [weak] and feye 
Yet never more growyth he heye [high]." 

Under sage we find the old proverb — " How can a man die who 
has sage in his garden? " 

" Why of seknesse deyeth man 
Whill sawge [sage] in gardeyn he may han." 

A manuscript of exceptional interest is one describing the 
virtues of rosemary which was sent by the Countess of Hainault 
to her daughter Philippa, Queen of England, and apart from 
its intrinsic interest it is important from the fact that it is 
obviously the original of the very poetical discourse on rosemary 
in the first printed English herbal, commonly known as Banckes's 
herbal. Moreover, in this MS. there is recorded an old tradition 
which I have not found in any other herbal, but which is still 
current amongst old-fashioned country folk, namely, that 
rosemary *' passeth not commonly in highte the highte of 
Criste whill he was man on Erthe," and that when the plant 
attains the age of thirty-three years it will increase in breadth 
but not in height. It is the oldest MS. in which we find many 
other beliefs about rosemary that still survive in England. 
There is a tradition that Queen PhiUppa's mother sent the first 
plants of rosemary to England, and in a copy of this MS. in the 
library of Trinity College, Cambridge, the translator, " danyel 
bain," says that rosemary was unknown in England until the 
Countess of Hainault sent some to her daughter. 

The only original treatise on herbs written by an EngUshman 
during the Middle Ages was that by Bartholomseus AngUcus, 


and on the plant-lover there are probably few of the mediaeval 
writers who exercise so potent a spell. Even in the thirteenth 
century, that age of great men, Bartholomew the Englishman 
ranked with thinkers such as Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas 
and Albertus Magnus. He was accounted one of the greatest 
theologians of his day, and if his lectures on theology were as 
simple as his writings on herbs, it is easy to understand why 
they were thronged and why his writings were so eagerly 
studied, not only in his lifetime but for nearly three centuries 
afterwards. A child could understand his book on herbs, for, 
being great, he was simple. But although his work De Pro- 
prietatibus Rerum (which contains nineteen books) was the 
source of common information on Natural History throughout 
the Middle Ages, and was one of the books hired out at a regu- 
lated price by the scholars of Paris, we know very little of the 
writer. He spent the greater part of his life in France and 
Saxony, but he was Enghsh born and was always known as 
Bartholomseus Anglicus.^ We know that he studied in Paris 
and entered the French province of the Minorite Order, and 
later he became one of the most renowned professors of theology 
in Paris. In 1230 a letter was received from the general of the 
Friars Minor in the new province of Saxony asking the pro- 
vincial of France to send Bartholomew and another English- 
man to help in the work of that province, and the former 
subsequently went there. We do not know the exact date of 
De Proprietatihiis Rerum, but it must have been written about 

^ He is sometimes erroneously called Bartholomew de Glanville. Leland, 
without citing any authority, called him de Glanville. Bale copied Leland in 
1557 ^nd added a list of writings wrongly attributed to Bartholomew. Quctif 
and Echard give detailed reasons in pointing out Leland's error. The Parmese 
chronicler, Salimbene, writing in 1283, refers to him as Bartholomfeus Anghcus, 
and John de Trittenheim, Abbot of Sparheim (end of fifteenth century), speaks 
of him as " Bartholomeus natione Anglicus." M. Leopold Dehsle endeavoured 
to claim him as a Frenchman, but although he spent the greater part of his 
life abroad, he was always distinguished as " Bartholomaeus AngHcus." That 
he was a Minorite " de provincia Francia " is no proof that he was a French- 
man. Batman (1582), on the authority of Bale, describes Bartholomaeus as 
being " of the noble famihe of the Earles of Suffolk." 


the middle of the thirteenth century ; for, though it cites Albertus 
Magnus, who was teaching in Paris in 1248, there is no mention 
of any of the later authorities, such as Thomas Aquinas, Roger 
Bacon and Vincent de Beauvais. It was certainly known in 
England as early as 1296, for there is a copy of that date at 
Oxford, and there still exist both in France and in England 
a considerable number of other manuscript copies, most of which 
date from the latter part of the thirteenth century and the 
early part of the fourteenth. The book was translated into 
English in 1398 by John de Trevisa,^ chaplain to Lord Berkeley 
and vicar of Berkeley, and Bartholomew could scarcely have 
been more fortunate in his translator. At the end of his 
translation, Trevisa writes thus : — 

" Endlesse grace blysse thankyng and praysyng unto our 
Lorde God Omnipotent be gyuen, by whoos ayde and helpe this 
translacon was endyd at Berkeley e the syxte daye of Feuerer 
the yere of our Lorde MCCCLXXXXVIII the yere of y^ reyne 
of Kynge Rycharde the seconde after the Conqueste of Englonde 
XXII. The yere of my lordes aege, syre Thomas, Lorde of 
Berkeleye that made me to make this Translacon XLVII." 

Salimbene shows that the book was known in Italy in 1283, 
and there are two MS. copies in the Bibliotheque Nationale of 
Paris, of which the earliest is dated 1297. Before Trevisa made 
his English translation, it had been translated into French by 
Jehan Corbichon, in 1372, for Charles V. of France. 

The book was first printed at Basle about 1470, and the 
esteem in which it was held may be judged from the fact that 
it went through at least fourteen editions before 1500, and 
besides the English and French translations it was also trans- 
lated into Spanish and Dutch. The English translation was 

1 John de Trevisa, a Comishman, was a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, 
and subsequently of Queen's College. He afterwards became chaplain to 
Lord Berkeley and vicar of Berkeley. 


first printed by Caxton's famous apprentice, Wynken de Worde.^ 
The translator in a naive little introductory poem says that, 
just as he had looked as a child to God to help him in his games, 
so now he prays Him to help him in this book. 

" C[ ?]Rosse was made all of red . 
In the begynning of my boke . 
That is called, god me sped . 
In the fyrste lesson that j toke . 
Thenne I learned a and b . 
And other letters by her names . 
But alway God spede me . 
Thought me nedefull in all games . 
Yf I played in felde, other medes . 
Stylle other wyth noyse . 
I prayed help in all my dedes . 
Of him that deyed upon the croys . 
Now dyuerse playes in his name . 
I shall lette passe forth and far . 
And aventure to play so long game . 
Also I shall spare . 
Wodes, medes and feldes . 
Place that I have played inne . 
And in his name that all thig weldes . 
This game j shall begynne. . 
And praye helpe conseyle and rede . 
To me that he wolde sende . 
And this game rule and lede . 
And brynge it to a good ende. ." 

And in the preface Trevisa addresses his readers thus : 
" Merveyle not, ye witty and eloquent reders, that I thyne of 
wytte and voyde of cunning have translatid this boke from 
latin to our vulgayre language as a thynge profitable to me and 
peradventure to many other, whych understonde not latyn nor 
have not the knowledge of the proprytees of thynges." 

The seventeenth book of De Proprietatihus Return is on herbs 
and their uses, and it is full of allusions to the classical writers 
on herbs — Aristotle, Dioscorides and Galen — but the descrip- 
tions of the plants themselves are original and charming. 

^ Wynkyn de Worde's real name was Jan van Wynkyn (de Worde being 
merely a place-name), and in the sacrist's rolls of Westminster Abbey, 1491- 
1500, he figures as Johannes Wynkyn. 


There is no record to show that Bartholomew the EngHsh- 
man was a gardener, but we can hardly doubt that the man 
who described flowers with such loving care possessed a garden 
and worked in it. The Herbarius zu Teutsch might have been 
written in a study, but there is fresh air and the beauty of the 
living flowers in Bartholomew's writings. Of the lily he says : 
" The Lely is an herbe wyth a whyte floure. And though the 
levys of the floure be whyte yet wythen shyneth the lyknesse 
of golde." Bartholomew may have known nothing of the 
modern science of botany, but he knew how to describe not only 
the lily, but also the atmosphere of the lily, in a word-picture 
of inimitable simplicity and beauty. One feels instinctively 
that only a child or a great man could have written those lines. 
And is there not something unforgettable in these few words on 
the unfolding of a rose — " And whane they [the petals] ben 
full growen they sprede theymselues ayenst the sonne rysynge " ? 

The chapter on the rose is longer than most, and is so 
deUghtful that I quote a considerable part of it. '*The rose 
of gardens is planted and sette and tylthed as a vyne. And if 
it is forgendred and not shred and pared and not clensed of 
superfluyte : thene it gooth out of kynde and chaungeth in to a 
wylde rose. And by oft chaunging and tylthing the wylde rose 
torneth and chaugith into a very rose. And the rose of ye 
garden and the wylde rose ben dyuers in multitude of floures : 
smelle and colour : and also in vertue. For the leves of the 
wylde rose ben fewe and brode and whytyssh : meddlyd wyth 
lytyll rednesse : and smellyth not so wel as the tame rose, 
nother is so vertuous in medicyn. The tame rose hath many 
leuys sette nye togyder : and ben all red, other almost white : 
w* wonder good smell. . . . And the more they ben brused and 
broken : the vertuouser they ben and the better smellynge. 
And springeth out of a thorne that is harde and rough : netheles 
the Rose folowyth not the kynde of the thorne : But she arayeth 
her thorn wyth fayr colour and good smell. Whan ye rose 
begynneth to sprynge it is closed in a knoppe wyth grenes : 

^TDt flrboifCaprm pnmum one tbape : jfoi one cornet!) of a not^m 

jfoxpf tbou fotbcft rl)cfceo of aticf/^ 


Printed by Wynkyn de Worde (1495) 


and that knoppe is grene. And whafie it swellyth thenne 
spryngeth out harde leuys and sharpe. . ; , And whane they 
ben full growen they sprede theymselues ayenst the sonne 
rysynge. And for they ben tendre and feble to holde togyder 
in the begynnynge; theyfore about those smale grene leuys 
ben nyghe the red and tendre leuys . . . and ben sette all 
aboute. And in the mydill thereof is seen the sede small and 
yellow wyth full gode smell." 

There follows a description, too long to quote here, of the 
growth of the rose hip, which ends with the remark : '* But they 
ben not ful good to ete for roughnesse that is hyd wythin. And 
greuyth [grieveth] wythin his throte that ete thereof." . . . 
" Among all floures of the worlde," he continues, " the floure of 
the rose is cheyf and beeryth ye pryse. And by cause of vertues 
and swete smelle and savour. For by fayrnesse they fede the 
syghte : and playseth the smelle by odour, the touche by softe 
handlynge. And wythstondeth and socouryth by vertue ayenst 
many syknesses and euylles." A delicious recipe is given for 
Rose honey. " Rose shreede smalle and sod in hony makyth 
that hony medycynable wyth gode smelle : And this com- 
fortyeth and clenseth and defyeth gleymy humours." 

Of the violet we read : " Violet is a lytyll herbe in sub- 
staunce and is better fresshe and newe than whan it is olde. 
And the floure thereof smellyth moost. . . . And the more 
vertuous the floure thereof is, ye more it bendyth the heed 
thereof douwarde. Also floures of spryngynge tyme spryngeth 
fyrste and sheweth somer. The lytylnes thereof in substaunce 
is nobly rewarded in gretnesse of sauour and of vertue." 

Bartholomew's descriptions of flowers are usually brief, 
and there is a clarity and vividness about them which give them 
a charm peculiarly their own. How fresh and English, for 
instance, is his chapter on the apple. I have never before seen 
the taste of an apple described as ** merry," but how true 
the description is ! " Malus the Appyll tree is a tree yt 
bereth apples and is a grete tree in itself .... it is more short 


than other trees of the wood wyth knottes and rinelyd Rynde. 
And makyth shadowe wythe thycke bowes and braunches : 
and fayr with dyuers blossomes, and floures of swetnesse and 
lykynge : with goode fruyte and noble. And is gracious in syght 
and in taste and vertuous in medecyne . . . some beryth 
sourysh fruyte and harde and some ryght soure and some ryght 
swete, with a good savoure and mery." The descriptions of 
celandine and broom are also characteristic. ** Celidonia is an 
herbe w* yelowe floures, the frute smorcheth them that it 
towchyth. And hyghte Celidonia for it spryngeth, other 
blomyth, in the comynge of swalowes. ... It hy3t celidonia 
for it helpith swallowes birdes yf their eyen be hurte other (or) 
blynde." " Genesta hath that name of bytterness for it is full 
of bytter to mannes taste. And is a shrubbe that growyth in a 
place that is forsaken, stony and untylthed. Presence thereof 
is wytnesse that the grounde is bareyne and drye that it groweth 
in. And hath many braunches knotty and hard. Grene in 
wynter and yelowe floures in somer thyche [the which] wrapped 
with heuy smell and bitter sauour. And ben netheles moost of 
vertue." Bartholomew gives the old mandrake legend in full, 
though he adds, *' it is so feynd of churles others of wytches," 
and he also writes of its use as an anesthetic. ^ Further, he 
records two other beliefs about the mandrake which I have 
never found in any other English herbal — namely, that while 
uprooting it one must beware of contrary winds, and that one 
must go on digging for it until sunset. " They that dy gge 
mandragora be besy to beware of contrary wyndes whyle they 
digge. And maken circles abowte with a swerder and abyde 
with the dyggynge unto the sonne goynge downe." 

But apart from herbs and their uses, the book De herbis is 
full of fleeting yet vigorous pictures of the homely everyday 
side of mediaeval life. Bartholomew, being one of the greatest 
men of his century, writes of matters in which the simplest 

1 " The rind thereof medled with wine . . . gene to them to drink that 
shall be cut in their body for they should slepe and not fele the sore knitting." 


of us are interested. He tells us of the feeding of swine with 
acorns. Of the making and baking of bread (including the 
thrifty custom of mixing cooked beans with the flour " to 
make the brede the more hevy "). Incidentally, and with all 
due respect, it may be remarked that he had no practical know- 
ledge of this subject, his vivid description being obviously that 
of an interested spectator. There is an airy masculine vague- 
ness about the conclusion of the whole matter of bread-making — 
" and at last after many travailes, man's lyfe is fedde and 
sustained therewith." He tells us of the use of laurel leaves 
to heal bee and wasp stings and to keep books and clothes 
from " moths and other worms," of the making of " fayre 
images " and of boxes wherein to keep " spycery " from the 
wood of the box-tree. Of the making of trestle tables 
" areared and set upon feet," of playing boards " that men 
playe on at the dyes [dice] and other gamys. And this maner 
of table is double and arrayd wyth dyerse colours." Of the 
making of writing tables, of wood used for flooring that " set 
in solar floors serue all men and bestys y' ben therein, and 
ben treden of alle men and beestys that come therein," and 
so strong that " they bende not nor croke [crack] whan they 
ben pressyd w' heuy thynges layd on them." And also of 
boards used for ships, bridges, hulks and coffers, and " in shyp- 
breche [shipwreck] men fle to hordes and ben ofte sauyd in 
peryll." Of the building of houses with roofs of " trees 
stretchyd from the walles up to the toppe of ye house," with 
rafters " stronge and square and hewen playne," and of the 
covering of strawe and thetche [thatch]." Of the making of 
linen from the soaking of the flax in water till it is dried and 
turned in the sun and then bound in " praty bundels " and 
" afterward knockyd, beten and brayd and carflyd, rodded and 
gnodded; ribbyd and heklyd and at the laste sponne," of the 
bleaching, and finally of its many uses for making clothing, and 
for sails, and fish nets, and thread, and ropes, and strings (" for 
bows "), and measuring lines, and sheets (" to reste in "), and 


sackes, and bagges, and purses (" to put and to kepe thynges 
in "). Of the making of tow " uneven and full of knobs," used 
for stuffing into the cracks in ships, and " for bonds and 
byndynges and matches for candelles, for it is full drye and 
takyth sone fyre and brenneth." " And so," he concludes 
somewhat breathlessly, " none herbe is so nedefull to so many 
dyurrse uses to mankynde as is the flexe." Of the vineyard 
" closyd about wyth walles and wyth hegges, with a wayte 
[watch] set in an hyghe place to kepe the vynyerde that the 
fruyte be not dystroyed." Of the desolation of the vineyard 
in winter, " but in harueste tyme many comyth and haunteth 
the vynyerde." Of the delicious smell of a vineyard. Of the 
damage done by foxes and swine and " tame hounds." '* A 
few hounds," Bartholomew tells us, " wasten and dystroye moo 
grapes that cometh and eteth therof theuylly [thievishly]." 
" A vineyard," he concludes, " maye not be kepte nother 
sauyd but by his socour and helpe that all thynge hath and 
possesseth in his power and myghte. And kepyth and sauyth 
all lordly and myghtily." And is there any other writer who in 
so few words tells us of the woods in those days? Of the 
" beestis and foulis " therein as well as the herbs, of the woods 
in summer-time, of the hunting therein, of the robbers and 
the difficulty of finding one's way? Of the birds and the bees 
and the wild honey and the delicious coolness of the deep shade 
in summer, and the " wery wayfarynge trauelynge men " ? 
And the final brief suggestion of the time when forests were 
veritable boundaries ? I believe also that this is the only book 
in which we are told of the interesting old custom of tying knots 
to the trees " in token and marke of ye highe waye," and of 
robbers deliberately removing them. The picture is so perfect 
that I give it in full : — 

" Woods ben wide places wast and desolate y* many trees 
growe in w*oute fruyte and also few hauyinge fruyte. And those 
trees whyche ben bareyne and beereth noo manere fruyte 


alwaye ben generally more and hygher thane y' wyth fruyte, 

fewe out taken as Oke and Beche. In thyse wodes ben ofte 

wylde beestes and foulis. Therein growyth herbes, grasse, 

lees and pasture, and namely medycynall herbes in wodes foude. 

In somer wodes ben bewtyed [beautied] wyth bowes and 

braunches, w' herbes and grasse. In wode is place of disceyte 

[deceit] and of huntynge. For therin wylde beest ben hunted : 

and watches and disceytes [deceits] ben ordenyd and lette of 

houndes and of hunters. There is place of hidynge and of 

lurkyng. For ofte in wodes theuys ben hyd, and oft in their 

awaytes and disceytes passyng men cometh and ben spoylled 

and robbed and ofte slayne. And soo for many and dyuerse 

wayes and uncerten strange men ofte erre and goo out of the 

waye. And take uncerten waye and the waye that is unknowen 

before the waye that is knowen and come oft to the place these 

theues lye in awayte and not wythout peryll. Therefore ben 

ofte knottes made on trees and in busshes in bowes and in 

braunches of trees; in token and marke of ye highe waye; to 

shewe the certen and sure waye to wayefareynge men. But 

oft theuys in tornynge and metyng of wayes chaunge suche 

knottes and signes and begyle many men and brynge them out 

of the ryght waye by false tokens and sygnes. Byrdes, foules 

and bein [bees] fleeth to wode, byrdes to make nestes and bein 

[bees] to gadre hony. Byrdes to kepe themself from foulers 

and bein [bees] to hyde themself to make honycombes preuely 

in holowe trees and stockes. Also wodes for thyknesse of trees 

ben colde with shadowe. And in hete of the sonne wery way- 

f arynge and trauelynge men haue lykynge to have reste and to 

hele themself in the shadow. Many wodes ben betwyne dyuers 

coutrees and londes : and departyth theym asondre. And by 

weuynge and castyng togyder of trees often men kepeth and 

defendyth themself from enymies." ^ 

1 Under " Birch " there is another touch of hfe in the woods in the Middle 
Ages. " Wylde men of wodes and forestes useth that sede instede of breede 
[bread]. And this tree hath moche soiire juys and somwhat bytynge. And 
men useth therfore in spryngynge tyme and in haruest to slyt the ryndes and 


Bartholomew's book on herbs ends thus : " And here we shall 
fynysshe and ende in treatyng of the XVII boke whyche hath 
treated as ye may openly knowe of suche thynges as the Maker 
of all thyng hath ordered and brought forth by his myghty 
power to embelyssh and araye the erthe wyth and most specyally 
for ye fode of man and beast/' 

At the end of the book is the poem which has caused so 
much controversy amongst bibliographers. In this Wynken de 
Worde definitely states that Caxton had a share in the first 
printing of this book at Cologne : — 

" And also of your charyte call to remembraunce 

The soule of William Caxton first pryter of this boke. 
In laten tonge at Coleyn hyself to auauce 
That every well disposed man may therein loke," 

In spite of this, modern bibliographers are of opinion that 
Caxton could not have played even a subordinate part in the 
printing of this book at Cologne. 

De Worde also refers to the maker of the paper ^ : — 

"... John Tate the yonger. . . . 
Which late hathe in England doo make this paper thynne 
That now in our Englysh this boke is prynted Inne." 

There is charm as well as pathos in the verses on the repro- 
duction of manuscripts in book form, showing us vividly what 
the recent discovery of the art of printing meant to the scholars 
of that day. The simile of Phoebus " repairing " the moon is 
very apt. 

" For yf one thyng myght laste a M yere 

Full sone comyth aege that frettyth all away ; 
But like as Phebus wyth his hemes clere 
The mone repeyreth as bryght as ony day 
Whan she is wasted ryght ; so may we say 
Thise bokes old and blynde whan we renewe 
By goodly pryntyng they ben bryght of hewe." 

to gader ye humour that comyth oute therof and drynkyth in stede of wyn. 
And such drynke quencheth thurste. But it fedyth not nother nourryssheth 
not, nother makyth men dronke." 

^ In regard to this paper (probably the first made in England for printing) 
see Bibliography, p. 204. 


The last verse of the poem is as follows : — 

" Nowe gloryous god that regnest one in thre 

And thre in one graunte vertu myght and grace 
Unto the prynter of this werke that he 
May be rewarded in thy heuenly place 
And whan the worlde shall come before thy face 
There to receue accordyng to desert 
Of grace and mercy make hym then expert." 

The treatise on herbs formed, as we have seen, only a part 
of Bartholomew's De Proprietatibus Remm, and, to speak strictly, 
the first printed English herbal was the small quarto volume 
published by Richard Banckes in 1525. It was the beginning 
of a series of small books ^ chiefly in black letter. All of them, 
though issued from different presses, have nearly the same title, 
and they vary only shghtly from the original Banckes s Herbal. 
The title of this Herbal is— 

" Here begynneth a new mater / the whiche sheweth and | 
treateth of ye vertues & proprytes of her- | bes / the whiche is 
called i an Herball • . • | C Cum gratia & priuilegio | a rege indulto | 

(Colophon) Hlmpvynied by me Rycharde Banckes/ dwellynge 
in I Lodo / a lytel fro ye Stockes in ye Pultry / ye XXV day 
of I Marche. The yere of our Lorde MCCCCC. & XXV." 

We do not know who the author of this book was, and it 

has been suggested that it is based on some mediaeval Enghsh 

manuscript now lost. Certainly when one reads this anonymous 

work known as Banckes s Herbal one is struck not only by its 

superiority to the later and more famous Crete Herball, but 

also by its greater charm. It gives the impression of being a 

compilation from various sources, the author having made his 

own selection from what pleased him most in the older Enghsh 

manuscript herbals. It seems to have been a labour of love, 

whereas the Crete Herball is merely a translation. It is almost 

certain that the writer made use of one of the numerous 

1 For dates, full titles, etc., of all the editions of Banckes s Herbal see 
BibUography of English Herbals. 


manuscript versions of Macer's Herbal, which in parts Banckes's 
Herbal resembles very closely, and the chapter on rosemary 
shows that he had access to one of the copies of the manuscript 
on the virtues of rosemary which was sent by the Countess of 
Hainault to Queen Philippa. He does not give the beautiful 
old tradition preserved in that manuscript,^ but he ascribes 
wonderful virtues to this herb, with the same loving enthusiasm 
and almost in the same words. Of rosemary in Banckes's 
Herbal we read : — 

" Take the flowers thereof and make powder thereof and 
binde it to thy right arme in a linnen cloath and it shale make 
theee light and merrie. 

" Take the flowers and put them in thy chest among thy 
clothes or among thy Bookes and Mothes shall not destroy 

" Boyle the leaves in white wine and washe thy face there- 
with and thy browes and thou shaft have a faire face. 

" Also put the leaves under thy bedde and thou shalt be 
delivered of all evill dreames. 

" Take the leaves and put them into wine and it shall keep 
the wine from all sourness and evill savours and if thou wilt 
sell thy wine thou shalt have goode speede. 

*' Also if thou be feeble boyle the leaves in cleane water and 
washe thyself and thou shalt wax shiny. 

" Also if thou have lost appetite of eating boyle well these 
leaves in cleane water and when the water is colde put there- 
unto as much of white wine and then make sops, eat them 
thereof wel and thou shalt restore thy appetite againe. 

" If thy legges be blowen with gowte boyle the leaves in 
water and binde them in a linnen cloath and winde it about 
thy legges and it shall do thee much good. 

** If thou have a cough drink the water of the leaves boyld 
in white wine and ye shall be whole. 

1 See p. 44. 



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" Take the Timber thereof and burn it to coales and make 
powder thereof and rubbe thy teeth thereof and it shall keep thy 
teeth from all evils. Smell it oft and it shall keep thee youngly. 

" Also if a man have lost his smellyng of the ayre that he 
may not draw his breath make a fire of the wood and bake his 
bread therewith, eate it and it shall keepe him well. 

" Make thee a box of the wood of rosemary and smell to it 
and it shall preserve thy youth." 

That Banckess Herbal achieved immediate popularity is 
attested by the fact that the following year another edition of 
it was issued, and during the next thirty years various London 
printers issued the same book under different titles.^ Robert 
Wyer^ ascribed the authorship of those he issued to Macer, 
and in the edition of 1530 he added, after " Macer's Herbal," 
*' Practysed by Dr. Lynacro." Whether this statement is true 
it is impossible to discover, but we know that the great doctor 
died some years before Wyer set up as a printer, and his name 
does not appear in any of the subsequent editions of the herbal 
issued by other printers. In Wyer's edition there are some good 
initial letters very similar to those used by Wynkyn de Worde. 

The most interesting edition of the herbal is that printed 
by William Copland, in which first appear the additional chapters 
on " The virtues of waters stylled," *' The tyme of gathering 
of sedes " and " A general rule of all maner of herbes." He 
issued two editions bearing the same title and differing only 

^ See Bibliography of English Herbals. 

2 Robert Wyer was one of the most famous printers of the early sixteenth 
century. He came of a Buckinghamshire family and was probably a near 
relation of John Wyer, also a printer who lived in Fleet Street, for both of 
them used the device of St. John the Evangelist. He served his apprenticeship 
to Richard Pynson, whose printing press was in the rentals of Norwich House 
near the site of the present Villiers Street, and on Pynson's death succeeded 
to the business. In both his editions of the herbal there is his well-known 
device of St. John the Evangelist bareheaded and dressed in a flowing robe, 
sitting under a tree on an island and writing on a scroll spread over his right 
knee. At his right hand is an eagle with outstretched wings holding an ink- 
well in its beak, and in the background are the towers and spires of a great city. 


in the woodcuts and the colophon. The title is " A boke of 
the I propreties of Herbes called an her- | ball, whereunto is 
added the tyme y^ | herbes, floures and Sedes shold | be gathered 
to be kept the whole, ye- [ re, with the vertue of ye Herbes whe | 
they are stylled. Al- 1 so a generall rule of all ma- 1 ner of Herbes 
drawen | out of an auncyent | booke of Phisyck | by W. C." 
The woodcut in the first edition is three " Tudor " roses in a 
double circle with a crown over one of the roses and across the 
riband " Kyge of floures." In the second edition the woodcut 
is a quaint little representation of a lady seated in a garden. 
One man standing behind her is holding her and another is 
walking towards her. The three figures are near a wall, on 
the other side of which several men are apparently conversing. 
Who W. C. was is uncertain. In the Dictionary of National 
Biography William Copland is said to be both the author and 
the printer of the book, but in many catalogues (notably in 
that of the British Museum) Walter Gary figures as the author. 
In a lengthy account of the Carys in Notes and Queries (March 29, 
1913) Mr. A. L. Humphreys disposes conclusively of the sup- 
position that W. C. can stand for Walter Gary. 

" A Boke of the Properties of Herbes bears on the title-page 
the initials W. G., which may stand either for Gopland or Gary. 
This was one of several editions of Banckess Herbal, then very 
popular, and although it may have been edited or promoted 
in some way by a Walter Gary, it could not have been by the 
one who wrote The Hammer for the Stone. The ' Herball ' 
was issued somewhere about 1550 and various editions of it 
exist, but all these appeared when the Walter Gary we are 
considering was a child. There is, however, a connection 
between the Garys and herbals, because it is well known that 
Henry Lyte (1529-1607) of Lytes Gary was the famous translator 
of Dodoens's Herball (1578), and he had a herbal garden at Lytes 

Ames in his Typographical Antiquities describes the two 
editions, which are identical, as though they were two different 


books, and ascribes one to Walter Gary and the other to WilHam 
Copland. We have only Ames's authority for the supposition 
that Copland was the compiler as well as the printer. The 
herbal in question is merely another edition of Banckess Herbal, 
but it is quite possible that the three additional chapters at the 
end were " drawen out of an auncyent booke of Physick " 
by Copland.^ 

Two editions of Banckess Herbal are ascribed, on account of 
the wording of the title, to Antony Askham, and the title is so 
attractive that it is a disappointment to find that the astrological 
additions " declaryng what herbes hath influence of certain 
sterres and constellations," etc., do not appear in any known 
copy of the herbal. This astrological lore from the famous man 
who combined the professions of priest, physician and astrologer 
in the reign of Edward VI. would be of remarkable interest. 
But it has been pointed out by Mr. H. M. Barlow ^ that, if the 
bibliographers who have attributed the work to Askham had 
examined the title of the work with greater care, they would 
have observed that the phrase " by Anthony e Askham " refers 
not to the substance of the book itself (which is merely another 
edition of Banckess Herbal) but to the " Almanacke " from which 
the additions were intended to be taken, though apparently 
they were never printed. The title of " Askham's " Herbal is— 

" A lytel I herball of the | properties of her- | bes newely 
amended and corrected, | with certayne addicions at the ende | 
of the boke, declarying what herbes [ hath influence of certaine 
Sterres | and constellations, whereby may be | chosen the beast 
and most luckye [ tymes and dayes of their mini- | stracion, 
accordyinge to the | Moone being in the sig- | nes of heauen, the | 
which is dayly | appoynted | in the | Almanacke; made and 

^ Ames catalogues two other editions of the herbal by " W. C," one pub- 
Hshed by Anthony Kitson and the other by Richard Kele, but no known 
copies of these exist. 

2 Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1913. 


gathered [ in the yere of our Lorde god | M.D.L. the XIL day of 
Fe- I bniary by Anthony e | Askham Phi- | sycyon. 

" (Colophon.) Imprynted at | London in Flete- | strete 
at the signe of the George { next to Saynte Dunstones | Churche 
by Wylly- | am Powell. [ In the yeare of oure Lorde | M.D.L. 
the twelfe day of Marche." 

There are some charming prescriptions to be found in 
" Askham's " Herbal. Under " rose," for instance, we have 
recipes for " melroset," " sugar roset," " syrope of Rooses," 
" oyle of roses " and " rose water." 

" Melrosette is made thus. Take faire purified honye and 
new read rooses, the whyte endes of them clypped awaye, tha 
chop theym smal and put the into the Hony and boyl the menely 
together; to know whan it is boyled ynoughe, ye shal know 
it by the swete odour and the colour read. Fyve yeares he may 
be kept in his vertue ; by the Roses he hath vertue of comfortinge 
and by the hony he hath vertu of clensinge. 

" Syrope of Rooses is made thus. Some do take roses dyght 
as it is sayd and boyle them in water and in the water strayned 
thei put suger and make a sirope thereof ; and some do make it 
better, for they put roses in a vessell, hauing a strayght mouthe, 
and they put to the roses hote water and thei let it stande 
a day and a night and of that water, putting to it suger, thei 
do make sirope, and some doe put more of Roses in the forsaid 
vessel and more of hote water, and let it stande as is beforesaide, 
and so they make a read water and make the rose syrope. 
And some do stape new Roses and then strayne out the Joyce 
of it and suger therwyth, they make sirope : and this is the best 
making of sirope. In Wynter and in Somer it maye be geuen 
competently to feble sicke melacoly and colorike people. 

'' Sugar Roset is made thus — Take newe gathered roses and 
stape them righte smal with sugar, tha put in a glasse XXX. 
dayes, let it stande in ye sunne and stirre it wel, and medle it 
well together so it may be kept three yeares in his vertue. The 


quatitie of sugar and roses should be thus. In IIII. pound of 
sugar a pounde of roses. 

" Oyle of roses is made thus. Some boyle roses in oyle 
and kepe it, some do fyll a glasse with roses and oyle and they 
boyle it in a caudron full of water and this oyle is good. Some 
stampe fresh roses with oyle and they put it in a vessel of glasse 
and set it in the siane IIII. dais and this oyle is good. 

" Rose water. Some do put rose water in a glass and they 
put roses with their dew therto and they make it to boile in 
water tha thei set it in the sune tyll it be readde and this water 
is beste." 

Under the same flower we find this fragrant example of the 
widespread mediaeval behef in the efficacy of good smells : — 

" Also drye roses put to ye nose to smeU do coforte the braine 
and the harte and quencheth sprite." 

The herbaUsts were never weary of teaching the value of 
sweet scents.^ " If odours may worke satisfaction," wrote 
Gerard in his Herhall, '' they are so soveraigne in plants and so 
comfortable that no confection of the apothecaries can equall 
their excellent vertue." One of the most delicious " scent " 
prescriptions in Askham is to be found under Violet — " For 
the that may not slepe for sickness seeth this herb in water 
and at euen let him soke well hys feete in the water to the ancles, 
wha he goeth to bed, bind of this herbe to his temples and he 
shall slepe wel by the grace of God." 

The most curious recipe is that under " woodbinde." " Go 
to the roote of woodbinde and make a hole in the middes of 
the roote, than cover it weU againe y' no ayre go out nor that 

^ The popular belief in the power of sweet-smelling herbs to ward off 
infection of the much-dreaded plague rose to its height in Charles II. 's reign, 
when bunches of rosemary were sold for six and eightpence. Till recently 
there were at least two survivals of this belief in herbal scents — the doctor's 
gold-headed cane (formerly a pomander carried at the end of a cane) and the 
Httle bouquets carried by the clergy at the distribution of the Maundy Money 
in Westminster Abbey. 


no rayne go in, no water, nor earth nor the sune come not to 
much to it, let it stande so a night and a day, tha after that go 
to it and thou shalt fynde therein a certayne lycoure. Take 
out that lycoure with a spone and put it into a clean glas and 
do so every day as long as thou fyndest ought in the hole, and 
this must be done in the moneth of April or Maye, than anoynt 
the sore therwith against the fyre, tha wete a lynnen clothe 
in the same lycoure and lappe it about the sore and it shal be 
hole in shorte space on warrantyse by the Grace of God." 

Unlike the later Crete Herhall, Askham gives some descrip- 
tions of the herbs themselves, notably in the case of alleluia 
(wood-sorrel), water crowfoot, and asterion. 

" This herbe alleluia me call it Wodsour or Stubwort, this 
herbe hath thre leaves ye which be roud a litel departed aboue 
and it hath a whyte flour, but it hath no loge stalkes and it 
is Woodsoure and it is like thre leued grasse. The vertue of 
this herbe is thus, if it be rosted in the ashes in red docke leaves 
or in red wort leaves it fretteth awai dead flesh of a wounde. 
This herbe groweth much in woodes." 

Water crowfoot : " This herb that men call water crowfoot 
hath yelow floures, as hath crowfoot and of the same shap, 
but the leves are more departed as it were Rammes fete, and it 
hath a long stalke and out of that one stalke groweth many 
stalkes smal by ye sides. This herb groweth in watery places." 

" Asterion or Lunary groweth among stoones and in high 
places, this herb shyneth by night and he bringeth forth purple 
floures hole and rounde as a knockebell or else lyke to foxgloves, 
the leves of this herbe be rounde and blew and they have the 
mark of the Moone in the myddes as it were thre leved grasse, 
but the leaves therof be more and they be round as a peny. 
And the stalk of this herb is red and thyse herb semeth as it 
were musk and the Joyce therof is yelow and this groweth in 
the new Moone without leve and euery day spryngeth a newe 
leaue to the ende of fyftene dayes and after fyftene dayes it 


looseth euery day a leaue as the Moone waneth and it springeth 
and waneth as doth the Moone and where that it groweth there 
groweth great quantitie. 

" The vertue of this herbe is thus — thei that eat of the 
beris or of the herbe in waning of the moone, wha he is in signo 
virginis if he have the falling euell he shal be hole thereof or if 
he beare thys about his neck he shal be holpen without doute. 
And it hath many more vertues than I can tell at this tyme." 

One of the unidentified herbs is called " sene," and we are 
given the somewhat vague geographical information, " It groweth 
in the other syde the sea and moste aboute Babilon." 

Another small book printed by William Copland must be 
mentioned, for, although it is not a herbal, it contains a great 
deal of curious herb lore not to be found elsewhere. This is 
The hoke of secretes of Alhartus Magnus of the vertues of 
Herhes, Stones, and certaine beastes. Who the author was is 
unknown, but he was certainly not Albert of Bollstadt (1193- 
1280), Bishop of Ratisbon, the scholastic philosopher to whom 
it was ascribed, probably in order to increase its sale. There 
is one philosophical remark which is not unworthy of the famous 
Bishop : " Every man despiseth ye thyng whereof he knoweth 
nothynge and that hath done no pleasure to him." But for 
the most part it deals with the popular beliefs concerning the 
mystical properties of herbs, stones and animals. 

Of celandine the writer tells us : " This hearbe springeth 
in the time in ye which the swallowes and also ye Eagles maketh 
theyr nestes. If any man shal have this herbe with ye harte 
of a MoUe (mole) he shall overcome all his enemies. . . . And 
if the before named hearbe be put upon the headde of a sycke 
man if he should dye he shal syng anone with a loud voyce, if 
not he shall weep." 

" Perwynke when it is beate unto pouder with wormes of 
ye earth wrapped aboute it and with an herbe called houslyke 
it induceth love between man and wyfe if it bee used in their 


meales ... if the sayde confection be put in the fyre it shall 
be turned anone unto blue coloure." 

Of the herb which, he tells us, " the men of Chaldea called 
roybra, he says : "He that holdeth this herbe in hys hade with 
an herbe called Mylfoyle or yarowe or noseblede is sure from all 
feare and fantasye or vysion. And yf it be put with the juyce 
of houselyke and the bearers hands be anoynted with it and the 
residue be put in water if he entre in ye water where fyshes 
be they wil gather together to hys handes . . . and if hys hande 
be drawe forth they will leape agayne to theyre owne places 
where they were before." 

Of hound's tongue : " If ye shall have the aforenamed herbe 
under thy formost toe al the dogges shall kepe silence and shall 
not have power to bark. And if thou shalt put the aforesayde 
thinge in the necke of any dogge so y* he maye not touche it 
with his mouthe he shalbe turned always round about lyke a 
turning whele untill he fall unto the grounde as dead and this 
hath bene proved in our tyme." 

Of centaury : " If it be joyned with the bloude of a female 
lapwing or black plover and be put with oyle in a lampe, all 
they that compasse it aboute shal beleue themselves to be 
witches so that one shall beleve of an other that his head is 
in heaven and his fete in the earth. And if the aforesaid thynge 
be put in the fire whan the starres shine it shall appeare y^ the 
sterres runne one agaynste another and fyght." 

Of vervain : " This herbe (as witches say) gathered, the 
sunne beyng in the signe of the Ram, and put with grayne or 
corne of pyonie of one yeare olde healeth them y* be sicke of 
ye falling sykenes." 

Of powder of roses : "If the aforesayde poulder be put 
in a lampe and after be kindled all men shall appeare blacke as 
the deuell. And if the aforesaid poulder be mixed with oyle 
of the olyue tree and with quycke brymstone and the house 
anointed wyth it, the Sunne shyning, it shall appeare all 


Of verbena : ** Infants bearing it shalbe very apte to learne 
and louing learnynge and they shalbe glad and joyous." 

It is the only book on the virtues of herbs in which I have 
found a recipe to revive drowning flies and bees ! This is to be 
done by placing them in warm ashes of pennyroyal, and then 
" they shall recover their lyfe after a little tyme as by ye space 
of one houre." The book ends with a curious philosophical 
dissertation, " Of the mervels of the worlde," which is followed 
by a series of charms — to stop a cock crowing, to make men look 
as though they had no heads, to obtain rule over all birds, to 
keep flies away from a house, to write letters which can only be 
read at night, to make men look as though they had " the 
countenance of a dog," to make men seem as though they had 
three heads, to understand the language of birds, to make men 
seem like angels, and to put things in the fire without their 
being consumed. 

Though lacking in the charm of the quaint and typically 
English Banckes's Herbal, the most famous of the early printed 
herbals was the Crete Herhall printed by Peter Treveris in 1526. ^ 

" The grete herball | whiche geueth parfyt knowlege and 
under- | standyng of all maner of herbes & there gracyous 
vertues whiche god hath | ordeyned for our prosperous welfare 
and helth, for they hele & cure all maner | of dyseases and 
sekenesses that fall or mysfortune to all maner of creatoures | 
of god created, practysed by many expert and wyse maysters, 
as Auicenna and | other &c. Also it geueth full parfyte under- 
standynge of the booke lately pryn | ted by me (Peter treveris) 
named the noble experiens of the vertuous hand | warke of 

[Colophon.) " Imprentyd at London in South- | warke by 
me peter Treueris, dwel- | lynge in the sygne of the wodows | In 
the yere of our Lorde god M.D. | XXVI the XXVII day of July." 

According to the introduction it was compiled from the 
^ For dates of later editions see Bibliography of English Herbals. 


works of " many noble doctoures and experte maysters in 
medecines, as Auicenna, Pandecta, Constantinus, Wilhelmus, 
Platearius, Rabbi Moyses, Johannes Mesne, Haly, Albertus, 
Bartholomeus and more other." But with the exception of 
the preface the Crete Herhall is a translation of the well-known 
French herbal, Le Grant Herhier. Until about 1886 Le Grant 
Herhier was supposed to be a translation of the Herbarius zu 
Teutsch, pubhshed at Mainz in 1485, or of the Ortus Sanitatis, 
printed also at Mainz in 1491. The Herbarius zu Teutsch, which 
was probably compiled by a Frankfort physician, is a fine herbal 
beautifully illustrated, and the later Ortus Sanitatis is by some 
authorities supposed to be a Latin translation of it. To judge from 
the preface to the German Herbarius it was a labour of love, 
undertaken by a man who apparently was possessed of ample 
wealth and leisure ; for in his preface he tells us that he " caused 
this praiseworthy work to be begun by a Master learned in 
physic," and then, finding that as many of the herbs did not 
grow in his native land he could not draw them " with their 
true colours and form," he left the work unfinished and journeyed 
through many lands — Italy, Croatia, Albania, Dalmatia, Greece, 
Corfu, Candia, Rhodes, Cyprus, the Holy Land, Arabia, Babylonia 
and Egypt. He was accompanied by "a painter ready of 
wit and cunning and subtle of hand," and was thus able to have 
the herbs " truly drawn." The book he compiled on his return 
was long regarded as the original of the French herbal, Le Grant 
Herbier, but in 1866 Professor Giulio Camus found two fifteenth- 
century manuscripts in the Biblioteca Estense at Modena, one 
the Latin work commonly known from the opening words 
as Circa Instans, and the other a French translation of the same 
manuscript. It was always supposed by medical historians 
that the Circa Instans was written by Matthaeus Platearius of 
Salerno in the twelfth century, but in Professor Camus's memoir, 
U Opera Saleritana " Circa Instans " ed il testo primitive del 

^ For fuller bibliographical details of the Herbarius zu Teutsch and the 
Ortus Sanitatis see Bibliography of Foreign Herbals. 



" Grand Herbier in Francoys " secundo duo codici del secolo XV 
conservati nella Regia Bihlioteca Estense, there are reproduced 
the French verses in which occurs the Hne, " II a este escript 
Millccc cinquante et huit/' and Mr. H. B. Barlow ^ supports 
the deduction that Circa Instans was not written by a Salernitan 
physician, but by a writer described in the verses as " Bar- 
tholomaeus minid' senis " in 1458. Le Grant Herbier, of which 
the Enghsh Grete Herball is a translation, is a version of the French 
manuscript translation of Circa Instans, and therefore, as Circa 
Instans is older than either the Herbarius zu Teutsch or the Latin 
Ortus Sanitatis, it would seem that it is the real original of our 
Grete Herball. The preface to the Grete Herball, however, bears 
a strong resemblance to that of the German Herbarius, of which 
I quote a part from Dr. Arber's translation, made from the 
second (Augsburg) edition of 1485. They have been placed in 
parallel columns to show how closely the English preface follows 
that of the German Herbarius. 

Preface to the Herbarius zu Teutsch. 

" Many a time and oft have I con- 
templated inwardly the wondrous 
works of the creator of the universe : 
how in the beginning He formed 
the heavens and adorned them with 
goodly shining stars, to which he 
gave power and might to influence 
everything under heaven. Also how 
he afterwards formed the four ele- 
ments : fire, hot and dry — air, hot 
and moist — water, cold and moist — 
earth, dry and cold — and gave to 
each a nature of its own ; and how 
after this the same Great Master of 
Nature made and formed herbs of 
many sorts and animals of all kinds 
and last of all Man, the noblest of 
all created things. Thereupon I 
thought on the wondrous order which 

Preface to The Grete Herball. 
" Consyderynge the grete good- 
nesse of almyghty God creatour of 
heven and erthe, and al thynge 
therin comprehended to whom be 
eternall laude and prays etc. Con- 
syderynge the cours and nature of 
the foure elementes and qualytees 
where to ye nature of man is inclyned, 
out of the whiche elementes issueth 
dyvers qualytees infyrmytees and 
dyseases in the corporate body of 
man, but god of his goodnesse that 
is creatour of all thynges hath 
ordeyned for mankynd (whiche he 
hath created to his own lykenesse) 

^ Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. 



the Creator gave these same creatures 
of His, so that everything which 
has its being under heaven receives 
it from the stars and keeps it by 
their help. I considered further how 
that in everything which arises, grows, 
lives or soars in the four elements 
named, be it metal, stone, herb or 
animal, the four natures of the ele- 
ments, heat, cold, moistness and 
dryness, are mingled. It is also to 
be noted that the four natures in 
question are also mixed and blended 
in the human body in a measure and 
temperament suitable to the life and 
nature of man; while man keeps 
within this measure ... he is strong 
and healthy, but as soon as he steps 
or falls beyond . . . which happens 
when heat takes the upper hand and 
strives to stifle cold or on the con- 
trary when cold begins to suppress 
heat ... he falls of necessity into 
sickness and draws nigh unto death. 
... Of a truth I would as soon count 
the leaves on the trees or the grains 
of sand in the sea as the things 
which are the causes of man's sick- 
ness. It is for this reason that so 
many thousands and thousands of 
perils and dangers beset man. He is 
not fully sure of his health or his 
life for one moment. While con- 
sidering these matters, I also remem- 
bered how the Creator of Nature, 
who has placed us amid such dangers 
has mercifully provided us with a 
remedy, that is with all kinds of 
herbs, animals and other created 
things. . . . By virtue of these herbs 
and created things the sick man may 
recover the temperament of the four 
elements and the health of his body. 
Since then man can have no greater 
nor nobler treasure on earth than 
bodily health, I came to the con- 
clusion that I could not perform any 
more useful and holy work than to 

for the grete and tender love, which 
he hath unto hym, to whom all 
thinges erthely he hath ordeyned to 
be obeysant, for the sustentacyon 
and helthe of his lovynge creature 
mankynde whiche is onely made 
egally of the foure elementes and 
qualitees of the same, and when 
any of these foure habounde or hath 
more domynacyon, the one than the 
other it constrayneth ye body of 
man to grete infyrmytees or dyseases, 
for the which ye eternall god hath 
gyven of his haboundante Grace, 
vertues in all maner of herbes to 
cure and heale all maner of seke- 
nesses or infyrmytees to hym be- 
fallying through the influent course 
of the foure elementes beforesayd 
and of the corrupcyons and ye 
venymous ayres contrarye ye helthe 
of man. Also of onholsam meates 
or drynkes, or holsam meates or 
dr3mkes taken ontemperatly whiche 
be called surfetes that bryngeth a 
man sone to grete dyseases or seke- 
nesse, whiche dyseases ben of nombre 
and ompossoyble to be rehersed, and 
fortune as well in vilages where as 
nother surgeons nor phisicians be 
dwellyng nygh by many a myle, as 
it dooth in good townes where they 
be redy at hande, wherefore brotherly 
love compeUeth me to wryte thrugh 
ye gyftes of the holy ghost shewynge 
and enformynge how man may be 
holpen with grene herbes of the 


compile a book in which could be gardyn and wedys of ye feldys as 

contained the virtue and nature of ^gQ ^s by costly receptes of the 

many herbs and other created thmgs, , j ,, 

together with their true colours and potycarys prepayred. 

for the help of all the world, and the 

common good, therefore I caused 

this praiseworthy work to be begun 

by a Master learned in physic who, 

at my request gathered into a book 

the nature and virtue of many herbs 

out of the acknowledged masters of 

physic, Galen, Avicenna, Serapio, 

Dioscorides, Pandectarius, Platearius 

and others." 

The illustrations in the Crete Herball are poor, being merely 
inferior copies of those in the later editions of the Herbarius zu 
Teutsch} In the majority of cases it is impossible to identify 
the plant from the figure, and the same figure is sometimes 
prefixed to different plants. But if the illustrations are poor 
and duU the frontispiece and the full-page woodcut of the 
printer's mark are very much the reverse. The frontispiece is 
a charming woodcut of a man holding a spade in his right hand 
and gathering grapes, and a woman throwing flowers and herbs 
out of her apron into a basket. There are two figures in the 
lower corners, the one of a male and the other of a female man- 
drake. The woodcut of the printer's mark at the end sheds 
an interesting ray of fight on the Peter Treveris who issued the 
two first editions of this Herball.^ The woodcut represents 
two wodows ^ (savages), a man and a woman, on either side 
of a tree, from which is suspended a shield with Peter Treveris's 

1 The illustrations in the second and later editions of the Herbarius zu 
Teiitsch are very inferior to those in the first, which are beautiful. The 
verluose boke of Disiillacyon of the waters of all matter of Herbes (1527), 
translated by Laurence Andrew from the Liber de arte distillandi by Hieronymus 
Braunschweig, is illustrated with cuts from the same wood-blocks as the 
Crete Herball. 

2 Titles and dates of the subsequent editions issued by Thomas Gibson 
(1539) and Jhon Kynge (1561) will be found in the Bibliography of English 

3 Treveris had his printing office in Southwark, at the sign of the " Wodows." 


initials. Ames supposes that Treveris was a native of Treves 
and took his name from that city, but it is more hkely that he 
was a member of the Cornish family of Treffry, which is sometimes 
spelt Treveris. A Sir John Treffry, who fought at Poitiers, took 
as supporters to his arms a wild man and woman, and one likes 
to find that one of his descendants perpetuated the memory 
of his gallant ancestor by adopting the same sign for his trade 

The Grete Herhall is alphabetically arranged, for the idea 
of the natural relationship of plants was unknown at that 
time. But we find a " classification " of fungi. " Fungi ben 
musherons. There be two maners of them, one maner is deadly 
and sleeth them that eateth of them and the other dooth not " ! 
As in most sixteenth- and seventeenth-century herbals, there 
are quaint descriptions of a good many things besides herbs. 
The most gruesome of these is a substance briefly described as 
" mummy,'' and the accompanying illustration is of a man 
digging beside a tomb. " Mummy," one reads, " is a maner of 
spyces or confectyons that is founde in the sepulchres or tombes 
of dead bodyes that haue be confyct with spyces. And it is 
to wyte that in olde tyme men were wont to confyct the deed 
corpses and anoynte them with bawme and myre smellynge 
swete. And yet ye paynims about babylon kepe that custome 
for there is grete quantity of bawme. And this mummye is 
specially founde about the brayne and about the maronge in 
the rydge bone. For the blode by reason of the bawme draweth 
to the brayne and thereabout is chauffed. And lykewise is the 
brayne brent and parched and is the quantyte of mommye and 
so the blode is mroeued in the rydge of the backe. That mommye 
is to be chosen that is bryght blacke stynkynge and styffe. 
And that y* is whyt and draweth to a dymme colour and that 
is not stynkynge nor styffe, and that powdreth Hghtly is naught. 
It hath vertue to restrayne or staunche." ^ 

^ The use of " mummy " is not only mentioned by all the later herbalists 
up to the end of the seventeenth century, but is even to be found in MS. still- 

HERBALL " (1529) 


Other substances described are salt, cheese, pitch, lead, 
silver, gold, amber, water, starch, vinegar, butter, honey and 
the lodestone. The dissertation on water shows very clearly 
that our ancestors regarded bathing as a fad, and a dangerous 
fad at that. The writer gloomily observes, " many folke that 
hath bathed them in colde water haue dyed or they came home." 
And those who are foolish enough to drink water he warns by 
quoting the authority of " Mayster Isaac," who " sayth that 
it is impossible for them that drynketh overmuche water in 
theyr youth to come to ye age that God hath ordeyned them." 
In the description of the lodestone we find the well-known 
popular behef about ships being drawn to their destruction. 
" The lodestone, the adamant stone that draweth yren hath 
myghte to draw yren as Aristotle sayth. And is founde in the 
brymmes of the occyan see. And there be hillis of it and these 
hyUis drawe ye shippes that haue nayles of yren to them and 
breke the shyppes by drawynge of the nayles out." The accom- 
panying illustration is of a sinking ship with a man going 
towards the hill of adamant with uplifted hands, while another 
man is swimming, and a third sits calmly in the ship. 

In view of the free use of honey in olden times, the account 
of honey in the Crete Herball seems inadequate. " Hony is 
made by artyfyce and craft of bees. The whyche bees draweth 
the thynnest parte of the floures and partelye of the thickest 
and moost grosse and thereof maketh hony and waxe and also 
they make a substaunce that is called the honycombe. The 
tame hony is that that is made in the hous or hyues that labourers 
ordeyneth for the sayd bees to lodge and worke in. Hony is 
whyte in cold places and browne in warm place. And hony 
ought to be put in medicyne and may be kept C yeeres. There 

room books. In the Fairfax still-room book a recipe for wounds said to have 
been procured from " Rodolphus Goclerius, professor of Phisicke in Witten- 
burghe," begins thus : " Take of the moss of a strangled man 2 ounces, of the 
mumia of man's blood, one ounce and a halfe of earth-worms washed in water 
or wine and dyed," etc. 


is an other that is called wylde hony and is found in woodes 
and is not so good as the other and is more bytter. Also there 
is a honey called castanea because it is made of chestayne 
floures that the bees sucketh and is bytter." 

In the Grete Herhall, as in Banckes's Herball, we find numerous 
instances of the use of herbs as amulets or for their effect on 
the mind, and for the smoking of patients with their fumes. 
I quote the following : — 

** Betony. For them that be ferfuU. For them that ben 
to ferfull gyue two dragmes of powdre hereof wt warme water 
and as moche wyne at the tyme that the fere cometh." 

*' Buglos. To preserve the mynde. This herbe often eaten 
confermeth and conserueth the mynde as many wyse maysters 

" To make folke mery. Take the water that buglos hath 
be soden in and sprynkle it about the hous or chambre and all 
that be therein shall be mery." 

" Vervain. To make folke mery at ye table. To make aU 
them in a hous to be mery take foure leaves and foure rotes 
of vervayn in wyne, than spryncle the wine all about the hous 
where the eatynge is and they shall be all mery." 

" Musk. Agaynst weyknesse of the brayne smel to 

" Struciun. Against lytargye bio we the powdre of the sede 
in to the nose or elles sethe the sede thereof and juice of rue 
in stronge vyneygre and rubbe the hynder parte of ye head 

" Artemisia. To make a child mery hange a bondell of 
mugwort or make smoke thereof under the chylde's bedde for 
it taketh away annoy for hem." 

" Rosemary. For weyknesse of ye brayne. Agaynst weyk- 
nesse of the brayne and coldenesse thereof, sethe rosmarin in 
wyne and lete the pacyent receye the smoke at his nose and kepe 
his heed warme." 


" Southernwood. The fume of it expelleth all serpents out 
of the house and what so ever there abydeth dyeth." 

There are two delicious violet recipes for " Syrope of Vyo- 
lettes " and " oyle of vyolettes." 

" Syrope of vyolettes i made in this maner — Sethe vyolettes 
in water and lete it lye all nyght in ye same water. Than poure 
and streyne out the water, and in the same put sugre and make 
your syrope. 

" Oyle of vyolettes is made thus. Sethe vyolettes in oyle 
and streyne it. It will be oyle of vyolettes." 

It is in this herbal that we find the first avowal of disbelief 
in the supposed powers of the mandrake. 

" There be two maners the male and the female, the female 
hath sharpe leves. Some say that it is better for medycyne 
than the male but we use of bothe. Some say that the male 
hath figure of shape of a man. And the female of a woman 
but that is fals. For Nature never gaue forme or shape of 
makynde to an herbe. But it is of troughe that some hath 
shaped suche fygures by craft as we have fortyme herde say of 
labourers in the feldes." 

The Crete Herball ends thus — 

" O ye worthy reders or practicyens to whome this noble 
volume is preset. I beseche you take inteUygence and beholde 
ye workes and operacyos of almighty god which hath endewed 
his symple creature mankynde with the graces of ye holy goost 
to have parfyte knowlege and understandynge of the vertue 
of all manner of herbes and trees in this booke comprehendyed 
and everyche of them chaptred by hymselfe and in every chaptre 
dyuers clauses where is shewed dyuers maner of medycunes in 
one herbe comprehended whiche ought to be notyf yed and marked 
for the helth of man in whom is repended ye hevenly gyftes by 
the eternall Kynge to whom be laude and prayse everlastynge. 


The only important books Treveris published besides the 
Crete Herhall were the two English translations of Hieronymus 
Braunschweig's works (The noble experyence of the virtuous 
Handy-worke of Surgeri and The vertuouse Book of the 
Dystillacion of the Waters of all maner of Herbes) and the 
handsome edition of Trevisa's translation of Higden's Poly- 
chronicon. The vertuouse Book of the Dystillacion of the Waters 
of all maner of Herbes is well printed, but the illustrations 
are from the same inferior German cuts as those in the Crete 
Herball. The book was translated into Enghsh by Laurence 
Andrew and, though strictly it does not come within the category 
of herbals, part of the preface is too beautiful to omit. " Lerne 
the hygh and meruelous vertue of herbes. Knowe how inesti- 
mable a preservative to the helth of man god hath provyded 
growying euery daye at our hande, use the effectes with rever- 
ence, and give thankes to the maker celestyall. Beholde how 
moch it excedeth to use medecyne of efycacye naturall by God 
ordeyned then wicked wordes or charmes of efycacye unnaturall 
by the dyuell enuented, whiche yf thou doste well marke, thou 
shalt have occasyon to gyue the more louynges and praise to oure 
sauyour, by redynge this boke and knowlegying his benyfites 
innumerable. To whose prayse, and helthe of all my crysten 
bretherne, I have taken upon me this symple translacyon, with 
all humble reverence ever redy to submit me to the correccion 
of the lerned reder." 

HERBALL " (1561) 


turner's herbal and the influence of the foreign 

" In the beginning of winter the Goldfinches use muche to haunte this 
herbe [teazle] for the sedes sake whereof they are very desyrous." — Turner's 
Herbal, 155 1. 

Like so many sixteenth-century notabilities, William Turner, 
commonly known as the father of English botany, was remark- 
ably versatile, for he was a divine, a physician and a botanist. 
He was a native of Morpeth, Northumberland, and was born in 
Henry VKI/s reign : the exact date is unknown. His father is 
supposed to have been a tanner. We know nothing of his 
early education, but he entered what is now Pembroke College,^ 
Cambridge, under the patronage of Thomas Lord Wentworth. 
This he himself tells us in the preface to the second part of his 
herbal, which is dedicated to Lord Wentworth of the next 
generation. " And who hath deserved better to have my booke 
of herbs to be given to him, than he, whose father with his 
yearly exhibition did helpe me, beying student in Cambridge of 
Physik and philosophy ? Whereby with some further help and 
study am commed to this pore knowledge of herbes and other 
simples that I have. Wherefore I dedicate unto you this my 
litle boke, desyring you to defende it against the envious evil 
speakers, which can alow nothing but that they do themselves : 
and the same I give unto your Lordship, beseeching to take it 
in the stede of a better thyng, and for a token of my good will 
toward you, and all your father's houshold, which thing if ye 

1 Then " Marie Valence Hall." (Founded in 1347 ^Y Marie widow of 
Aylmer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke.) 



do, as Sonne as I shall have convenient lesure, ye shall have the 
third and last parte of my herball also. Almighty God kepe 
you and all youres. Amen." 

At Cambridge Turner was intimate with Nicholas Ridley 
(afterwards the famous Bishop of London), and though it is 
interesting to know that Ridley instructed him in Greek, it 
is even more attractive to learn that the future bishop also 
initiated him into the mysteries of tennis and archery. Turner 
did well at the university, for he was elected Junior Fellow of 
his college in 1531 and Joint Treasurer in 1532, and he had a 
title for Orders in 1537. Throughout his hfe he was a staunch 
Protestant and at Cambridge he used to attend the preachings 
of Hugh Latimer. We do not know how long Turner held his 
fellowship, possibly till his marriage with Jane daughter of 
George Ander, Alderman of Cambridge. He left Cambridge in 
1540 and travelled about, preaching in various places. In 
Wood's Athenae Oxonienses we read, " In his rambles he settled 
for a time in Oxon among several of his countrymen that he 
found there, purposely for the conversation of men and 
books. ... At the same time and after, following his old trade 
of preaching without a caU, he was imprisoned for a considerable 
time." 1 On his release he left England and travelled in Italy, 
Germany and Holland. He teUs us in his herbal that he visited 
Cremona, Como, Milan, Venice and Chiavenna, and at Bologna ^ 
he studied botany under Luca Ghini. Either there or at Ferrara 
he took his M.D. degree. From Italy he went to Zurich, where 

^ It has been suggested that Turner was imprisoned for his refusal to 
subscribe to the Six Articles and that he recanted to save his life. But, as 
Dr. B, D. Jackson has pointed out, Turner was made of sterner stuff and his 
whole life and writings are a standing contradiction to any such supposition. 

2 One of the earliest botanic gardens in Europe was at Bologna. It was 
founded by Luca Ghini. It is interesting to see how frequently Turner in 
his herbal quotes Ghini, and cites his authority against other commentators. 
Luca Ghini was the first who erected a separate professorial chair at Bologna 
for Botanical Science. He himself lectured on Dioscorides for twenty-eight 
years. He was the preceptor of Caesalpinus and Anquillara, two of the 
soundest critics on botanical writings of that age. 

The most famous pubhc botanical gardens in Europe during the sixteenth, 


he formed his intimate and lifelong friendship with Conrad 
Gesner,^ the famous Swiss naturalist. 

He subsequently visited Basle and Cologne, and it was in 
these two cities that his small rehgious books upholding the 
Protestant cause were printed. They were very popular in 
England, so much so that in the last year of Henry VIII. 's 
reign they were prohibited. Turner spent some time botanising 
in the Rhine country : in his herbal he speaks of different 
plants which he collected at Bonn, Basel, Bingen, Cologne, 
" Erenffelde " and " Sieburg." Then he went to Holland and 
East Friesland — the latter he frequently mentions — and became 
physician to the " Erie of Emden." It was probably at this 
time that he explored the islands off the mainland. He was 
in correspondence with " Maister Riche and maister Morgan, 
Apotecaries of London," two names which, it is interesting to 
note, occur also in de TObel's works and in Gerard's Herbal. 

Turner wrote the first part of his Herbal when he was 

seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were^the^following. I give them 
in the order in which they were made : — 

1533— Padua. 
1544 — Florence. 
1547 — Bologna. 
1570 — Paris. 
1598 — Montpellier. 
1628 — Jena. 
1632 — Oxford. 
1637 — Upsala. 
1673 — Chelsea. 
1675 — Edinburgh, 
1677 — Ley den. 
1682 — Amsterdarr. 
1725 — Utrecht. 

The first botanic garden in America was founded in Philadelphia by John 
Bartram, the great American botanist, in the middle of the eighteenth century. 
^ Gesner had a high opinion of Turner, of whom he wrote : — 
" Ante annos 15, aut circiter cum Anglicus ex Italia rediens me salutaret 
(Turnerus) is fuerit vir excellentis tum in re medica tum aliis plerisque disci- 
plinis doctrinae aut alius quisquam vix satis memini." — De Herbis Lunariis, 


abroad, but he delayed publication until the conclusion of his 
wanderings. On his return to England he became chaplain and 
physician to the Duke of Somerset, and it is generally beheved 
that he sat in the House of Commons. ^ He was promised the 
prebend of Botevant in York, and in a letter written to thank 
Cecil for the promise we find the remark, " My chylder have 
bene fed so long with hope that they are very leane, i wold 
fayne have the fatter if it were possible." 

Turner held this appointment for httle more than two years, 
and after failing to obtain either the provostship of Oriel College, 
Oxford, or the presidency of Magdalen, he seems to have become 
despondent. He wanted a house " where i may studie in and 
have su place to lay my bookes in," and in another letter he 
complains of " being pened up in a chamber with all my ho [use] 
holde seruantes and children as shepe in a pyndfolde. . . . i 
can not go to my booke for ye crying of childer and noyse yt is 
made in my chamber." Finally he begged leave to go abroad, 
" where I will also finishe my great herball and my bookes of 
fishes, stones and metalles if God send me lyfe and helthe." 
He was subsequently made Dean of Wells, but he lost this 
office on the accession of Mary, and, like so many of the 
Protestant divines, he went abroad. He stayed at Bonn, 
Frankfort, Freiburg, Lauterburg [? Lauenburg], Mainz, Rode- 
kirche, Strasburg, Speyer, Worms, Cologne and Weissenburg. 
At Cologne and Weissenburg he had gardens, and it was from 
Cologne that he pubHshed the second part of his Herbal. His 
works were proclaimed heretical for the second time in 1555, 
and the Wardens of every Company had to give notice of any 
copy they had in order that they might be destroyed. It is 
not surprising that Turner's works are rare ! 

On the accession of EHzabeth he returned to England and 

^ The Duke of Somerset was himself keenly interested in botanical investi- 
gations, and Turner frequently refers to the Duke's garden. It was during 
this time that Turner had his own garden at Kew. That he sat in the House 
of Commons is generally supposed from a passage in his Spiritual Physik, 
and this view is sustained by the character of the Hunter in his Romish Wolfe. 


was reinstated in the deanery of Wells.^ His diocesan seems to 
have found him troublesome, for in 1559 the Bishop of Bath 
and Wells wrote : 

" I am much encombred with mr. Doctor Turner Deane of 
Welles for his indiscreete behavior in the pulpit where he medleth 
w*^ all matters. ... I have advertised him by wrytynges and 
have admonished secretly by his owne frendes : notwithstanding 
he persisteth still in his folhe : he conteneth all Bishopps and 
calleth the white coats, typpett gentleme, with other wordes of 
reproche [mu]che more unsemhe and asketh ' who gave them 
autoritie more ouer me then I ouer them ' ? 

" Gilbert Bath and Wells." 

January 24, 

There is a story told that Turner trained his dog at a given 
sign to snatch the bishop's square cap off his head when the 
prelate was dining with him. If this is true, possibly it accounts 
for the fact that he was subsequently suspended for Noncon- 
formity, after which, being precluded from clerical duties, he left 
Wells and returned to London. He lived in Crutched Friars and, 
like the two other Elizabethan herbalists, had a famous garden. 
He was in faihng health when he completed his herbal, and 
there is extant a pathetic letter (the greater part of it written 
by an amanuensis) to liis staunch patron Lord Burleigh, which 
is signed " Your old and seikly client 

wllm turner doctor of physic." 

Turner died in 1568, and was buried in S. Olave's, Crutched 
Friars, where the tablet to his memory can still be seen. 

^ It has been asserted in some accounts of Turner that he was a Canon 
of Windsor, but this is a mistake. The Canon of Windsor was Richard Turner, 
also a Protestant, and, Hke the herbahst, exiled during Mary's reign. 









OBIIT . 7 DIE . IVLII . AN . DOM . I568 . 

In his will, which is too long to quote here, Turner bequeathed 
to his wife ^ "his best pece or syluer vessell and halfe dozen of 
syluer spones," and to his nephew " my lyttell furred gowne." 
Peter, the son to whom he left " all my writen bookes and if he 
be a preacher aU my diuinitie bookes, & yf he practise Phisicke 
all my physicke bookes," had some knowledge of plants, for in 
a copy of Turner's Herbal in the Linnean Society's Library 
there is a long hst of errata for which Peter Turner apologised 
in an Address to the Reader. There is something very naive 
and charming about Peter's admiration for his father's " fame 
and estimation." He tells us that he has diligently compared 
the printed book with his father's " owne hande copie," and 
refrains from having the whole book printed again because " I 

1 Turner's widow subsequently married Richard Cox, who became Bishop 
of Ely. She founded a scholarship at Cambridge in memory of her first 


should have done against Charitie to have caused the Printer 
by that meanes to lose all his labor and cost which he hath 
bestowed in printing hereof. Wherefore, gentle Reader, beare 
a httle with the Printer that never was much accustomed to 
the printing of Englishe and afore thou reade over this booke 
correct it as I haue appointed and then the profit thereof will 
abundantly recompense thy paynes. In the meane time vse 
this Herbale in stede of a better and give all laude and prayse 
unto the Lorde." 

Turner was the first EngUshman who studied plants scien- 
tifically, and his herbal marks the beginning of the science of 
botany in England. Like most writers of any value, he 
impressed his personality upon his books, and these show him 
to have been a man of indomitable character, caustic wit and 
independent thought. " Vir solidae eruditionis judicii " he is 
called by John Ray. His first botanical work was the Lihellus 
de re herbaria novus (1538), printed by John Byddell in London. 
This httle book is particularly interesting, because it is the first 
in which localities of native British plants are given. In 1548 
he published another small book entitled The names of herbes 
in Greke, Latin, Englishe, Duche, and Frenche wyth the 
commone names that Herbaries and Apotecaries use, gathered 
by William Turner. In the preface he tells us that he had 
begun to " set furth an herbal in latyn," but that when he 
asked the advice of physicians, " their advise was that I shoulde 
cease from settynge out of this boke in latin till I had sene 
those places of Englande, wherein is moste plentie of herbes, 
that I might in my herbal declare to the greate honoure of our 
countre what numbre of sovereine and Strang herbes were in 
England, that were not in other nations, whose counsell I have 
folowed, deferrying to set out my herbal in latyn, tyl that I 
have sene the west countrey, which I never sawe yet in al my 
lyfe, which countrey of al places of England, as I heare say, is 
moste richely replenished wyth al kindes of straunge and 
wonderfull workes and giftes of nature as are stones, herbes, 


fishes and metalles, when as they that moued me to the settyng 
furth of my latin herbal, hearde this so reasonable an excuse, 
they moved me to set out an herbal in Englishe as Fuchsius 
dyd in latine wyth the discriptions, figures and properties of as 
many herbes, as I had sene and knewe, to whom I could make 
no other answere but that I had no such leasure in this vocation 
and place that I am nowe in, as is neccessary for a man that 
shoulde take in hande suche an interprise. But thys excuse 
coulde not be admitted for both certeine scholars, poticaries, 
and also surgeons, required of me if that I woulde not set furth 
my latin herbal, before I have sene the west partes, and have 
no leasure in thys place and vocation to write so great a worke, 
at the least to set furth my judgement of the names of so many 
herbes as I knew, whose request I have accomplished, and have 
made a htle boke, which is no more but a table or regestre 
of suche bokes as I intende by the grace of God to set furth 
hereafter; if that I may obteine by your graces healp such 
libertie and leasure with convenient place, as shall be necessary 
for suche a purpose." 

Turner's notable work, his Herbal, is the only original work 
on botany written by any Enghshman in the sixteenth century. 
The first part of it was printed in London by Steven Mierdman, 
a Protestant refugee from Antwerp, in 155 1. The second part 
was printed by Arnold Birckman, at Cologne, in 1561, during 
Turner's enforced exile. Birckman also printed the edition of 
1568, which contained all three parts. (For the full title, etc., 
see Bibliography of Herbals, p. 208.) 

One of the most attractive features of this Herbal is the 
number of beautiful woodcuts with which it is illustrated. A 
few were specially drawn and cut for the author, but the great 
majority are reproductions of the exquisite drawings in Fuchs's 
herbals (De historia Stirpium, 1545; and Netie KreiUerbuch, 
1543). Nearly all the illustrations in the famous sixteenth- 
century Flemish, English and Swiss herbals were printed from 
the actual wood-blocks or copied from the illustrations in Fuchs's 


works. Notably in Hieronymus Bock's KreiUer Bttch (1546), 
Rembert Dodoens's Cniydthoeck (1554), Henry Lyte's Niewe 
Herhall (1578), and Jean Bauhin's Historia plantamm univer- 
salis (1651). It is a remarkable fact that so far as wood- 
engraving is concerned this country has contributed nothing to 
the art of plant illustration. In the first EngHsh illustrated 
Herbal, the Grete Herhall of 1526, the figures are merely copies 
of the inferior cuts in the later editions of the Herharius zu 
Teutsch, and, with the exception of Parkinson's Paradisus, all 
the English sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century herbals 
borrowed their illustrations from Flemish or German sources. 
Fuchs had two sets of blocks for his Herbal, one for the folio 
edition of 1542 and the other for the octavo edition of 1545. 
It was the blocks for the latter which were borrowed by Turner's 
printer, and it has been suggested that it was his desire to 
secure these beautiful illustrations which led him to have his 
herbal printed at Cologne.^ Over 400 of Fuchs's blocks were 
used in the complete edition of Turner's Herbal, and, of the 
rest, some are copied from the smaller figures in MattioU's ^ 
commentary on Dioscorides. 

Turner dedicated the first part of his Herbal (1551) to the 
Duke of Somerset, uncle to Edward VI., and at that time 
Lord Protector. The preface is delightful and I quote a part 
of it :— 

" To the mighty and christiane Prince Edward, Duke of 
Summerset, Erie of Herford, Lorde Beauchampe, and Uncle unto 
the Kynges maiesty, Wyllyam Turner his servant wysheth 
increase in the knowledge of Goddes holy worde and grace to 
lyue thereafter. Although (most myghty and Christian Prince) 
there be many noble and excellent actes and sciences, which no 

1 It was for the same reason that Henry Lyte's translation of Dodoens 
was printed abroad. 

2 Pierandrea Mattioli (1501-1577) was physician successively to the 
Archduke Ferdinand and to the Emperor Maximihan II. With the exception 
of Fabio Colonna he was the greatest of the Italian herbaUsts. 


man douteth but that almyghty God, the author of all goodness, 
hath gyuen unto us by the hands of the Hethen, as necessary 
unto the use of Mankynd : yet is there none among them all, 
whych is so openly comended by the verdit of any holy writer 
in the Bible, as is 3^e knowledge of plantes, herbes, and trees 
and of Phisick. I do not remembre that I have red anye 
expressed commendations of Grammer, Logick, Philosophic, 
naturall or morall. Astronomic, Arithmetyke, Geometry, Cosmo- 
graphic, Musycke, Pcrspcctiuc or any other such lyke science. 
But I rede amonge the commendatyons and prayses of Kyng 
Salomon, that he was sene in herbes shrubbes and trees and so 
perfectly that he disputed wysely of them from the hyghest to 
the lowest, that is from the Cedre tre in Mount Liban unto the 
Hysop that groweth furth of the wall. If the Knowledge of 
Herbes, shrubbes and trees which is not the lest necessary 
thynge unto the knowledge of Phisicke were not greatly com- 
mendable it shulde never have bene set among Salomon's com- 
mendacyons and amongst the singular giftes of God. Therefor 
whereas Salomon was commended for the Knowledge of Herbes 
the same Knowledge was expressedly ynough comended there 
also." Continuing, he speaks of learned EngUshmen " Doctor 
Clement, Doctor Wendy and Doctor Owen, Doctor Wolton and 
Maister Falconer " ^ which " have as much knowledge in herbes 
yea and more than diuerse Itahanes and Germanes whyche have 
set forth in prynte Herballes and bokes of simples. Yet hath 
none of al these set furth any thyng other to the generall profit 
of hole Christendome in latin and to the honor of thys realme, 
nether in Englysh to the proper profit of their naturall countre.'* 
After slyly observing that perhaps they do not care to jeopardise 
their estimation, he compares himself, for having ventured to 
write this book, with the soldier " who is more frendly unto 
the commonwealth, which adventurously runneth among the 

^ This was probably the John Falconer who sent English plants to Amatus 
Lusitanus, who taught physic at Ferrara and Ancona, and whose commentary 
on Dioscorides was published in 1553. 


myddes of hys enemyes, both gyuyng and takyng blowes, then 
he that, whilse other men feight, standeth in the top of a tre 
iudging how other men do, he beynge without the danger of 
gonne shot himself." 

To those who may object that it is too small, he explains 
that he will write more fully when he has " travelled diverse 
shyres in England to learn more of the herbs that grow there." 
Others may condemn him for writing in English, ** for now (say 
they) every man without any study of necessary artes unto the 
knowledge of Phisick will become a Phisician . . . euery man 
nay euery old wyfe will presume, not without the mordre of 
many, to practyse Phisick." To these he succinctly repUes, 
" How many surgianes and apothecaries are there in England 
which can understand PHni in Latin or Galen and Dioscorides ? " 
The English physicians, he says, rely on the apothecaries, and 
they in turn on the old wives who gather the herbs. Moreover, 
since the physicians are not present when their prescriptions 
are made up, " many a good ma by ignorance is put in jeopardy 
of his life, or good medecine is marred to the great dishonesty 
both of the Phisician and of Goddes worthy creatures." All 
this can be avoided by having a herbal written in English. 
Dioscorides and Galen, he points out, wrote in their native 
tongue, Greek. " Dyd Dioscorides and Galen give occasion for 
every old wyfe to take in had the practise of Phisick? Did 
they giue any iust occasion of murther? If they gaue no 
occasyon unto every old wyfe to practise physike then give 
I none. If they gave no occasion of murther then gyue I 
none . . . then am I no hynderer wryting unto the EngUsh 
my countremen an English herball." 

The second part of Turner's Herbal is dedicated to his old 
patron, Thomas Lord Wentworth, and the complete work, 
including the third part, to Queen Ehzabeth.^ In the preface 

^ Queen Elizabeth's love of gardening and her botanical knowledge were 
celebrated in a long Latin poem by an Italian who visited England in 1586 
and wrote under the name of Melissus (see ArchcBologia, VII. 120). 


to this last he reminds the queen of a conversation he had 
had with her in Latin eighteen years before, at the Duke of 
Somerset's house, when he was physician to that nobleman. It 
is in this preface also that he criticises the foreign herbalists; 
though he has learnt much from them, they had much to learn 
from him, " as their second editions maye testifye." He claims 
that in the first part of his herbal he taught " the truth of 
certeyne plants which these above-named vmters (Matthiolus, 
Fuchsius, Tragus and Dodoneus) either knew not at al or ellis 
erred in them greatlye. . . . And because I would not be lyke 
unto a cryer yt cryeth a loste horse in the marketh, and telleth 
all the markes and tokens that he hath, and yet never sawe the 
horse, nether coulde knowe the horse if he sawe him : I wente 
into Italye and into diverse partes of Germany, to knowe and 
se the herbes my selfe." 

The book owes much of its charm to its vivid descriptions 
of the plants, and the fascinating and unexpected details he 
gives us about them. The comparison of dodder, for instance, 
to " a great red harpe strynge," is a happy touch which it is 
impossible to forget. " Doder groweth out of herbes and small 
bushes as miscelto groweth out of trees. Doder is lyke a great 
red harpe strynge and it wyndeth about herbes foldyng mych 
about them and hath floures and knoppes one from an other a 
good space. . . . The herbes that I have marked doder to 
growe most in are flax and tares." 

These accurate observations and careful descriptions are 
characteristic of the writer, and recall similar touches in the 
Saxon herbals. For example, he records that the stamens of 
the Madonna lily have a different smell from the flower itself, 
and that the berries of the bay tree are almost, but not quite, 
round. There is only space to quote the following : — 

" The hly hath a long stalk and seldom more than one, 
howbeit it hath somtyme H. It is II or HI cubites hyghe. It 
hath long leves and somthyng of the fashion of the great 
satyrion. The flour is excedyng white and it hath the forme or 


fashion of a long quiver, that is to say, smal at the one end and 
byg at the other. The leves of the floures are full of crestes, 
and the overmost ends of the leves bowe a little backwarde 
and from the lowest parte within come forth long small yelow 
thynges lyke thredes of another smelle than the floures are of. 
The roote is round and one pece groweth hard to another 
allmoste after the maner of the roote of Garleke, but that the 
clowes in the lily are broder." 

" The leaves of the Bay tree are alwayes grene and in figure 
and fashion they are lyke unto periwincle. They are long and 
brodest in the middest of the lefe. They are blackishe grene 
namely when they are olde. They are curled about the edges, 
they smell well. And when they are casten into the fyre they 
crake wonderfully. The tre in England is no great tre, but it 
thryveth there many partes better and is lustier than in 
Germany. The berries are allmoste round but not altogether. 
The kirnell is covered with a thick black barke which may well 
be parted from the kirnell." 

" Blewbottel groweth in ye corne, it hath a stalke full of 
corners, a narrow and long leefe. In the top of the stalke 
is a knoppy head whereupon growe bleweflowers about mid- 
summer. The chylder use to make garlandes of the floure. It 
groweth much amonge Rye wherefore I thinke that good ry 
in an evell and unseasonable yere doth go out of kinde in to 
this wede." 

" Pennyroyal. — It crepeth much upon the ground and hath 
many lytle round leves not unlyke unto the leves of merierum 
gentil but that they are a Httle longer and sharper and also 
htle indented rounde about, and grener than the leves of 
meriurum ar. The leves grow in litle branches even from the 
roote of certayn ioyntes by equall spaces one devyded from 
an other. Where as the leves grow in litle tuftes upon the 
over partes of the braunches. . . . Pennyroyal groweth much, 
without any setting, besyd hundsley [Hounslow] upon the heth 
beside a watery place." 


Of camomile he writes : "It hath floures wonderfully 
shynynge yellow and resemblynge the appell of an eye . . . the 
herbe may be called in English, golden floure. It wiU restore 
a man to hys color shortly yf a man after the longe use of the 
bathe drynke of it after he is come forthe oute of the bath. 
This herbe is scarce in Germany but in England it is so plenteous 
that it groweth not only in gardynes but also VIII mile above 
London, it groweth in the wylde felde, in Rychmonde grene, 
in Brantfurde grene. . . . Thys herb was consecrated by the 
wyse men of Egypt unto the sonne and was rekened to be the 
only remedy of all agues." 

Unlike modern authorities, Turner contends that our EngHsh 
hyssop is the same plant as that mentioned in the Bible, and 
he also describes a species which does not now exist. " We have 
in Sumershire beside ye come Hysop that groweth in all other 
places of Englande a kinde of Hysop that is al roughe and hory 
and it is greater muche and stronger then the comen Hysop is, 
som call it rough Hysop." Another plant which seems to have 
disappeared and which, he states, no other writer describes, is 
"the wonderful great cole with leaves thrise as thike as ever I 
saw any other cole have. It hath whyte fioures and round 
berryes lyke yvy. This herbe groweth at doner harde by the 
Sea-syde. I name it the Doner cole because I founde it first 
besyde Doner." Incidentally he mentions samphire also as 
growing at Dover. 

It is interesting to find that Turner identifies the Herha 
Britannica of Dioscorides and Pliny (famed for having cured 
the soldiers of Julius Caesar of scurvy in the Rhine country) with 
Polygonum historta, which he observed plentifully in Friesland, 
the scene of Phny's observations. This herb is held by more 
modern authorities to be Rumex aquaticus (great water dock). 

Throughout the Herbal there are recollections of the north 
of England, where the author spent his boyhood. Of heath, 
for instance, he tells us : " The hyest hethe that ever I saw 

Cucumis. 'CD^e Cucumber. 

Rubus cani$. 



groweth in Northumberland, which is so hyghe that a man may 
hyde himself in." Of the wild hyacinth he writes : " The 
boyes in Northuberland scrape the roote of the herbe and glew 
theyr arrowes and bokes wyth that slyme that they scrape of." 
Of sea-wrake (seaweed) he tells us : "In the Bishopriche of 
Durham the housbandmen of the countie that dwel by the sea 
syde use to fate [fatten, i. e. manure] their lande with seawrake." 
Under " birch " we find : " Fisherers in Northumberland pyll 
off the uttermost barke and put it in the clyft of a sticke and set 
in fyre and hold it at the water syde and make fish come thether, 
whiche if they se they stryke with theyr leysters or sammon 
speres. The same," he continues, " is good to make hoopes of 
and twigges for baskettes, it is so bowinge. It serveth for many 
good uses and for none better then for betinge of stubborne 
boyes that ether lye or will not learne." 

Cudweed *' is called in Northumberland chafwede because 
it is thought to be good for chafyng of any man's fleshe wyth 
goynge or rydynge." And it would be interesting to know if the 
daisy is still called banwurt in the north. ** The Northern men 
call thys herbe banwurt because it helpeth bones to knyt 
agayne. . . . Plinie writeth that the dasey hath III and some- 
times IV little whyte leves whiche go about the yelow knope, 
it appereth that the double Daseys were not founde in plinies 
tyme whych have a greate dele mo then Phni maketh mention 

There are other country customs which he records. 
*' Shepherds use clivers [goosegrass] in stede of a strayner to 
pull out here of the mylke; " " birderers [bird-catchers] take 
bowes of birch and lime the twigges and go a bat folinge with 
them; " " som make a lee [lye] or an ashy water of the rotes 
of gentian wherwyth they toke out spottes very well out of 
cloth." He mentions woad as "trimmed wyth mannes labor 
in dyenge and wuU and clothe," and teazle " which the fullers 
dresse their cloth wtall." Apparently Turner gave the spindle 
tree its name, for he says : "I coulde never learne an Englishe 


name for it. The Duche men call it in Netherlande, spilboome, 
that is, spindel tree, because they use to make spindels of it in 
that countrey, and me thynke it maye be so well named in 
English seying we have no other name. ... I know no good 
propertie that this tree hath, saving only it is good to make 
spindels and brid of cages " [bird cages]. 

The use of complexion washes was a custom on which Turner 
was alarmingly severe. There are fewer beauty recipes in 
his herbal than in any other — only four altogether. " Some 
weomen," we find, "sprinkle ye fioures of cowslip w' whyte 
wine and after still it and wash their faces w* that water to 
drive wrinkles away and to make them fayre in the eyes of the 
worlde rather then in the eyes of God, whom they are not afrayd 
to offend." And of marygold we learn that " Summe use to 
make theyr here yelow with the fioure of this herbe, not beyng 
contet with the naturall colour which God hath geven the." 

There is curiously little folk lore in this herbal, and most of it 
is guarded by " some do say " or " some hold." Nevertheless, 
with this qualification. Turner gives us fragments of folk lore 
not to be found in other herbals. For instance, that nutshells 
burnt and bound to the back of a child's head will make grey 
eyes black, and that parsley thrown into fish ponds will heal 
the sick fishes therein. Again, this is the first herbal in which 
any account is to be found of the very old custom of curing 
disease in cattle by boring a hole in the ear and inserting the 
herb bearfoot.^ 

" They say it should be used thus. The brodest part of the 
ear must have a round circle made about it w* the blood that 
rinneth furth with a brasen botken and the same circle must 
be round lyke unto the letter O, and when this is done without 
and in the higher part of the ear the halfe of the foresaid 
circle is to be bored thorowe with the foresaid botken and the 
roote of the herbe is to be put in at the hole, when y* newe 
wounde that hath receyued it holdeth it so fast, that it wiU 
1 Parkinson in his Theatrum Botanictmi also mentions this use of bearfoot. 


not let it go furth, then all the mighte and pestilent poison of 
the disease is brought so into the eare. And whilse the part 
which is circled aboute dyeth and falleth awaye y* hole beast 
is saved with the lose of a very small parte." 

Another piece of folk lore is remarkable because it is the only 
instance in an English herbal of a belief in the effect of a human 
being on a plant : " If ye woulde fayne have very large and 
greate gourdes, then take sedes that growe there [in the sides]. 
. . . And let weomen nether touche the yonge gourdes nor loke 
upon them, for the only touchinge and sighte of weomen kille 
the yonge gourdes." This belief he quotes from Pliny. 

Turner, again, is the only old herbalist who refers to the old 
and widespread belief that larch was lire-proof. It was largely 
used, he tells us, for laying under the tiles of newly-built houses, 
as " a sure defence against burning," and he narrates at length 
how Julius Caesar was unable to burn a tower built with larch. 
On the old mandrake legend he is scathing. " The rootes 
which are counterfited and made like litle puppettes and 
mammettes which come to be sold in England in boxes with heir 
[hair] and such forme as man hath, are nothyng elles but fohshe 
fened trifles and not naturall. For they are so trymmed of 
crafty theves to mocke the poore people withall and to rob them 
both of theyr wit and theyr money. I have in my tyme at 
diverse tymes take up the rootes of mandrake out of the grounde 
but I never saw any such thyng upon or in them as are in and 
upon the pedlers rootes that are comenly to be solde in boxes. 
It groweth not under galloses [gallows] as a certayn doting doctor 
of Colon in his physick lecture dyd teach hys auditors." But 
he accepts without question the behef in its efficacy as an 
anaesthetic : " It is given to those who must be burned or cut 
in some place that they should not fele the burning or cuttyng." 
Of wine made of it, he says : "If they drynk thys drjmke they 
shall fele no payne, but they shall fall into a forgetfull and 
slepishe drowsiness. Of the apples of mandrake, if a man smell 
of them thei wiU make hym slepe and also if they be eaten. 


But they that smell to muche of the apples become dum . . . 
thys herbe diverse wayes taken is very jepardus for a man and 
may kill hym if he eat it or drynk it out of measure and have 
no remedy from it. ... If mandragora be taken out of measure 
by and by slepe ensueth and a great lousing of the streyngthe 
with a forgetfulness." 

Turner is one of the few herbalists who cautions against 
the excessive use of any herb. " Onions eaten in meat largely 
make the head ake, they make them forgetfull whiche in the 
tyme of syknes use them out of mesure." " Cole engendreth 
euell and melancholic juice. It dulleth the syght and it 
troubleth the slepe wyth contrary thynges which are sene in 
the dreme." Of nigeUa he writes : " Take hede that ye take 
not to muche of this herbe, for if ye go beyonde the mesure it 
bryngeth deth." " Hemp seed," he says, " if it be taken out of 
measure taketh men's wyttes from the as coriander doth." " If 
any person use saffron measurably it maketh in them a good 
colour, but if thei use it out of mesure it maketh hym loke 
pale, and maketh the hede ache and hurteth the appetite." For 
those who have taken an overdose of opium there is a surprising 
remedy. " If the pacient be to much slepi put stynkynge 
thynges unto hys nose to waken hym therewith." As in all 
herbals of this period, there are an astonishing number of 
remedies against melancholy and suggestions for those whose 
weak brains will not stand much strong drink; but, while 
remedies for broken heads, so common in the older herbals, are 
conspicuously absent, we find that walnuts are recommended 
" for the by tings both of men and dogges " ! 

As in the Crete Herhall, there are many descriptions of other 
substances besides herbs, some of the longest being of dates, 
rice, olives, citron, pomegranates and lentils. The account of 
citron it would be pleasant to transcribe in full, not for the sake 
of the story but for the manner of the teUing. One could listen 
to a sermon of considerable length from a divine who, in a book 
intended for grown-ups, has a tale of '' two naughty murthering 
robbers, condemned for theyr murder and robery to be flayn and 


poysoned to deth of serpentes, and such venemous bestes," and 
of the one who, owing to having eaten " a pece of citron," 
remained, Daniel-Hke, unhurt by the poison of the snakes, whilst 
the other who had not taken this precaution " fell down sterk 
dede." And finally, the moral — " Wherefore it were wisdome 
that noblemen and other that are bydden to dynner of theyr 
enemies or suspected frendes before they eat any other thyng 
should take a pece of citron." 

The later sixteenth-century herbahsts owed much to the 
famous herbalists of the Netherlands, and above all to that 
prince amongst pubhshers, Christophe Plantin of Antwerp, 
whose personality secured him a unique place in the literary 
world. Indeed, there is a splendour about the works of the 
Flemish herbalists unequalled by any others of this period, 
with the exception of the Bavarian doctor Leonhard Fuchs. 
There is no comparison between them and the Italian herbalists 
of the Renaissance, who, for the greater part, devoted themselves 
to studying the classical writers and identifying the plants 
mentioned by the old authorities. France, curiously enough, 
contributed comparatively Httle when the herbal was at its 
zenith, though it must of course be remembered that the 
Bauhins, who rank as Swiss herbalists, were of French extrac- 
tion. But it is difficult to estimate the influence of the works 
of those three notable friends, Rembert Dodoens, Charles de 
I'Escluse and Matthias de I'Obel, particularly on the Enghsh 
herbalists. The most famous English herbal — Gerard's — is 
virtually a translation of the Pemptades of Dodoens. Lyte's trans- 
lation of the Cmydthoeck was the standard work on herbs during 
the latter part of the century, and Parkinson incorporated a large 
part of de TObel's unfinished book in his Theatrum Botanicum. 

De rObel, after whom the little garden flower — lobelia — is 
named, spent the greater part of his life in England. He was 
a Fleming by birth and a doctor by profession,^ and he was 

1 He studied medicine at Montpelier under Guillaume Rondelet, who 
bequeathed him his botanical manuscripts. D'Alechamps, Pena and Jean 
Bauhin, all famous herbalists, were also pupils of Rondelet. 


physician to William the Silent until his assassination. About 
1569 he came over to England (with his friend Pena, who at one 
time was physician to Louis XIII.) and lived at Highgate with 
his son-in-law. He superintended Lord Zouche's garden at 
Hackney, and later was given the title of botanist to James I. 
L'Obel's great work, written in collaboration with Pena, was 
the Stirpium Adversaria Nova, printed in London by Thomas 
Purfoot in 1571.^ Pulteney, in his Biographical Sketches (1790), 
makes the extraordinary statement that Christophe Plantin of 
Antwerp was the real printer. It has, however, been pointed 
out by modern authorities that the archives of the Plantin 
Museum show that Plantin bought 800 copies of Purfoot 's 
edition, with the wood blocks, for 1320 florins. In 1576 Plantin 
published de I'Obel's Plantarum seu Stirpium historia, and to 
this he appended the first part of the Adversaria, keeping 
Purfoot's original colophon. 

Although Dodoens neither lived in England nor had any of 
his works printed here, his Cruydtboeck became one of the 
standard works in this country through Lyte's translation. 
Dodoens was born at Malines about 1517 and, after studying at 
Louvain, visited the universities and medical schools of France, 
Italy and Germany, graduated M.D., and was appointed 
physician to Maximilian 11. and Rudolf II. successively. In 
the latter part of his life he was Professor of Medicine at Leyden, 
where he died in 1585. Plantin published Dodoens's most 
important work, Stirpium historiae pemptades sex sive libri 
triginta, in which some of the figures are copied from the fifth- 
century manuscript ^ copy of Dioscorides. Dodoens's first book, 
the Cruydtboeck, was translated into French by his friend Charles 
de I'Escluse^ and afterwards into Enghsh by Henry Lyte. 

1 For full title see Bibliography of Herbals, p. 210. 

2 This manuscript, now in the Vienna Library, was bought from a Jew 
in Constantinople for 100 ducats by Auger-Geslain Busbecq, when he was 
on a mission to Turkey. 

3 On one of his visits to England de I'Escluse met Sir Francis Drake, who 
gave him plants from the New World. 


Lyte, who was an Oxford man, travelled extensively in his 
youth and made a collection of rare plants. He contributed 
nothing original to the literature on herbs, but his translation 
of the French version of the Cruydthoeck was an inestimable 
service. His own copy of the French version, which is now 
in the British Museum, has on the title-page the quaint inscrip- 
tion " Henry Lyte taught me to speake Englishe." The book 
is full of MS. notes and references to Turner. 

The full title of Lyte's book is as follows : "A niewe Herball 
or Historic of Plantes : wherein is contayned the whole discourse 
and perfect description of all sortes of Herbes and Plantes : 
their divers and sundry kindes : their straunge Figures, Fashions 
and Shapes : their Names, Natures, Operations, and Vertues : 
and that not only of those which are here growyng in this our 
Countrie of Englande but of all others also of forrayne Realmes, 
commonly used in Physicke. First set foorth in the Doutche or 
Almaigne tongue by that learned D. Rembert Dodoens, Physi- 
tion to the Emperour : And nowe first translated out of French 
into English by Henry Lyte Esquyer." 

(Colophon.) " Imprinted at Antwerpe by Me Henry Loe 
Booke printer and are to be solde at London in Paul's church- 
yarde by Gerard Dewes." ^ 

The beautiful illustrations in Lyte's Dodoens are to a large 
extent printed from the same blocks as those in the octavo 
edition (1545) of Fuchs. In Fuchs there are about 516 illus- 
trations, and in Lyte's Dodoens about 870. Those which are 
not copied from Fuchs were probably collected by Dodoens 
himself, who, according to some verses at the beginning of the 
herbal, took a practical interest in the publication of the EngUsh 
translation of his book. 

" Till Rembert he did sende additions store, 
For to augment Lyte's travell past before." 

The original wood-blocks never came to England, and three 

1 For subsequent editions see Bibliography of Herbals, p. 211. 


years later van der Loe's widow sold them to Christ ophe Plantin 
for 420 florins. 

All the commendatory verses at the beginning of Lyte's 
herbal are in Latin, except some lines in which WiUiam Clowes 
speaks of writing about herbs as "a fit occupation for gentle- 
men and wights of worthy fame," and recalls the great men 
who have immortalised themselves thereby, notably Gentius, 
Lysimachus, Mythridates and Dioscorides. Then, after giving 
due praise to Dodoens, " Whose learned skill hath offered first 
this worthy worke to vewe," Clowes ends with four lines in 
which he plays upon the name of the translator : 

" And Lyte, whose toyle hath not bene Hght to dye it in this grayne, 
Deserves no light regarde of us : but thankes and thankes agayne. 
And sure I am all English hartes that lyke of Physickes lore 
Will also lyke this gentleman : and thanke hym muche therefore." 

The herbal is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth " as the best token 
of love and diligence that I am at this time able to shew. . . . 
And doubtless if my skill in the translation were answerable to 
the worthynesse eyther of the Historic itselfe or of the Authours 
thereof I doubt not but I should be thought to haue honoured 
your Maiestie with an acceptable present." The preface is 
dated from " my poore house at Lytes carie within your Maiesties 
Countie of Somerset the first day of Januarie MDLXXVUL" 

In 1606 there appeared the book commonly known as Ram's 
little Dodoen. It purported to be an epitome of Lyte's Dodoens, 
but, though some of its matter has been abridged from Dodoens's 
work, it is in reality a compilation of recipes unworthy of the 
great name it bears. In his preface the author tells us : "I 
have bestowed some tyme in reducing the most exquisit new 
herball or history of plants (first set forth in Dutch and Almayne 
tongue by the learned and worthy man of famous memory 
Dr. Rembert Dodeon [sic) Phisician to the Emperor, and trans- 
lated into English by Master Henry Lyte Esq.), with a brief 
and short epitome ... so as where the great booke at large is 
not to be had but at a great price, which cannot be procured 


by the poorer sort, my endevor herein hath bin chiefly to make 
the benefit of so good, necessary and profitable a worke to be 
brought within the reach and compasse as well of you my poore 
countrymen and women whose lives, healths, ease and welfare 
is to be regarded with the rest, at a smaller price than the great 
volume is. My onely and greatest care hath byn of long tyme 
to knowe or thinke how and upon whome to bestow the dedica- 
tion of this my small labour. And in the penning of this my 
letter my Affections are satisfied with the dedication thereof to 
these my poore and loving countrymen whosoever and to 
whose hands soever it may come. For whose sake I have 
desired pubhcatio of the same, beseeching Almighty God to 
blesse us all." 

The book is curiously arranged, for on one page we have 
" the practice of Dodoen," and on the opposite " the practises 
of others for the same Phisike helpes, collected and presented 
to the Author of this Treatise." There are directions for each 
month, and each is headed by a motto. The twelve mottoes, 
when read together, form the following quaint rhyme : — 

" January. With this fyre I warme my hand 
February. With this spade I digge my land 
March. Here I cut my Vine spring 
April. Here I hear the birds sing 
May. I am as fresh as bird on bough 
June. Corn is weeded well enough 
July. With this sithe my grasse I mowe 
August. Here I cut my corne full lowe 
September. With this flaile I earne my bread 
October, Here I sowe my wheats so red 
November. With this axe I kill my swine 
December. And here I brew both ale and wine." 

There are some things in this httle handbook worthy of remem- 
brance, notably an imaginative passage in which the author 
tells us that "herbs that grow in the fields are better than 
those which grow in gardens, and of those herbs which grow in 
the fieldes, such as grow on hilles are best." 


Gerard's herbal 

" If odours may worke satisfaction, they are so soveraigne in plants and 
so comfortable that no confection of the apothecaries can equall their excellent 
vertue." — Gerard's Herbal, 1597. 

When one looks at the dingy, if picturesque, thoroughfare 
of Fetter Lane it is difficult to realise that it was once the site 
of Gerard's garden, and it is pleasant to remember that the city 
of London in those far-off days was as noted for the beauty of 
its gardens as for its stately houses. The owner of this particular 
garden in Fetter Lane is the most famous of all the Enghsh 
herbalists. His Herbal,^ which was published in 1597, gripped 
the imagination of the English garden-loving world, and now, 
after the lapse of three hundred years, it still retains its hold on 
us. There are English-speaking people the world over who may 
know nothing of any other, but at least by name they know 
Gerard's Herbal. In spite of the condemnation he has justly 
earned, not only in modern times, but from the critics of his 
own day, for having used Dr. Priest's translation of Dodoens's 
Pemptades without acknowledgment, no one can wander in the 
mazes of Gerard's monumental book without succumbing to 
its fascination. One reads his critics with the respect due to 
their superior learning, and then returns to Gerard's Herbal with 
the comfortable sensation of slipping away from a boring sermon 
into the pleasant spaciousness of an old-fashioned fairy-tale. 
For the majority of us are not scientific, nor do we care very 

1 Americans who have the proud distinction of being " of Royal Indian 
descent " may be interested to know that a copy of Gerard's Herbal in Oxford 
has been identified as having belonged to Dorothy Rolfe, the mother-in-law 
of the Princess Pocahontas. 



much about being instructed. What we Hke is to read about 
daffodils and violets and gilliflowers and rosemary and thyme 
and all the other delicious old-fashioned English flowers. And 
when we can read about them in the matchless Ehzabethan 
English we ask nothing more. Who that has read it once can 
forget those words in the preface ? — 

" What greater delight is there than to behold the earth 
apparelled with plants as with a robe of embroidered works, 
set with Orient pearls and garnished with great diversitie of rare 
and costly jewels? But these delights are in the outward 
senses. The principal delight is in the minde, singularly enriched 
with the knowledge of these visible things, setting forth to us 
the invisible wisdome and admirable workmanship of almighty 

And could any modern writer give with such simplicity and 
charm the " atmosphere " of the violet ? 

" Addressing myself unto the violets called the blacke 
or purple violets or March violete of the Garden, which have a 
great prerogative above others, not only because the minde 
conceiveth a certaine pleasure and recreation by smelling and 
handling of these most odoriferous flowers, but also tliat very 
many by these violets receive ornament and comely Grace : 
for there be made of them garlands for the head, nosegaies and 
posies, which are delightful to look on and pleasant to smell, 
speaking nothing of the appropriate vertues; yea Gardens 
themselves receive by these the greatest ornament of all, chiefest 
beautie and most gallant grace ; and the recreation of the Minde 
which is taken heereby, cannot bee but verie good and honest ; 
for flowers through their beautie, varietie of colour and exquisite 
formes do bring to a liberall and gentlemanty minde the remem- 
•brance of honestie, comeliness and all kindes of vertues. For it 
would be an unseemly thing, as a certain wise man saith, for 
him that doth looke upon and handle faire and beautifull things. 


and who frequenteth and is conversant in faire and beautifull 
places to have his minde not faire." 

The bones, so to speak, of Gerard's work are, it is true, taken 
from Dodoens's splendid Latin herbal, but it is Gerard's own 
additions which have given the book its hold on our affections. 
He describes with such simplicity and charm the localities where 
various plants are to be found, and he gives so much contem- 
porary folk lore that before we have been reading long we feel 
as though we were wandering about in Elizabethan England 
with a wholly delightful companion. 

We know from Gerard's coat of arms that he was descended 
from a younger branch of the Gerards of Ince, a Lancashire 
family, but there are no records at the College of Arms to show 
his parentage. His name is frequently spelt with an e at the 
end, but Gerard himself and his friends invariably spelt it with- 
out. (The spelling " Gerarde " on the title-page of the Herbal 
is probably an engraver's error.) John Gerard was born at 
Nantwich in Cheshire in 1545, and educated at the school at 
Wisterson or Willaston, two miles from his native town. In 
the Herbal he gives us two glimpses of his boyhood. Under 
raspberry we find : — 

" Raspis groweth not wilde that I know of. ... I found it 
among the bushes of a causey neere unto a village called Wister- 
son, where I went to schoole, two miles from the Nantwich in 

Writing of yew ^ he tells us : — 

" They say that if any doe sleepe under the shadow thereof 
it causeth sickness and sometimes death and that if birds do eat 
of the fruit thereof it causeth them to cast their feathers and 
many times to die. All which I dare boldly afhrme is altogether 
untrue : for when I was young and went to schoole divers of 

^ Yew berries are an ingredient in at least one prescription in a Saxon 
herbal {Leech Book of Bald, I. 63). 


my schoole-fellowes and likewise myselfe did eat our fils of the 
berries of this tree and have not only slept under the shadow 
thereof but among the branches also, without any hurt at all, 
and that not one time but many times." 

It is supposed that at an early age he studied medicine. 
In his Herbal he speaks of having travelled to Moscow, Denmark, 
Sweden and Poland, and it is possible that he went abroad as 
a ship's surgeon. This, however, is mere surmise. We know 
that in 1562 he was apprenticed to Alexander Mason, who 
evidently had a large practice, for he was twice warden of the 
Barber-Surgeons' Company. Gerard was admitted to the free- 
dom of the same company in 1569.1 Before 1577 he must have 
settled m London, for in his Herbal he tells us that for twenty 
years he had superintended the gardens belonging to Lord Burleigh 
m the Strand and at Theobalds in Hertfordshire. Hentzner, 
m his Itinerarium, gives a lengthy account of the gardens at 
Theobalds when Gerard was superintendent. 

Gerard's own house was in Holborn and, as already mentioned, 
his garden, where he had over a thousand different herbs, was 
in what is now Fetter Lane.2 What a wonderful garden' that 
must have been, and how full it was of " rarities," ranging from 
white thyme to the double-flowered peach. How often we read 
of various plants, " these be strangers in England yet I have 
them m my garden," sometimes with the triumphant addition, 
" where they flourish as in their natural place of growing." In 

1 Gerard endeavoured to induce the Barber-Surgeons' Company to estabUsh 
%?u ^^ *^^ cultivation and study of medicinal plants, but nothing came 
of the scheme. ^ 

2 Formerly it was generally supposed that Gerard's garden was on the 
northern side of Holborn, but this is unhkely, for during the latter part of 
^lizabeth s reign the part which is now known as Ely Place and Hatton 
Lrarden was an estate of forty acres belonging to the Bishopric of Ely. Holborn 
was almost a village then, and Gerard tells us in his Herball that in Gray's Inn 
Lane he gathered mallow, shepherd's purse, sweet woodruff, bugle and Paul's 
betony and in the meadows near red-flowered clary, white saxifrage, the sad- 
coloured rocket, yarrow, lesser hawkweed and the curious strawberry-headed 
tretoil. Wallflower and golden stonecrop grew on the houses. 


1596 Gerard published a catalogue of twenty-four pages of the 
plants in this garden — the first complete catalogue of the plants 
in any garden, public or private. ^ A second edition was 
published in 1599. Of Gerard's knowledge of plants the members 
of his own profession had a high opinion. George Baker, one 
of the " chief chirurgions in ordinarie " to Queen Elizabeth, 
wrote of him : "I protest upon my conscience that I do not 
thinke for the Knowledge of plants that he is inferior to any, 
for I did once see him tried with one of the best strangers that 
ever came into England and was accounted in Paris the onely 
man,2 being recommended to me by that famous man M. Amb. 
Parens ; and he being here was desirous to go abroad with some 
of our herbarists, for the whiche I v/as the means to bring them 
together, and one whole day we spent therein, searching the 
most rarest simples : but when it came to the triall my French 
man did not know one to his fower." In 1598, the year after 
the publication of his Herbal, and again in 1607, Gerard was 
appointed examiner of candidates for admission to the freedom 
of the Barber-Surgeons' Company, but apart from this we have 
little definite knowledge of his life. He seems to have been a 
well-known figure in the later years of Elizabeth and the early 
years of James I., and it is probable that he held the same 
position in the household of Robert Earl of Salisbury, Secretary 
of State, as he had held in that of his father. Lord Burleigh. A 
few years before he died James's queen (Anne of Denmark) 
granted him the lease of a garden (two acres in all) east of 

^ Conrad Gesner drew up a codified list of choice plants cultivated in the 
gardens of about twenty of his friends, with short lists of rarities in certain 
gardens. Johann Franke published his Hortus Lusatice in forty-eight pages — 
a very scarce work — which is a catalogue of all the plants growing near Launitz 
in Bohemia. The list contains both wild and cultivated plants, and the latter 
are distinguished by the addition of the letter H. 

2 This must have been Jean Robin, who in 1597 was appointed Keeper 
of the King's gardens in Paris. We know that Gerard was on intimate terms 
with him, and Robin sent him numerous plants, which he gratefully acknow- 
ledges in his Herbal. Gerard frequently speaks of him as " my loving friend 
John Robin." 


Somerset House for four pence a year. Besides the rent he had 
to give ** at the due and proper seasons of the yeare a convenient 
proportion and quantitie of herbes, floures, or fruite, renewing 
or growing within the said garden plott or piece of grounde, by 
the arte and industrie of the said John Gerard, if they be lawfully 
required and demanded." ^ Gerard only kept this garden for 
a year. In 1605 he parted with his interest in it to Robert 
Earl of Sahsbury, and it is interesting to note that in the legal 
documents connected with this transaction he is described as 
herbarist to James I. Of his private life we know nothing beyond 
that he was married and that his wife helped him in his work. 
He died in February 1611-1612, and was buried in St. Andrew's 
Church, Holborn. 

In 1597, as we have seen, Gerard published the Herbal which 
made him famous, but its history, as his critics point out, reflects 
little credit on the author. John Norton, the Queen's printer, 
had commissioned Dr. Priest, a member of the College of 
Physicians, to translate Dodoens's Pemptades from Latin into 
English. Priest died before he finished his work and the 
unfinished translation came somehow into Gerard's hands. 
Gerard altered the arrangement of the herbs from that of 
Dodoens to that of de I'Obel in his Adversaria, and of Priest's 
translation he merely says : "Dr. Priest, one of our London 
College, hath (as I heard) translated the last edition of Dodoens, 
which meant to publish the same, but being prevented by death 
his translation likewise perished." There are no fewer than 
1800 illustrations in the Herbal, most of them taken from the 
same wood-blocks that Tabernsemontanus (Bergzabern) used 
for his Eicones (1590). Norton, the Queen's printer, procured 
the loan of these wood-blocks from Nicolas Bassseus of Frankfurt. 
They are good specimens, and certainly superior to the sixteen 
original cuts which Gerard added. It is interesting, however, 
to note that amongst the latter is the first published representa- 
tion of the " Virginian " potato. Gerard made so many mistakes 
1 MSS. Record Office, James I. (Domestic), Vol. IX. fol. 113. 


in connection with the illustrations that James Garret, a London 
apothecary (and the correspondent of Charles de TEscluse), called 
Norton's attention to the matter. Norton thereupon asked 
de rObel to correct the work, and, according to de TObel's own 
account, he was obliged to make over a thousand alterations. 
Gerard then stopped any further emendation, on the ground 
that the work was sufficiently accurate, and declared further 
that de I'Obel had forgotten the English language. Mr. B. D. 
Jackson affirms that when one compares the Herbal with the 
catalogue of the plants in his garden Gerard seems to have been 
in the right. On the other hand, de I'Obel in his lUustrationes 
speaks of Gerard with great bitterness and alleges that the latter 
pilfered from the Adversaria without acknowledgment. 

When one turns to the Herbal one forgets the bitterness 
of these old quarrels and Gerard's possible duplicity in the never- 
failing charm of the book itself. It is not merely a translation 
of Dodoens's Pemptades, for throughout the volume are inserted 
Gerard's own observations, numerous allusions to persons and 
places of antiquarian interest, and a good deal of contemporary 
folk-lore. No fewer than fifty of Gerard's own friends are 
mentioned, and one realises as one wanders through the pages 
of this vast book that he received plants from all the then 
accessible parts of the globe. Lord Zouch sent him rare seeds 
from Crete, Spain and Italy. Nicholas Lete, a London merchant, 
was a generous contributor to Gerard's garden and his name 
appears frequently. Gerard writes of him : " He is greatly in 
love with rare and faire flowers, for which he doth carefully 
send unto Syria, having a servant there at Aleppo, and in many 
other countries." It was Nicholas Lete who sent Gerard an 
" orange tawnie gilliflower " from Poland. William Marshall, 
a chirurgeon on board the Hercules, sent him rarities from the 
Mediterranean. The names which appear most frequently in 
connection with indigenous plants are those of Thomas Hesketh, 
a Lancashire gentleman, Stephen Bridwell, " a learned and 
dihgent searcher of simples in the West of England," James 



Cole, a London merchant, " a lover of plants and very skilful 
in the knowledge of them," and James Garret, a London apothe- 
cary and a tulip enthusiast, who " every season bringeth forth 
new plants of sundry colours not before seen, all of which to 
describe particularly were to roll Sisiphus's stone or number the 
sands." Jean Robin, the keeper of the royal gardens in Paris, 
sent him many rarities. For instance, of barrenwort {Epimedmm 
alpinum) he writes : " This was sent to me from the French 
King's herbarist Robinus dwellying in Paris at the syne of the 
blacke heade in the street called Du bout du Monde, in English 
the end of the world." In view of Sir Walter Raleigh's well- 
known enthusiasm for collecting rare plants, it is at least possible 
that he may have been a donor to Gerard's garden. 

Even the most cursory reading of the book suggests how much 
we lose by the lack of the old simple belief in the efficacy of 
herbs to cure not only physical ills, but also those of the mind and 
even of the heart. This belief was shared by the greatest 
civilisations of antiquity, and it is only we poor moderns who 
ignore the fact that ** very wonderful effects may be wrought by 
the Vertues, which are enveloped within the compasse of the 
Green Mantles wherewith many Plants are adorned." ^ Doctors 
are cautious folk nowadays, but it is wonderful to think of a 
time when the world was so young that people were brave and 
hopeful enough to imagine that mere humans could alleviate, 
even cure, the sorrows of others. If ever anything so closely 
approaching the miraculous is attempted again one feels very 
sure that we shall turn, as the wise men of the oldest civilisa- 
tions did, to God's most beautiful creations to accomphsh the 
miracle. In common with the majority of the old herbahsts, 
Gerard had a faith in herbs which was simple and unquestioning. 
Sweet marjoram, he tells us, is for those " who are given to 
over-much sighing." Again, " The smell of Basil is good for the 
heart ... it taketh away sorrowfulness, which commeth of 
melancholy and maketh a man merry and glad." " Bawme 
^ W. Coles, The Art of Simpling. 


comforts the heart and driveth away all melancholy and sadnesse : 
it makes the heart merry and joy full and strengtheneth the 
vitall spirits." " Chervil root boiled and after dressed as the 
cunning Cook knoweth how better than myself is very good for 
old people that are dull and without courage." Of the despised 
dead-nettle he tells us that " the flowers baked with sugar, as 
roses are, maketh the vitall spirits more fresh and lively." In 
connection with borage he quotes the well-known old couplet : 

" I Borage 
Bring alwaies Courage." 

" Those of our time," he continues, " do use the floures in 
sallads to exhilerate the mind and make the mind glad. There 
be also many things made of them, used everywhere for the 
comfort of the heart, for the driving away of sorrow and encreas- 
ing the joy of the minde. . . . The leaves and floures put into 
wine make men and women glad and merry and drive away all 
sadnesse, dulnesse and melancholy." 

Of bugloss he says : " The physitions use the leaves, floures 
and rootes and put them into all kindes of medecines indifferently, 
which are of force and vertue to drive away sorrow and pensive- 
ness of the minde, and to comfort and strengthen the heart." 

Rosemary was held of such sovereign virtue in this respect 
that even the wearing of it was believed to be remedial. " If a 
garland thereof be put about the head, it comforteth the brain, 
the memorie, the inward senses and comforteth the heart and 
maketh it merry." Certain herbs strewed about the room were 
supposed to promote happiness and content. Meadowsweet, 
water-mint and vervain (one of the three herbs held most 
sacred by the Druids) were those most frequently used for this 

" The savor or smell of the water-mint rejoyceth the heart 
of man, for which cause they use to strew it in chambers and 
places of recreation, pleasure and repose, where feasts and 
banquets are made." 

" The leaves and floures of meadowsweet farre excelle all 


other strowing herbs for to decke up houses, to strawe in chambers, 
halls and banqueting houses in the summertime, for the smell 
thereof makes the heart merrie and joyful and dehghteth the 

In connection with vervain he quotes Pliny's saying that " if 
the dining room be sprinckled with water in which the herbe hath 
been steeped the guests will be the merrier." 

Scattered through the Herbal we find recipes for the cure of 
many other ailments with which modern science does not 
attempt to cope. For instance, under " peony " we read : 
" The black graines (that is the seed) to the number of fifteene 
taken in wine or mead is a speciall remedie for those that are 
troubled in the night with the disease called the Night Mare, 
which is as though a heavy burthen were laid upon them and they 
oppressed therewith, as if they were overcome with their enemies, 
or overprest with some great weight or burthen, and they are 
also good against melancholic dreames." Under Solomon's seal 
one lights on this : " The root stamped while it is fresh and greene 
and applied taketh away in one night or two at the most any 
bruise, black or blew spots, gotten by falls or women's wilfulnesse 
in stumbling upon their hasty husbands' fists or such hke." Of 
cow parsnip he tells us : " If a phrenticke or melancholicke man's 
head bee anointed with oile wherein the leaves and roots have 
been sodden, it helpeth him very much, and such as bee troubled 
with the sickness called the forgetfull evill." Would any modern 
have either the courage or the imagination to attempt to cure 
" the forgetfull evill " ? In the old Saxon herbals the behef 
in the efficacy of herbs used as amulets is a marked feature, 
and even in Gerard's Herbal much of this old belief survives. 
" A garland of pennyroyal," he tells us, " made and worne about 
the head is of a great force against the swimming in the head, 
the paines and giddiness thereof." The root of spathng poppy 
" being pound with the leaves and floures cureth the stinging 
of scorpions and such like venemous beasts : insomuch that 
whoso doth hold the same in his hand can receive no damage 


or hurt by any venemous beast." Of shrubby trefoil we learn 
that " if a man hold it in his hand he cannot be hurt with the 
biting of any venemous beast." Of rue he says : " If a man be 
anointed with the juice of rue, the poison of wolf's bane, mush- 
rooms or todestooles, the biting of serpents, stinging of scorpions, 
spiders, bees, hornets and wasps will not hurt him." In the 
older herbals numerous herbs are mentioned as being of special 
virtue when used as amulets to protect the wayfaring man from 
weariness, but Gerard mentions only two — mugwort and Agnus 
castus. He quotes the authority of Pliny for the belief that 
" the traveller or wayfaring man that hath mugwort tied about 
him feeleth no wearisomeness at all and he who hath it about 
him can be hurt by no poysonous medecines, nor by any wilde 
beaste, neither yet by the Sun itself e." Of Agnus castus he 
writes : " It is reported that if such as journey or travell do 
carry with them a branch or rod of agnus castus in their hand, 
it will keep them from weariness." The herbs most in repute 
as amulets against misfortune generally were angelica (of 
sovereign virtue against witchcraft and enchantments) and 
figwort, which was " hanged about the necke " to keep the 
wearer in health. At times one feels that Gerard rather doubted 
the efficacy of these " physick charms," and he gives us a naive 
description of his friends' efforts to cure him of an ague by their 

" Having a most grievous ague," he writes, " and of long 
continuance, notwithstanding Physick charmes, the little wormes 
found in the heads of Teazle hanged about my necke, spiders 
put in a walnut shell, and divers such foolish toies, that I was 
constrained to take by fantasticke peoples procurement, not- 
withstanding I say my helpe came from God himselfe, for these 
medicines and all other such things did me no good at all." 

Under " gourd " Gerard gives a use of this herb which, though 
popular, is not to be found in any other English herbal. " A 
long gourd," he says, " or else a cucumber being laid in the 
cradle or bed by the young infant while it is asleep and sicke of 


an ague, it shall very quickly be made whole." The cure was 
presumably effected by the cooling properties of the fruit. 
In another place he recommends the use of branches of willow 
for a similar purpose. " The greene boughes of willows with 
the leaves may very well be brought into chambers and set 
about the beds of those that be sick of fevers, for they do 
mightily coole the heate of the aire, which thing is wonderfuU 
refreshing to the sicke Patient." 

There is so much contemporary folk lore embodied in Gerard 
that it is disappointing to find that when writing of mugwort, 
a herb which has been endowed from time immemorial with 
wonderful powers, he declines to give the old superstitions 
** tending to witchcraft and sorcerie and the great dishonour of 
God ; wherefore do I purpose to omit them as things unwoorthie 
of my recording or your receiving." He also pours scorn on 
the mandrake legend. " There have been," he says, " many 
ridiculous tales brought up of this plant, whether of old wives 
or runnegate surgeons, or phisick mongers I know not, all whiche 
dreames and old wives tales you shall from hencefoorth cast 
out of your bookes of memorie." The old legend of the barnacle 
geese, however, he gives fully. It is both too long and too well 
known to quote, but it is interesting to remember that this 
myth is at least as old as the twelfth century. According to 
one version, certain trees growing near the sea produced fruit 
like apples, each containing the embryo of a goose, which, when 
the fruit was ripe, fell into the water and flew away. It is, 
however, more commonly met with in the form that the geese 
emanated from a fungus growing on rotting timber floating at 
sea. This is Gerard's version. One of the earliest mentions of 
this myth is to be found in Giraldus Cambrensis (Topographia 
HiheniicB, 1187), a zealous reformer of Church abuses. In his 
protest against eating these barnacle geese during Lent he 
writes thus : — 

" There are here many birds which are called Bernacae 


which nature produces in a manner contrary to nature and very 
wonderful. They are hke marsh geese but smaller. They are 
produced from fir-timber tossed about at sea and are at first 
like geese upon it. Afterwards they hang down by their beaks 
as if from a sea-weed attached to the wood and are enclosed in 
shells that they may grow the more freely. Having thus in 
course of time been clothed with a strong covering of feathers 
they either fall into the water or seek their liberty in the air by 
flight. The embryo geese derive their growth and nutriment 
from the moisture of the wood or of the sea, in a secret and most 
marvellous manner. I have seen with my own eyes more than 
a thousand minute bodies of these birds hanging from one piece 
of timber on the shore enclosed in shells and already formed . . . 
in no corner of the world have they been known to build a nest. 
Hence the bishops and clergy in some parts of Ireland are in the 
habit of partaking of these birds on fast days without scruple. 
But in doing so they are led into sin. For if anyone were to eat 
the leg of our first parent, although he (Adam) was not born of 
flesh, that person could not be adjudged innocent of eating flesh." 

Jews in the Middle Ages were divided as to whether these 
barnacle geese should be killed as flesh or as fish. Pope 
Innocent HI. took the view that they were flesh, for at the 
Lateran Council in 12 15 he prohibited the eating of them 
during Lent. In 1277 Rabbi Izaak of Corbeil forbade them 
altogether to Jews, on the ground that they were neither fish 
nor flesh. Both Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon derided 
the myth, but in general it seems to have been accepted with 
unquestioning faith. Sebastian Munster, in his Cosmographia 
Universalis (1572), tells us that Pope Pius II. when on a visit 
to Scotland was most anxious to see these geese, but was told 
that they were to be found only in the Orkney Islands. 
Sebastian believed in them himself, for he wrote of them : — 

" In Scotland there are trees which produce fruit conglo- 
merated of leaves, and this fruit when in due time it falls into 


the water beneath it is endowed with new Ufe and is converted 
into a living bird which they call the tree-goose. . . . Several 
old cosmographers, especially Saxo Grammaticus, mention 
the tree and it must not be regarded as fictitious as some new 
writers suppose." ^ 

Even Hector Boece, in his Hystory and Croniklis of Scotland 
(1536), took the myth seriously, but in his opinion " the nature 
of the seis is mair relevant cans of their procreation than ony 
uther thyng." William Turner accepted the myth and gives 
as his evidence what had been told him by an eye-witness, " a 
theologian by profession and an Irishman by birth, Octavian 
by name," who promised him that he would take care that some 
growing chicks should be sent to him ! In later times we find 
that Caspar Schott (Physica Citriosa Sive Mirahilia Naturae et 
Artis, 1662, lib. ix. cap. xxii. p. 960) quotes a vast number of 
authorities on the subject and then demonstrates the absurdity 
of the myth. Yet in 1677 Sir Robert Moray read before the 
Royal Society *' A Relation concerning Barnacles," and this was 
published in the Philosophical Transactions, January-February 
1677-8. Among illustrations of the barnacle geese, that in de 
rObel's Stirpium Historia (1571) depicts the tree without the 
birds. Gerard shows the tree with the birds; in Aldrovandus 
leaves have been added to the tree and there is also an illustration 
showing the development of the barnacles into geese. 

As in all herbals the element of the unexpected is not lacking 
in Gerard. Who would think of finding under the eminently 
dull heading "fir trees" the following gem of folk lore? " I 
have seen these trees growing in Cheshire and Staffordshire and 
Lancashire, where they grew in great plenty as is reported before 
Noah's flood, but then being overturned and overwhelmed have 
lien since in the mosse and waterie moorish grounds very fresh 
and sound untiU this day; and so full of a resinous substance, 
that they burne like a Torch or Linke and the inhabitants of 
those countries do call it Fir-wood and Fire-wood unto this 

^ Cosmographia Universalis, 1572, p. 49. 


day : out of the tree issueth the rosin called Thus, in English 
Frankincense." In these days of exaggerated phraseology one 
is the more appreciative of that word " overturned." Gerard 
mentions the famous white Thorn at Glastonbury, but he is 
very cautious in his account of it. " The white thorn at 
Glastonbury . . . which bringeth forth his floures about 
Christmas by the report of divers of good credit, who have seen 
the same; but myselfe have not seen it and therefore leave it 
to be better examined." 

Another attractive feature of this Herbal is the preservation 
in its pages of many old English names of plants. One species 
of cudweed was called " Live-for-ever." " When the flower 
hath long flourished and is waxen old, then comes there in the 
middest of the floure a certain brown yellow thrumme, such as 
is in the middest of the daisie, which floure being gathered 
when it is young may be kept in such manner (I meane 
in such freshnesse and well-hking) by the space of a whole 
year after in your chest or elsewhere; wherefore our English 
women have caUed it ' Live-long,' or ' Live-for-ever,' which 
name doth aptly answer his effects." Another variety of cud- 
weed was called " Herbe impious " or " wicked cudweed," 
a variety " like unto the small cudweed, but much larger and 
for the most part those floures which appeare first are the lowest 
and basest and they are overtopt by other floures, which come 
on younger branches, and grow higher as children seeking to 
overgrow or overtop their parents (as many wicked children 
do), for which cause it hath been called ' Herbe impious.' " 
Of the herb commonly known as bird's-eye he tells us : "In 
the middle of every small floure appeareth a little yellow spot, 
resembling the eye of a bird, which hath moved the people of 
the north parts (where it aboundeth) to call it Birds eyne." 
"The fruitful or much-bearing marigold," he writes, "is like- 
wise called Jackanapes-on-horsebacke : it hath leaves, stalkes 
and roots like the common sort of marigold, differing in the shape 
of his floures ; for this plant doth bring forth at the top of the 


stalke one floure like the other marigolds, from which start 
forth sundry other smal floures, yellow likewise and of the same 
fashion as the first, which if I be not deceived commeth to pass 
per accidens, or by chance, as Nature often times liketh to play 
with other floures; or as children are borne with two thumbes 
on one hand or such like, which living to be men do get children 
like unto others : even so is the seed of this marigold, which 
if it be sowen it brings forth not one floure in a thousand like 
the plant from whence it was taken." Goat's-beard still retains 
its old name of * go-to-bed-at-noon,' "for it shutteth itselfe at 
twelve of the clocke, and sheweth not his face open untill the 
next dayes Sun doth make it flower anew, whereupon it was 
called go-to-bed-at-noone : when these floures be come to their 
full maturitie and ripenesse they grow into a downy Blow-ball 
like those of dandelion, which is carried away with the winde." 
Of the wild scabious (still called devil's-bit by country folk) he 
tells us : " It is called Devil's bit of the root (as it seemeth) 
that is bitten off. Old fantasticke charmers report that the 
Devil did bite it for envie because it is an herbe that hath so 
many good vertues and is so beneficent to mankind." Gerard's, 
again, is the only herbal in which we find one of the old names for 
vervain : '* Of some it is called pigeons grasse because Pigeons 
are delighted to be amongst it as also to eat thereof." Golden 
moth-wort, he tells us, is called God's flower *' because the 
images and carved gods were wont to wear garlands thereof : for 
which purpose Ptolomy King of Egypt did most diligently 
observe them as Pliny writeth. The floures . . . glittering 
like gold, in forme resembling the scaly floures of tansy or the 
middle button of the floures of camomil, which, being gathered 
before they be ripe or withered, remaine beautiful long after, as 
myself did see in the hands of Mr. Wade, one of the Clerks of 
her Majesties Counsell, which were sent him among other things 
from Padua in Italy." The variety of daisy which children now 
call " Hen and Chickens " was known as the " childing daisy " 
in Gerard's time. " Furthermore, there is another pretty 


double daisy which differs from the first described only in the 
floure which at the sides thereof puts forth many foot-stalkes 
carrying also little double floures, being commonly of a red 
colour; so that each stalke carries as it were an old one and 
the brood thereof : whence they have fitly termed it the childing 
Daisie." Of silverweed he tells us : " the later herbarists doe 
call it argentine of the silver drops that are to be seen in the 
distilled water thereof, when it is put into a glasse, which you 
shall easily see rowling and tumbling up and downe in the 
bottome." Delphinium, we learn, derives its name from 
dolphin, " for the floures especially before they be perfected 
have a certain shew and likeness of those Dolphines which old 
pictures and armes of certain antient families have expressed 
with a crooked and bending figure or shape, by which signe also 
the heavenly Dolphin is set forth." Rest-harrow, he says, is so 
called " because it maketh the Oxen whilest they be in plowing 
to rest or stand still." One of the most attractive names which 
he accounts for is cloudberry. " Cloudberrie groweth naturally 
upon the tops of two high mountaines (among the mossie places) , 
one in Yorkshire, called Ingleborough, the other in Lancashire 
called Pendle, two of the highest mountains in all England, 
where the clouds are lower than the tops of the same all winter 
long, whereupon the country people have called them cloud- 
berries; found there by a curious gentleman in the knowledge 
of plants, called Mr. Hesketh, often remembered." 

For those who care to seek it Gerard supphes an unequalled 
picture of the wild-flower life in London in Elizabethan days. 
It is pleasant to think of the httle wild bugloss growing " in the 
drie ditch bankes about Piccadilla " (Piccadilly), of mullein 
" in the highwaies about Highgate " ; of clary " in the fields of 
Holborne neere unto Grays Inn " ; of lihes of the vaUey, the 
rare white-flowered betony, devil's-bit, saw-wort, whortle- 
berries, dwarf willows and numerous other wild plants on 
Hampstead Heath; of the yellow-flowered figwort "in the 
moist medowes as you go from London to Hornsey"; of the 


yellow pimpernel " growing in abundance between Highgate 
and Hampstead " ; of sagittaria " in the Tower ditch at 
London " ; of white saxifrage " in the great field by Islington 
called the Mantles and in Saint George's fields behinde South- 
warke " ; of the vervain mallow " on the ditch sides on the left 
hand of the place of execution by London called Tyburn and in 
the bushes as you go to Hackney " ; of marsh-mallows " very 
plentifully in the marshes by Tilbury Docks " ; of the great 
wild burnet " upon the side of a causey, which crosseth a field 
whereof the one part is earable ground and the other part medow, 
lying between Paddington and Lysson Green neere unto London 
upon the highway " ; of hemlock drop wort " betweene the 
plowed lands in the moist and wet furrowes of a field belonging 
to Battersey by London, and amongst the osiers against York 
House a little above the Horse-ferry against Lambeth " ; of 
the small earth-nut " in a field adjoyning to Highgate on the 
right side of the middle of the village and likewise in the next 
field and by the way that leadeth to Paddington by London " ; 
of chickweed spurry " in the sandy grounds in Tothill fields 
nigh Westminster " ; of the pimpernel rose " in a pasture as 
you goe from a village hard by London called Knightsbridge 
unto Fulham, a village thereby " ; of dwarf elder " in untoiled 
places plentifully in the lane at Kilburne Abbey by London " ; 
of silver cinquefoil *' upon brick and stone walls about London, 
especially upon the bricke wall in Liver Lane "; of water-ivy, 
" which is very rare to find, nevertheless I found it once in a 
ditch by Bermondsey house near to London and never else- 

The ghmpses he gives us of London gardens are few and one 
longs for more. It is remarkable how few vegetables, or " pot- 
herbs " as they called them, were grown in Elizabethan times. 
Vegetables which figured in the old Roman menus were con- 
sidered luxuries in this country even in the days of the later 
Stuarts. The wild carrot is an indigenous plant in our islands, 
but of the cultivated carrot we were ignorant till the Flemish 


immigrants introduced it in the early seventeenth century. 
Parsnips, turnips and spinach were also rarities. With the 
exception of the wild cabbage, the whole brassica tribe were 
unknown to us till the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes were both introduced into 
this country in Tudor days. Gerard was one of the first to grow 
potatoes, and he proudly tells us, "I have received hereof from 
Virginia roots which grow and prosper in my garden as in their 
own native countrie." He was, in fact, the originator of the 
popular but incorrect epithet "Virginia potato." The potato 
was not a native of Virginia, nor was it cultivated there in Tudor 
times. The Spaniards brought it from Quito in 1580, and Gerard 
had it in his garden as early as 1596. The potato to which 
Shakespeare refers (Troilus and Cressida, V. ii. 534; Merry 
Wives of Windsor, V. v. 20, 21) is, of course, the sweet potato, 
which had been introduced into Europe nearly eighty years 
earlier. Gerard speaks of this sweet potato as " the common 
potato," which is somewhat confusing to the modern reader. 

There is a delightful glimpse of a well-known London garden, 
that of " Master Tuggie," who lived in Westminster and whose 
hobby was gilliflowers. It is the more interesting to find this 
passage in Gerard, for, as all lovers of Parkinson's Paradisus will 
remember, some of the varieties of gilhflower were called after 
their enthusiastic grower. Indeed, who can forget their en- 
chanting names — " Master Tuggie's Princesse " and " Master 
Tuggie his Rose gillowflower " ? Of gilhflowers, which vied 
with roses in pride of place in Elizabethan gardens, Gerard 
writes thus : — 

" Now I (holding it a thing not so fit for me to insist upon 
these accidental differences of plants having specifique differ- 
ences enough to treat of) refer such as are addicted to these 
commendable and harmless delights to survey the late and oft- 
mentioned Worke of my friend, Mr. John Parkinson, who 
hath accurately and plentifully treated of these varieties. If 


they require further satisfaction, let them at the time of the 
yeare repaire to the garden of Mistress Tuggie (the wife of my 
late deceased friend, Mr. Ralph Tuggie) in Westminster, which 
in the excellencie and varietie of these delights exceedeth all 
that I have scene, as also, he himself, whilst he lived exceeded 
most, if not all, of liis time, in his care, industry and skill, in 
raising, increasing and preserving of these plants." 

Gerard's descriptions of the most loved Enghsh garden 
flowers are perhaps too well known to quote, and therefore I 
give only the following : "The Plant of Roses, though it be a 
shrub full of prickes, yet it hath beene more fit and convenient 
to have placed it with the most glorious flowers of the world 
than to inserte the same here among base and thornie shrubs; 
for the rose doth deserve the chiefest and most principall place 
among all flowers whatsoever being not only esteemed in his 
beautie, vertue and his fragrance and odoriferous smell, but also 
because it is the honor and ornament of our Enghsh Scepter, 
as by the coniunction appeereth in the uniting of those two 
most royal houses of Lancaster and Yorke. Which pleasant 
flowers deserve the chiefest place in crowns and garlands. The 
double white sort doth growe wilde in many hedges of Lancashire 
in great abundance, even as briers do with us in these southerly 
parts, especially in a place of the countrey called Leyland, and 
in the place called Roughfoorde not far from Latham. The 
distilled water of roses is good for the strengthening of the 
hart and refreshing of the spirits and likewise in all things that 
require a gentle cooling. The same being put in iunketting 
dishes, cakes, sawces and many other pleasant things, giveth a 
fine and delectable taste. It bringeth sleepe which also the 
fresh roses themselves promote through their sweete and 
pleasant smell." 

Like most gardeners Gerard was an optimist. It is wonder- 
ful enough to think of the rare, white thyme growing in the 
heart of London, but think of the courage of trying to raise 


dates in the open ! "of the which," Gerard tells us (in no wise 
downcast by his numerous failures), " I have planted many 
times in my garden and have growne to the height of three foot, 
but the frost hath nipped them in such sort that soone after they 
perished, notwithstanding my Industrie by covering them, or 
what else I could do for their succour." And does it not make 
one feel as eager as Gerard himself when one finds, under water- 
mallows, that, though exotic plants, " at the impression hereof 
I have sowen some seeds of them in my garden, expecting the 
successe." The mere catalogue of the plants in Gerard's own 
wonderful garden fills a small book, and scattered through the 
Herbal we find numerous references to it, unfortunately too 
lengthy to quote here. 

One likes to think that Shakespeare must have seen this 
garden, for we know that at least for a time he lived in the 
vicinity. In those days two such prominent men could scarcely 
have failed to know one another.^ As Canon Ellacombe has 
pointed out, Shakespeare's writings are full of the old English 
herb lore. In this use of plant lore, which was traditional rather 
than literary, he is curiously distinct from his contemporaries. 
Outside the herbals there is more old English herb lore to be 
found in Shakespeare than in any other writer. It is, in fact, 
incredible that the man whose own works are so redolent of the 
fields and hedgerows of his native Warwickshire, did not visit 
the garden of the most famous herbarist of his day. Perhaps 
it was to Shakespeare that Gerard first told the sad tale of the 
loss of his precious scammony of Syria, a tale which no one with 
a gardener's heart can read without a pang of sympathy, even 

1 Shakespeare and Gerard were near neighbours during the time when the 
former was writing many of his finest plays, for Shakespeare Hved in the 
house of a Huguenot refugee (Mountjoy by name) 1598-1604. This house 
was at the corner of Mugwell Street (now Monkswell Street) and Silver Street, 
very near the site of the ancient palace of King Athelstan in Saxon days. 
Almost opposite Mount] oy's house was the Barber-Surgeons' Hall. Aggers' 
Map (circ. 1560) with pictures of the houses, gives an excellent idea of the 
neighbourhood in those days. See also Leak's Map (1666). 


after the lapse of three centuries. One of his numerous corre- 
spondents had sent him the seed of this rare plant, " of which 
seed," he says : — 

" I received two plants that prospered exceeding well; the 
one whereof I bestowed upon a learned apothecary of Colchester, 
which continueth to this day bearing both fioures and ripe seed. 
But an ignorant weeder of my garden plucked mine up and cast 
it away in my absence instead of a weed, by which mischance I 
am not able to write hereof so absolutely as I determined. It 
floured in my garden about S. James' tide as I remember, for 
when I went to Bristow Faire I left it in floure; but at my 
returne it was destroyed as is aforesaid." 



" And I doe wish all Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, whom it may concerne, 
to bee as careful whom they trust with the planting and replanting of these 
fine flowers, as they would be with so many Jewels." — Parkinson, Paradisus, 

To English folk and Americans alike the herbals — now 
amongst the rarest in the EngUsh language — treating of the 
virtues of herbs in the New World are of exceptional interest. 
For these contain some of the earhest records of the uses of herbs 
learnt from the Red Indians, Hsts of Enghsh weeds introduced 
into America by the first settlers, and, perhaps most interesting 
of all, what they grew in the first gardens in New England. It 
requires very little imagination to realise how much the discovery 
of the New World meant to the botanists, gardeners and 
herbahsts of that day, for at no time in our history were there 
greater plant-lovers than in Ehzabethan and Stuart times. 
In their strenuous lives the soldiers, explorers and sea-captains 
found time to send their friends in the Old World rare plants 
and other treasures, and these gifts of " rarities " were cherished 
as jewels. Is not the following a vivid picture of the arrival 
of such a package from the New World? "There came a 
Paket, as of Letters, inrolled in a scare clothe : so well made that 
thei might passe to any part beeyng never so farre, the whiche 
beeyng opened, I founde a small Cheste made of a little peece 
of Corke, of a good thickenesse sette together, whiche was 
worthie to be seen, and in the holownesse of it came the hearbes, 
and the seedes that the Letter speaketh of, everythyng written 
what it was, and in one side of the Corke, in a hollowe place 
there came three Bezaar stones, cloased with a Parchement and 



with Waxe in good order. The Letter was written with verie 
small Letters, and sumwhat harde to reade." The letter and 
the precious gift of herbs, seeds and stones were from an officer 
on duty in " New Spain " (he describes himself as " a Souldier 
that have followed the warres in these countries all my hfe "), 
who was unknown to Monardes, but had read his first book on 
the use of the herbs in the New World, and therefore was em- 
boldened to send him these rare plants and the " bezaar stones." 
Nicolas Monardes, the author of this herbal (translated into 
English by John Frampton),i most gratefully acknowledges his 
unknown friend's kindness and writes of him, " the gentleman 
of the Peru, which wrote to me this letter, although I know hym 
not, it seemeth that he is a man curious and affectioned to the 
hke thinges and I have him in great estimation. For bicause 
that the office of a Souldier is to handle weapons, and to sheed 
bloud, and to do other exercises apertainyng to Souldiers, he is 
muche to bee esteemed that he will enquire and searche out 
herbes, and Plantes and to knowe their properties and vertue. 
And therefore I dooe esteeme muche of this Gentlemanne for 
the labour whiche he taketh in knowyng and enquiryng of these 
naturall thinges. And I doe owe much unto him, .... I wil 
provoke hym by writyng to hym againe, to sende more thinges. 
For it is a greate thinge to knowe the secreates and marvailes 
of nature, of the Hearbes which he hath sent me. I will make 
experience of them and I will know their vertues and operation 
and theSeedes wee will sowe at their time." 

The interest in the plant-life of the New World may be 
judged from the fact that Monardes's work, which is the earHest 
"American" herbal, was translated into Latin by no less a 
botanist than Charles de I'Escluse, and into ItaUan, Flemish, 
French and EngUsh. Frampton's English translation went 
through four editions. The original book was written nineteen 
^ Joyfull Newes out of the newe founde worlde wherein is declared the 
rare and singular vertues of diuerse and sundrie Hearbes, etc. See Biblio- 
graphy of English Herbals, p. 211. Nicolas Monardes was a Spanish doctor 
hving in Seville and his book was written in 1569 (see p. 231). 


years before the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and throughout 
it there is very evident the pride of a Spanish subject in the 
splendid overseas dominions of his country, then the first 
empire in the world and the mistress of the seas. The preface 
is so redolent of the atmosphere of Spanish galleons and the 
boundless interest in the great new continent and its wonders, 
that I quote it almost in full, although in modern print it loses 
much of the charm of the original black-letter. The writer 
surely had in his mind the account of the navy of Tharshish, 
which came once in three years, *' bringing gold and silver, 
ivory, and apes, and peacocks," and one cannot help suspecting 
that loyalty to his Cathohc Majesty of Spain suggested the 
inclusion of hons from America in order that he might not be 
outdone by the splendour of Solomon. Moreover, Monardes 
proudly tells us that from the New World to Spain " there 
commeth every yere one hundred shippes laden . . . that it is a 
greate thynge and an incredle riches." 

" In the yere of our Lorde God, a thousande, fower hundreth 
ninetie twoo : our Spaniardes were gouerned by Sir Christofer 
Colon [Columbus], beeyng naturally bt)rne of the countrie 
Ger>oa, for to discouer the Occidentall Indias, that is called at 
this ^.af-, the Newe Worlde, and thei did discouer the first lande 
thereof, the XI dale of October, of the saied yere, and from that 
tyme unto this, thei haue discouered many and sundrie Ilandes, 
and; muche firme Lande, as well in that countrie, whiche thei 
call the Newe Spaine, as in that whiche is called the Peru, 
where there are many Prouinces, many Kyngdomes, and many 
Cities, that hath contrary and diuers customes in them, whiche 
there hath been founde out, thynges that neuer in these partes, 
nor in any other partes of the worlde hath been seen, nor unto 
this dale knowen : and other thynges, whiche now are brought 
unto us in greate aboundaunce, that is to sale, Golde, Siluer, 
Pearles, Emeraldes, Turkeses [turquoises], and other fine stones 
of greate value, yet greate is the excesse and quantitie that hath 


come, and every dale doeth come, and in especiallie of Golde 
and Siluer : That it is a thyng of admiration that the greate 
number of Milleons, whiche hath come besides the greate 
quantitie of Pearles, hath filled the whole worlde, also thei doe 
bryng from that partes, Popingaies, Greffons, Apes, Lions, 
Gerfaucons, and other kinde of Haukes, Tigers woUe, Cotton 
wolle, Graine to die colours with all, Hides, Sugars, Copper, 
Brasill, the woode Ebano, Anill : and of all these, there is so 
greate quantitie, that there commeth every yere, one hundred 
Shippes laden thereof, that it is a greate thynge and an incredle 

" And besides these greate riches, our Occidentall Indias 
doeth sende unto us many Trees, Plantes, Herbes, Rootes, 
Joices, Gummes, Fruites, Licours, Stones that are of greate 
medicinall vertues, in the whiche there bee founde, and hath 
been founde in them, verie greate effectes that doeth excede 
muche in value and price : All that aforesaied, by so muche as 
the Corporall healthe is more Excellent, and necessaire then the 
temporall goodes, the whiche thynges all the worlde doeth 
lacke, the wante whereof is not a little hurtfull, according to the 
greate profite which wee doe see, by the use of them doeth 
foUowe, not onely in our Spaine but in all the worlde. . . . The 
people of old tyme did lacke them, but the tyme which is the 
discouerer of all thynges, hath shewed them unto us greatly 
to our profite, seying the greate neede that we had of them. 

" And as there is discouered newe regions, newe Kyngdomes, 
and newe Prouinces, by our Spanyardes, thei haue brought unto 
us newe Medicines, and newe Remedies, wherewith thei doe cure 
and make whole many infirmities, whiche if wee did lacke them, 
thei were incurable, and without any remedie, the whiche 
thynges although that some have knowledge of them, yet thei 
bee not common to all people, for whiche cause I did pretede 
to treate and to write, of all thynges, that thei bryng from our 
Indias, whiche serueth for the arte and use of Medicine, and the 
remedy of the hurtes and deseases, that wee doe suffer and 


endure, whereof no small profile doeth foUowe to those of our 
tyme, and also unto them that shall come after us, the whiche I 
shall be the first, that the rather the followers male adde here- 
unto, with this beginnyng, that whiche thei shall more knowe, 
and by experience shall finde. And, as in this Citee of Seuill, 
which is the Porte and skale of all Occidentall Indias, wee 
doe knowe of the more, then in any other partes of all Spaine, 
for because that all thynges come first hither, where with better 
relation, and greater experience it is knowen. I doe it with 
experience and use of them this fourtie yeres, that I doe cure 
in this Citee, where I haue informed myself of them, that hath 
brought these thynges out of those partes with muche care, 
and I have made with all diligence and foresight possible, and 
with much happie successe." 

Then he begins straightway to tell us of various herbs and 
gums brought from the New World, and of what the herbalists 
had been able to learn of their medicinal virtues. He writes 
of " Copall " and " Anime " (varieties of rosin), and tells us that 
the Spaniards first learnt of these from the Indian priests, who 
" went out to receive them [the Spaniards] with little firepottes, 
burnyng in them this Copall, and giuing to them the smoke of 
it at their noses." ** Tacamahaca " (the Indian name for a 
rosin) is " taken out by incision of a tree beyng as greate as a 
Willowe Tree, and is of a verie sweete smell; he doeth bryng 
forth a redde fruite, as the seede of Pionia." The Indians 
used it for swellings in any part of the body and also for tooth- 
ache. " Caranna," another gum brought from Nombre de 
Dios, is discovered to be of sovereign virtue for gout — " it 
taketh it awaie with muche easines." The balsam of the New 
World, " that licour most excellent whiche for his ExceUencie 
and meruerlous effectes is called Balsamo, an imitation of the 
true Balsamo that was in the lande of Egipt," is " made of a 
tree greater than a Powndgarned Tree, it carrieth leaues like to 
Nettles : the Indians doe call it Xilo and we do call the same 


Balsamo/' There follows an account of the way in which the 
Red Indians made the balsam, either by cutting incisions in 
the tree and letting the " clammish licour, of colour white but 
most excellent and very perfite," run out, or by cutting up 
boughs and branches of the tree into very small pieces, boihng 
them in cauldrons and then skimming off the oil. "It is not 
convenient, nor it ought to be kept in any other vessel then in 
silver (glasse or Tinne or any other thing glassed, it doth pene- 
trate and doth passe through it), the use thereof is onely in 
thinges of Medecine and it hath been used of long tyme . . . 
the Spaniards had knowledge of it because they did heale ther- 
with the woundes that they did receive of the Indians : beyng 
advised of the vertue thereof by the same Indians, and they did 
see the saide Indians heale and cure themselves therewith." 
We learn that when this precious new balsam was first brought 
to Spain it sold for ten ducats an ounce, and in Italy for a 
hundred ducats an ounce. The use of another wound herb, " for 
shottes of arrows," of which unfortunately he does not give 
even the Indian name, was taught to a certain " Jhon Infante " 
by his native servant. The book gives us many pleasant 
glimpses of the kindly courtesy of the Red Indians to their foes, 
and though, according to some authorities, they would never 
teU the secrets of the herbs they used as medicines, we have 
Monardes's detailed accounts of how they showed the Spaniards 
the uses of them. Guiacum, for instance, was brought to the 
notice of a Spaniard in San Domingo by an Indian doctor. 

One of the most interesting accounts is of " Mechoacan." 
" It is brought from a countrie that is beyonde the greate Citie 
of Mexico more than fortie leagues, that is called Mechoacan, 
the whiche Syr Fernando Curtes did conquer in the yere of 1524, 
it is a countrie of muche Riches, of Gold and chiefly of Silver . . . 
those Mynes be so celebrated and of so muche riches that they 
be called the Cacatecas, every day they goe discovering in the 
Lande verie riche Mynes of Silver and some of Golde, it is a 
countrie of good and holsome ayres, and doth bring forth health- 


full Hearbes for to heale many diseases, in so muche that at 
the tyme the Indians had the government of it, the inhabiters 
there rounde aboute that Province, came thether to heale 
their diseases and infirmities. . . . The Indians of that countrie 
be of a taller growthe and of better faces then the Borderers are 
and of more healthe. 

" The principall place of that province the Indians doe call 
in their language Chincicila and the Spaniards doe call it as thei 
call that realme Mechoacan, and it is a great towne of Indians, 
situated nere to a lake which is of swete water and of verie 
muche Fishe, the same Lake is like the fashion of making an 
horse shewe, and in the middest thereof standeth the Towne, 
the whiche at this daye hath greate trade of buying and 

We are told in detail how the Warden of the Friars of 
St. Francis was cured by a native Indian doctor with this 
herb — " mechoacan " : — 

*' As soone as that Province was gotten of the Indians there 
went thither certaine Friers, of Saincte Frances order, and as in a 
countrie so distant from their naturall soyle, some of them 
f eU sicke, amongest whom the Warden, who was the Chief Frier 
of the house fell sicke, with whom Caconcin Casique, an Indian 
lord, a man of great power in that countrie, had very greate 
friendship, who was Lorde of all that countrie. The father 
Warden had a long sicknes and put to muche danger of life, 
the Casique as he sawe his disease procede forward, he saied 
that he would bryng hym an Indian of his, which was a Phisi- 
tion, with whom he did cure hym self, and it might bee that 
he would give hym remeady of his disease. The whiche beeyng 
heard of the Frier, and seyng the little helpe that he had there, 
and the want of a Phisition, and other thynges of benefite, he 
thanked hym and saied unto hym, that he should bryng hym 
unto hym : who beyng come, and seyng his disease, he said to 
the Casique, that if he tooke a pouder that he would giue hym 
of a roote, that it would heale hym. The whiche beeyng knowen 


to the Frier, with the desire that he had of healthe, he did accepte 
his offer and tooke the pouder that the Indian Physition gave 
hym the nexte daie in a httle Wine. . . . He was healed of his 
infirmitie and the rest of the Friers which were sicke did foUowe 
the father Warden's cure and took of the Self same powder 
once or twice and as ofte as thei had neede of for to heale them. 
The use of the whiche went so well with them that the Friers 
did send relation of this to the Father Provincall to Mexico 
where he was : who did communicate with those of the countrie, 
giving to them of the roote, and comforting them that thei 
should take it, because of the good relation that he had from 
those Friers of Mechoacan. The whiche beyng used of many 
and seyng the marueilous woorkes that it did the fame of it was 
extended all abrode, that in short tyme all the countrie was 
full of his good woorkes and effectes, banishing the use of 
Ruibarbe of Barbaric and taking his name, naming it Ruibarbo 
of the Indos and so all men dooeth commonly call it. And also 
it is called Mechoaca for that it is brought from thence. . . . 
And so thei do carry it from the Newe Spaine as Merchandise 
of very great price." 

The plant itself Monardes describes thus : — " It is an herbe 
that goeth creepyng up by certaine little Canes, it hath a sadde 
greene coulour, he carrieth certaine leaues, that the greatnesse 
of them male bee of the greatnesse of a good potenge dishe, that 
is in compasse rounde, with a little point, the leaffe hath his 
little Senewes, he is small, well nere without moisture, the stalke 
is of the coulour of a cleare Taunie. Thei sale that he dooeth 
caste certaine clusters, with little Grapes, of the greatnesse of 
a Coriander seede, whiche is his fruite and dooeth waxe ripe by 
the Monethe of September : he doeth caste out many bowes, 
the whiche doeth stretche a long upo the yearth, and if you doe 
put anyth3mg nere to it, it goeth creepyng upon it. The roote 
of the Mechoacan is unsaverie and without bightyng or any 
sharpness of taste." 

The book was published in successive parts, and the second 


of these, dedicated to the King of Spain, contains the first written 
account and illustration of " the hearbe tabaco." Monardes tells 
us that this herb was one " of much antiquity " amongst the 
Indians, who taught the Spaniards to use it as a wound-herb. 
It was first introduced into Spain " to adornate Gardens with 
the fairenesse thereof and to give a pleasant sight, but nowe 
we doe use it more for his meruelous medicinable vertues than 
for his fairenesse." The Red Indians called it " picielt." 
(The name tabaco was given it by the Spaniards, either from 
the island which still bears the name Tobago, as Monardes 
declares, or from a native word connected in some way with 
the use of the dried leaves for smoking.) According to Monardes 
the leaves, when warmed and laid on the forehead with orange 
oil, were efficacious to cure headaches. They were also good 
for toothache. " When the grief e commeth of a cold cause or 
of colde Rumes, putting to the tooth a little ball made of the 
leafe of the Tabaco, washing first the tooth with a smal cloth 
wet in the Juyce, it stayeth it, that the putrifaction goe not 
forwarde : and this remedie is so common that it healeth euerie 
one." Of greater interest is the account of its application as a 
wound-herb and of an experiment made on a small dog at the 
Spanish Court. 

" A little whiles past, certain wilde people going in their 
Bootes [boats] to S. John De puerto Rico to shoote at Indians 
or Spaniards (if that they might find them) came to a place 
and killed certain Indians and Spaniards and did hurt many, 
and as by chance there was no Sublimatum at that place to 
heale them, they remembered to lay upon the wounds the Juice 
of the Tabaco and the leaves stamped. And God would, that 
laying it upon the hurts, the griefs, madnes, and accidents 
wherewith they died were mittigated, and in such sorte they 
were delivered of that euill that the strength of the Venom was 
taken away and the wounds were healed, of the which there 
was great admiration. Which thing being knowen to them of 



the Islande they use it also in other hurtes and wounds, which 
they take when they light with the wilde people : nowe they stand 
in no feare of them, by reason they have founde so great a 
remedie in a case so desperate. This Hearbe hath also vertue 
against the hearbe called of the Crosse boweshooter, which our 
hunters doe use to kill the wilde beastes withall and which 
hearbe is Venom most stronge, and doeth kill without remedie, 
which the Kinges pleasure was to prooue and commanded to 
make experience thereof, and they wounded a little dogge in 
the throate, and put forthwith into the wound the hearbe of 
the Crosse boweshooter, and after a little whyle, they powred 
into the self same wound that they had annointed with the 
Crosse boweshooters hearbe, a good quantitie of the juice of 
Tabaco and layde the stamped leaves upon it and they tied up 
the dogge and he escaped, not without great admiration of all 
men that saw him. Of the which the excellent Phisition of 
the Chamber of his Maiestie, Doctor Barnarde in the margent 
of this booke, that sawe it, by the commaundement of his 
Maiestie, writeth these wordes — 'I made this experience by 
the commaundement of the Kinges Maiesty. I wounded the 
dogge with a knife and after I put the Crosse boweshooters 
hearbe into the wound and the hearbe was chosen and the dogge 
was taken of the hearbe, and the Tabaco and his Juyce being 
put into the wounde the dogge escaped and remained whole.' " 

We are further given an exceptionally interesting account of 
the use of tobacco in the rehgious ceremonies of the Red Indians. 
" One of the meruelles of this hearbe and that whiche bringeth 
most admiration is the maner howe the Priests of the Indias 
did use it, which was in this maner : when there was amongst 
the Indians any maner of businesse of great importaunce, in the 
whiche the chiefe Gentleman called Casiques or any of the 
principal! poople [people] of the Countrey had necessitie to 
consult with their Priestes in any businesse of importaunce : 
then they went and propounded their matter to their chiefe 


Priest, foorthwith in their presence he tooke certeyne leaues 
of the Tabaco and cast them into ye fire and did receive the 
smoke of them at his mouth and at his nose with a Cane, and 
in taking of it he fell downe uppon the ground as a Dead man, 
and remayning so according to the quantity of the smoke that 
he had taken, when the hearbe had done his woorke he did 
revive and awake, and gave them then aunsweares [answers] 
according to the visions, and illusions whiche he sawe, whiles 
he was rapte in the same maner, and he did interprete to them 
as to him seemed best, or as the Divell had counselled him, giuing 
them continually doubtfull aunsweres in such sorte that how- 
soever it fell out, they might say that it was the same whiche 
was declared and the aunswere that he made. 

" In like sort the rest of the Indians for their pastime do 
take the smoke of the Tabaco, to make themselves drunke 
withall, and to see the visions, and things that represent unto 
them, that wherein they do delight : and other times they take 
it to know their businesse and successe, because conformable 
to that whiche they haue scene, being drunke therewith, euen 
so they iudge of their businesse. And as the devil is a deceuer 
and hath the knowledge of the vertue of hearbs, so he did shew 
the vertue of this Hearb, that by the meanes thereof, they might 
see their imaginations and visions, that he hath represented unto 
them and by that meanes deceiue them." 

The Red Indians also used this herb when they were obliged 
to travel for several days " in a dispeopled countrie where they 
shal finde neither water nor meate." They rolled the leaves 
into small balls, which they put " betweene the lower lippe and 
the teeth and goe chewing it all the time that they trauell 
and that whiche they chew they swallow downe and in this sort 
they journey three or foure dayes without hauing neede of meate 
or drink, for they feele no hunger nor weaknesse nor their trauel 
doth trouble them." (This custom Monardes compares to that 
of the bear, which during the winter " remaineth in his Caue and 
liueth without meate or drink, with onely chewing his pawes " !) 


On its first introduction into Europe tobacco seems to have 
been regarded as a new all-heal, and in the city of Seville, 
we read, *' they know not what other to doe, hauing cut or hurt 
themselves but to run to the Tabaco as to a most readie remedie. 
It doth meruellous workes, without any need of other Surgery, 
but this only hearbe." One chapter is devoted entirely to an 
account of various cures effected by tobacco, and it is interesting 
to read the authoritative account of the origin of the botanical 
name " Nicotiana." Monardes tells us that it was so called 
after Nicot, " my very friend ye first author inventer and bringer 
of this hearbe into France." It appears that " Maister John 
Nicot, being Embassador for his Maiestie in Portugall, in the 
yeere of our Lorde 1559, went one day to see the Prysons of 
the King of Portugall, and a Gentleman, being the Keeper of 
the said Prysons, presented him with this hearb as a strange 
plant brought from Florida." The same Maister Nicot, '' hauing 
caused the said hearb to be set in his Garden, where it grewe 
and multiplyed maruellously," experimented with it, and 
amongst other things cured a young man who had a sore on his 
nose. Quite a number of cures were effected, the most interest- 
ing being that of one of Nicot's own cooks, who " hauing almost 
cutte off his thombe with a great Chopping Knife ran unto the 
said Nicotiane and healed it " ! 

The prescription for the ointment of tobacco is as follows : — 
" Take a pounde of the freshe leaues of the sayde Hearbe, 
stampe them, and mingle them with newe Waxe, Rosine, 
common oyle of each three ounces, let them boyle altogether, 
untill the Juice of Nicotiane be consumed, then add therto 
three ounces of Venise Turpentine, straine the same through 
a Linen cloth, and keepe it in Pottes to your use." The account 
of tobacco ends thus : — " Loe here you haue the true Historic 
of Nicotiane of the which the sayde Lorde Nicot, one of the 
Kinge's Counsellors, first founder out of this hearbe, hath made 
me privie, as well by woorde as by writing, to make thee (friendly 
Reader) partaker thereof, to whome I require thee to yeeld 


as harty thankes as I acknowledge myself bound unto him for 
this benefite received." 

We find that the Indians first taught the Spaniards the 
use of sassafras, and " the Spaniards did begin to cure themselves 
with the water of this tree and it did in them greate effectes, 
that it is almost incredible : for with the naughtie meates and 
drinkyng of the rawe waters, and slepyng in the dewes, the 
moste parte of them came to fall into continuall Agues. . . . Thei 
tooke up the roote of this Tree and tooke a peece thereof suche 
as it seemed to theim beste, thei cutte it small into verie thinne 
and little peeces and cast them into water at discretion, little 
more or lesse, and thei sodde it the tyme that seemed nedefull 
for to remaine of a good colour, and so thei dranke it in the 
mornyng fastyng and in the dale tyme and at dinner and supper, 
without kepyng any more waight or measure, then I have 
saied, nor more keepyng, nor order then this, and of this thei 
were healed of so many griefes and euill diseases. That to heare 
of them what thei suffred and how thei were healed it doeth 
bryng admiration and thei whiche were whole dranke it in place 
of wine, for it doeth preserue them in healthe : As it did appeare 
verie well by theim, that hath come fro thence this yere, for 
thei came all whole and strong, and with good coulours, the 
whiche doeth not happen to them that dooeth come from those 
partes and from other conquestes, for thei come sicke and swolne, 
without collour, and in shorte space the moste of theim dieth : 
and these souldiours doeth trust so muche in this woodde that 
I beyng one dale amongest many of them, informing myself 
of the thynges of this Tree, the moste parte of them tooke out 
of their pokettes a good peece of this woodd, and said : * Maister, 
doe you see here the woodde, that euery one of us doth bryng 
for to heale us with aU, if we do fall sicke, as we haue been 
there,' and they began to praise so muche, to confirme the 
meruelous workes of it, with so many examples of them that 
were there, that surely I gave greate credite unto it and thei 
caused me to beleeve all that thereof I had heard, and gave me 


courage to experimente it as I have doen." There is another 
vivid gUmpse of the use of sassafras as a pomander when the 
pestilence was rife in Seville. " Many did use to carrie a peece 
of the Roote of the wood with them to smell to it continually, 
as to a Pomander. For with his smell so acceptable it did 
rectifie the infected ayre : I caried with mee a peece a greate 
tyme, and to my seemyng I founde greate profite in it. For 
with it and with the chewing of the rinde of lemmon in the 
mornyng and in the daye tyme for to preserve health it hath a 
greate strength and property. It seemeth to mee that I was 
delivered by the healpe of God from the fyre in the whiche we 
that were Phisitions went in, blessed be our Lorde God that 
delivered us from so great euill and gave us this moste excellente 
Tree called Sassafras, which hath so greate vertues, and doth 
suche maruellous effectes as we have spoken of and more that 
the tyme will shewe us, which is the discouerer of all thinges." 

It is a far cry from Monardes's book to that by " John 
Josselyn Gentleman," written nearly a hundred years later. 
Instead of the atmosphere of the El Dorado of the Spanish Main, 
of the galleons, of the tropical sun and plants of the West Indies, 
we find ourselves in the good company of the first settlers in 
New England, the Spanish Empire being only a memory of the 
past. Just fifty years after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers 
on American soil, New England's Rarities discovered was printed 
at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's Churchyard, London, and the 
book is of peculiar interest, for it contains the first pubhshed 
lists of Enghsh plants that would thrive in America. There 
is a certain pathos in the efforts of the new settlers to produce 
in the New Country (which then took two months to reach) 
something that would remind them of the famihar English 
gardens of their old homes, and no one with a gardener's heart 
can read it without sympathy. The book was written by one 
John Josselyn, who undertook the then perilous voyage in order 
to stay with his only brother, who lived a hundred leagues from 


Boston. There he remained about eight years, making it 
his business to collect all the information he could about plants 
that interested him. Even as late as 1663 the country was 
very imperfectly explored, for he gravely informs the reader 
that he cannot say whether New England is an island or not. 
He is not very sure whether even America is an island, but is 
confident that the Indians are closely allied to the Tartars. 

But to turn to the subject-matter of the book. First we 
have a careful list of plants which the author found and which 
were common in England also, and — what is quite delightful — 
notes on the uses made of these plants by the Red Indians. 
For instance, they used white hellebore to cure their wounds, 
and John Josselyn tells us exactly how. They first rubbed 
racoon's grease or wild cat's grease on the wounds and then 
strewed the dried and powdered root on to it. They also applied 
the powdered root for toothache. Under the yellow-flowered 
water-hly we find a note to the effect that the Indians used 
the roots for food, and Josselyn seems to have tried them him- 
self, for he says that they taste of sheep's hver. " The Moose 
Deer," he says, " feed much on them and the Indians choose 
this time when their heads are under water to kiU them." From 
acorns the Indians made the oil with which they rubbed them- 
selves. This was prepared by burning rotten maple wood to 
ashes and then boiling acorns with these ashes till the oil floated 
on the top. Of American walnuts and violets he had apparently 
a poor opinion, for he describes the walnuts as being not much 
bigger than a nutmeg and " but thinly replenished with kernels," 
and the violets as inferior to the English " Blew Violet." The 
most interesting of the recipes is that for the beer which he used 
to brew for Indians who came to him when they had bad colds. 
New Englanders who still possess treasured old housewives' 
books will probably find they have recipes for the same kind 
of beer ; for it is typical of that commonly made in England in 
the seventeenth century and is strangely flavoured with elecam- 
pane, liquorice, sassafras, aniseed, and fennel seed. Then follows 


a list of plants peculiar to New England, with a long descrip- 
tion of " Indian wheat," of which " the Flower [flour] makes 
excellent Puddens." Another plant described at length is 
the hollow-leaved lavender, but it is difficult to identify it 
from the illustration. The most interesting part of this list is 
that consisting of plants to which no Enghsh names had yet 
been given. 

It is hard to beHeve that before the Pilgrim Fathers landed 
some of the commonest weeds were unknown in their new country. 
Yet we have John Josselyn's hst of these, and it includes couch- 
grass, shepherd's purse, dandelion, groundsel, sow-thistle, sting- 
ing-nettle, mallows, plantain, wormwood, chickweed, mullein, 
knot-grass and comfrey. The plantain, one always learnt as a 
child, follows the English colonist wherever he goes, and there 
is curious confirmation in Josselyn's note that the Indians 
called this famihar weed " ' Enghshman's Foot,' as though it were 
produced by their treading." But the most fascinating hst 
of all is that of the Enghsh garden-plants which those early 
settlers tried to grow, and it is impossible to read it without 
reahsing the loving care which must have been lavished on the 
southernwood, rosemary, lavender, and other plants imported 
from Enghsh gardens, which survived the long journey only 
to succumb to the rigours of the New England winter. There 
is something so naive and appealing about this hst, the first 
gardening link, as it were, between England and America, that 
I give it in full as it stands in the original : 

Cabbidge growes there exceeding well 


Parsley, Marygold, French Mallowes, Chervil, Burnet, 

Winter Savory, Summer Savory, Time, Sage, Carrots. 

Parsnips of a prodigous size. 

Red Beetes, 




Pease of all sorts and the best in the world. I never heard 

of nor did see in Eight Years time one worm Eaten Pea. 
Spearmint, Rew will hardly grow 
Featherfew prospereth exceedingly. 
Southernwood is no plant for this Country, Nor Rosemary, 


White Satten groweth pretty well, so doth 
Lavender Cotton. But 
Lavender is not for the Climate. 
Penny Royal, 

Ground Ivy or Ale Hoof. 
Gillyflowers will continue Two Years. 
Fennel must be taken up and kept in a Warm Cellar all the 

Housleek prospereth notably, 

Enula Campana, in two Years time the Roots rot, 
Comferie with white Flowers, 
Coriander and 
Dill and 

Annis thrive exceedingly, but Annis Seed as also the Seed 
of Fennel seldom come to maturity; the Seed of 
Annis is commonly eaten of a fly. 
Clary never lasts but one Summer, the 
Roots rot with the Frost, 
Sparagus thrives exceedingly so does 
Garden Sorrel and 
Sweet Bryer or Eglantine 
Bloodwort but sorrily but 
Patience and 

English Roses very pleasantly. 
Celandine by the West Country Men called Kenning Wort 

grows but slowly. 


Muschata as well as in England. 

Pepperwort flourisheth notably and so doth Tansie 

Musk Mellons are better than our Enghsh and Cucumbers. 

Pompions there be of several kinds ; they are dryer than our 

English pompions and better tasted ; You may eat them 


The book ends in a delightfully irrelevant fashion with a poem 
on an Indian squaw, introduced as follows : — " Now, gentle 
Reader, having trespassed upon your patience a long while 
in the perusing of these rude Observations, I shall, to make you 
amends, present you by way of Divertisement, or Recreation, 
with a Copy of Verses on the Indian Squa or Female Indian 
trick' d up in all her bravery." 

The American Physitian ; or a Treatise of the Roots, Plants, 
Trees, Shrubs, Fruit, Herbs, etc., growing in the English 
Plantations in America,'^ has, as its name implies, more of a 
medical character than the older books. In his preface the 
writer, WiUiam Hughes, tells us : — " Tis Hkely some may say 
need we trouble ourselves with those things we cannot reach? 
To such I answer, that the most part of them here mentioned 
which grow not in England already are brought over daily 
and made use of. ... I suppose there are few but would 
gladly know that there are such things in the world, although 
scarcely any which care or desire to go to see them; I hope 
this Description which is as right to truth as I could possibly 
draw it, if my eyesight failed me not, may be acceptable, 
although it be far short of what I intended ; it being my desire 
to have made it more compleat by one more voyage into those 
parts of the World, in which my endeavours should not have 
been found wanting for the bringing and fitting of Roots, Seeds 
and other Vegetables to our climate, for, to increase the number 
of Rarities which we have here in our Garden already; in the 

1 Published in London. See Bibliography, p. 217. 


which I perceive much may be done, if further industry were 
used, but I have yet met with no opportunity to accomplish 
the same; and therefore hope that some others who have con- 
veniency will do something herein for the promotion of further 
knowledge in these and many other excellent things which those 
parts afford, and we are yet unacquainted with. And whosoever 
is offended at this that I have here written, may let it alone; 
it forceth none to meddle with it : I know the best things dis- 
please some, neither was there ever any man yet that could 
please all people : but in hurting none, possibly I may please 
some ; for whom only it is intended." 

The book itself contains interesting accounts of yams, 
gourds, potatoes, prickly pears, maize (of turkeys fed on maize 
he says, " If I should tell how big some of their turkeys are I 
think I should hardly be believed"), cotton, pepper and sugar. 
His dissertation on the making of sugar is one of the earliest 
accounts of the process. Of the " Maucaw tree " he writes 
that " the seeds being fully ripe are of a pure crimson or reddish 
colour apt to dye the skin with a touch so that it cannot quickly 
be washed off." The Red Indians used these seeds to dye their 
skins, and Hughes remarks, " were some Ladies acquainted 
with this Rarity, doubtless they would give much for it." The 
longest section of the book deals with the cacao tree, its fruit 
and the making of chocolate. Cacao kernels were used as tokens 
and cacao plantations were entailed property. " In Carthagena, 
New Spain and other adjacent places, they do not only entail 
their Cacao Walks or Orchards on their Eldest Sons, as their 
Right of Inheritance (as Lands here in England are settled on 
the next Heir), but these cacao kernels have been, and are 
in so great esteem with them, that they pass between man and 
man for any merchandise, in buying and selling in the Markets, 
as the most current silver Coyn; as I have been told and as 
some credible Writers do affirm." There is a notable description 
of the making of chocolate by the servants " before they go 
forth to work in the Plantations in a morning and without which 


they are not well able to perform their most laborious employ- 
ments in the Plantations, or work with any great courage until 
eleven a clock, their usual time of going to Dinner." A detailed 
account of the preparation of the drink ends with this vivid 
picture : " and then taking it off the Fire they pour it out 
of the Pot into some handsome large Dish or Bason : and after 
they have sweetened it a little with Sugar, being all together 
and sitting down round about it like good Fellows, everyone dips 
in his Calabash or some other Dish, supping it off very hot." 
He describes all sorts of ways of using the chocolate, the best in 
his opinion being that of the " Maroonoes Hunters and such as 
have occasion to travel the Country." They made it into 
" lozanges," which " exceed a Scotch-man's provision of Oat- 
meal and Water, as much (in my opinion) as the best Ox-beef 
for strong stomacks exceeds the meanest food." Chocolate, 
it will be remembered, became a very fashionable drink in 
England in the seventeenth century, but Hughes considers 
it inferior to the genuine stuff made in the Plantations. 
In fact, he cautions English people to procure their chocolate 
straight from Jamaica, and then to see themselves to the making 
of it according to his directions ! 

In spite of its impressive name, The South-Sea Herbal 
containing the names, use, etc. of divers medicinal plants lately 
discovered by Pere L. Feuillee, one of the King of France s 
herbalists . . . much desired and very necessary to be known 
of all such as now traffick to the South-Seas or reside in those 
parts (17 1 5), is only eight pages long, five of which are devoted 
to figures of the plants. Nevertheless this now rare little 
pamphlet is valuable inasmuch as it is probably the first account 
in Enghsh of the medicinal plants of Peru and Chili. The writer 
— James Petiver — began life by serving his apprenticeship 
to Mr. Feltham, apothecary to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 
London. He afterwards quahfied as apothecary and became 
demonstrator of plants to the Society of Apothecaries. All 


his life he seems to have been rather a recluse, devoting his time 
to the study of natural history specimens sent him from aU parts 
of the world. His herbarium, now in the Sloane Collection in the 
Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, is exceptionally 
interesting, for Petiver appears to have had friends in all parts 
of the world, mostly sea-captains, who took delight in sending 
him treasures. The value of his collection may be judged from 
the fact that shortly before his death. Sir Hans Sloane offered 
him £4000 for it. His South-Sea Herbal is purel}^ medicinal, 
except for an appeal to anyone living in Quito who " would be 
pleased to procure branches of the leaves of Jesuits' Bark or 
Quinquina with its Flowers and Fruit, which Favour should be 
acknowledged and more accurate Figures given of each if com- 
municated to your humble servant." There is unfortunately 
now no copy extant of another of Petiver's pamphlets. The 
Virtues of several Sovereign Plants found wild in Maryland with 
Remarks on them. Apparently not many were printed, for 
there is a note to this effect at the end of the advertisement : 
" Divers of these Tracts are now so very scarce that of some of 
them there are not 20 left." Owing to the fact that nearly 
every page of illustrations in Petiver's works is dedicated to 
some friend who had sent him specimens, we have preserved 
for us the record of his numerous correspondents. These 
dedications are very pleasant reading : — 

"To ye memory of y' curious Naturalist and Learned 
Father, Geo Jos^^" Camel for many Observations and Things 
sent me." 

"To ye memory of my curious Friend Mr. Sam Browne, 
Surgeon at Madrass, for divers Indian Plants, Shells, Seeds, etc." 

*' To Mr. George Bouchere, Surgeon, For divers Minorca 
Plants, Seed, etc." 

" To Mr. Alexander Bartlet, Surgeon, For divers Cape and 
Moca Plants, Shells, etc." 

" To Mr. George London, Late Gardiner to K. Will and Q. 


" To ye memory of Mr. Will"^ Browne, Surgeon, who Pre- 
sented me w'^ Divers Plants, Shells, etc." 

" To His Hearty Friend, Mr. John Stocker, in gratitude for 
divers Plants, Shells, etc." 

" To Mr. Claud Joseph, Geoffroy, Apothecary Chymist and 
Fellow of ye Academy Royall in Paris." 

'' To Mr. Charles Du-Bois, Treasurer of the East India 

" To the Honourable Dr. WilHam Sherard, Consul of Smyrna." 

" To Captain Jonathan Whicker for Divers Shells from St. 

" To his Curious Friend, Mr. John Smart, Surgeon, For Divers 
Plants, etc., from Hudson's Bay." 

" To his kind Friend, Capt George Searle for divers Antego 
Shells, Coralls, etc." 

" To Capt. Thomas Grigg at Antego in gratitude for divers 
Insects, SheUs, etc." 

" To that very obliging Gentlewoman, Madam Hannah 
Williams at Carolina." 



" For truly from all sorts of Herbes and Flowers we may draw matter at 
all times not only to magnifie the Creator that hath given them such diversities 
of formes sents and colours, that the most cunning Worke man cannot 
imitate, and such vertues and properties, that although wee know many, 
yet many more lye hidden and unknowne, but many good instructions also 
to ourselves. That as many herbes and flowers with their fragrant sweet 
smels doe comfort, and as it were revive the spirits and perfume a whole 
house : even so such men as live vertuously, labouring to doe good and profit 
the Church of God and the Commonwealth by their paines or penne, doe as it 
were send forth a pleasing savour of sweet instructions, not only to that time 
wherein they live, and are fresh, but being drye, withered and dead, cease not 
in all after ages to doe as much or more." — John Parkinson, Paradisus, 1629. 

The last of the great English herbaUsts was John Parkinson, 
the author of the famous Paradisus and also of the largest herbal 
in the English language, Theatrum Botanictim, which was published 
when the author was seventy-three. The latter was intended to 
be a complete account of medicinal plants and was the author's 
most important work, yet it is with the Paradisus (strictly not 
a herbal, but a gardening book), that his name is popularly 
associated. Of Parkinson himself we can learn very little. We 
know only that he was born in 1567, probably in Nottinghamshire, 
and that before 1616 he was practising as an apothecary and had 
a garden in Long Acre " well stored with rarities."^ He was 
appointed Apothecary to James I., and after the pubHcation of 
his Paradisus in 1629 Charles I. bestowed on him the title of 
Botanicus Regius Primarius. Amongst Parkinson's acquaintances 
mentioned in his books were the learned Thomas Johnson, who 
in 1633 emended and brought out a new edition of Gerard's 

^ See Theatrum Botanicum, p. 609. 


Herhall, John Tradescant,i the famous gardener, traveller and 
naturahst, and the celebrated physician, Sir Theodore Mayerne. 
Parkinson died in 1650 and was buried at St. Martin's in the 
Fields. There is a portrait of him in his sixty-second year 
prefixed to his Paradisus, and a small portrait by Marshall at 
the bottom of the title-page of his Theatrum Botanicum. 

The full title of Parkinson's Paradisus, which in the dedicatory 
letter to Queen Henrietta Maria he truly describes as " this 
Speaking Garden," is inscribed on a shield at the bottom of the 
frontispiece. The first three words, " Paradisi in Sole," are a 
punning translation into Latin of his own surname. 

At the top of the page is the Eye of Providence with a Hebrew 
inscription, and on each side a cherub symbolising the winds. 
In the centre is a representation of Paradise with Adam grafting 
an apple tree and Eve running downhill to pick up a pineapple. 
The flowers depicted are curiously out of proportion, for the tuhp 
flower is a good deal larger than Eve's head, and cyclamen in 
Paradise seems to have grown to a height of at least five 

The most interesting feature of this elaborately illustrated title- 
page is the representation of the " Vegetable Lamb " growing on a 

1 Both John Tradescant and his son were gardeners to Charles I. and 
Henrietta Maria, John Tradescant the elder is said by Anthony a Wood 
to have been a Fleming or a Dutchman, but this is doubtful. The name is 
neither Flemish nor Dutch but probably English, and in the inscription on 
his tomb in Lambeth Churchyard he and his son are described as " both 
gardeners to the rose and Hly queen." This was Henrietta Maria. Parkinson 
in his Paradisus speaks of him as " that painfull industrious searcher and 
lover of all nature's varieties." Tradescant accompanied Sir Dudley Digges 
on his voyage round the North Cape to Archangel, and on his return wrote 
an account of the plants he had found in Russia — the earhest extant record 
of plants in that part. It is interesting to note that in this he compares the 
soil of Russia to that of Norfolk. In 1620 Tradescant joined an expedition 
against the Algerine corsairs as a gentleman volunteer, and he also accom- 
panied the Duke of Buckingham (George Villiers), to whom he had formerly 
been gardener, on the ill-fated expedition to La Rochelle. On Buckingham's 
death he entered the royal service, and probably at this time estabhshed his 
well-known physic garden and museum at Lambeth. The house was called 
Tradescant's ark. There are three unsigned and undated portraits of the 
elder Tradescant in the Ashmolean Collection at Oxford. 


stalk and browsing on the herbage round about it.^ This records 
one of the most curious myths of the Middle Ages. The creature was 
also known as the Scythian Lamb and the Borametz or Barometz, 
a name derived from a Tartar word signifying " lamb." It was 
supposed to be at once a true animal and a living plant, and was 
said to grow in the territory of the " Tartars of the East," formerly 
called Scythia. According to some writers, the lamb was the 
fruit of a tree, whose fruit or seed-pod, when fuUy ripe, burst 
open and disclosed a little lamb perfect in every way. This was 
the subject of the illustration, " The Vegetable Lamb plant," 
in Sir John Mandeville's book. Other writers described the lamb 
as being supported above the ground by a stalk flexible enough 
to allow the animal to feed on the herbage growing near. When 
it had consumed aU within its reach the stem withered and the 
lamb died. This is the version illustrated on Parkinson's title- 
page. It was further reported that the lamb was a favourite 
food of wolves, but that no other carnivorous animals would 
attack it. This remarkable legend obtained credence for at 
least 400 years. So far as is known, the first mention of it in an 
Enghsh book is the account given by Sir John Mandeville, " the 
Knyght of Ingelond that was y bore in the toun of Seynt Albans, 
and travelide aboute in the worlde in many diverse countries to 
se mervailes and customes of countreis and diversiters of folkys 
and diverse shap of men and of beistis." It is in the chapter 
describing the curiosities he met with in the dominions of the 
" Cham " of Tartary that the passage about the vegetable lamb 
occurs. 2 The origin of this extraordinary myth is undoubtedly 

1 It also figures on the title-page of Parkinson's Theatnmi Botanicum, 

2 " Now schalle I seye you semyingly of Countries and Yles that bea 
beyonde the Countries that I have spoken of. Wherefore I seye you in pes- 
synge be [by] the Lord of Cathaye toward the high Ynde and towards Bacharye, 
men passen be a Kyngdom that men clepen Caldhille, that is a fair contree. 
And there growethe a maner of Fruyt, as though it weren Gowrdes, and when 
thei ben rype men kutten hem ato, and men fynden with inne a lytylle Best, 
in Flesche, in Bon and Blode, as though it were a lytylle Lamb withouten 
wolle. And men eten both the Frut and the Best, and that is a great Marveylle. 
Of that Frute I have eaten, alle thoghe it were wonderfulle but that I knowe 
wel that God is marveyllous in his Werkes." 




P\K V01>S 'J ' )i 

Y^ .- 






to be found in the ancient descriptions of the cotton plant by 
Herodotus, Ctesias, Strabo, Phny and others.^ The following 
passages in Herodotus and Phny will suffice to show how easily 
the myth may have grown. " Certain trees bear for their fruit 
fleeces surpassing those of sheep in beauty and excellence " 
(Herodotus) . " These trees bear gourds the size of a quince which 
burst when ripe and display balls of wool out of which the 
inhabitants make cloths like valuable linen " (Phny). 

In his Theatrum Botanicum Parkinson describes the " Scythian 
Lamb," and one gathers that he accepted the travellers' tales 
about it. " This strange living plant as it is reported by divers 
good authors groweth among the Tartares about Samarkand and 
the parts thereabouts rising from a seede somewhat bigger and 
rounder than a Melon seede with a stalk about five palmes high 
without any leafe thereon but onely bearing a certaine fruit and 
the toppe in forme resembling a small lambe, whose coate or 
rinde is wooUy like unto a Lambe's skinne, the pulp or meat 
underneath, which is like the flesh of a Lobster, having it is 
sayed blood also in it ; it hath the forme of an head hanging down 
and feeding on the grasse round about it untiU it hath consumed 
it and then dyeth or else will perish if the grasse round about it 
bee cut away of purpose. It hath foure legges also hanging downe. 
The wolves much affect to feed on them." 

The preface to the Paradisus is singularly beautiful, being 
typical of the simple, devout-minded author, but it is too long to 
quote. The book itself is truly " a speaking garden," a tranquil, 
spacious EHzabethan garden, full of the loveliness, colour and 
scent of damask, musk and many other roses ; of liUes innumerable 
— the crown imperial, the gold and red lilies, the Persian lily 
(" brought unto Constantinople and from thence sent unto us 
by Mr. Nicholas Lete, a worthy Merchant and a lover of all faire 
flowers "), the blush Martagon, the bright red Martagon of 

1 See Herodotus (lib. iii. cap. io6), Ctesias {Indica) ; Strabo (lib. xv. 
cap. 2i) ; Theophrastus De Historia Planiarum (lib. iv. cap. 4) ; Pliny, Naturalis 


Hungary and the lesser mountain lily. Of fritillaries of every 
sort — of which Parkinson tells us that " although divers learned 
men do by the name given unto this delightful plant think it doth 
in some things partake with a Tulipe or Daffodill ; yet I, finding 
it most like unto a Uttle Lilly, have (as you see here) placed it 
next unto the Lillies and before them." Of gay tulips, which 
were amongst his special favourites — " But indeed this flower, 
above many other, deserveth his true commendations and 
acceptance with all lovers of these beauties, both for the stately 
aspect and for the admirable varietie of colour, that daily doe 
arise in them," — and of which he had a collection such as would 
be the glory of any garden — the tulip of Caffa, the greater red 
Bolonia tulip, the tulip of Candie, the tulip of Armenia, the 
Fool's Coat tulip, the Cloth of Silver tuhp and others too numerous 
to mention. (** They are all now made denizens in our Gardens," 
he joyously tells us, " where they yield us more delight and more 
increase for their proportion by reason of their culture, than they 
did unto their owne naturals"). Of daffodils, crocuses and 
hyacinths in boundless profusion, amongst which are to be noted 
many pleasing names that we no longer use. Of asphodels, 
*' which doe grow naturally in Spaine and France and from thence 
were first brought unto us to furnish our Gardens." Of many- 
coloured flags, which he calls by the prettier name of " flower de 
luce," and amongst which he gives pride of place " for his 
excellent beautie and raretie to the great Turkic Flower de luce." 
Of gladioli, cyclamen and anemones. Of the last-named he 
writes thus : — 

" The Anemones hkewise or Windeflowers are so full of variety 
and so dainty so pleasant and so delightsome flowers that the 
sight of them doth enforce an earnest longing desire in the mind 
of anyone to be a possessoure of some of them at the leaste. For 
without all doubt this one kind of flower, so variable in colours, 
so differing in form (being almost as many sortes of them double 
as single), so plentifull in bearing flowers and so durable in lasting 
and also so easie both to preserve and to encrease is of itselfe 


alone almost sufficient to furnish a garden with flowers for almost 
half the yeare. But to describe the infinite (as I may so say) 
variety of the colours of the flowers and to give each his true 
distinction and denomination it passeth my abihty I confesse, 
and I thinke would grauell the best experienced in Europe." 
(Nevertheless he writes of about fifty varieties.) Of fragrant 
crane's-bills, bear's-ears, primroses and cowsHps. Of violets, 
borage, marigolds, campions, snapdragons, columbines and 
lark's-heels (delphiniums). Of gillyflowers (why have we given 
up this old-fashioned English name?), and how pleasant is the 
mere reading of his list of varieties — " Master Bradshawe liis 
daintie Ladie," " Ruffling Robin," " The Fragrant," " The Red 
Hulo," " John Witte his great tawny gillow flower," " Lustie 
Gallant," " The fair maid of Kent," " The Speckled Tawny." 
" But the most beautiful that ever I did see was with Master 
Ralph Tuggie,^ the which gilliflower I must needes therefore call 
* Master Tuggies Princesse,' which is the greatest and fairest of all 
these sorts of variable tawnies, being as large fully as the Prince 
or Chrystall, or sometliing greater, standing comely and round, 
not loose or shaken, or breaking the pod as some other sorts will ; 
the marking of the flower is in this manner : It is of a stamell 
colour, striped and marbled with white stripes and veines quite 
through every leafe, which are as deeply lagged as the Hulo : 
sometimes it hath more red then white, and sometimes more 
white then red, and sometimes so equaUy marked that you cannot 
discern which hath the mastery; yet which of these hath the 
predominance, still the flower is very beautifuU and exceeding 
dehghtsome." Of peonies, lupins, pinks, sea-holly and sweet- 
wilham. Of lilies of the valley, gentian, Canterbury bells, 
hollyhocks and mallows (" which for their bravery are entertained 
everywhere unto every countrey-woman's garden "). Of fox- 
gloves, goldilocks, valerian and mullein. Of cuckoo-flowers, 
" or Ladies smockes," both the double and the trefoil. The first 

1 " Master Tuggie," who lived in Westminster, was a famous grower of 
gilliflowers. See p. ii6. 


kind, Parkinson tells us, " is found in divers places of our owne 
Countrey as neere Micham about eight miles from London;" 
also in Lancashire, " from whence I received a plant, which 
perished, but was found by the industrie of a worthy Gentle- 
woman dwelling in those parts called Mistresse Thomasin Tunstall, 
a great lover of these dehghts. The other was sent me by my 
especiall good friend John Tradescant, who brought it among 
other dainty plants from beyond the seas, and imparted thereof 
a root to me." Of clematis and candytufts, honeysuckles and 
jasmine. Of double-flowered cherries, apples and peaches. 
" The beautiful shew of these three sorts of flowers," he says, 
" hath made me to insert them into this garden, in that for their 
worthinesse I am unwilling to bee without them, although the 
rest of their kindes I have transferred into the Orchard, where 
among other fruit trees they shall be remembered : for all these 
here set downe seldome or never beare any fruite, and therefore 
more fit for a Garden of flowers then an Orchard of fruite. These 
trees be very fit to be set by Arbours." 

In this garden of pleasant flowers we find also many fragrant 
herbs. " After all these faire and sweete flowers," says Parkin- 
son, " I must adde a few sweete herbes, both to accomplish 
this Garden, and to please your senses, by placing them in your 
Nosegay es, or elsewhere as you list. And although I bring them 
in the end or last place, yet they are not of the least account." 
He writes first of rosemary, the common, the gilded, the broad- 
leaved and the double-flowered. Of rosemary he tells us : 
" This common Rosemary is so well knowne through all our 
Land, being in every woman's garden, that it were sufficient 
but to name it as an ornament among other sweete herbes and 
flowers in our Garden. It is well observed, as well in this our 
Land (where it hath been planted in Noblemen's, and great 
men's gardens against brick wals, and there continued long) 
as beyond the Seas, in the naturall places where it groweth, 
that it riseth up in time unto a very great height, with a great 
and woody stemme (of that compasse that — being clouen out 
into thin boards — it hath served to make lutes, or such like 


instruments, and here with us Carpenters rules, and to divers 
other purposes), branching out into divers and sundry armes 
that extend a great way, and from them againe into many other 
smaller branches, whereon we see at several distances, at the 
ioynts, many very narrow long leaves, greene above, and whitish 
underneath, among which come forth towards the toppes of the 
stalkes, divers sweet gaping flowers of a pale or bleake blewish 
colour, many set together standing in whitish huskes . . . 
although it will spring of the seede reasonable well, yet it is so 
small and tender the first yeare, that a sharpe winter killeth it 
quickly, unlesse it be very well defended; the whole plant as 
well leaves as flowers, smelleth exceeding sweete." Of sage 
and of lavender both the purple and the rare white ^ (" there is 
a kinde hereof that beareth white flowers and somewhat broader 
leaves, but it is very rare and scene but in few places with us, 
because it is more tender, and will not so well endure our cold 
Winters "). " Lavender," he says, " is almost wholly spent with 
us, for to perfume linnen, apparell, gloues and leather and the 
dryed flowers to comfort and dry up the moisture of a cold 
braine." Of French lavender (" the whole plant is somewhat 
sweete, but nothing so much as Lavender). It groweth in the 
Islands Staechades which are over against Marselles and in 
Arabia also : we keep it with great care in our Gardens. It 
flowreth the next yeare after it is sowne, in the end of May, 
which is a moneth before any Lavender." Of lavender cotton, 
of which he writes : " the whole plant is of a strong sweete 
sent, but not unpleasant, and is planted in Gardens to border 
knots with, for which it will abide to be cut into what forme you 
think best, for it groweth thicke and bushy, very fit for such 
workes, besides the comely shew the plant it selfe thus wrought 
doth yeeld, being alwayes greene and of a sweet sent." Of 
basil, " wholly spent to make sweet or washing waters, among 
other sweet herbes, yet sometimes it is put into nosegayes. The 
Physicall properties are to procure a cheerfuU and merry heart " ; 
and marjoram, " not onely much used to please the outward 
1 White lavender was a favourite with Queen Henrietta Maria. 


senses in nosegayes and in the windowes of houses, as also in 
sweete ponders, sweete bags, and sweete washing waters." Of 
all the varieties of thyme and hyssop— and of the white hyssop 
he writes that its striped leaves " make it delightfull to most 
Gentlewomen." Hyssop, he tells us further, " is used of many 
people in the Country to be laid unto cuts or fresh wounds, 
being bruised, and applyed eyther alone, or with a little sugar." 
" And thus," he concludes this part of the book, " have I led 
you through all my Garden of Pleasure, and shewed you all 
the varieties of nature housed therein, pointing unto them and 
describing them one after another. And now lastly (according 
to the use of our old ancient Fathers) I bring you to rest on the 
Grasse, which yet shall not be without some delight, and that 
not the least of all the rest." 

From his garden of pleasant flowers he leads us to the kitchen 
garden, full not only of " vegetables " as we understand the 
term, of strawberries, cucumbers and pompions, but also of a 
vast number of herbs in daily use, many of them never seen in 
modern gardens. Besides the famihar thyme, balm, savory, 
mint, marjoram, and parsley, there are clary, costmary, penny- 
royal, fennel, borage, bugloss, tansy, burnet, blessed thistle, 
marigolds, arrach, rue, patience, angelica, chives, sorrel, smal- 
lage, bloodwort, dill, chervil, succory, purslane, tarragon, rocket, 
mustard, skirrets, rampion, liquorice and caraway. But 
according to Parkinson they used fewer herbs in his day than 
in olden times; for under pennyroyal we find, " The former age 
of our great-grandfathers had all these pot herbes in much and 
familiar use, both for their meates and medicines, and there- 
with preserved themselves in long life and much health : but 
this delicate age of ours, which is not pleased with anything 
almost, be it meat or medicine, that is not pleasant to the palate, 
doth wholly refuse these almost, and therefore cannot be par- 
taker of the benefit of them." From the kitchen garden with 
all these herbs, " of most necessary uses for the Country Gentle- 
women's houses," he leads us, finally, to the orchard, with its 
endless varieties of apple and pear trees, of cherries, medlars. 


plums, "apricockes" and nectarines, of figs and peaches and 
almonds, of quinces, walnuts, mulberries and vines (ending with 
the Virginian vine, of which he says, " we know of no use but 
to furnish a Garden and to encrease the number of rarities"), 
until, hke the Queen of Sheba, we feel that, with all we have heard 
of the comfortable splendour of Elizabeth's reign, the half has 
not been told us. " And thus," Parkinson concludes, " have I 
finished this worke, and furnished it with whatsoever Art and 
Nature concurring could effect to bring delight to those that 
live in our Climate and take pleasure in such things; which 
how well or ill done, I must abide every one's censure; the 
iudicious and courteous I onely respect, let Momus bite his Hps 
and eate his heart; and so Farewell." 

Parkinson's monumental work, Theatrum Botanicum, was 
completed, as already mentioned, in his seventy-third year. 
In it about 3800 plants are described (nearly double the number 
of those in the first edition of Gerard's Herbal). In the Theatrum 
he incorporated nearly the whole of Bauhin's Pinax, besides 
part of the unfinished work by de I'Obel mentioned before. The 
book remained the most complete English treatise on plants 
until the time of Ray. Parkinson originally intended to entitle 
it " A Garden of Simples " ^ and, had he done so, it is at least 
possible that this work, to which he devoted the greater part 
of his life, would have achieved the popularity it deserved. 
Except in the illustrations, it is a finer book than Gerard's, but 
the latter remained the more popular. In fact, this herbal of 
Parkinson's is an outstanding proof that a good book may be 
ruined by a bad title. Theatrum Botanicum sounds hard and 
chilling, whereas Gerard's Herball has an attractive ring. The 
fact that the former never attained the popularity achieved by 
the latter seems the more pathetic when we read the author's 

^ This he tells us at the end of the preface to the Paradisus. " Thus have 
I shewed you both the occasion and scope of this Worke, and herein have 
spent my time, paines, and charge, which if well accepted, I shall thinke well 
employed, and may the sooner hasten the fourth Part, A Garden of Simples ; 
which will be quiet no longer at home, then that it can bring his Master newes 
of faire weather for the iourney." 


own concluding charge to this work of his Hfetime : — " Goe 
forth now therefore thou issue artificial of mine and supply 
the defect of a Naturall, to beare up thy Father's name and 
memory to succeeding ages and what in thee lyeth effect more 
good to thy Prince and Country then numerous of others, which 
often prove rather plagues then profits thereto, and feare not 
the face of thy fiercest foe." 

The ornamental title-page of the Theatnim Botanicum is both 
interesting and impressive. The two most important figures 
are those of Adam and Solomon (representing Toil and Wisdom 
respectively) . Solomon is dressed in a long coat with an ermine 
cape, and he wears Roman sandals. At the four corners of the 
page are female figures : — Europe driving majestically in a 
chariot with a pair of horses ; Asia clad in short skirts and shoes 
with curled points and riding a rhinoceros ; Africa wearing only 
a hat, and mounted upon a zebra; and America, also unclothed, 
carrying a bow and arrow and riding a sheep with surprisingly 
long ears. Each of these figures is surrounded by specimens 
of the vegetation of their respective continents. 

It is curious to find in the dedicatory letter to Charles I 
a touch of the old belief that diseases are due to evil spirits : — 

" And I doubt not of your Majesties further care of their 
bodies health that such Workes as deUver approved Remedyes 
may be divulged whereby they may both cure and prevent 
their diseases. Most properly therefore doth this Worke belong 
to your Majesty's patronage both to further and defend that 
malevolent spirits should not dare to cast forth their venome 
or aspertions to the prejudice of any well-deserving, but that 
thereby under God and Good direction, aU may Hve in health 
as well as wealth, peace and godliness, which God grant and 
that this boldnesse may be pardoned to 

" Your Majestyes 
" Loyale Subject 

" Servant and Herbarist 
"John Parkinson." 



There are letters extolling the Herbal from three Oxford 
doctors, two of whom refer to the then newly-made physic 
garden on the Cherwell. One writes thus : " Oxford and Eng- 
land are happy in the foundation of a spacious illustrious 
physicke garden, compleately beautifully walled and gated, 
now in levelling and planting with the charges and expences of 
thousands by the many wayes Honourable Earle of Danby, 
the furnishing and enriching whereof and of many a glorious 
Tempe, with all usefull and delightfull plants will be the better 
expedited by your painefull happy satisfying Worke. 

"Tho. Clayton, His Majesty's prof, of Physicke, Oxon." 

One who signs himself " Your affectionate friend John Bain- 
bridge Doctor of Physique, and Professor of Astronomy, Oxon " 
writes thus : "I am a stranger to your selfe but not to your 
learned and elaborate volumnes. I have with delight and 
admiration surveyed your Theatrum Botanicum, a stately 
Fabrique, collected and composed with excessive paines. . . . 
It is a curious pourtrait and description of th' Earths flowred 
mantle, the Herbarist's Oracle, a rich Magazin of soveraigne 
Medicines, physicall experiments and other rarities." 

Parkinson divides his plants into " Classes or Tribes " : — 

1. Sweete smelling Plants. 

2. Purging Plants. 

3. Venemous Sleepy and Hurtfull plants and their Counter 


4. Saxifrages. 

5. Vulnerary or Wound Herbs. 

6. Cooling and Succory Hke Herbs. 

7. Hot and sharpe biting Plants. 

8. Umbelliferous Plants. 

9. Thistles and Thorny Plants. 

10. Fearnes and Capillary Herbes. 

11. Pulses. 

12. Comes. 


13. Grasses Rushes and Reeds. 

14. Marsh Water and Sea plants and Mosses and Mushromes. 

15. The Unordered Tribe. 

16. Trees and Shrubbes. 

17. Strange and Outlandish Plants. 

Under " The Unordered Tribe " we find the naive remark : 
" In this tribe as in a gathering campe I must take up all those 
straglers that have either lost their rankes or were not placed 
in some of the foregoing orders that so I may preserve them from 
losse and apply them to some convenient service for the worke " \ 

It is surprising how much folk lore survives even in Parkin- 
son's Herbal. Like Gerard, he pours scorn on a good many 
contemporary beliefs, but many he accepts unquestioningly, 
especially those concerning the use of herbs as amulets and also 
for the promotion of happiness. He gives also some old garden- 
ing beliefs not to be found in other herbals, but very common 
in contemporary books on gardening and husbandry, and more 
bee lore tha'n most herbals contain. Nearly all the old herbahsts 
believed in the value of growing balm near the beehives, and 
also of rubbing the hive with this herb, but Parkinson alone 
tells us of the harmful effects of woad : ^ " Some have sowen 
it but they have founde it to be the cause of the Destruction 
of their Bees, for it hath been observed that they have dyed as 
it were of a Fhx that have tasted hereof." Of balm,^ however, 
he writes : " it is an hearbe wherein Bees do much delight 
both to have their Hives rubbed therewith to keepe them 
together and draw others and for them to suck and feed upon." 
Elsewhere he tells us that " it hath been observed that bees 
will hardly thrive well where many Elmes doe grow or at least 
if they upon their first going forth abroad after Winter doe 
light on the bloomings or seed thereof." ^ Of the sweet-smelling 
flag he says : " it is verily believed of many that the leaves 

1 Thealrum Boianicum, p. 601. 

2 Ibid., p. 43. 3 75^-^^ p 1^05. 


or roots of Acorus tyed to a hive of Bees stayeth them from 
wandering or flying away and draweth a greater resort of others 
thereto." ^ 

Upon the use of herbs as amulets his views seem incon- 
sistent. He is scornful of the custom of hanging a piece of 
mistletoe to children's necks " against witchcraft and the illusion 
of Sathan " ; yet he gravely informs us that " if the sope that 
is made of the lye of the ashes [of glassewort] be spread upon 
a piece of thicke course brown paper cut into the forme of 
their shooe sole, that are casually taken speechless and bound to 
the soles of their feete it will bring again the speech and that 
within a Httle time after the applying thereof if there be any 
hope of being restored while they live : this hath been tried 
to be effectuall upon diverse persons. ^ The custom of wearing 
meadowsweet or hanging it up in living-rooms ^ he describes as a 
" superstitious conceit," but he accepts without demur the 
tradition* that a wreath of periwinkle " worne about the legs 
defendeth them that wear it from the crampe." Bartholomaeus 
Anglicus tells us that Augustus Ccesar used to wear a wreath of 
bryony during a thunderstorm to protect himself from light- 
ning, but the story is not repeated until, after the lapse of 
four hundred years, we find in Parkinson the statement that 
" Augustus Caesar was wont to weare bryony with bayes made 
into a roule or garlande thereby to be secured from lightening." ^ 
Parkinson regards the use of herbs against witchcraft as sheer 
foohshness, but he is the only herbalist who gives us a potion ^ 
which " resisteth such charmes or the like witchery that is 
used in such drinkes that are given to produce love." Like 
Gerard, he does not question the efficacy of borage, bugloss and 

^ Theatrum Botanicum., p. 144. ^ Ibid., p. 281. 

3 Ibid., p. 265. « Ibid., p. 384. ^ /^/^.^ p_ jgi. 

^ Ibid., p. 422. Of this "Indian Spanish Counter poyson " Parkinson 
gives us the further interesting information that " the Indians doe not eate 
the bodies of those they have slaine by their poysoned arrowes untill they 
have lyen three or foure dayes with their wounds washed with the juice of 
this herbe; which rendereth them tender and fit to be eaten which before 
were hard." 


many other herbs to promote happiness. Of borage ^ he tells 
us : '' The leaves floures and seedes are very cordiall and helpe 
to expell pensivenesse and melancholie that ariseth without 
manifest cause " ; and of a confection made from oak galls,^ 
that it is " dayly commended and used with good effect against 
Melancholy passions and sorrow proceeding of no evident cause." 
Water yarrow " is taken with vinegar to helpe casuall sighings 
also the Toothache." ^ Under viper 's-grass * we find " the 
water distilled in glasses or the roote itself taken is good against 
the passions and tremblings of the heart as also against swoon- 
ings sadnes and melancholy," and under bugloss,^ that " the 
rootes or seedes are effectuall to comfort the'^heart and to expell 
sadnesse and causelesse melancholy." In common with other 
herbaUsts he beheved also that herbs could be used to strengthen 
the memory, to help weak brains, to quicken the senses and even 
to soothe " frenzied " people. Of eyebright,^ used for so many 
centuries, and even until recent times, to help dull sight, he 
says : "it helpeth a weake braine or memory and restoreth 
them being decayed in a short time." Fleabane " bound to 
the forehead is a great helpe to cure one of the frensie," 
while " the distilled water of thyme apply ed with vinegar of 
Roses to the forehead easeth the rage of Frensye." '^ Lavender 
is of " especiall good use for all grief es and paines of the head 
and brain," ^ and sage ^ is of " excellent good use to helpe the 
memory by warming and quickening the senses." 

Parkinson gives more beauty recipes than any other 
herbalist. For those who wish to darken their hair he recom- 

« mends washing it with a decoction of bramble leaves.^*^ The 
golden flowers of mullein ^^ '* boyled in lye dyeth the haires of 
the head yellow and maketh them faire and smooth." The 

^ ashes of southernwood ^^ mixed with old salad oil will cause a 

^ Theatrum Boianicum, 

p. 767. 

2 Ibid., p. 1397. 

3 Ihid., p. 1259. 

^ Ibid.^ 

, p. 410. ^ Ibid., 

p. 518. 

* Ibid., p. 1330. 

7 Ibid. 

, p. 128. 8 ll)id,^ 

- P- 74- 

* Ibid., p. 54. 

1° Ibid., 

p. 1016. 11 Ibid., 

, p. 63. 

^2 Ibid., p. 95. 


beard to grow or hair on a bald head, and yarrow is almost 
as good; garden spurge, elder flowers, broom, madder, rue, 
gentian, scabious, betony, elecampane, Solomon's Seal, the 
great hawkweed and lupin are all excellent to " cleanse the 
skinne from freckles, sunburn and wrinkles." ^ The French 
women " account the distilled water of pimpernell mervailous 
good to dense the skinne from any roughnesse deformity or 
discolouring thereof and to make it smooth neate and cleere." ^ 
The Italian dames, however, " doe much use the distilled water 
of the whole plant of Solomon's Seal." ^ Lupin seems to have 
the most remarkable virtue, for not only will it take away all 
smallpox marks, but it will also make the user " look more 
amiable " ! Many women, therefore, " doe use the meale of 
Lupines mingled with the gall of a goate and some juyce of 
Lemons to make into a forme of a soft ointment." * Parkinson 
is the only herbalist who gives recipes to enable people to get 
thin and also to look pale. " The powder of the seedes of elder ^ 
first prepared in vinegar and then taken in wine halfe a dramme 
at a time for certaine dayes together is a meane to abate and 
consume the fat flesh of a corpulent body and to keepe it leane." 
For those who like to look pale he recommends cumin seed 
and bishopsweed.^ And " for a sweet powder ' to lay among 
linnen and garments and to make sweet waters to wash hand- 
gloves or other things to perfume them " he recommends the 
roots of the sweet-smelling flag. 

It is, however, the curious out-of-the-way pieces of informa- 
tion on all sorts of matters which are so interesting in Parkin- 
son's Herbal. He teUs us that three several sorts of colours 
are made from the berries of the purging thorn ; that the yellow 
dye is used by painters, " and also by Bookbinders to colour 
the edges of Bookes and by leather dressers to colour leather " ; 
that the green dye is " usually put up into great bladders tyed 

^ Theatrum Botanicum, pp. 135, 191, 210, 233, 275, 408, 492, 613, 652, 693, 
700, 790, 1075. 2 H)id,, p. 559. 3 Ibid., p. 700. * Ibid., p. 1075. 

^ Ibid., p. 210. ^ Ibid., pp. 888 and 913. ' Ibid., p. 144. 


with strong thred at the head and hung up untill it is drye, 
which is dissolved in water or wine, but sacke is the best to 
preserve the colour from * starving/ as they call it, that is 
from decaying, and to make it hold fresh the longer " ; and that 
the purple dye is made by leaving the berries on the bushes 
until the end of November, when they are ready to drop off. 
That the best mushrooms grow under oaks or fir trees. That 
spurry leaves bruised and laid to a cut finger will speedily heal 
it, *' whereof the Country people in divers places say they have 
had good experience," and that it is also good for causing 
" the Kine to give more store of milke than ordinary otherwise, 
so it causeth Pullaine likewise to lay more store of egges." 
That the fruit of the bead tree " being drilled and drawne on 
stringes serves people beyond sea to number their prayers 
thereon least they forget themselves and give God too many." 
That in Warwickshire the female fern was always used " in 
steed of Sope to wash their clothes," and that it was gathered 
about Midsummer, " unto good big balls which when they will 
use them they burne them in the fire until it becomes blewish, 
which being then layd by will dissolve into powder of itselfe, 
like unto Lime : foure of these balles being dissolved in warme 
water is sufficient to wash a whole bucke full of clothes." That 
the burning of lupin seeds drives away gnats, and that half- 
sodden barley " given to Hennes that hardly or seldome lay 
egges will cause them to lay both greater and more often." 
That country housewives use that common weed horsetail to 
* scour their wooden, pewter and brass vessels, and sometimes boil 
the young tops of the same weed and eat them like asparagus. 
That bramble leaves do not fall until all the sharp frosts are 
over, " whereby the country men do observe that the extremity 
of Winter is past when they fall off." That every year sacks 
full of violets are sent from Marseilles to Alexandria and other 
parts of Egypt, " where they use them boyled in water which 
only by their religion they are enjoined to drinke." That if 
you suspect your wine is watered " you shall put some thereof 


into a cup that is made of ivie wood and if there be any water 
therein it will remaine in the cup and the wine will soak through, 
for the nature of Ivie is not to hold any wine so great an anti- 
pathy there is between them." That skilful shepherds are 
careful not to let their flocks feed in pastures where mouseare 
abounds, " lest they grow sicke and leane and die quickly after." 
That writing-ink can be made of the green fruit of alder trees. 
That the bark of the same tree is useful for making " a blacke 
dye for the courser sorts of things," and that the leaves put 
under the bare feet of travellers are " a great refreshing unto 
them." That the rose of Jericho opened the night our Saviour 
was born, and that placed in any house it will open when a child 
is born. That mouseare if given to any horse " will cause that 
he shall not be hurt by the Smith that shooeth him." That 
purslane is not only a sovereign remedy for crick in the neck, 
but also for " blastings by lightening, or planets and for burn- 
ings by Gunpowder or otherwise." That country folk in Kent 
and Sussex call sopewort " Gih-run-by-the-streete." That 
agrimony leaves will cure cattle suffering from coughs, and that 
wounded deer use this same herb to heal their hurts. That a 
decoction made of hemp will draw earthworms out of their 
holes and that fishermen thus obtain their bait. That crops of 
woad may be cut three times in the year, and that dyers' weed 
will change to green any cloth or silk first dyed blue with woad, 
" and for these uses there is great store of this herbe spent in 
all countries and thereof many fields are sowen for the purpose." 
That country-folk use goose-grass as a strainer " to clear their 
milke from strawes, haires, and any other thing that falleth into 
it." That St. John's wort is used by country-folk to drive 
away devils. That " Clownes woundwort " owes its name to 
a labourer who healed himself therewith of a cut with a scythe 
in his leg. That willow-herb, being burned, " driveth away 
flies and gnats and other such like small creatures which use 
in diverse places that are neere to Fennes, marsh or water 
sides to infest them that dwell there in the night season to sting 


and bite them, leaving the marks and spots thereof in their faces 
which beside the deformity, which is but for a while, leaveth 
them that are thus bitten not without paine for a time." That 
from turnesole (heliotropium) are made " those ragges of cloth 
which are usually called Turnesole in the Druggists and Grocers 
shoppes and with all other people and serveth to colour jellies or 
other things as every one please/' That when French ladies 
coloured their faces with an ointment containing anchusa the 
colour did not last long. That no " good gentlewoman in the land 
that would do good " should be without a store of bugloss oint- 
ment either for her own family " or other her poor neighbours 
that want helpe and means to procure it," and that beyond 
the sea in France and Germany it is a common proverb " that 
they neede neither Physition to cure their inward diseases nor 
Chirurgion to helpe them of any wound or sore that have this 
Bugle and Sanicle at hand by them to use." That this is 
equally true of the herb self-heale. That country-folk use sanicle 
to anoint their hands " when they are chapt by the winde." 
That goat's rue is good for fattening hens. That Herbe True 
love taken every day for twenty days will help those " that by 
witchcraft (as it is thought) have become half foolish to become 
perfectly restored to their former good estate." That the best 
starch is made from the root of cuckoo-pint, and that in former 
dayes when the making of our ordinary starch " was not knowen 
or frequent in use; the finest Dames used the rootes hereof to 
starch their linnen, which would so sting, exasperate and choppe 
the skinne of their servants' hands that used it, that they could 
scarce get them smooth and whole with all the nointing they 
could doe before they should use it againe." That the root 
of this same herb, cut small and mixed with a sallet of white 
endive or lettice, is "an excellent dish to entertain a smell- 
feast or unbidden unwelcome guest to a man's table, to make 
sport with him and drive him from his too much boldnesse; 
or the pouder of the dried roote strawed upon any daintie bit 
of meate that may be given him to eate ; for either way within 

" PARADISUS " {1629) 


a while after the taking of it, it will so burne and pricke his 
mouthe that he shall not be able either to eate a bit more or 
scarce to speak for paine and so will abide untill there be some 
new milk or fresh butter given, which by little and little will 
take away the heate and pricking and restore him againe." 
That another " good jest for a bold unwelcome guest " is to 
infuse nightshade in a little wine for six or seven hours and 
serve it to the guest, who then " shall not be able to eat any 
meate for that meale nor untill he drinks some vinegar which 
will presently dispell that qualitie and cause him to fall to his 
viands with as good a stomach as he had before." That 
sufferers from toothache should rub the bruised root of crowfoote 
on to their fingers; by causing " more paine therein than is felt 
by the toothach it taketh away the pain." That the juice of 
fumitory, if dropped in the eyes, will take away the redness and 
other defects, " although it procure some paine for the present 
and bringeth forth teares." That the hunters and shepherds of 
Austria commend the roots of the supposed wolf's-bane " against 
the swimming or turning in the head which is a disease subject 
to those places rising from the feare and horroure of such steepe 
downfalls and dangerous places which they doe and must con- 
tinually passe." That scabious, if bruised and applied " to any 
place wherein any splinter, broken bone, or any such like thing 
lyeth in the flesh doth in short time loosen it and causeth it to 
be easily drawen forth." That butcher's broom was used in 
olden times to preserve " hanged meate " from being eaten by 
mice and also for the making of brooms, " but the King's 
Chamber is by revolution of time turned to the Butcher's stall, 
for that a bundle of the stalkes tied together serveth them to 
cleanse their stalls and from thence have we our Enghsh name 
of Butcher's broom." That the down of swallow-wort " doth 
make a farre softer stuffing for cushions or pillowes or the hke 
than Thistle downe which is much used in some places for the 
hke purpose." That, if ivory is boiled with mandrake root for 
six hours, the ivory will become so soft " that it will take what 


form or impression you will give it." That fresh elder flowers, 
hung in a vessel of new wine and pressed every evening for 
seven nights together, " giveth to the wine a very good rehsh 
and a smell like Muscadine." That the moth mullein is of no 
use except that it will attract moths wherever it is laid. That 
if pennyroyal is put into " unwholesome and stinking waters 
that men must drinke (as at sea in long voyages) it maketh them 
the less hurtful." And to conclude, it is from Parkinson we 
learn that " Queen Elizabeth of famous memorie did more desire 
medowsweet then any other sweete herbe to strewe her chambers 



" Come into the fields then, and as you come along the streets, cast your 
eyes upon the weeds as you call them that grow by the walls and under the 
hedge-sides." — W. Coles, The Art of Simpiing, 1656. 

The later seventeenth-century herbals are marked by a 
return to the beUef in the influence upon herbs of the heavenly 
bodies, but it is a travesty rather than a reflection of the ancient 
astrological lore. The most notable exponent of this debased 
lore was the infamous Nicholas Culpeper, in whom, neverthe- 
less, the poor people in the East End seem to have had a bound- 
less faith. It is impossible to look at the portrait of that light- 
hearted rogue without realising that there must have been 
something extraordinarily attractive about the man who was 
the last to set up publicly as an astrologer and herb doctor. 
He was the son of a clergyman who had a living somewhere in 
Surrey. After a brief time at Cambridge he was apprenticed 
to an apothecary near St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, and shortly 
afterwards set up for himself in Red Lion Street, Spitalfields, 
as an astrologer and herbalist. Culpeper was a staunch 
Roundhead and fought in at least one battle. AU through the 
war, however, he continued his practice and he acquired a great 
popularity in the East End of London. In 1649 he issued his 
Physical Directory, which was a translation of the London Dis- 
pensatory. This drew down on him the fury of the College of 
Physicians, and the book was virulently attacked in a broadside 
issued in 1652, entitled " A farm in Spittlefields where all the 
knick-knacks of astrology are exposed to open sale." By this 
time his works were enjoying an enormous sale. No fewer 
than five editions of his English Physician Enlarged appeared 



before 1698, and it was reissued even as late as 1802 and again 
in 1809. There is a vivid description of Culpeper in The 
Gentleman s Magazine for May 1797 : — 

" He was of a middle stature, of a spare lean body, dark 
complexion, brown hair, rather long visage, piercing quick 
eyes, very active and nimble. Though of an excellent wit, 
sharp fancy, admirable conception and of an active understand- 
ing, yet occasionally inclined to melancholy, which was such an 
extraordinary enemy to him that sometimes wanting company 
he would seem like a dead man. He was very eloquent, a good 
orator though very conceited and full of jest, which was so 
inseparable to him that in his most serious writings, he would 
mingle matters of levity and extremely please himself in so doing. 
Though his family possessed considerable property it appears 
he was exceedingly restricted in his pecuniary concerns, which 
probably was the cause of his early leaving the University, as 
he observes; though his mother lived till he was twenty-three 
years of age and left him well provided, yet he was cheated or 
nearly spent all his fortune in the outset of life. Another author 
observes it is most true that he was always subject to a consump- 
tion of the purse, notwithstanding the many ways he had to 
assist him. His patrimony was also chiefly consumed at the 
University. Indeed he had a spirit so far above the vulgar, 
that he condemned and scorned riches any other way than to 
make them serviceable to him. He was as free of his purse as 
of his pen. . . . He acknowledged he had many pretended 
friends, but he was rather prejudiced than bettered by them, 
for, when he most stood in need of their friendship and assistance 
they most of all deceived him." 

Culpeper wrote a number of medical works which do not 
concern us here, but his name will always be associated with 
his Herbal. His reason for having written it he affirms to be 
that, of the operation of herbs by the stars he found few authors 
had written, " and those as full of nonsense and contradiction 


as an Egg is full of meat. This not being pleasing and less 
profitable to me, I consulted with my two brothers Dr. Reason 
and Dr. Experience and took a voyage to visit my Mother Nature, 
by whose advice together with the help of Dr. Diligence I at 
last obtained my desire and, being warned by Mr. Honesty (a 
stranger in our days) to publish it to the world, I have done it." 
It is impossible to read any part of this absurd book without 
a vision arising of the old rogue standing at the street corner 
and not only collecting but holding an interested crowd of the 
common folk by the sort of arguments which they not only 
understand but appreciate. In his preface he warns his readers 
against the false copies of his book " that are printed of that 
letter the small Bibles are printed with . . . there being twenty 
or thirty gross errors in every sheet." He is withering in his 
criticism of those who quote old authors as authorities. " They 
say Reason makes a man differ from a beast ; if that be true, 
pray what are they that instead of Reason for their judgment 
quote old authors?" In his preface, as throughout his book, 
he affirms his belief in the connection between herbs and stars. 
Diseases, he asserts, vary according to the motions of the stars, 
" and he that would know the reason for the operation of the 
herbs must look up as high as the stars. It is essential to find 
out what planet has caused the disease and then by what planet 
the afflicted part of the body is governed. In the treatment 
of the disease the influence of the planet must be opposed by 
herbs under the influence of another planet, or in some cases by 
sympathy, that is each planet curing its own disease." Else- 
where he directs that plants must always be picked according 
to the planet that is in the ascendant. Culpeper asserts that 
herbs should be dried in the sun,^ his ingenious reasoning being 

1 John Archer (one of the Physicians in Ordinary to Charles II.) also 
asserts in his Compendious Herbal (1673) that " the Sun doth not draw away 
the Vertues of Herbs, but adds to them." Archer gives full astrological 
directions for the gathering of herbs : — 

" I have mentioned in the ensuing Treatise of Herbs the Planet that Rules 
every Herb for this end, that you may the better understand their Nature 


this : — " For if the sun draw away the virtues of the herb it must 
needs do the hke by hay, which the experience of every farmer 
will explode for a notable piece of nonsense." He also pours 
scorn on those who say that the sap does not rise in the winter. 
Here his argument is even more remarkable, and yet one cannot 
help reahsing how effectual it would be with the class of folk 
with whom he dealt. " If the sap fall into the roots in the faU 
of the leaf and lies there all the winter then must the root grow 
aU the winter, but the root grows not at all in the winter as 
experience teaches, but only in the summer. If you set an apple 
kernel in the spring you shall find the root to grow to a pretty 
bigness in the summer and be not a whit bigger next spring. 
What doth the sap do in the root all the winter that while? 
Pick straws? Tis as rotten as a rotten post." He gives as 
his own version of what happens to the sap that " when the 
sun dechnes from the tropic of cancer, the sap begins to congeal 
both in root and branch. When he touches the tropic of Capri- 
corn and ascends to uswards it begins to wax thin again." 
One cannot help suspecting that Culpeper knew perfectly 
well what nonsense he was talking, but that he also reahsed how 
remunerative such nonsense was and how much his customers 
were impressed by it. In his dissertation on wormwood one 

and may gather them when they are in their full strength, which is when the 
Planet is especially strong, and then in his own Hour gather your Herb; 
therefore that you may know what hour belongs to every Planet take notice 
that Astrologers do assign the seven days of the week to the seven planets, 
as to the Sun or © Sunday ; to the Moon or ) Monday ; to Mars or cj Tuesday ; to 
Mercury or ^ Wednesday ; to Jupiter or ll Thursday ; to Venus or ? Friday ; 
to Saturn or T? Saturday. And know that every Planet governs the first 
Hour after Sun Rise upon his day and the next Planet to him takes the next 
Hour successively in this order, T? , -21, c?, 0, ?, ?, > h %• So be it any 
day every Seventh Hour comes to each Planet successively, as if the day be 
Thursday then the first hour after Sun Rising is Jupiter's, the next S, the next 
0, next ?. So on till it come to 1L again. And if you gather Herbs in their 
Planetary Hour you may expect to do Wonders, otherwise not ; to Astrologers 
I need say nothing ; to others this is as much as can easily be learnt." — The 
Compendious Herbal, by John Archer, One of his Majesties Physicians in 

Vi'iw itt ^s face, wJumj£e,ctv etc Jnatchtjrvm hetut , 
\ OurVhificcUi anl Starric l^y.e-nct ; | 

■ J{al -not Gr^at Cid^cjferju^h i^rder t^oUf 
InJ^yht afraU to Lwejbilt itv -this Booke, . 



feels that he was writing with his tongue in his cheek, especially 
in the conclusion, which is as follows : — 

" He that reads this and understands what he reads hath a 
jewel of more worth than a diamond. He that understands it 
not is as little fit to give physick. There lies a key in these 
words, which will unlock (if it be turned by a wise hand) the 
cabinet of physic. I have delivered it as plain as I durst . . . 
thus shall I live when I am dead. And thus I leave it to the 
world, not caring a farthing whether they hke it or dislike it. 
The grave equals all men and therefore shall equal me with all 
princes. . . . Then the ill tongue of a prating fellow or one 
that hath more tongue than wit or more proud than honest 
shall never trouble me. Wisdom is justified of her children. 
And so much for wormwood." 

Less popular than Culpeper's numerous writings, but far 
more attractive and altogether of a different stamp, are Coles's 
two books, Adam in Eden and The Art of Simpling. The title 
of the latter runs thus : — 

" The Art of Simpling. An Introduction to the Knowledge 
and Gathering of Plants. Wherein the Definitions, Divisions, 
Places, Descriptions, Differences, Names, Vertues, Times of 
flourishing and gathering. Uses, Temperatures, Signatures and 
Appropriations of Plants are methodically laid down. London. 
Printed by J. G. for Nath. Brook at the Angell in Cornhill. 1656." 

The preface is quaint and so typical of the spirit of the later 
seventeenth-century herbals that I transcribe a good deal of it : — 

" What a rare happiness was it for Matthiolus that famous 
Simpler, to live in those days wherein (as he liimself reports) 
so many Emperors, Kings, Arch-Dukes, Cardinalls and Bishops 
did favour his Endeavour, and plentifully reward him ! Whereas 
in our times the Art of Simpling is so farre from being rewarded, 
that it is grown contemptible and he is accounted a simple fellow, 


that pretends to have any skill therein. Truly it is to be lamented 
that the men of these times which pretend to so much Light 
should goe the way to put out their owne Eyes, by trampling 
upon that which should preserve them, to the great discourage- 
ment of those that have any mind to bend their Studies this 
way. Notwithstanding, for the good of my Native Countrey, 
which everyone is obliged to serve upon all occasions of advantage 
and in pitty to such Mistakers, I have painfully endeavoured 
plainly to demonstrate the way of attaining this necessary Art, 
and the usefulnesse of it, in hopes that this Embryo thrown thus 
into the wide world, will fall into the Lap of some worthy persons 
that will cherish it, though I knew not any to whose protection 
I might commend it. However I have adventured it abroad, 
and to expresse my reall affection to the publick good have in it 
communicated such Notions, as I have gathered, either from the 
reading of Severall Authors, or by conferring sometimes with 
Scholars, and sometimes with Countrey people; To which I 
have added some Observations of mine Owne, never before pub- 
lished : Most of which I am confident are true, and if there be 
any that are not so, yet they are pleasant." 

There is something very attractive in the last inconsequent 
remark ! 

Coles deals mercilessly with old Culpeper. " Culpeper," 
he says, " (a man now dead and therefore I shall speak of him 
as modestly as I can, for were he alive I should be more straight 
with him), was a man very ignorant in the forme of Simples. 
Many Books indeed he hath tumbled over, and transcribed 
as much out of them as he thought would serve his turne (though 
many times he were therein mistaken) but added very little of 
his own." He even comments on the fact that either Culpeper 
or his Printer cannot spell aright — " sure he or the Printer had 
not learned to spell." 

The Doctrine of Signatures he accepts unquestioningly. 
" Though Sin and Sathan have plunged mankinde into an 


Ocean of Infirmities Yet the mercy of God which is over all his 
Workes Maketh Grasse to grow upon the Mountaines and Herbs 
for the use of Men and hath not onely stemped upon them (as 
upon every man) a distinct forme, but also given them particular 
signatures, whereby a Man may read even in legible Characters 
the Use of them. Heart Trefoyle is so called not onely because 
the Leafe is Triangular like the Heart of a Man, but also because 
each leafe contains the perfect Icon of an Heart and that in its 
proper colour viz a flesh colour. Hounds tongue hath a forme 
not much different from its name which will tye the Tongues of 
Hounds so that they shall not barke at you : if it be laid under 
the bottomes of ones feet. Wallnuts bear the whole Signature 
of the Head, the outwardmost green barke answerable to the 
thick skin whereunto the head is covered, and a salt made of 
it is singularly good for wounds in that part, as the Kernell is 
good for the braines, which it resembles being environed with a 
shell which imitates the Scull, and then it is wrapped up againe 
in a silken covering somewhat representing the Pia Mater." 

Of those plants that have no signatures he warns the reader 
not to conclude hastily that therefore they have no use. " We 
must cast ourselves," he says, " with great Courage and Industry 
(as some before us have done), upon attempting the vertues 
of them, which are yet undiscovered. For man was not brought 
into the world to live like an idle Loyterer or Truant, but to 
exercise his minde in those things, which are therefore in some 
measure obscure and intricate, yet not so much as otherwise 
they would have been, it being easier to adde than invent at 
first." He then gives his own curious but naively interesting 
theory of plants " commonly accounted useless and unprofitable." 
" They would not be without their use," he argues, " if they 
were good for nothing else but to exercise the Industry of Man 
to weed them out who, had he nothing to struggle with, the fire 
of his Spirit would be halfe extinguished in the Flesh." After 
pointing out that weeding them out is in itself excellent exercise, 
he proceeds : — " But further why may not poysonous plants 


draw to them all the maligne juice and nourishment that the 
other may be more pure and refined, as well as Toads and other 
poysonous Serpents licke the venome from the Earth ? ... So 
have I seen some people when they have burned their fingers to 
goe and burne them again to fetch out the fire. And why may 
not one poyson fetch out another as well as fire fetch out fire ?" 
" For should all things be known at once," he wisely concludes, 
** Posterity would have nothing left wherewith to gratifie them- 
selves in their owne discoveries, which is a great encouragement 
to active and quick Wits, to make them enquire into those 
things which are hid from the eyes of those which are dull 
and stupid." 

Coles's Art of Simpling is the only herbal which devotes 
a chapter to herbs useful for animals — " Plants as have operation 
upon the bodies of Bruit Beasts." This chapter is full of curious 
folk lore. He gives the old beliefs that a toad poisoned by a 
spider will cure itself with a plantain leaf; that weasels when 
about to encounter a serpent eat rue ; that an ass when it feels 
melancholy eats asplenium ; that wild goats wounded by arrows 
cure themselves with dittany ; that the swallow uses celandine 
(" I would have this purposely planted for them," he adds) ; 
that linnet and goldfinch (and. have any birds brighter eyes?) 
constantly repair their own and their young one's eyesight with 
eyebright ; that if loosestrife is thrown between two oxen when 
they are fighting they will part presently, and being tied about 
their necks it will keep them from fighting; that cocks which 
have been fed on garhck are " most stout to fight and so are 
Horses "; that the serpent so hates the ash tree " that she will 
not come nigh the shadow of it, but she delights in Fennel very 
much, which she eates to cleer her eyesight ; " that, if a garden 
is infested with moles, garhc or leeks will make them " leap 
out of the ground presently." Perhaps the most remarkable 
effects of herbs are the two following. " Adders tongue put 
into the left eare of any Horse will make him fall downe as if 
he were dead, and when it is taken out againe, he becomes more 


lively than he was before." And " if Asses chance to feed much 
upon Hemlock, they will fall so fast asleep that they will seeme 
to be dead, in so much that some thinking them to be dead 
indeed have flayed off their skins, yet after the Hemlock had 
done operating they have stirred and wakened out of their 
sleep, to the grief e and amazement of the owners." 

There is one chapter — " Of plants used in and against Witch- 
craft " — in which, amongst other things, we learn that the oint- 
ment that witches use is made of the fat of children, dug up 
from their graves, and mixed with the juice of smallage, wolfsbane 
and cinquefoil and fine wheat flour; that mistletoe, angelica, 
etc. were regarded as being of such sovereign power against 
witches that they were worn round the neck as amulets. Also, 
that in order to prevent witches from entering their houses 
the common people used to gather elder leaves on the last day 
of April and affix them to their doors and windows. " I doe 
not desire any to pin their Faiths upon these reports," says 
Coles, " but only let them know there are such which they may 
believe as they please." " However," he concludes, " there is 
no question but very wonderful effects may be wrought by the 
Vertues which are enveloped within the compasse of the green 
mantles wherewith many Plants are adorned." 

Coles, nevertheless, treats with scorn, and by arguments 
pecuHarly his own, the old beUef in the connection between the 
stars and herbs. " It [the study of herbs] is a subject as antient 
as the Creation, yea more antient than the Sunne or the iMoon, 
or Starres, they being created on the fourth day whereas Plants 
were the third. Thus did God even at first confute the folly 
of those Astrologers who goe about to maintaine that all vege- 
tables in their growth are enslaved to a necessary and unavoidable 
dependence on the influences of the starres; whereas Plants 
were even when Planets were not." In another passage, however, 
he writes, " Though I admit not of Master Culpeper's Astro- 
logicall way of every Planets Dominion over Plants, yet I 
conceive that the Sunne and Moon have generall influence upon 


them, the one for Heat the other for Moisture ; wherein the being 
of Plants consists." 

The most attractive parts of the Art of Simpling are the 
chapters devoted to the " Joys of Gardening." Coles tells 
us that " A house, though otherwise beautifull, if it hath no 
garden is more like a prison than a house." Of what he has 
to say about gardens and the happiness to be found in gardening 
I quote much because it is all so pleasant. 

" That there is no place more pleasant [than a garden] may 
appear from God himselfe, who after he had made Man, planted 
the Garden of Eden, and put him therein, that he might contem- 
plate the many wonderful Ornaments wherewith Omnipotency 
had bedecked his Mother Earth. ... As for recreation, if 
a man be wearied with over-much study (for study is a weariness 
to the Flesh as Solomon by experience can tell you) there is no 
better place in the world to recreate himself than a Garden, 
there being no sence but may be delighted therein. If his sight 
be obfuscated and dull, as it may easily be, with continuall poring, 
there is no better way to relieve it, than to view the pleasant 
greennesse of Herbes, which is the way that Painters use, when 
the}/ have almost spent their sight by their most earnest contem- 
plation of brighter objects : neither doe they onely feed the Eyes 
but comfort the wearied Braine with fragrant smells. The Eares 
also (which are called the Daughters of Musick, because they 
delight therein) have their recreation by the pleasant noise of 
the warbling notes, which the chaunting birds accent forth from 
amongst the murmuring Leaves. ..." 

" Of the profits " [of a garden] he says, " First for household 
occasions, for there is not a day passeth over our heads but we 
have of one thing or other that groweth within their circum- 
ference. We cannot make so much as a little good Pottage 
without Herbes, which give an admirable relish and make them 
wholsome for our Bodies. . . . Besides this inestimable Profit 
there is another not much inferior to it, and that is the wholsome 
exercise a man may use in it. . . . If Gentlemen which have 


little else to doe, would be ruled by me, I would advise them to 
spend their spare time in their gardens, either in digging, setting, 
weeding or the like, then which there is no better way in the world 
to preserve health. If a man want an Appetite to his Victuals 
the Smell of the Earth new turned up by digging with a spade 
will procure it,i and if he be inclined to a Consumption it will 
recover him. 

" Gentlewomen if the ground be not too wet may doe them- 
selves much good by kneeling upon a Cushion and weeding. 
And thus both sexes might divert themselves from Idlenesse 
and evill company, which oftentimes prove the mine of many 
ingenious people. But perhaps they may think it a disparage- 
ment to the condition they are in; truly none at all if it were 
but put in practise. For we see that those fashions which 
sometimes seem ridiculous if once taken up by the gentry cease 
to be so." He quotes the Emperor Diocletian, who " left for a 
season the whole Government of the Empire and forsaking the 
Court betook himself to a meane House with a Garden adjoyning, 
wherein with his owne hands, he both sowed set and weeded the 
Herbes of his Garden which kinde of life so pleased him, that he 
was hardly intreated to resume the Government of the Empire." 
" By this time," he concludes, " I hope you will think it no 
dishonour to follow the steps of our grandsire Adam, who is 
commonly pictured with a Spade in his hand, to march through 
the Quarters of your Garden with the like Instrument, and there 
to rectify all the disorders thereof, to procure as much as in 
you lyes the recovery of the languishing Art of Simpling, which 
did it but appeare in lively colours, I am almost perswaded it 
would so affect you that you would be much taken with it. 
There is no better way to understand the benefit of it, than by 
being acquainted with Herballs and Herbarists and by putting 
this Gentle and ingenious Exercise in practise, that so this 

1 In this connection he quotes Dr. Pinck, Warden of New College, Oxford, 
who, when he was " almost fourscore yeares old, would rise very betimes in 
the morning and going into his Garden he would take a Mattock or Spade,, 
digging there an hour or two, which he found very advantageous to his health." 


part of knowledge as well as others, may receive that esteem 
and advancement that is due to it, to the banishment 
of Barbarisme and Ignorance which begin again to prevaile 
against it." 

The real descendants, so to speak, of the herbal are the 
quaint old stiU-room books, many of which survive not only 
in museums and public libraries, but also in country houses. 
These stiU-room books, which are a modest branch of literature 
in themselves, are more nearly akin to herbals than to cookery 
books, with which they are popularly associated. For they 
are full of the old herb lore and of the uses of herbs in homely 
medicines. It must be remembered that even as late as the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries every woman was supposed 
to have some knowledge of both the preparation and the medi- 
cinal use of herbs and simples. When the herbal proper ceased 
and the first books on botany began to make their appearance 
the old herb lore did not fall into disuse, and the popularity of 
the still-room books in which it was preserved may be gathered 
from the fact that one of the first of these to be printed — A 
Choice Manual of rare and select Secrets in Physick S- Chiriirgerie 
Collected and practised by the Countesse of Kenf^ {late deed) 
— went through nineteen editions. There are some old books 
which merely inspire av/e, for one feels that they have always 
lived in dignified seclusion on library shelves and have been 
handled only by learned scholars. But there are others whose 
leaves are so be-thumbed and torn that from constant associa- 
tion with human beings they seem to have become almost 
human themselves. Of this type are these old still-room books. 
They were an integral part of daily life and their worn pages 
bear mute witness to the fact. 

One of the most interesting is the Fairfax still-room book.^ 
Its first owner was probably Mary Cholmeley, born during the 

1 Published 165 1. The earliest copy in the British Museum is the second 
edition, 1653. 

- See Arcana Fairfaxiana. 




closing years of Elizabeth's reign, and married in 1626 to the 
Rev. the Hon. Henry Fairfax (uncle of the great Parliamen- 
tarian General — Lord Fairfax).^ In common with the majority 
of MS. still-room books, the Fairfax volume contains much that 
has no immediate connection with a still-room, but is full of 
human interest. It is a curious medley of culinary recipes, 
homely cures, housewifely arts such as bleaching, dyeing, 
brewing and preserving, to say nothing of hastily scribbled little 
notes regarding lost linen (including no fewer than " xxiii 
handkerchares ! ") and the number of fowls, etc., in the poultry- 
yard. This last entry, which runs all down one side of a page, 
is as foUows : " I Kapon, XVI Torkies, XVIII dowkes, IIII 
henes, II cokes, X chekins, X giese, IV sowes." 

But the most charming entry of all is : "A note of Mistress 
Barbara her lessons on ye virginalle which she hath learned and 
can play them," followed by a list of songs, the majority of 
which have the entry " Mr. Bird " beside them. Wilham Bird 
was organist to Queen Elizabeth, and he presumably was 
" Mistress Barbara's " music-master. She apparently also had 
lessons from Dr. Bull, then at the height of his fame, for his 
name appears in connection with some of the items. Amongst 
the songs we find " My trew Love is to ye grene Wood gon," and 
there are quite a number of dances — pavanes and courantes — 
which she played. One feels very sure that " Mistress Barbara " 
was a fascinating person, but she could not have been more 
lovable than her sister Mary, who married Henry Fairfax. A 
love-letter, written in Charles I.'s reign, is doubtless quite out 
of place in a book on old herbals, but I cannot refrain from 
quoting the following, written by Mary to her husband about 
six years after their marriage, because it very clearly reveals 
the character of one of the many types of women who wrote 
these still-room books. 

1 Lord Fairfax had only a daughter (who married the Duke of Buckingham), 
and the son of Henry and Mary Fairfax succeeded to the title. 


" My ever dearest love, 

" I received a letter and horse from Long on Thursday 
(Jan. 31) and will use meine [endeavour] to send Procter's 
horse to Denton. I did nott so much rejoys att thy safe passage 
as at that Bleised and al suficiente gide whoss thou art, and 
whom I know thou truely sarves yt hath for a small time parted 
us, and I fearmly hope will give us a joyfull meeting. Dear 
heart, take eassy jernays and preferr thy owne heilth before all 
other worldly respects whatsoever. ... I pray y" beg a blessing 
for us all, for I must needs comitt y"" to his gracious protection 
yt will never fail us nor forsake us. Thine ever, 

" Mary Fairfax. 

" Ashton, February 2, 1632." 

I quote only three recipes from this attractive MS. : "A 
Bath for Melancholy," " Balles for the face " and " For them 
theyr speech faileth.'' 

" To make a bath for Melancholy. Take Mallowes, pellitory 
of the wall, of each three handfulls ; Camomell flowers, Mellilot 
flowers, of each one handfull; hollyhocks, two handfulls; Isop 
one greate handfull, senerick seede one ounce, and boil them in 
nine gallons of Water untill they come to three, then put in a 
quart of new milke and go into it bloud warme or somthing 

" Balles for the face. Take greate AUecant reasons [raisins] 
a quarter of a pounde, stone them but wash them not and beate 
them in a morter very fine, take as many almonds, not Jordans, 
but of ye comon sort and blanch them and drye them in a cloth 
very well and beate them in a stone morter also very fine, when 
you have done thus to them bothe, mingle them bothe together 
and beate them againe, and putt to it half a quarter of a pounde 
of browne leavened bread, wheaten bread, and beate them 
altogeather and mingle them well togeather and then take it 
and make it in little balles and then wash yor face at night with 


one of them in fayre water. Yf you will have this only to wash 
yor hands put in a little Venice soape but putt none of that 
in for youre face." 

" For them theyr speech faileth. Take a handfull of ye 
cropps of Rosemary, a handfull of sage and a handfull of Isop 
and boile them in malmsey till it be soft, then put them into 
Lynen clothes and laye about the nape of the neck and the 
pulses of the armes as whott [hot] as it may be suffred daily, 
as it shal be thought mete and it will help it by God's grace. 
For the same. Take staves acre and beate it and sowe it in a 
linnen cloth and make a bagg noe bigger than a beane; if he 
can chow it in his mouth lett hym, if not then lay it upon his 

To the modern mind the medical recipes to be found in 
these still-room books sound truly alarming, but in The Lady 
Sedley her Receipt hook they are not more so than the pre- 
scriptions which were contributed by the most eminent physicians 
of that day. In his paper ^ on this MS. Dr. Guthrie quotes 
many of these recipes, amongst them one from the famous 
Dr. Stephens,^ so frequently quoted by Sir Kenelm Digby and 
in other still-room books of the period. In Lady Sedley's book 
his recipe is introduced thus : "A copy to make the sovreigns't 
water that ever was devised by man, which Dr Stephens a 
physician of great cuning and of long experience did use and 
therewith did cure many great cases, and all was kept in secret 
until a httle before his death ; when the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury got it from him." Amongst the other contributors to this 
MS. were no fewer than three of the doctors who attended 
Charles II. in his last illness, and if they gave the king even in 
a mild form medicines resembhng those we find in this book, 
Macaulay's description that " they tortured him for some hours 
like an Indian at the stake " can hardly have been exaggerated. 

1 Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1913. 

2 Dr. Stephens was the author of the Catalogue of the Oxford Botanical 



There is a " Receipt for Convulsion Fitts " from Sir Edward 
Greaves (the first physician to be created a baronet) consisting 
of peony roots, dead man's skull, hoofs of asses, white amber 
and bezoar; and the famous Dr. Sydenham contributed a 
** Prescription for the head " in which, not content with the 
seventy-two ingredients of which Venice treacle consisted, he 
added Wormwood, orange peel, angelica and nutmeg. Another 
distinguished contributor to this MS. was the ill-fated Duke of 
Monmouth. A prescription for stone from Judge Ellis con- 
sisted of Venice turpentine distilled with various herbs and 
spices in small ale. It was to be made only in June and taken 
*' three days before the full and three days before the change of 
the Moone " (incidentally a survival of Saxon moon lore), but 
the Duke of Monmouth's prescription for the same complaint 
is quite different and is compounded of ripe haws and fennel 
roots distilled in white wine and taken with syrup of elder. 
Lady Sedley, the first owner, and presumaby author of the 
book, was the wife of Sir Charles Sedley, one of Charles IL's 
intimate friends and notorious for his mad pranks. Between 
her husband and her daughter her life must have been almost 
unbearable, and it is not surprising that the unfortunate woman 
ended her days in a mad-house. 

Of the MS. still-room books in the British Museum 
undoubtedly the most interesting is Mary Doggett : Her 
Book of Receipts, 1682.^ On the first page is affixed a note : 
** This Mary Doggett was the wife of Doggett the Player who 
left a legacy of a yearly coat and badge to be rowed for." ^ 
The MS. is beautifully written and contains an astonishing 
amount of information on every housewifely art, from washing 
" parti-coloured stockings " to making perfumes and '' Sweete 
Baggs." Indeed the reading of the headlines alone gives one 
some idea of the multifarious duties of a mistress of a large 

1 Sloane 27466. 

2 The competition for " Doggett's Coat and badge " amongst Thames 
Watermen still takes place every August. 


house in those days. We find — and I quote only a few — 
recipes " to make morello cherry cakes," " apricock marmalett," 
" to preserve Cherrys white," " to candy oranges or lemons or 
any kind of sucketts," " to preserve almonds," " to preserve 
damsons," " orange butter," " pippin creame," " to make 
molds for apricock Plumbs," " apricock wine," " to keep cherrys 
all the year," " to make cowslip wine," " cakes of clove gilly 
flowers," " curran wine," " grapes in jelly," " cleer cakes of 
goosberys," " fine cakes of lemons," ** to preserve Rasps whole," 
" to make Lemon Creame," " lemon Syllibub," " orange biskett," 
" cheese caks of oranges," " to preserve pippins in slices," " to 
make plumb biskett," " to pickle Quinces," " to preserve 
Wallnutts," " to preserve double blew violetts for Salletts," 
" to candy Double marygold, Roses, or any other flowers," " to 
make good sorrell wine," " sweet powders for linnen," " to 
perfume gloves after the Spanish maner," " to souse a pigg," 
" Almond milk," " to pickle cucumbers," " drinks to cause 
sleep," " snaile broth," ** plasters for bruises," ** to make 
pomades " and " past for the hands." The receipts for *' A 
Pomander," for " Balme water," " to dry roses for sweet 
powder," and " sl perfume for a sweet bagg " are particularly 
attractive, and I give them below. 

" A Pomander. Take a quarter of an ounce of Civitt, a 
quarter and a half-quarter of an ounce of Ambergreese, not half 
a quarter of an ounce of ye Spiritt of Roses, 7 ounces of Ben- 
jamin, allmost a pound of Damask Rose buds cutt. Lay 
gumdragon in rose water and with it make up your Pomander, 
with beads as big as nutmegs and color ym with Lamb [sic] black ; 
when you make ym up wash your hands wth oyle of Jasmin 
to smooth ym, then make ym have a gloss, this quantity will 
make seaven Braceletes." 

" A receipt for Balme. Take 6 or 7 handfulls of balme, cut 
it a Httle, put it in an Earthen pott wth a handfull of cowshp 
flowers, green or dry, half an ounce of Mace, a little bruised 
pow[d]er in ym, 4 quarts of strong ale, let ym stand a night to 


infuse : in ye morning put it into your still, poure upon it a 
quart of brandy. Past up your Still; you may draw about 

2 quarts of water. Sweeten it with Sugar to your Tast and tye 
up too pennyworth of Saffron in a ragg, put it into ye water 
and let it lye till it be colored. Squeeze it out and bottle it 
for your use." 

" To dry Roses for sweet powder. Take your Roses after 
they have layen 2 or 3 days on a Table, then put them into a 
dish and sett ym on a chafering dish of Charcole, keeping them 
stirred, and as you stir ym strew in some powder of orris, and 
when you see them pretty dry put them into a gaily pot till 
you use them." 

" A perfume for a sweet bagg. Take half a pound of Cypress 
Roots, a pound of Orris, 3 quarters of a pound of Rhodium, a 
pound of Coriander Seed, 3 quarter of a pound of Calamus, 

3 orange stick wth cloves, 2 ounces of Benjamin, and an ounce 
of Storax and 4 pecks of Damask Rose leaves, a peck of dryed 
sweet Marjerum, a pretty stick of Juniper shaved very thin, 
some lemon pele dryed and a stick of Brasill ; let all these be 
powdered very grosely for ye first year and immediately put 
into your baggs ; the next year pound and work it and it will 
be very good again." 

The " Countesse of Kent's " still-room book, which was one 
of the first to be published, contains more recipes against the 
Plague than most, and with one of these we find the instruction 
that it must be taken three times, " for the first helpeth not." 
Amongst much that is gruesome there is a pleasant recipe 
entitled " A comfortable cordial to cheer the heart," which 
runs thus : " Take one ounce of conserve of gillifiowers, four 
grains of the best Musk, bruised as fine as flower, then put it 
into a little tin pot and keep it till you have need to make this 
cordial following : Viz. : Take the quantity of one Nutmeg out 
of your tin pot, put to it one spoonful of cinnamon water, and 
one spoonful of the sirrup of gillifloures, ambergreece, mix all 
these together and drink them in the morning, fasting three or 


four hours, this is most comfortable." The chef d'ceuvre of tlie 
collection, at least in the author's opinion, is one introduced 
with this flourish, but it is too long for me to quote more than 
the comprehensive title: — "The Countesse of Kent's powder, 
good against all malignant and pestilent diseases, French Pox, 
Small Pox, Measles, Plague, Pestilence, Malignant or Scarlet 
Feavers, good against melancholy, dejection of Spirits, twenty 
or thirty grains thereof being exhibited in a little warm Sack 
or Hartshorn Jelly to a Man and half as much or twelve grains 
to a Childe." 

Far more attractive than the volume which bears the 
" Countesse of Kent's " name are the little-known books by 
Tryon. They are fuU of discourses and sermons, introduced at 
the most unexpected moments. Indeed, there are few subjects 
on which Tryon does not lecture his readers, from giving servants 
extra work on Sundays by having " greasy platters and Bloody- 
Bones more on Sunday than any other Day," to sleeping in 
feather beds. It is interesting to find that women had already 
taken to smoking in the seventeenth century, and Tryon 
admonishes them thus : — " Nor is it become infrequent, for 
women also to smoak Tobacco. Tobacco being an Herb of 
Mars and Saturn, it hath its fiery Quality from Mars, and its 
Poysonous fulsome attractive Nature from Saturn : the common 
use of it in Pipes is very injurious to aU sorts of people but 
more especially to the Female Sex." Tryon seems to have been 
somewhat of a Socialist, and he takes great delight in com- 
miserating " Lords, Aldermen, the Rich and the Great," who 
are driven to " heartily envying those JoUey Swains, who feed 
only with Bread and Cheese, and trotting up to the knees in 
Dirt, do yet with lusty limbs, and vigorous stomach, and merry 
Hearts, and undisturbed Heads, whistle out more soUid joys 
than the others, with all their Wealth and State can purchase." 

The most famous of all still-room books was that written 
by Sir Kenelm Digby, the friend of Kings and philosophers and 
himself a man of science, a doctor, an occultist, a privateer and 


a herbalist. Indeed it would be impossible to catalogue his 
activities, and he has always been recognised as the type par 
excellence of the gifted amateur. Sir Kenelm was the elder son 
of the Digby who was one of the leaders in the Gunpowder 
Plot. Himself a man of European reputation, he numbered 
among his friends Bacon, Ben Jonson, Gahleo, Descartes, 
Harvey and Cromwell. Queen Marie de' Medici was only one 
of many women who fell in love with him, but his one love was 
his wife, one of the most beautiful women of her day — Venetia 
Anastasia Stanley, immortalised by Van Dyck and Ben Jonson. 
Sir Kenelm Digby was the intimate friend of Charles I. and 
Henrietta Maria, and after the Restoration he was a prominent 
figure at the Court of Charles II. When the Royal Society 
was inaugurated in 1663, he was one of the Council, and his 
house in Covent Garden was a centre where all the wits, occultists 
and men of letters forgathered. Aubrey teUs us that after the 
Restoration he lived " in the last faire house westward in the 
north portico of Covent Garden where my lord Denzill Hollis 
lived since. He had a laboratory there." ^ One reads so much of 
the extravagances and excesses of Restoration days that it is 
all the pleasanter to remember the people of whom little has 
been written, the thousands of quiet folk who loved their homes 
and gardens and took delight in simple pleasures. It is of 
these people Sir Kenelm Digby's book reminds us, and even the 
names of his recipes are soothing reading — syllabubs, hydromel, 
mead, quidannies, tansies, slipp-coat-cheeses, manchets, and so 
forth. Moreover, there is no savour of the shop in these 
recipes, the book being full rather of flowers and herbs. It is 
also very leisurely, and in these days that, too, is soothing. 
Time we frequently find measured thus : — " Whiles you can 
say the Miserere Psalm very slowly " or " about an Ave Maria 
while." It takes us back to a simple old world when great 
ladies not only looked well to the ways of their households, but 
attended themselves to the more important domestic matters. 
^ This house is to be seen in Hogarth's " Morning." 


Sir Kenelm collected these recipes assiduously from his friends, 
and each housekeeper's pride in her speciahty is very evident. 
To mention only a few of these, we find : — " Scotch Ale from my 
Lady Holmeby," " A very pleasant drink of Apples," " Master 
Webb's Ale and Bragot," ^" Apples in Gelly," " To make 
Bisket," " Sir Paul Neal's way of making Cider," " My Lord 
of St. Alban's Cresme Fouettee," " The Queen's Barley Cream," 
" To pickle capons my Lady Portland's way," " Pickled Cham- 
pignons," " A Flomery-Caudle," " My Lord Mollis Hydromel," 
" Master Corsellises Antwerp Meath," " My own considerations 
for making of Meathe," " Meathe from the Muscovian Ambas- 
sadors Steward," " White Metheglin of my Lady Hungerford's 
which is exceedingly praised," " My Lord of Denbigh's Almond 
March-pane," " My Lord Lumley's Pease-pottage," " Pease of 
the seed, buds of TuHps," " A soothing Quiddany or Gelly of 
the Cores of Quinces," " Sack with clove gilly-flowers," " My 
Lord of Carlile's Sack-posset," " To make a whip Syllabub," 
*' Sucket of Mallow-stalks," " The Countess of Newport's Cherry 
Wine." We may forget the recipes themselves, but the 
memory of them is associated with the fragrance of gilliflowers, 
roses, cowslips, elder flowers, violets, thyme, marjoram and the 
like. I give but these few below, and I wish there were space 
for more; for not only are they excellent in themselves, but, 
in common with all those in Sir Kenelm Digby's book, they give 
more, perhaps, of the atmosphere of the old still-rooms than 
is to be found in any other collection. 

" Sweet meat of Apples. My Lady Barclay makes her fine 
Apple-gelly with shces of John apples. Sometimes she mingles 
a few pippins with the Johns to make the gelly. But she 
hketh best the Johns single and the colour is paler. You first 
fill the glass with slices round-wise cut, and then the Gelly is 
poured in to fill up the vacuities. The Gelly must be boiled 
to a good stiffness. Then when it is ready to take from the 
fire, you put in some juyce of Lemon, and of Orange too, if 


you like it, but these must not boil ; yet it must stand a while 
upon the fire stewing in good heat, to have the juyces incor- 
porate and penetrate well. You must also put in some 
Ambergreece, which doth exceeding well in this sweet-meat." 

" Wheaten Flommery. In the West Country they make a 
kind of Flommery of wheat flower, which they judge to be 
more harty and pleasant then that of Oat-meal, thus; take 
half, or a quarter of a bushel of good Bran of the best wheat 
(which containeth the purest flower of it, though little, and is 
used to make starch), and in a great wooden bowl or pail, let 
it soak with cold water upon it three or four days. Then strain 
out the milky water from it, and boil it up to a gelly or like 
starch. Which you may season with Sugar and Rose or Orange- 
flower-water and let it stand till it be cold, and gellied. Then 
eat it with white or Rhenish- wine, or Cream, or Milk, or Ale." 

" A Flomery Caudle. When Flomery is made and cold, you 
may make a pleasant and wholesome caudle of it by taking 
some lumps and spoonfuls of it, and boil it with Ale and White 
wine, then sweeten it to your taste with Sugar. There will 
remain in the Caudle some lumps of the congealed flomery 
which are not ungrateful." 

" Conserve of Red Roses. Doctor GUsson makes his Con- 
serve of red Roses thus : Boil gently a pound of red Rose-leaves 
(well picked, and the nails cut off) in about a pint and a half 
(or a little more, as by discretion you shall judge fit, after 
having done it once ; the Doctor's Apothecary takes two pints) 
of Spring water ; till the water have drawn out all the Tincture 
of the Roses into itself, and that the leaves be very tender, and 
look pale like Linnen; which may be in a good half hour, or 
an hour, keeping the pot covered whiles it boileth. Then pour 
the tincted Liquor from the pale leaves (strain it out, pressing 
it gently, so that you may have Liquor enough to dissolve 
your Sugar) and set it upon the fire by itself to boil, putting 
into it a pound of pure double refined Sugar in small Powder ; 
which as soon as it is dissolved, put into it a second pound, then 


a third, lastly a fourth, so that you have four pounds of sugar 
to every pound of Rose-leaves. (The Apothecary useth to put 
all the four pounds into the Liquor altogether at once.) Boil 
these four pounds of Sugar with the tincted Liquor, till it be a 
high Syrup, very near a candy height (as high as it can be not 
to flake or candy). Then put the pale Rose-leaves into this 
high Syrup, as it yet standeth upon the fire, or immediately 
upon the taking it off the fire. But presently take it from 
the fire, and stir them exceeding well together, to mix them 
uniformly; then let them stand till they be cold, then pot 
them up. If you put your Conserve into pots whiles it is yet 
thoroughly warm, and leave them uncovered some days, putting 
them in the hot Sun or stove, there will grow a fine candy on 
the top, which will preserve the conserve without paper upon 
it, from moulding, till you break the candied crust to take 
out some of the conserve. 

" The colour both of the Rose-leaves and the SjTup about 
them, will be exceedingly beautiful and red, and the taste 
excellent, and the whole very tender and smoothing, and easie 
to digest in the stomack without clogging it, as doth the ordinary 
rough conserve made of raw Roses beaten with Sugar, which 
is very rough in the throat. The worst of it is, that if you 
put not a Paper to lie always close upon the top of the conserve, 
it will be apt to grow mouldy there on the top ; especially apres 
que le pot est entame." 

Under another " conserve of red roses " we find this note : — 
" Doctor Bacon useth to make a pleasant Julip of this Conserve 
of Roses, by putting a good spoonful of it into a large drinking 
glass or cup; upon which squeeze the juyce made of a Lemon, 
and slip in unto it a little of the yellow rinde of the Lemon; 
work these well together with the back of a spoon, putting 
water to it by httle and little, till you have filled up the glass 
with Spring water : so drink it. He sometimes passeth it 
through an Hypocras bag and then it is a beautiful and pleasant 


These still-room books are as much part of a vanished past 
as the old herb-gardens, those quiet enclosures full of sunlight 
and delicious scents, of bees and fairies, which we foolish moderns 
have allowed to fall into disuse. The herb garden was always 
the special domain of the housewife, and one likes to think of 
the many generations of fair women who made these gardens 
their own, tending them with their own hands, rejoicing in 
their beauty and peace and interpreting in humble, human 
fashion something of the wonder and mystery of Nature in 
the loveHness of a garden enclosed. For surely this was the 
charm of these silent secluded places, so far removed from 
turmoil that from them it was possible to look at the world 
with clear eyes and a mind undisturbed by clamour. And what 
of the fairies in those gardens? We live in such a hurrying, 
material age that even in our gardens we seem to have forgotten 
the fairies, who surely have the first claim on them. Does not 
every child know that fairies love thyme and foxgloves and 
the lavish warm scent of the old cabbage rose? Surely the 
fairies thronged to those old herb-gardens as to a familiar 
haunt. Can you not see them dancing in the twihght? 

The dark elves of Saxon days have well-nigh vanished with 
the bogs and marshes and the death-like vapours which gave 
them birth. With the passing of centuries the lesser elves have 
become tiny of stature and friendly to man, warming them- 
selves by our firesides and disporting themselves in our gardens. 
Perhaps now they even look to us for protection, lest in this 
age of materiaHsm they be driven altogether from the face of 
the earth. As early as the twelfth century we find mention of 
creatures akin to the brownies, whom we all love; for the 
serious Gervase of Tilbury tells us of these goblins, less than 
half an inch high, having faces wrinkled with age, and dressed 
in patched garments. These little creatures, he assures us, 
come and work at night in the houses of mankind; but they 
had not lost their impish ways and elvish tricks, " for at times 
when Enghshmen ride abroad in the darkness of night, an 


unseen Portunos [Brownie?] will join company with the way- 
farer; and after riding awhile by his side will at length seize 
his reins and lead his horse into the slough wherein he will 
stick and wallow while the Portunos departs with mocking 
laughter, thus making sport of man's simplicity." Perhaps 
they still make sport of our simplicity, but we shall be the 
losers if they vanish altogether from the earth. If in impish 
mood they lead the wayfarer into sloughs, do not the sheen- 
bright elves lighten some of the darkest paths of pain which 
human beings are forced to tread? Are not these Ariel-like 
creatures hnks between the flowers of earth which they haunt 
and the stars of heaven whence they seem to derive their 
radiance? The fairies have almost deserted us, but perhaps 
they will one day come back to our gardens and teach us that 
there is something true, though beyond what we can know, in 
the old astrological lore of the close secret communion between 
stars and flowers. Do not flowers seem to reflect in microscopic 
form those glorious flowers which deck the firmament of heaven ? 
In many flowers there is something so star-like that almost 
unconsciously our minds connect them with the luminaries in 
the great expanse above us, and from this it seems but a short 
step to the belief that there is between them a secret communion 
which is past our understanding. 

" This is the enchantment, this the exaltation, 
The all-compensating wonder, 
Giving to common things wild kindred 
With the gold-tesserate floors of Jove ; 
Linking such heights and such humihties, 
Hand in hand in ordinal dances, 
That I do think my tread, 
Stirring the blossoms in the meadow-grass 
Flickers the unwithering stars." ^ 

Mystics of all ages and of all civilisations have felt this secret 

bond between what are surely the most beautiful of God's 

creations — flowers and stars; and its fascination is in no small 

^ Francis Thompson, An Atithem of Earth. 


part due to the exquisite frailty and short-lived beauty of the 
flowers of earth and the stupendous majesty of the flowers in 
the heavens, those myriad worlds in whose existence a thousand 
years is but as a passing dream. 

§Ms grate sjjall tm tnburr* 

{Inscription at the end of " The veriuose boke Of Dystyllacyon of the waters of all maner of 
Herbes." 1527.) 



Manuscripts written in Latin after 1400 are not included in 
THIS List. 

^th (?) century. Liber dialogorum Gregorii cum libro medicinali in duabus 
partibus quarum altera tractat de virtutibus herbarum et " Herbarium " 
vulgo dicitur altera de virtutibus lapidum. 

Hutton 76. Bodleian. 
(This is the translation of Gregory's Dialogues made by Bishop Werefirth 
of Worcester. The MS. formerly belonged to Worcester Cathedral.) 
zoth century (Lacnunga). Liber medicinalis de virtutibus herbarum. 

Harleian 585. British Museum. 
10th century. S. Columbarii Epist. versibus Adonicis scripta. Ad frontem 
prima paginae hujus codicis scribuntur manu contemporanea quas dam 
de virtutibus herbarum et versiculi nonnuli. 

Harleian 3091. British Museum. 
10th century. Leech Book of Bald. 

Royal 12 D. British Museum. 
nth century. Peri Didaxeon. (Saxon translation.) 

Harleian 6258. British Museum. 
nth century. Herbarium Apuleii Platonici quod accepit ab Ascolapio. 

Cott. Vit. C. III. British Museum. 
nth century. Incipiunt Capites (capita) libri medicinahs. 

Payne 62. Bodleian. 
(This is a version of Herbarium Apuleii Platonici.) 
nth (?) century. De herba Betonica. Apuleius or Antonius Musa. 

CLXXXIX. Corpus Christi College, Oxford. 
nth century. Herbarium Apuleius. 

Ashmole 1431. 
nth (?) century. Herbarium Apuleius. 

CLXXX. Corpus Christi College, Oxford. 
(This copy once belonged to John Holyngborne.) 
nth century. Incipiunt nomina multarum rerum Anglice. 

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 
(In the list occurs Nomina herbanun.) 
12th (?) century. Dioscorides de virtutibus herbarum. 

Jesus College, Cambridge. 
(Formerly at Durham.) 



1.2th century. Exceptiones de libro Henrici de herbis variis. 

Digby 13 (VIII). Bodleian. 
(The above was compiled, according to Leland and others, by Henry 
of Huntingdon.) 
12th century. Herbarium Apuleius. 

Harleian 4986. British Museum. 
1.2th century. Herbarium Apuleius. 

Harleian 5294. British Museum. 
12th century. De virtutibus herbarum. 

Sloane 1975. British Museum. 
Late 12th century. Imago Medici Conjurantis Herbas. 

Harleian 1585. British Museum. 
12th century. De viribus herbarum. 

Harleian 4346. British Museum. 
(In verse, commonly ascribed to Macrus.) 
12th century. Macer de viribus herbarum. 

Sloane 84. British Museum. 
12th century. De viribus herbarum. Liber Omad. 

Digby 13 (VII). Bodleian. 
(It is not known who Omad was.) 
12th century. Macer de virtutibus herbarum. 

Digby 4 (XI). Bodleian. 
(The last folio is in thirteenth-century hand.) 
12th century. Macer de virtutibus herbarum. 

Library of Lincoln Cathedral. 
12th century. Herbarium Apuleius. 

Library of Eton College. 
1.2th or 13th century. De negociis specierum. Inc. circa instans negocium in 

Trinity College, Cambridge. 
i^th century. Epistola antonii muse ad agrippam de herba betonica. 

Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
13^/f century. Antonii Musae libellus de virtutibus herba2 betonicse. 

Ashmole 1462 (VIII). Oxford. 
13;!/^ century. [Synopsis libelli Antonii Musae.] 

Ashmole 1462 (II). 
i^th century. Synopsis Herboralii Apuleii. 

Ashmole 1462 (III). 
13^/f century. HerboraHum Apuleii Platonis. 

Ashmole 1462 (IX). 
(The names of the herbs are given in English in rubric by a hand of 
the fourteenth century.) 
I2)ih century. Herbarium apuleii platonici. 

Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
i-^th century. AemiHi Macri de viribus Herbarum. 

Royal 12 B. British Museum. 
13;!^ century. Aemilii Macri Carmen de viribus herbarum. 

Ashmole (1398. II. v). 


i^ih century. Liber Maori de viribus Herbarum. 

Ee. VI. 39. II. Cambridge University Library. 
Lale i^th century. Aemilii Macri de Herbarum viribus. 

(Formerly belonged to St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.) 

Royal 12 E. XXIII. (III). British Museum. 
Late izth century. Liber Macri de Naturis herbarum. 

Kk. IV". 25. (XVI). Cambridge University Library. 
i.'^th ( ?) century. Liber Macri de viribus herbarum. 

438 (III). Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 
13/A century. De simplicibus medicinis. 

505 (II. 2). Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 
i^th century. Poema de virtutibus herbarum macro vulgo adscriptum. 

Arundel 283 (I). British Museum. 
i^ih century. Aemilius Macri (Fragment). 

Library of Lord Clifden, Lanhydrock, Cornwall. 
I2ih century. Le livre de toutes herbes appele " Circa instans." 

Sloane 1977. British Museum. 
13th century. Le Uvre de toutes herbes appele " Circa instans." 

Sloane 3525. British Museum. 
Incipit [Uber de simplicibus medicinis ordine alphabetico qui appellatur] 
" Circa Instans " Platearii. 

Ashmole 1428 (II). 
Late i^th century. Circa Instans. 

All Souls College, Oxford. 
i^th century. De medicinis simplicibus sive de virtutibus Herbarum libellus. 

BalUol College, Oxford. 
Late nzth century. De simplicibus medicinis. 

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 
T.'^th-i^th century. Liber cogitanti michi de virtute simphcium medianarum. 

Trinity College, Cambridge. 
i^th-i^th century. Herbarium. 

Addit. 22636 (XIII). British Museum. 
i^th-i^ih century. [Lines on the virtues of the scabious plant.] 

Addit. 33381 (XXXMII). British Museum. 
Late isth century. De coUectione herbarum. 

Arundel 369 (II). British Museum. 
13;!^ century. De Naturis Herbarum. 

Royal 8c IX. (X). British Museum. 
(From St. Mary's, Reading.) 
i^th century. De virtutibus herbarum rhythmice. 

Sloane 146 (III). British Museum. 
i^th century. Praefatiuncula in totum praesens volumen. 

Inc. In hoc continentur libri quattuor medicine Ypocrates Platonis 
Apoliensis urbis de diversis herbis. 

Ashmole 1462 (I). 
Late i^th century. Hie sunt virtutes scabiose distincte. 

Digby 86 (LXXXV). Bodleian. 
13/A (?) century. De proprietate herbarum. 

Laud Latin 86 (XIII). Bodleian. 


i^th-i^ih century. Liber qui vocatur " Circa Instans." 

Peterhouse College, Cambridge. 
I'^ih-T^h century. Circa instans Platearii. 

Trinity College, Cambridge. 
i^th-i^ih century. Versus de Ysope (Hyssop). 

Harleian 524 (CLXI). British Museum. 
Circ. 1300. De herba Basilisca seu Gentiana. 

Harleian 2851 (XXIX). British Museum. 
(Written in England.) 
13/A century. Beginning of a history of trees and plants which ends abruptly 
on page 3. 

Harleian 4751. British Museum. 
Late j-^th-i^h century. [Verses — including 19 lines on various herbs.] 

Royal 12 c. VI. (VI). British Museum. 
(Belonged to Bury St. Edmunds Abbey.) 
Circ. 1360-70. Le Hure de herberie en fran^ais qui est apele " Circa Instans," 
translated from Johannes Platearius, De simplici medicina. 

Bodley 76 I. Bodleian. 
ij\th century. MS on the virtues of herbs. 

Library of Eton College. 
lAih century. Macri poema de Viribus herbarum; praemittitur tabula. 

Harleian 2558 (XXIV). British Museum. 
14/A century. De viribus herbarimi pcema. 

Sloane 420 (XL). British Museum. 
14/A century. De viribus herbarum. 

Rawl. C. 630. British Museum. 
1.4th century. Macer de virtutibus herbarum. 

Sloane 340 (XV). British Museum. 
jj\th century. De virtutibus herbarum. 

Digby 95, Bodleian. 
Early i$th (?) century. Macer. Of virtues of herbis. 

Hutton 29. Bodleian. 
ZAth century. Aemilii Macri de Herbarum viribus. 

Royal 12 B. Ill (I). British Museum. 
j^th century. Aemilii Macri Carmen de viribus medicinalibus herbarum cum 
nominibus earum Angha exphcatis. ^ 

Ashmole 1397 (E. XV). Oxford. 
i/[th century. Macer de viribus herbarum. 

Ff. VI. 53 (X). Cambridge University Library. 
i/ifth century. Macer de Herbarum viribus. 

36 (I. i). Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 
Early i^ih century. Aemilius Macer. Carmen de viribus herbarum. 

Arundel 225 (II). British Museum. 
14th century. De viribus herbarum. 

Harleian 3353 (I). British Museum. 
j^h century. [De virtutibus Ros marine in EngUsh.] 

759 (XI). Trinity College, Cambridge. 
14/A century. Herbal in alphabetical order with descriptions. 

Arch. Selden 335. Bodleian. 


I4ih century. On simples. Latin and English. 

1398 (III). Trinity College, Cambridge. 
Late i/\th century. Herbarium. 

C. XIII (IV). St. John's College, O.xford. 
14/A century. Here begynnyt a tretys of diverse herbis and furst of Bytayne 
(Old English poem of 43 couplets). 
Begins — 

" To tellyn of bytayne I have grete mynde 
And sythen of othur herbys os I fynde. 
Furst at bytayne I wyl begynne 
Yat many vertues berys wt inne." 

Last line — 

" Yche stounde whyle it mai on erthe be founde." 

Ashmole 1397 (II-IV). 
Early 14th century. Experimenta Albert! Magni de herbis lapidibus et 

Addit. 32622. British Museum (HI). 
14/A century. Secreta fratris Albert! de Colonia ordinis fratrum predicatorum 
super naturis quarundum herbarum et lapidum et animalium in diversis 
libris philosophorum reperta et in unum collecta. 

Digby 147 (XXIV). Bodleian. 
14th century. Secreta fratris Albert! ordinis fratrum predicatorum (!) de 
herbis xv! (ii) de lapidibus (!!!) de animalibus (xviii). 

Digby 153 (IX). Bodleian. 
14th century. Bartholomasus AngHcus de proprietatibus rerum. 

Royal 12 E. III. British Museum. 
14/^ century. Bartholomsei Mini de Senis Tractatus de herbis figuris quam 
plurimis coloratio instructus. 

Egerton 747 I. British Museum. 
14th century. ? Gardener. Of the virtues of the herb rosemary, etc. 

In the Earl of Ashburnham's library at Ashburnham Place. 122 (2. II). 
14th century. Diversitates herbarum omnium que ad medicinas pertinent. 

Addit. 29301 (III). British Museum. 
(The above has fine pen-and-ink drawings of 68 English wild plants, 
with their names written in English. The MS. belonged to the Countess 
of Hainault, Philippa, Queen of England, and, lastly, to Mr. Pettiford.) 
I4ih century. Herbal. 

Dd. VI. 29. VII. University Library, Cambridge. 
J4th (?) century. List of herbs : English names also given. 

198 (III). Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
(The above once belonged to John Argenteux, Provost of King's.) 
14th (?) century. A Hst of remedies with English equivalents and marginal 
additions in another hand. 

200. Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
14//? century. [Recipes in Physicke] Glossary containing many herbs. 

Pepys Library 1661. Magdalene College, Cambridge. 


i^th century. Here begynneth medecines gode for divers euelys on mennes 
bodys be callen erchebysschopes auicenna and ypocras Icoupon ( ? cophon) 
i. e. de and on hole materie a3en broujt and ferst of herbis. 

Pepys Library 1661. Magdalene College, Cambridge. 
(Various simples are described. After the " vertues of rose maryne " a 
series of sections in verse written as prose beginning " I wil 30U tellyn by 
& bi as I fond wretyn in a book, pat in borwyng I be took of a gret 
ladyes prest J?at of gret name pe mest." The following sections are on 
centaurea, solsequium, celidonia, pipernella, materfemia, mortagon, 
pervinca, rosa, lilium, egrimonye. Ends " Oyle of mustard seed is good 
for ache and for litarge and it is mad on pe same maner.") 
Circ. 1400. A treatise in rhyme on the virtues of herbs. 

Sloane 147 (V). British Museum. 
It begins — 

" Of erbs xxiiij I woU you tell by and by 
Als I fond wryten in a boke at I in boroyng toke 
Of a gret ladys preste of gret name she barest 
At Betony I wol begyn at many vertuos het within." 

i^th century. De virtutibus herbarum quarundam. 

Ashmole 1397. 
(On the medical uses of some herbs. Begins, " Bytayne and wormewode 
is gode for woundes.") 
i^ih ( ?) century. List of names of herbs in Latin and EngHsh. 

1377 IL Trinity College, Cambridge. 
Begins, " Apium Commune Smalache." 
1352. De preperacione herbarum. A treatise on the medicinal qualities of 
and modes of preparing herbs, quoting Serapion. A short list giving 
first the Latin and then the Irish name, etc. 

23 F. 19. Royal Irish Academy. 
i^th century. Vocabulary of herbs in Latin and Welsh. 

Addit. 14912. British Museum. 
i^th century. Meddygon myddfai or the Practice of Physic of the Myddvai 
Doctors : a collection of Recipes for various diseases and injuries, prog- 
nostics, charms, virtues of herbs, etc., by the physicians of Myddvai 
CO. Caermarthen. 

Addit. 14912 (I). British Museum. 
(In Welsh.) 
i^th century. Nomina herbarum. Latin and English. 

Addit. 17866. British Museum. 
i^th century. De virtutibus herbae. 

Arundel 507. British Museum. 
(The above once belonged to Richard Seybrok, a monk of Durham. 
i^th-i^th century. Nomina quarundam . . . plantarum arborum. 

Harleian 210 (XI). British Museum. 
(In French and English.) 
i^th-i^th century. Names of herbs in Latin and EngHsh. 

Harleian 2558 (I). British Museum. 


I4(h century. Herbal. Latin and English. 

(Directions in gathering herbs, flowers, roots, etc.) 

Sloane 2584. British Museum. 
1.4th century. Liber cinomorum (synonomorum) de nominibus herbarum. 
(Latin, French, English.) 

Bodleian 761. 
1360-70. Nomina herbarum. (Latin, French, English.) 

Bodleian 761 (VL B.). 
Two texts from this MS. were published by E. Mannele Thompson, 
Chronicon Galpedi de Baker de Swynebroke. Clarendon Press, 1889. He 
gives a list of the contents of this volume, calling this item fol. 158, 
" Medicinal notes from Roger Bacon in Latin." Interpolated by fifteenth- 
century writer in spaces left vacant by the fourteenth-century scribe are 
many recipes and much astrology. 
14th century. Virtues of rosemary in prose and verse. 

Digby 95 (VH). Bodleian. 
14//} century. Of the virtues of herbs. 

Digby 95 (Vni). Bodleian. 
Late 14th century. Herbarium Anglo-Latinum, with many recipes interpolated 
in a later hand. 

MS. Grearerd. Bodleian. 
Late I4ih century. Names of herbs in alphabetical order with a few English 
interpolations. The MS. comes from Llanthony Priory and was given by 
R. Marchall. 

312 (X). Library of Lambeth Palace. 
14th century. De simplici medicina John Platearius. 

(This MS. is supposed to have belonged to the Countess of Hainault 
and subsequently to Queen Philippa of Hainault.) 

Addit. 29301 (IV). British Museum. 
14th century. Nomina Herbarum MedicinaUum, with some EngUsh and French 

Phillipps MS. 4047 (II) now in the library of T. Fitzroy Fenwick, Esq., 

Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. 
14th century. Here ben the virtues of Rosemar>'e (purporting to be taken from 
" the litel boke that the scole of Sallerne wroat to the Cuntasse of Henowd 
and sche sente the copie to hir doubter Philip the queue of England "). 
Inc. " Rosemarye is hope tre and herbe hoot and drie." 
Exp. " Wasche him JjerwiJ? and he schal be hool." 

Royal 17 A. III. (III). British Museum. 
1373. Translation of Macer De viribus herbarum by John Lelamour, School- 
master of Hereford. 

Sloane 5. British Museum. 
I4ih century. Particulars of simples arranged under the various months. 

754. Trinity College, Cambridge. 
14th century. A herbal in Latin and English beginning with Allium. 
(Given by Thomas Gale Dean of York.) 

759 (VII). Trinity College, Cambridge. 
15^/? century. Aemili Macri de virtutibus herbarum. The names of the plants 
are explained in EngUsh in the margins, and there are also some remedies 
in English. Ashmole 1481 (III). 


i^ih century. Macer. De Virtutibus Herbarum. The English names of the 
herbs are also given. (Written by Nicholas Kyrkeby of Saint Albans.) 
VI. 15. Bishop Cosin's Library, Durham University. 
i$th century. Herbal in three books. 

Inc. " Mogworte or brotheworte ys clepid archemisia . , . and this 
medicine ys a nobil medycyne." 

Etids, " Here endeth the third part of Macer. And here begynneth a 
fewe herbes which Macer foryete no^t nor thei ben nort founden in his 

Addit. 37786 (H). British Museum. 
je^ih century. The treatise of Macer intitled ' ' De viribus Herbarum," translated 
into English. 

" Here followeth the cunnynge and sage clerk Macer tretynge and 
opynly shewy^i^ the vertuys worthy and Commendable propyrtes of many 
& dyuerse herbys and her vertuys of the whyche the firste is mugworte 
or modirworte." 

Sloane 393. British Museum. 
i<,ih century. The vertuys of Erbys aftyr Galyon Ypocras and Socrates. 

Lansdowne 680 I. British Museum. 
I5^A century. Here folwythe the vertu of Erbis. Isop is hoot and drie in ij 
degreis so seith Ipocrace if a man drynke it fastynge. 

Ashmole 1477 (HI-IV). 
15/A century. Aemilius Macer. Of the virtues of herbs. English translation. 

Sloane 140. British Museum. 
i$th century. Aemilius Macer. Of the virtues of herbs. English translation. 

Sloane 2269. British Museum. 
i$th century. Aemilius Macer. De virtutibus Herbarum. English translation. 
In the hbrary of the Right Hon. Lord Amherst of Hackney at DidUngton 
Hall, Norfolk. 
je^th century. List of herbs in Latin and English. 

Sloane 3548. British Museum. 
15/A century. Herbal. 

Inc. " Of herbys now I 

Will you telle by and by. 
As I fynde wryten in a boke 
That in borrow3mg I betoke 
Of a gret ladyes preste," etc. 

Expl. " It dryveth away all foul moysteris 

And distroyeth venym and wykyd humours 
It distroyeth the morfew 
And dispoyhng to the leper." 

Dd. X. 44 (VIII). Cambridge University Library. 
15/^ century. An Herbary l?e whiche ys draw out of Circa Instans and 
hyt towcherj? schortlyche l?^ principal vertuys and ]?« special effectes of 
herbis and droggis p^ be j?* most comyne in use, and her dyvers grees 
of qualites or yher complexions and her propur and most special kynd of 

(At the end of every alphabetical division of this work is left a page or 


more, blank, for the purpose of inserting additional matter. There are 
several additions by old hands. Some additions on the margins have 
been torn off.) 

Ashmole 1443 (IV). 
i$th century. Treatise on herbs. 169 chapters, with table of Contents prefixed. 
Inc. " Agnus castus is a herbe that men clep Tutsayne or Park levis." 

Arundel 272 (II). British Museum. 
15th century. An Herbal. Arranged alphabetically to the letter P. 

Inc. " Agnus castus is an herbe," etc. Breaks off in " pulegium rurale." 
(Other copies — both ending with S — are in Addit. 4698, f. 16b, and Arundel 
272, f. 36.) 

Royal 18 A. VI. (VI). British Museum. 
15th century. A treatise on the virtues of Herbs; beginning " Agnus castus 
ys AngUce herbe that men cally the tutsayne or ells parkelenus." 

Ashmole 1432 (V. i). 
Mid 15th century. Herbal with book of recipes. 
Inc. " Agnus castus is an herbe." 

Bodleian 463 (A). 
i$th century. Liber de Herbarum virtutibus. 

Inc. " Agnus castus ys an herbe that cleepeth Toussane." 

Laud Misc. 553 (i). Bodleian. 
i$ih century. An Herbal with the properties of the different herbs in 
alphabetical order, with a table prefixed. 

Iiic. " Agnus castus ys an herbe that me clapys Tustans or Porke levys." 

329. BalUol College, Oxford. 
i$th (?) century. " An English Herbal." 
Begins, " Agnus Castus," etc. 

Harleian 3840 (II). British Museum. 
i$th century. A treatise on the virtues of herbs. 
Begins, " A bed ymade of Agnus Castus." 

Sloane 297 (XVIII). British Museum. 
i^th century. Latin-English dictionary of herbs. 
Inc. " Alleluya Wodsoure stubwort." 
Expl. " Quinquefolium fyveleved gras." 

Dd. XL 45 (XII). Cambridge University Library. 
i^th century. A book of the medical virtues of herbs, described in alphabetical 
Inc. " Anet ys an herbe that ys clepyt anet oper dylle." 
Expl. " doyth a way the fow5e or the fragelys." 

Ashmole 1447 (I\'. i). 
i$th century. " Yes ben y« vertuse of betayn." 

Ashmole 1438 (II. vii). 
15//1 century. A treatise of the virtues of certain herbs. Begins, " Betaigne is 
hot and drie in J^re degrees, and so seyth Ypocras, and it is an herbe of 
many faire vertues." 

Ashmole 1438 (XXV). 
15^^ century. AemiHus Macer. De virtutibus herbarum. (In French, Latin 
and English.) 

Digby 29 (XXXVII). Bodleian. 


i$fh century. Of the virtues of herbs — seemingly out of Macer. The following 
verse is prefixed : 

" This booke ys drawe be fesyke 
That Macer made for hem that ben seeke 
The vertu of herbis het descrieth ryght wel 
And help of mannys helthe every del." 

Sloane 963 (XVIII). British Museum. 

i^th century. Macer on the virtues of herbs. 

Inc. " Mugworte or brotheworte is clepid Arthemisia." 
Exp. " drynkys juse of thys erbe." 

Ee. I. 15 (Ilia). University Library, Cambridge. 
15;!/; century. Macer. " Vertues worthe & commendable propertees of many 
& diverse herbes." In three books. 

Rawl. C. 81 (V). Bodleian. 
i^th century. Part of the poem De virtutibus Herbarum. The EngHsh 
names of plants are occasionally given in the margin. In the volume 
containing Froucestre's History of the Monastery. 

Library of Gloucester Cathedral. 
i$th century. A treatise of the medical properties of herbs and other simples ; 
arranged alphabetically, being a translation from the treatise of Johannes 
Platearius, De medicinis siinpiicihus. 

Sloane 706 (IV). British Museum. 
i$th century. English Herbal, Secundum magistrum Gilbertum Kemor, 
arranged alphabetically. 

Sloane 770. British Museum. 
i^th century. Of the virtues of Rosmaryne. 

Inc. " Rosmaryne is both tre and erbe." 

Sloane 7 (VI). British Museum. 
i^th century. The virtues of Rosmaryn. 

Inc. " Rosmaryn is bothe tre and herbe." 

Sloan 962 (VI). British Museum. 
15/A century. These ben sum of ]?e vertues of Rosemary, as the Gierke of 
Sallerne seyde and wrote tho the Cowntes of Hynde, and sche sende hem 
tho here dow5tur Phylype p^ was weddyde tho pe Kyng of Engelond. 
Inc. " Rosmary ys bothe tre and herbe." 

Ashmole 1438 (II-XX). 
i^th (?) century. This is ye Htyl boke of ye vertuys of rosmaryn yt y« scole of 
Saleme gaderyd & compiled at instance of ye Cowntese of Henowde. . . . 
I danyel bain translatyd into vulgar ynglysch worde for werde as fonde in 
latyn. (The translator adds that before 1432 Rosemary was unknown in 
England and that it was first sent from the Countess of Hainault to her 
daughter Queen Philippa.) 

1037 (i) (XIV). Trinity College, Cambridge. 

15/^ or early 16th century. The medical virtues of Rosemary in prose. Begins, 

" Rosus marinus is called rose mary, the virtue of this herbe is goode." 

Ends, " ne brennyng of unkynd hete be at ]?i stomake ne at p^ hert." 

(At the foot of page 3 is written " Robert Hychys is the ower of thys boke.") 

Ashmole 1379 (I). 


i$th century. Here is vertues and seltyng of Rosmary by the ij doctours of 
fysyk followyng. per Galyen and Platery, and a poem beginning " As in 
a booke wretyne y fownd Of wise doctours in dyvers lond." 

Ashmole 1379 (II). 
i^th century. Here follwyth y« wertues off ye rosses mare. 

Inc. " Take rosmare and bynd hem ynne a lynnene clothe." 
Exp. " Allsso make a bathe off ye floure and y* wyll make ye yong- 

Ashmole 1432 (V. iii). 
15//; century. The vertu of rose mary. Tak }?e flower of J^e rose mary and 
bynd hem. 

(The above is part of a series of herbal notes, etc., interspersed by a 
later hand in the course of and following on a fifteenth-century book of 

Ashmole 1391 (VHI). 
i^th century. " Here men may see ]?e vertus of dyuerse herbes, whiche ben 
hoot and whiche ben coold, and to how many ]?inges they arne goode." 
(Other copies are in Sloane 393, f. 13; 1592, f. 396; 3466, f. 78; Addit. 
12056, f. 3; Lansdowne MS. 680, f. 2 and 17 B., XLVIII, f. 2, where, 
however, the arrangement is somewhat different. On page 2 there is the 
entry, " This is John Rice is boke, the which cost him xxv d.") 
i^th century. " Here men may se the vertu of dyverse herbes, and what thei 
be, and whiche ben hoote and which ben colde. And for howgh many 
thynges they ben goode." 

(This MS. ends abruptly in " Calamynte.") 

Ashmole 1444 (I. iii). 
i^ih (?) century. " The virtues of diuerse herbes which ben hoote and which 
ben coolde." (With a large table of Contents prefixed.) 

Sloane 393 (I). British Museum. 
15th century. Treatise on the virtues of herbs. Begins, " Aristologia rotunda. 
The virtue of this herbe os Ypocras says." 

Sloane 962 (XII). British Museum. 
15th century. An Herbary or alphabetical Materia Medica of herbs & other 
drugs ; beginning with Aloen, Aloes, Aurum, and ending with Zelboarium. 
Inc. " Aloen. To purge fleume and malancoly and colore." 
Exp. " Zelboarium. To moysten and to norschen and to clensen and 
wyth cold l?inges to akelen. Amen." 
^ Ashmole 1481 (II. ii). 

i^th century. An alphabeticall catalogue of Herbes. 
Inc. " Aloen hath virtue to purge flewne." 

Ee. I. 13 (I). Cambridge University Library. 
iSth century. A collection of remedies in English (with additions^ in other 
handwritings). Begins with " Aloe " and ends with " vervej^n." 

609 (II). Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
15/A century. In Latin and EngHsh. Herbal. Aloe— Zucarium, with notes on 
Egrimonia, Acacia, in Latin, and on Cassia hgnea and Castorium in Enghsh. 

43. Jesus College, Cambndge. 
I'ith century. The makynge of oyles of divers herbys. 

905 (II. 4). Trinity College, Cambridge. 


i$th century. These ben the precious watris & vertuous for diverse 

Inc. " Water of wormode is gode . . . grete lordes among the Saracens 
usen to drink hitt." 

Addit. 37786 (I). British Museum. 
15;!^ century. Of the Herb Moon-wort. 

Inc. " I schal you tel of an Erbe }?at men cal Lunarie, 

He ys clepit Asterion ; wych ys an Erbe J^at men calleth Lunarie." 
Harleian 2407 (IX). British Museum. 
i^th century. Virtues of the onion, gariic and pennyroyal. 
Begins, " Here beeth pe vertues of the Oynoun." 

Royal 17 B. XLVHI. (H). British Museum. 
i^th century. Miscellaneous recipes and extracts from herbals. 

Begins, " Rosa rebia [sic] ys an herbe that men clepyth rede rosys." 
Royal 18 A. VI. (VII). British Museum. 
i^ih ( ?) century. A treatise of herbs and the several medicaments compounded 
from them. 

Begins, " The roose as saith the philosopher Plinius hath doble 

Sloane 67 (II). British Museum. 
15th century. A treatise of herbs, alphabetically arranged. (Imperfect.) 
Begins, " Carabana id est wylde hempe." 

Sloane 297 (I). British Museum. 
i^th century. A treatise of the temperature and virtues of simples alphabetically 

Sloane 965 (VII). British Museum. 
i^th century. " Here men may se the vertues of herbes." 

Bodley 463 (B iii). 
i^th century. Liber de herbarum virtutibus. 

Inc. " Here may men se the vertu of herbes which ben hot and which 
ben colde." 

Laud Misc. 553 (II). Bodleian. 
15th century. Vertues of Herbes. 

I71C. Apium is an herbe that men call smallache or marche. 

Addit. A. 106 (A. IV). Bodleian. 
15th century. " Here begynnythe to mak waters of erbys sondry and ]?er 
vertues and howe pei schalle be made in stillatorie." 
Inc. " In pe fyrst of dyl. The water is of gret vertue." 

Ashmole 141 B (II. v). 
15th century. Instructions for the proper time of gathering simples by name. 
Inc. " Medysines ben done, some by leves [som] bi sedis, som by flowres 
and some bi fretes." 

Ashmole 1481 (II. iii). Oxford. 
i$th century. The medical use " Of waters distilled from Sundry plants & 

(The above belonged to Richard Saunders, the Astrologer.) 

Ashmole 1489 (II. ii). 
i$th century. Alphabetical Herbary. 
Inc. " Agrymonia is an herbe." 

Bodley 463 (B. ii). 


Late i^th century. Virtues of herbs. 
Inc. " Here a man maye see." 

Selden, supra 75 (E. VI). Bodleian. 
Late i$ih century. A treatise on the properties of plants, fruits, meat and 
drinks as food and medicine. (In Welsh.) 

Jesus College, Oxford. 
i^th century. Names of herbs. 

(Given by Humphrey Moseley, 1649). 

69. Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 
15/A century. Verses in English and Latin on herbs and spices. 
(Given by W. Moore.) 

176 (I. 2). Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
i^ih century. Recipes in EngUsh and Latin. 
(Given by W. Moore.) 

230 (II). Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
15/^ century. Herbes for a saled. 

(This once belonged to Nicholas Butler.) 

414 {d). Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 
i^ih century. Collection of recipes in English, probably all by John Ardern 
of Newark. Illustrated with rough coloured drawings of herbs, instruments 
and patients. It begins, " This is a mirrour of bloodletynge in pe weche 
J?ey J7t wolen beholden it diligently," etc. There is a recipe in French 
for Greek fire. Exp. " tabula libri Sirurgice." Mag. Joh. Arderne de 

(Given by Humphrey Moseley, 1649.) 

69. Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 
i^th century. Here begynnythe an herball of namys & vertues of diverse 
herbys aftyr letterys of the a, b, c, etc. 

905 (I). Trinity College, Cambridge. 
i^ih century. Virtues of various plants. 

905 (II. 4). Trinity College, Cambridge. 
i$th century. On the virtues of herbs. 

I tic. " This booke is drawe be Fesyk. That Macer made for hem l^at 
been seek. Y^ vertu of herbis it discryeth ryght wel." 

1637 (I- i)- Trinity College, Cambridge. 
1485. A collection of the Latin and English names of plants with their 
descriptions and medical virtues. 

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. 
i$th century. Alphabetical list of herbs. (Names partly in Latin and partly 
in Irish.) 

2306. Royal Irish Academy. 
i$th century. Alphabetical treatise on herbs and their uses. In Latin and 

1315. Trinity College, Dubhn. 
i$th-i6th century. List of plants used in medicine. (In Latin and Irish.) 

1334 (V). Trinity College, Dubhn. 
i^th century. Vertues of rose maryne J?at er contened & compyled in J^is 
space & ar gadirde out of bukes of gude philosofirs & of o}?er wyse 

V. IV. I. Durham University, Bishop Cosins Library. 


Late i$th century. Herbal in Welsh. 

In Mr. Wynne's library at Peniarth, Merioneth. 
i$ih century. The vertu of Rose-marry & other Secrets. 

Harleian 1735 (XII). British Museum. 
15/^ century. Verses on the virtues of Rosmaryne. 

Sloane 3215. British Museum. 
i$th century. Vertues of the herb betayne. 

Rawl. C. 211 (II). Bodleian. 
i$th century. Treatise on the vertues of herbs. 

Addit. 12056. British Museum. 
15/A century. Treatise on the vertues of herbs & metals in alphabetical order. 
In Irish. 

Addit. 15403. British Museum. 
Late i^th century. Herbal. 

Inc. Agnus Castus is an herbe. 

Harleian 3840 (III). British Museum. 
i$th century. A fragment of a treatise on the virtues of herbs. 

Sloane 7 (III). British Museum. 
15th century. An alphabetical herbal. 

Sloane 297 (VII). British Museum. 
15/A century. " Of the vyrtues of the Asche tree," etc. 

Sloane 297 (XVII). British Museum. 
15/A century. The first part of an intended complete body of Pharmacy in 
seven parts. The first part treats of herbs, which are alphabetically 
arranged in 150 chapters. 

Sloane 404 (I). British Museum. 
15/A century. On the virtues of herbs, with recipes for various disorders. 
The last is a charm " for aUe maner woundys." 

Sloane 540 (I). British Museum. 
i$th century. For to knowe the ix Sauge levys. 

Sloane 706 (VIII). British Museum. 
15/A century. Treatise on the virtues of herbs alphabetically arranged. 

Sloane 1088 (I). British Museum. 
15;;^ century. Herbes necessarie for a Gardyn. 

Sloane 120 (I). British Museum. 
15/A century. On the virtues of herbs. 

Sloane 2403. British Museum. 
i$th century. Poem on the virtues of herbs. 

Sloane 2457. British Museum, 
i$th century. Treatise on the virtues of herbs. 

Sloane 2460. British Museum. 
Early 15th century. A fewe othre dyverse herbes with her vertues wich be not 
yfound in the bokes of Macer. 

Rawl. C. 212 (II). Bodleian. 
15th (?) century. A treatise on medicinal herbs. (In Irish.) 

Royal Irish Academy, 23 H 19. 
i^th century. A fragment of a treatise on the medicinal properties of herbs. 
(In Irish.) 

Royal Irish Academy, 2306. 


J5ih{7) century. A treatise on herbs and their medicinal quaUties and tlie 
mode of preparing and administering them. (In Irish.) 

Royal Irish Academy, 2395. 
I5th-i6th century. Alphabetical list of plants used in medicine and the 
manner of preparing them. (In Latin and Irish.) 

1334 (II). Trinity College, Dublin. 
1415. Alphabetical list of plants used in medicine. At the end is the 
transcriber's name, " Aedh Buide O'Leigin," and the date 1415. Also 
the name of the person from whom the original MS. was purchased — 
" Tad hg O'Cuinn bachelor in physic." (In Irish.) 

1343 (II). Trinity College, Dublin. 
15^/^ century. A dictionary of herbs in Latin and English. 

In the Marquis of Bath's library at Longleat, Wilts. 
i$th century. Treatise without title on the virtues of herbs. 

In Lord Leconfield's library at Petworth House, Sussex. 
15/A century. Medicinal quahties of herbs. 

Phillipps MS. 1 1077, now in the hbrary of T. Fitzroy Fenwick, Esq., 

Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham. 


(Printed books) 

The Herbals are listed according to authors, or, in the case of anonymous 
works, according to the names by which they are usually known, and all known 
editions are given. In cases where only one copy of an edition is known the 
library where it is to be found is indicated. Editions mentioned in Ames, 
Hazlitt, etc., but of which no copies are now known, are listed, but in 
each case the fact that the only mention of them is to be found in one of the 
above is stated. [ ] indicates books which are not strictly herbals, but whose 
omission would make any bibliography of herbals incomplete. 

BartholomcEus A nglicus. 

1495. [Bartholomaeus Anghcus. De proprietatibus rerum.] The seventeenth 
book of the above — containing nineteen chapters — is on herbs. It was the 
first original work on plants by an English writer to be printed, and the 
woodcut at the beginning of the book was probably the first botanical 
illustration to be printed in an EngUsh book. 


There is the following note on a shp in the copy of this edition in the 
British Museum. ' ' This is generally considered to be the finest copy known 
of a work which is certainly the chefd'ceuvre of Winkin de Worde's press. 
The paper on which it is printed is said to be the first ever made in England 
for the press. See Douce, ii. 278. Dibdin, Typt. Ant. h. 310." 

1535. Bartholomeus de Proprietatibus Rerum. Londini in Aedibus Thomse 
Berthelete. Regii Impressoris. 

1582. Batman uppon Bartholome His Booke De Proprietatibus Rerum. 
Newly corrected, enlarged and amended : with such Additions as are 
requisite unto every seuerall Booke : Taken foorth of the most approved 
Authors, the Hke heretofore not translated in Enghsh. Profitable for all 
Estates as well for the benefite of the Mind as the Bodie. London. 
Imprinted by Thomas East, dwelling by Paules Wharfe. 

(For foreign editions, French, Dutch and Spanish translations, see 
Bibhography of Foreign Printed Herbals, p. 225.) 

Banckes's Herbal. 

1525. ^ Here begynnyth a new mater / the whiche sheweth and | treateth of 
y« vertues & proprytes of her- | bes / the whiche is called | an Herball] • . • | 
\ Cum gratia & priuilegio | a rege indulto | 

Colophon. \ Imprynted by me Rycharde Banckes / dwellynge in | 
Lodo / a lytel fro y^ Stockes in ye Pultry / y« xxv day of | Marche. The 
yere of our Lorde, M.CCCCC. & XXV. Black-letter 4to. 

1526. Second edition of above. Only known copy is in the Cambridge 
University Library. Title and colophon identical except for slight 
differences in spelling. 

^ Here begynneth a newe marer / y^ whiche sheweth and | treateth of 
the vertues & propertes of her- | bes / the whiche is callyd | an Herball 
I . • . I ^ Cum priuilegio. | 

Colophon. ^ Imprynted by me Rycharde Banckes / dwellynge in [ 

Lodo / a lytell fro y^ Stockes in y^ Pultry / ye xxv daye of June. The 

yere of our Lorde. M.CCCCC. & XXVI. Black-letter 4to. 

1530. (approximate date assigned in the catalogue of the British Museum). 

A boke of | the propertyes | of herbes the j whiche is | called an | Herbal 

Colophon. Imprynted at | London in Fletestrete at | the sygne of the 
George by] me Robert Red- | man . " . [ ►I^ | Black-letter 8vo. 
1532-1537 (approximate date assigned by Mr. H. M. Barlow). " 'A boke of 
the propertyes of herbes the which is called an Herbal.' Contains k*. 
' At the end, Imprynted at London by me John Skot dwellynge in Fauster 
Lane.' This over his device which is his cypher on a shield, hung on a 
rose-tree, flowering above the shield, supported by two griffins : at the 
bottom is a dog nearly couchant ; I. S., the initials of his name, one on 
each side of the trunk of the tree. In the collection of Mr. Alchome. 

The above is quoted from Herbert's edition of Ames, 1785. No copy 
of the work can now be found in any of the chief British Ubraries. 


Mr. Gordon Duff in his list of books printed by John Skot mentions " The 
Book of Herbes. 12 mo. undated." 

The following editions printed by Robert Wyer are all undated. The 
dates assigned in the British Museum Catalogue are 1530 1535 

^ A newe Her- | ball of Macer, | Translated | out of La- | ten in to | 

Colophon. Tl Imprynted by | me Robert wyer, | dwellynge in saint 
Martyns pa | ryshe, at the sygne of saynt | John Euangelyst | besyde 
Charyn | ge Crosse. | ►J^ | Secretary type, 8vo. 

\ Hereafter folo | weth the know- | ledge, proper | ties, and the | 
vertues of | Herbes. 

Colophon. *\ Imprynted by | me Robert Wyer, | dwellynge in saynt 
Martyns pa- | rysshe, at the sygne of saynt | John Euangelyst, | besyde 
Charyn | ge Crosse. | ►J^ | Secretary type 8vo. 

Macers I Herbal | Practy- | syd by | Doctor | Lynacro | Translated out 
of laten, | into Englysshe, which | shewynge theyr Ope- | raycions & 
Vertues, | set in the margent | of this Boke, to | the extent you | myght 
knowe | theyr Ver- | tues. 

Colophon. Imprynted by | me Robert wyer | dwellynge in seynt 
Martyns Pa- | rysshe at the sygne of seynt f lohn Euangelyst, besyde 
Charyn- | ge Crosse. Black-letter 8vo. 

The only known copies of the two following editions are in the Bodleian 
1541. A boke of I the propertyes I of herbes the whiche I is called an Har I bal, 

Colophon. *\ Imprynted at London | in Paules Churchyearde, | at the 
Sygne of the may- | dens head by Tho- | mas Petyt. | M.D.X.(I.) Black- 
letter 8vo. 
1546. A boke of | the propertyes | of herbes the | whiche is | called an | Herbal. 

Colophon. Imprinted | at London in Fletstrete | at the sygne of the 
George | nexte to seynt Dunstones churche | by me Wyllyam Myddylton I 
in the yere of our Lorde | M.CCCCC.XLVI. | The thyrde day | of July | 
Black-letter 8vo. 
1548 (date assigned in the catalogue of the Hbrary of the Manchester Medical 
Society. Only known copy.) ^ A boke of | the propertes | of herbes 
the I which is cal | led an her | bal. | ^ | 

Colophon. Imprynted at | London by | Johan Waley, [ dwellynge in ] 
Foster Lane. | Black-letter 8vo. 
1550 (date assigned in the British Museum Catalogue). A boke of the I 
properties of Herbes called an her- | ball, whereunto is added the tyme y^ \ 
herbes, floures and Sedes shoulde | be gathered to be kept the whole ye- | re, 
with the vertue of y« Herbes whe | they are stylled. Also a generall rule | 
of al manner of Herbes drawen out | of an auncient boke | of Physycke 
by I W. C. I 

Colophon. Imprinted at London by Wyllyam | Copland. | Black- 
letter 8vo. 
1552 (date assigned in the British Museum Catalogue). A boke of the I 
propreties of Herbes called an her [ ball, whereunto is added the time y^ [ 


herbes, floures and Sedes shold | be gathered to be kept the whole | yere | 
wyth the vertue of y*' Her- | bes when they are stilled. Al- [ so a generall 
rule of all ma- | ner of Herbes drawen 1 out of an auncyent [ booke of 
Phisyck \ by W. C. | 

Colophon, f Imprynted at London in the | Flete strete at the sygne of 
I the Rose Garland by [ me Wyllyam Copland. | for John Wyght |. Black- 
letter 8vo. 

The two following editions published by Anthony Kitson and Richard 
Kele may be ascribed to Copland's press. No copies exist in the chief 
British libraries. The titles are quoted from Ames. 

" A booke of the properties of Herbes, called an Herball. Whereunto 
is added the tyme that Herbes, Floures and Seedes should bee gathered to 
bee kept the whole yeare, wyth the vertue of the Herbes when they are 
stylled. Also a generall rule of all maner of Herbs, drawen out of an 
auncient booke of Physicke by W. C. Waller Carey. Contains besides 
X^ in eights, For him." 

1550 (date assigned by Mr. Gordon Duff, but in Ames 1552). " The book of 
the properties of herbes, called an herball, etc., drawn out of an ancient 
book of phisyck by W. C." 

1550. A lytel I herball of the | properties of her- | bes newely amended & 
corrected, | with certayne addicions at the ende | of the boke, declaryng 
what herbes | hath influence of certaine Sterres | and constellations, 
wherby may be | chosen the beast & most luckye | tymes and dayes of 
their mini- ] stracion, accordynge to the | Moone being in the sig- | nes of 
heauen, the | which is dayly | appoynted | in the Almanacke, made & 
gathered | in the yere of our Lorde god | M.D.L. the xii day of Fe- | bruary 
by Anthonye | Askham Phi- | sycyon. 

Colophon. Imprinted at | London in Flete- | strete at the signe of the 
George | nexte to Saynte Dunstones | Churche by Wylly- | am Powell. 
In the yeare of oure Lorde | M.D.L. the twelfe day of Marche. Black- 
letter 8vo. 

1550 A litle Her- | ball of the properties of Herbes, I newly amended & 
corrected, wyth I certayne Additions at the ende of [ the boke, declaring 
what Herbes | nath influence of certain Sterres | and constellations, 
whereby maye j be chosen the best & most lucky | tymes & dayes of their 
mini- | stracion, according to the Moone | beyng in the signes of heaue | 
the which is daily appoi | ted in the Almanacke, | made and gathe- | red 
in the yeare | of our Lorde | God. | M.D.L. the xii daye of Febru | ary by 
Anthony Askha | Physycyon | 

Colophon. Imprynted at London, in | Paule's churchyarde, at the signe 
of the Swanne, by | Ihon Kynge. | Black-letter 8^°. 

1555-1561 (approximate date assigned by Mr. H. M. Barlow). ^ A boke of 
the I propreties of Herbes called an her [ ball, whereunto is added the 
time 5^ I herbes, floures and Sedes shold | be gathered to be kept the 
whole j yere, with the vertue of y^ Her | bes when they are stilled. Al- I 
so a general rule of al ma- ( ner of Herbes drawen out of an auncient j 
boke of Phisyck | by W. C. | 

Colophon. ^ Imprinted at London by | lohn kynge, for [ Abraham 
Wely |. Black-letter 8^°. 


The Crete Herball. 

1516. The Crete Herball. Imprented at London in Southwark by me Peter 
Treveris. MD XVI. the xx day of June. 

(Mentioned by Ames. No copy of this edition in any of the chief 
British libraries and no other record of it.) 

I525( ?). The Crete herball, which is translated out ye Frensshe into Enelysshe 
With the Mark of Peter Treveris. Undated. 

(Mentioned by Hazhtt, who ascribes the date 1525-6. There is no other 
record of this edition.) 

1527. The grete herball. MDXXVII. 18 April. 

(Mentioned by Ames as having been printed by Treveris for Laurence 
Andrew. No copy of this edition in any of the chief British hbraries and 
no other record of it.) 

1526. The grete herball | whiche geueth parfyt knowlege and under- | 
standyng of all maner of herbes & there gracyous vertues whiche god hath 
I ordeyned for our prosperous welfare and helth, for they hele & cure all 
maner | of dyseases and sekenesses that fall or mysfortune to all maner 
of creatoures [ of god created, practysed by many expert and wyse maysters, 
as Auicenna and | other cSic. Also it geueth full parfyte understandynge 
of the booke lately pryn j ted by me (Peter treueris) named the noble 
experiens of the vertuous hand | warke of Surgery. 

Colophon. \ Imprentyd at London in South- | warke by me peter 
Treueris, dwel- | lynge in the sygne of the wodows. | In the yere of our 
Lorde god. M.D. | XXVI. the xxvii day of July. Black-letter foHo. 

1529. Second edition of the above also printed by Treveris. Wording of the 
title is the same. 

Colophon differs from the first edition in that it does not contain the 
printer's address. 

% Imprynted at London in South | warke by me Peter Treueris. In | 
the yere of our Lorde god. M.D. XXIX. | the xvii day of Marce. Black- 
letter folio. 

1539. The great herball | newly corrected. | The contents of this boke. | A 
table after the Latyn names of all | herbes, | A table after the Englyshe 
names of all | herbes. | The propertees and qualytes of all | thynges in this 
booke, I The descrypcyon of urynes, how a man | shall haue trewe know- 
ledge of all seke- [ nesses. | An exposycyon of the wordes obscure and | not 
well knowen. | A table, quyckly to fynde Remedyes | for all dyseases. I 
Cod saue the Kynge. | Londine in Edibus Thome Cybson. I Anno 
M.D.XXXIX. Black-letter foho. 
This edition contains no cuts. 

1550. Edition of " The Grete Herball " mentioned in Ames and Pulteney. 
No copy of this edition in any of the chief British libraries. 

1561. The greate Herball, which | geueth parfyte knowledge & un- | der- 
standinge of al maner of her | bes, and theyr gracious vertues, whiche 
Cod hath ordeyned for | our prosperous welfare and health, for they heale 
and cure all ma- | ner of diseases and sekenesses, that fall or mysfortune 
too all I maner of creatures of Cod created, practysed by many | experte 
and wyse maysters, as Auicenna, Pandecta, | and more other, &c. 


^ Newlye corrected and dili | gently ouersene. | In the yeare of our Lord | 

Colophon. Imprynted at London in | Paules churcheyarde, at the signe 
of the Swane, | by Jhon Kynge. In the yeare of our | Lorde God. 
M.D.LXI. Black-letter folio. 

" The vertuose boke Of Distyllacyon of the waters of all maner of Herbes." 

1527. [The vertuose boke of Distyllacyon of the waters of all maner of Herbes/' 
with the figures of the styllatoryes / Fyrst made and compyled by the 
thyrte yeres study and labour of the most conynge and famous mayster 
of phisyke / Master Jherom bruynswyke And now newly Translate out of 
Duyche into Englysshe. Not only to the synguler helpe and profyte 
of the Surgyens// Physycyens/and Pothecaryes / But also of all maner of 
people / Parfytely and in dewe tyme and ordre to lerne to dystyll all 
maner of Herbes / To the Profyte / cure / and Remedy of all maner 
dysseases and Infirmytees Apparant and not apparant. T] And ye shall 
understand that the waters be better than the Herbes / as Auicenna 
testefyeth in his fourthe Conon saynge that all maner medicynes ysed 
with theyr substance / febleth and maketh aged / and weke. 

^ Cum gratia et preuilegio regah. 

Colophon. Imprinted at London in the flete strete by me Laurens 
Andrewe / in the sygne of the golden Crosse. In the yere of our lorde 
M.CCCC.XXVII {sic) the xvii daye of Apryll. 

Goddis grace shall euer endure. 

Second edition. Title identical with above. 

Colophon. Imprynted at London in the fiete strete by me Laurens 
Andrewe / in the Sygne of the golden Crosse. In the yere of our Lorde 
MCCCCCXXVII, the xviii daye of Apryll. 

^ Goddys grace shall euer endure.] 

(This edition, although professedly printed one day later, varies con- 
siderably from the preceding.) 

William Turner. 

1538. [Libellus de | re herbaria novus | in quo herbarum aHquot no- | mina 
greca, latina & Anghca | habes, vna cum nomini- | bus officinarum, in | 
gratiam stu- | diose | iuuentutis nunc pri- | mum in lucem | seditus. 
Londini apud loannem Bydellum | Anno dni. 1538.] 

1877. [Libellus de re herbaria novus by William Turner, originally published 
in 1538. Reprinted in facsimile, with notes, modern names, and A Life 
of the author, by Benjamin Daydon Jackson, F.L.S. Privately printed. 
London, 1877.] 

1544. Historia de Naturis Herbarum Scholiis et Notis Vallata. Printed at 

(This book is mentioned by Bumaldus, but is not otherwise known.) 

1548. The na | mes of herbes in | Greke, Latin, Englishe, | Duche, and Frenche 
wyth I the commune names | that Herbaries | and Apoteca | ries use, 1 
Gathered by Wil- | liam Tur | ner. 


Colophon. Imprinted | at London by John Day | and Wyllyam Setes 
dwel- I lynge in Sepulchres Parisli | at the signe of the Resur- | rection a 
htle aboue Hoi- | bourne Conduite. | Cum gratia cS: priuilegio I ad impri- 
mendum solum. 

1881. The names of Herbes by William Turner, a.d. 1548. Edited (with an 
introduction, an inde.x of English names, and an identification of the 
plants enumerated by Turner) by James Britten, F.L.S. London. 
Published for the English Dialect Society, by N. Triibner ik Co. 

155 1. A new Her- | ball, wherein are conteyned the names of Herbes in 
Greke, La- | tin, Englysh, Duch, Frenchc, and | in the Potecaries and 
Herbari- | es Latin, with the properties | degrees and naturall places of 
the same, gathered & made | by VVylliam Turner, | Phisicion unto the 
Duke of So- I mersettes | Grace. | Imprinted | at London by Steven 
Mierdman. | Anno 1551. | Cum Priuilegio ad imprimendum solum. | And 
they are to be sold in Paules Churchyarde. 

Colophon. Imprinted at London, By Steuen Myerdman, and they are 
to be soolde in Paules | churchyarde at the sygne of the sprede Egle by I 
John Gybken. 

1562. The seconde parte of \'ui- | liam Turners herball, wherein are con- 
teyned the I names of herbes in Greke, Latin, Duche, Frenche, and in 
the I Apothecaries Latin, and somtyme in Italiane, wyth the ver- | tues 
of the same herbes | with diuerse confutationes of no small errours, that 
men of no small learning haue committed in the intreatinge of herbes | 
of late yeares | 

Imprinted at Collen by Arnold Birckman [ In the yeare of our Lorde 
M.D. LXII. I Cum gratia et Priuilegio Reg. Maiest. 

1568. The first and seconde partes of the Herbal of William Turner Doctor 
in Phisick lately ouersene corrected and enlarged with the Thirde parte / 
lately gathered /and nowe set oute with the names of the herbes/' in 
Greke Latin / English / Duche / Frenche / and in the Apothecaries and 
Herbaries Latin / with the properties / degrees / and naturall places of 
the same. 

God saue the Queue. 
Imprinted at Collen by Arnold Birckman / In the yeare of our Lorde 

Alhertus Magnus. 

1560 (?). [The boke | of secretes of Albartus Mag | nus, of the vertues of | 
Herbes, stones and certaine beastes. | Also a boke of the same au | thor, of 
the marvaylous thin | ges of the world : and of | certaine effectes, cau | 
sed of certayne | beastes.] 

Williyam Bullein. 

1562. ^ BVLLEINS I Bulwarke of defece | againste all Sicknes, Somes, 
and woundes, that dooe | daily assaulte mankinde, whiche Bulwarke is j 
kepte with Hillarius the Gardiner, Health the | Phisician, with their 
ChjTurgian, to helpe the | wounded soldiors. Gathered and pra- | ctiscd 


fro the moste worthie learn- | ned, bothe old and newe : to [ the greate 
comforte of | mankinde : Doen | by Williyam | Bulleyn, | and ended 
this Marche, | Anno Salutis. 1562 | ^ Imprinted at London, by Jhon 
1579. BVLLEINS I Bulwarke of Defence against | all Sicknesse, Soarenesse | 
and VVoundes that | doe dayly assaulte mankinde : Which Bulwarke is | 
kept with Hilarius the Gardener, and Health | the Phisicion, with the 
Chirurgian, to helpe the | Wounded Souldiours. Gathered and practised 
from I the most worthy learned, both olde and new : | to the great com- 
fort of Mankinde : by | VVilham Bullein, Doctor of Phi- | sicke. 1562. 
Imprinted | At London by Thomas Marshe, dwelUnge | in Fleete streete 
neare unto Saincte | Dunstanes Chur {sic) | 1579. ] Eccle. 38. Altissimus 
creauit de terra medicinam, & vir prudens non abhorrebit illam. 

John Maplet. 

1567. A greene Forest, or a naturall Historie, Wherein may bee seene first 
the most sufferaigne Vertues in all the whole kinde of Stones & Mettals : 
next of Plants, as of Herbes, Trees, & Shrubs, Lastly of Brute Beastes, 
Foules, Fishes, creeping wormes & Serpents, and that Alphabetically : 
so that a Table shall not neede. Compiled by John Maplet M. of Arte, 
and student in Cambridge : extending hereby y*^ God might especially 
be glorified : and the people furdered. Anno 1567. Imprinted at 
London by Henry Denham, dwelhng in Pater-noster Ro\'A^e at the 
Starre. Anno Domini. 1567. June 3. Cum Priuilegio. 

(The dedicatory epistle is to the Earl of Sussex, " Justice of the Forrestes 
& Chases from Trent Southward; and Captaine of the Gentlemen Pen- 
sioners, of the house of the Queene our Soueraigne Ladie, Eliz."). 

Pierre Pena a}id Matthias de I'Obel. 

1571. Stirpium Adversaria Nova, [ perfacilis vestigatio, luculentaque accessio 
ad Priscorum, presertim | Dioscoridis et recentiorum, Materiam Medicam. | 
Quibus propediem accedat altera pars. | Qua | Coniectaneorum de plantis 
appendix, | De succis medicatis et Metallicis sectio, | Antiquae e[t] nouatae 
Medicine lectiorum remedioru | thesaurus opulentissimus, | De Succedaneis 
libellus, continentur. | Authoribus Petro Pena & Mathia de Lobel, Medicis. | 

Cohphojt Londini, 1571 | Calendis Januariis excudebat prelum Tho- | mae 
Purfcetii ad Lucretie symbolum. | Cum gratia Priuilegii. [ 

1605. Petrus Pena & Matthias de L'Obel. Dilvcidae simplicivm medica- 
menorvm explicationes, & stirpivm adversaria, perfacilis vestigatio, 
luculentaque accessio ad priscorum, prasertim Dioscoridis & recentiorum 
materiae medicae solidam cognitionem. Londini 1605. 

1654. Matthiae de I'Obel M.D. Botanographi Regii eximii Stirpium Illustra- 
tiones. Plurimas elaborantes inauditas plantas, subreptitiis Joh : Parkin- 
soni rapsodiis ex codice MS insalutato sparsim gravatae Ejusdem adjecta 
sunt ad calcem Theatri Botanici Accurante Guil : How, Anglo. Londini 
Typis Tho: Warren, Impensis Jos: Kirton, Bibliopolae, in Caemeterio 
D. Pauli. 1654. 


John Frampton. 
1577- loyfull I Nevves ovt of | the newe founde worlde, wherein is I declared 
the rare and singular vertues of diuerse | and sundrie Hearbes. Trees 
Uyles, Plantes, and Stones, with | their appUcations, as well for Phisicke 
as Chirurgene, the saied be- | yng well applied bryngeth suche present 
remedie for | all deseases, as maie seme altogether incredible : I notwith- 
standyng by practise founde out, | to bee true : Also the portrature of the 
saied Hearbes, very apt- | ly discribed : EngU- | shed by Jhon I Framp- I 
ton I Marchaunt | * j j \ f \. 

t Imprinted at London in | Poules Churche-yarde, by I Willyam Norton I 
Anno Domini. | 1577 |. -^ j \ j • i 

1580. Second edition. 

^^'^'^'t^^.^^^ ^^^^^ ' Bookes written in the | Spanishe tonge. by the famous I 
Phisition D. Monardes. residet in the | Citie of Seuill in Spaine and 
translated into Englishe by | Jhon Frampton | Marchant | 

Tf Imprinted at London in | Poules Churche-yarde, by I Willvam Norton 
I 1577 I- 
(A duplicate of the preceding with a different title-page.) 

1596. loyfull newes | out of the new-found | worlde | Wherein are declared 
the rare and | singuler vertues of diuers Herbs, Trees, | Plantes, Oyles 
& Stones, with their ap- | plications, as well to the vse of phisicts, as 
of I chirurgery, which being well applyed bring | a present remedie for 
al diseases, et may | seeme altogether incredible : Notwith- | standing 
by practice found out | to be true. | Also the portrature of the said Hearbs | 
very aptlie described : | by John Frampton, Marchant | Newly corrected 
as by conference with | the olde copies may appeare. WTier- | vnto 
are added three other bookes | treating of the Bezaar-stone, the herb | 
Escuerconera, the properties of Iron | and Steele in medicine and the 
be- I nefit of snow. Printed by E. Allde by the assigne of I Bonham 
Norton | 1596. 

(For the Spanish original and Latin, Italian, French, Flemish and German 
translations see Bibliography of Foreign Herbals.) 

Henry Lyte. 
1578. A Niewe Herball [ or Historic of Plantes : | wherein is contayned ( 
the whole discourse and perfect description of all sortes of Herbes | and 
Plantes : their diuers & sundry kindes : | their straunge Figures, Fashions, 
and Shapes : | their Names, Natures, Operations, and Ver- | tues : and 
that not onely of those whiche are | here growj'ng in this our Countrie of 
I Englande, but of all others also of forra>Tie Realmes, commonly | used in 
Physicke. | First set foorth in the Doutche or Almaigne | tongue, by 
that learned D. Rembert Do- | doens Physition to the Emperour : | And 
nowe first translated out of French into English, by Hen- | ry Lyte 
Esquyer. | At London | by me Gerard Dewes, dwelling in | Paules Church- 
yarde at the signe | of the Swanne. | 1578. 

Colophon. Imprinted at Antwerpe, by me | Henry Loe Bookeprintcr, 
and are to be | solde at London in Powels Churchyarde, | by Gerard 


1586. A New Herball or Historic of Plants : "U^erein is contained the whole 
discourse and perfect description of all sorts of Herbes and Plants : their 
diners and sundrie kindes : their Names, Natures, Operations & Vertues : 
and that not onely of those which are heere growing in this our Countrie 
of England, but of all others also of forraine Realms commonly used in 
Physicke. First set foorth in the Dutch or Almaigne toong by that learned 
D. Rembert Dodoens Physition to the Emperor : And now first translated 
out of French into Enghsh by Henrie Lyte Esquier. Imprinted at 
London by Ninian Newton. 1586. 

1595, Title identical with above, except for the addition of "Corrected and 
Amended. Imprinted at London by Edm: BoUifant, 1595." 

1619. A New Herbal or Historic of Plants : Wherein is contained the whole 
discourse and perfect description of all sorts of Herbes and Plants : their 
diners and sundry kindes their Names, Natures, Operations and Vertues : 
and that not onely of those which are here growing in this our Country 
of England but of all others also of forraine Realmes commonly used 
in Physicke. First set forth in the Dutch or Almaigne tongue by the 
learned D. Rembert Dodoens Physicion to the Emperor; and now first 
translated out of French into English by Henry Lyte Esquire. Corrected 
and Amended. Imprinted at London by Edward Griffin. 1619. 

William Ram. 

1606. Rams little Dodoen. A briefe Epitome of the New Herbal, or History 
of Plants. Wherein is contayned the disposition and true declaration of 
the Phisike helpes of all sortes of herbes and Plants, under their names 
and operations, not onely of those which are here in this our Countrey 
of England growing but of all others also of other Realmes, Countreyes 
and Nations used in Phisike : Collected out of the most exquisite newe 
Herball, or History of Plants first set forth in the Dutch or Almayne 
tongue by the learned and worthy man of famous memory, D. Rembert 
Dodeon, {sic) Phisicion to the Emperour ; And lately translated into English 
by Henry Lyte, Esquire ; And now collected and abbridged by William 
Ram, Gent. Pandit Oliua suos Ramos. 

Imprinted at London by Simon Stafford, dwelling in the Cloth Fayre> 
at the signe of the three Crownes. 1606. 

William Langham. 

1579. The Garden of Health : containing the sundry rare and hidden vertues 
and properties of all kindes of Simples and Plants. Together with the 
manner how they are to bee used and applyed in medicine for the health 
of mans body, against diners diseases and infirmities most common 
amongst men. Gathered by the long experience and industry of William 
Langham, Practitioner in Physicke. London. Printed by Thomas 
Harper with permission of the Company of Stationers. 

1633. Second edition. Identical title with the addition " The Second edition 
corrected and amended." 


Thomas Neuion. 

1587. An I Herbal For j the Bible. | Containing A Plaine | and familiar 
exposition | of such Similitudes, Parables, and | Metaphors, both in the 
olde Testament and | the Newe, as are borrowed and taken from J Herbs, 
Plants, Trees, Fruits, and Simples, | by obseruation of their Vertues, 
qualities, natures, proper- | ties, operations, | and effects : | And [ by the 
Holie Pro- | phets, Sacred Writers, | Christ himselfe, and his blessed 
Apostles I usu -.'.ly alledged, and unto their heauenly | Oracles, for the 
better beautifieng | and plainer opening of | the same, protitably | inserted | 
Drawen into EngHsh by Thomas | Newton. | Imprinted at London by 
Ed- I mund BoUifant | 1587 | 

(The dedicatory epistle is to the Earl of Essex.) 

John Gerard. 

1596. [Catalogus arborum fruticum ac plantarum tarn indigenarum quam 
exoticarum, in horto loannis Gerardi civis et Chirurgi Londinensis nascen- 
tium-Londini. Ex officina Roberti Robinson 1596.] 

1599. Second edition. Londini. Ex officina Arnoldi Hatfield, impensis 
loannis Norton. (The only known copy of the first edition is in the Sloane 
collection in the British Museum.) 

1876. Modern reprint with notes, etc., by B. D. Jackson. 

1597. The I Herball | or Generall | Historic of [ Plantes. [ Gathered by John 
Gerarde | of London Master in | Chirurgerie. | Imprinted at London by | 
John Norton. ( 1597. 

Colophon. Imprinted at London by Edm Bollifant, | for Bonham & 
John I Norton M.D.XCVII. 

1633. The I Herball | or Generall | Historic of | Plantes. ] Gathered by John 
Gerarde | of London Master in | Chirurgerie | \'ery much Enlarged and 
Amended by jThomas Johnson | Citizen and Apothecarye | of London. 

1636. Second edition of the above. 

John Parkinson. 

1629. [Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris. A Garden of all Sorts of Pleasant 
Flowers Which Our English Ayre will Permitt to be noursed up : with 
A Kitchen garden of all manner of herbes, rootes, cS: fruites, for mcate 
or sause used with us, and An Orchard of all sorte of fruit beanng Trees 
and shrubbes fit for our Land together With the right orderinge plantmg 
& preseruing of them and their uses & vertues. Collected by John 
Parkinson Apothecary of London 1629. 

Colophon. London. Printed by Humfrey Lownes and Robert \oung 
at the signe of the Starre on Bread-Street hill. 1629. 

1656. Second edition. Title, etc., identical with above. 

1904. Facsimile reprint. Paradisi in Sole. Paradisus Terrestris by John 
Parkinson. Faithfully reprinted from the edition of 1629. Methuen 
& Co.] 


1640. Theatnim Bo | tanicum : ] The Theater of Plants | or a Herball of | 
a I large extent : | containing therein a more ample and | exact History 
and declaration of the Physicall Herbs | and Plants that are in other 
Authors, encreased by the accesse of | many hundreds of newe, | rare 
and strange Plants from all parts of | the world, with sundry Gummes 
and other Physicall Materi | als than hath been hitherto published by any 
before, and | a most large demonstration of their Names and Vertues. | 
Shewing withall the many errors and differences & ] oversights of Sundry 
Authors that have formerly written of | them, and a certaine confidence, 
or most probable con | jecture of the true and Genuine Herbes [ and 
Plants. I Distributed into Sundry Classes or Tribes for the | more easie 
knowledge of the many Herbes of one nature | and property with the 
chief notes of Dr. Lobel, Dr. Bonham | and others inserted therein. | 
Collected by the many yeares travaile, industry and experience in this 
subject, by John Parkinson Apothecary of London, and the King's 
Herbarist. And Published by the King's Majestyes especiall priviledge. 
London. Printed by Tho. Cotes. 1640. 

Leonard Sowerhy. 

1651. [The Ladies Dispensatory, containing the Natures, Vertues, and 
QuaUties of all Herbs, and Simples usefull in Physick. Reduced into a 
Methodicall Order, for their more ready use in any sicknesse or other 
accident of the Body, The like never published in English. With An 
Alphabeticall Table of all the Vertues of each Herb, and Simple. London. 
Printed for R. Ibbitson, to be sold by George Calvert at the Halfe-Moon 
in Wathng Street. 1651.] 

Robert Pemell. 

1652. [Tractatus, De facultatibus Simphcium, A Treatise of the Nature and 
Quahties of such Simples as are most frequently used in Medicines. 
Methodically handled for the benefit of those that understand not the 
Latine Tongue. By Robert Pemell, Practitioner of Physick, at Cranebrooke 
in Kent. London, Printed by M. Simmons, for Philemon Stephens, at 
the guilded Lyon in St. Pauls Church-yard. 1652. 

1653. Second Part of the above " Treatise." London, Printed by J. Legatt, 
for Philemon Stephens, at the guilded Lion in Paul's Church-yard. 1653.] 

Nicholas Culpeper. 

1652. The English Physician Or an Astrologo-physical Discourse of the 
Vulgar Herbs of this Nation Being a Compleat Method of Physick whereby 
a man may preserve his Body in health ; or cure himself, being sick, for 
three pence charge, with such things one-ly as grow in England, they being 
most fit for English Bodies. 


Herein is also shewed, 

1. The way of making Plaisters, Oyntments, Oj'ls, Pultisscs, SjTups, 
Decoctions, Julips, or Waters of all Sorts of Physical Herbs, that you may 
have them ready for your use at all times of the year. 

2. What Planet governeth Every Herb or Tree used in Physick that 
groweth in England. 

3. The Time of gathering all Herbs, but vulgarly and astrologically. 

4. The way of drying and Keeping the Herbs all the year. 

5. The way of Keeping the Juyces ready for use at all times. 

6. The way of making and keeping all Kinde of usefull Compounds 
made of Herbs. 

7. The way of mixing Medicines according to Cause and Mi.xture of the 
Disease, and Part of the Body afflicted. 

By N. Culpeper, Student in Physick and Astrology. 

London, Printed for the benefit of the Common-wealth of England. 

(This is the edition repudiated by the author in subsequent editions 
as incorrect and unauthorised.) 

Subsequent editions 1653, 1661, 1693, 1695, 1714, 1725, 1733, 1784, 
1792, 1814, 1820. 
1818. {Welsh translation.) Herbal, Neu Lysieu-Lyfr. Y Rhan Gyntaf, Yn 
Cynnwys Go o Gynghorion Teuluaidd Hawdd iw cael; Wedi ei casglu 
allan o Waith. N. Culpeper. Ag amrj^viol eraill, a'r rhan fwyaf o 
honynt wedi eu profi yn rhinwellol ac effeilhiol i symud yr amry^vrol 
ddoluriau ac y mae ein Cyrph llygredig yn ddarostyngedig iddynt : Ac 
y maent yn hollawl ilw defnyddw o Ddail a Llysiau ein bwlad ein hunain. 
Cewch hefyd gyfar wyddyd i ollwng Gwaed, ac y gymeryd Purge. Yr 
ail argraphiad. Gan D. T. Jones. Caernarfon, Argraphwyd Gan L. E. 
Jones. 1818. 
1862. Second edition of the above. 

William Coles. 

1656. The Art of Simphng. An Introduction to the Knowledge and Gathering 
of Plants. Wherein the Definitions, Divisions, Places, Descriptions, 
Differences, Names, Vertues, Times of flourishing and gathering. Uses, 
Temperatures, Signatures and Appropriations of Plants, are methodically 
laid down. WTiereunto is added A Discovery of the Lesser World. By 
W. Coles. London. Printed by J. G. for Nath: Brook at the Angell m 
Cornhill. 1656. . 

1657. Adam in Eden, or Nature's Paradise. The History of Plants, Fruits, 
Herbs and Flowers. With their several Names, whether Greek, Latin, or 
English; the places where they grow; their Descriptions and Kinds; 
their times of flourishing and decreasing ; as also their several Signatures, 
Anatomical Appropriations, and particular Physical \'ertues; together 
with necessary Observations on the Seasons of Planting, and gathering 
of our EngHsh Simples, with Directions how to preserve them in their 
Compositions or otherwise. A Work of such a Refined and Useful Method 
that the Arts of Physick and Chirurgerie are so clearly Laid Open, that 


Apothecaries, Chirurgions, and all other ingenuous Practitioners, may 
from our own Fields and Gardens, best agreeing with our English Bodies, 
on emergent and Sudden occasions, compleatly furnish themselves with 
cheap, easie, and wholesome Cures for any part of the body that is ill- 
affected. For the Herbarists greater benefit, there is annexed a Latin and 
English Table of the several names of Simples ; with another more par- 
ticular Table of the Diseases, and their Cures, treated of in this so necessary 
a Work. By Wilham Coles, Herbarist. Printed by J. Streater for 
Nathaniel Brooke. 

Robert Lovell. 

1659. IIAMBOTANOAOriA. Sive Enchiridion Botanicum. Or a compleat 
Herball, Containing the Summe of what hath hitherto been published 
either by Ancient or Modeme Authors both Galenicall and Chymicall, 
touching Trees, Shrubs, Plants, Fruits, Flowers, etc. In an Alphabetical! 
order : wherein all that are not in the Physick Garden in Oxford are 
noted with asterisks. Shewing their Place, Time, Names, Kindes, 
Temperature, \''ertues. Use, Dose, Danger and Antidotes. Together 
with an Introduction to Herbarism.e, etc. Appendix of Exoticks. 
Universall Index of plants : shewing what grow wild in England. By 
Robert Lovell. Oxford. Printed by William Hall for Ric Davis. 
An. 1659. 

1665. Second edition. IIAMBOTANOAOriA. Sive Enchiridion Botanicum. 
Or a compleat Herball, Containing the Summe of Ancient and Moderne 
Authors, both Galenical and Chymical, touching Trees, Shrubs, Plants, 
Fruits, Flowers, etc. In an Alphabetical order: wherein all that are 
not in the Physick Garden in Oxford are noted with Asterisks. Shewing 
their Place, Time, Names, Kinds, Temperature, Vertues, Use, Dose, 
Danger and Antidotes. Together with An Introduction to Herbarisme, 
etc. Appendix of Exoticks. Universal Index of Plants : shewing 
what grow wild in England. The second Edition with many Additions 
mentioned at the end of the Preface. By Robert Lovell. 
Oxford. Printed by W. H. for Ric. Davis. 1665. 

John Josselyn. 

1672. [New England's Rarities Discovered in Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, 
and Plants of that country. Together with the Physical and Chyrurgical 
Remedies wherewith the Natives constantly use to Cure their Distempers, 
Wounds and Sores. Also A perfect Description of an Indian Squa in all 
her Bravery; with a Poem not improperly Conferr'd upon her. Lastly 
A Chronological Table of the most remarkable Passages in that Country 
amongst the Enghsh. Illustrated with Cuts. By John Josselyn Gent. 

London Printed for G. Widdowes at the Green Dragon in St. Pauls 
Church-yard, 1672.] 


W. Hughes. 

1672. The American Physitian; Or a Treatise of the Roots, Plants, Trees, 
Shrubs, Fruit, Herbs, etc., growing in the EngHsh Plantations in America. 
Describing the Place, Time, Names, Kindes, Temperature, \'ertues and 
Uses of them, either for Diet, Physick, etc. Whereunto is added A 
Discourse of the Cacao-Nut-Tree, and the use of its Fruit, with all the ways 
of making Chocolate. The hke never extant before, hy W. Hughes. 

London, Printed by J. C. for William Crook, at the Green Dragon without 
Temple-Bar. 1672. 

John Archer. 

1673. A Compendious Herbal, discovering the Physical X'ertue of all Herbs 
in this Kingdom, and what Planet rules each Herb, and how to gather them 
in their Planetary Hours. Written by John Archer, One of His Majesties 
Physicians in Ordinary. London, Printed for the Author, and are to be 
sold at his House at the Sign of the Golden Ball in Winchester Street, near 
Broad Street. 1673. 

Robert Morison. 

1680. [Plantarum Historige Universalis Oxoniensis. Pars Secunda seu Her- 
barum Distributio Nova, per Tabulas Cognationis & Affinitatis Ex Libro 
Naturae Observata & Detecta. Auctore Roberto Morison. Medico & 
Professore Botanico Regio, nee non Inclytae & Celeberrimae Universitatis 
Oxoniensis P. B. ejusdemque Hort. Botan. Prafecto primo. Oxonii, 
E Theatro Sheldoniano Anno Domini ^LD.C.LXXX. 

1699. Pars tertia. Partem banc tertiam, post Auctoris mortem, hortatu 
Academias explevit & absolvit Jacobus Bobartius forte praefectus.] 
(The first part was never published.) 

John Ray. 

1686. [Historia Plantarum Species hactenus editas aliasque insuper multas 
noviter inventas & descriptas complectens. In qua agitur primo De 
Plantis in genere, Earumque Partibus, Accidentibus & Differentiis ; 
Deinde Genera omnia tum summa tum Subalterna ad Species usque 
infimas, Notis suis certis & Characteristicis Definita, Methodo Naturae 
vestigiis insistente disponuntur; Species Singulre accurate describuntur, 
obscura illustrantur, omissa supplentur, superflua resecantur, Synon\nna 
necessaria Adjiciuntur ; Vires denique & Usus recepti compendio traduntur. 
Auctore Joanne Raio, E Societate Regia & S.S. Individuas Trinitatis Collegii 
apud Cantabrigienses Quondam Socio. 

Londini Mariae Clark : Prostant apud Henricum Faithorne Regiae 
Societatis Typographum ad Insigne Rosae in Caemeterio. D Pauli. 



Leonard Plukenei. 

1690. [Leonard! Plukenetij Phytographia. Sive Stirpium Illustriorum & 
minus cognitarum Icones, Tabulis iEneis, Summa diligentia elaboratas, 
Quanim unaquaeg Titulis descriptorijs ex Notis Suis proprijs, & Character- 
isticis desumptis, insignita; ab alijs ejusdem Sortis facile discriminatur. 
Pars prior Meminisse juvabit. Londini MDCXC, Sumptibus Autoris.] 

William Westmacott. 

1694. ©EOAOBOTANOAOriA. Sive Historia Vegetabilium Sacra : or, a Scrip- 
ture Herbal ; wherein all the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs, Plants, Flowers, Fruits, 
&c.. Both Foreign and Native, that are mentioned in the Holy Bible, 
(being near Eighty in Number) are in an Alphabetical Order, Rationally 
Discoursed of. Shewing, Their Names, Kinds, Descriptions, Places, Manner 
of Propagation, Countries, various Uses, Qualities and Natural Principles, 
&c. Together with their Medicinal Preparations, Virtues and Dose, 
Galenically and Chymically handled and Performed according to the 
newest Doctrines of Philosophy, Herbarism and Physick. The whole 
being Adorned with variety of Matter, and Observations, not only Medi- 
cinall, but Relating to the Alimental and Mechanical Uses of the Plants, 
Fit for Divines, and all Persons of any other Profession and Calling what- 
soever, that use to read the Holy Scriptures, wherein they find not only 
Physick for the Soul, but also with the help of this Herbal, (may the better 
understand the Bible, which also yields them) safe Medicines for the Cure 
of their Corporal Diseases. The like never extant before. By William 
Westmacott of the Borough of Newcastle under Line, in the County of 
Stafford, Physican. Adoro Scripturae Plenitudinem. Tertul. London, 
Printed for T. Salusbury, at the King's-Arms next St. Dunstan's Church 
in Fleet-street. 1694. 

John Pechey. 

1694. The Compleat Herbal of Physical Plants. Containing All such English 
and Foreign Herbs, Shrubs and Trees, as are used in Physick and Surgery. 
And to the Virtues of those that are now in use, is added one Receipt, or 
more, of some Learned Physician. The Doses or Quantities of such as are 
prescribed by the London Physicians, and others, are proportioned. Also 
Directions for Making Compound-Waters, Syrups Simple and Com- 
pound, Electuaries, PiUs, Powders, and other Sorts of Medicines. More- 
over, The Gums, Balsams, Oyls, Juices, and the like, which are sold by 
Apothecaries and Druggists, are added to this Herbal ; and their Virtues 
and Uses are fully described. By John Pechey, Of the College of Physicians, 
in London. Printed for Henry Bonwicke, at the Red Lyon in St. Paul's 
Church-yard. 1694. 


William Salmon. 
1710. Botanologia. The English Herbal : or History of Plants. Containing 
I. Their Names, Greek, Latine and English. H. Their Species, or various 
Kinds. HI. Their Descriptions. IV. Their Places of Growth. V. Their 
Times of Flowering and Seeding. \T. Their Qualities or Properties. 
VII. Their Specifications. \TII. Their Preparations, Galenick and 
Chymick. IX. Their Virtues and Uses. X. A Complete Florilegium, 
of all the choice Flowers cultivated by our Florists, interspersed through 
the whole Work, in their proper Places; where you have their Culture, 
Choice, Increase, and Way of Management, as well for Profit as for 
Delectation. Adorned with Exquisite Icons or Figures, of the most 
considerable Species, representing to the Life, the true Forms of those 
Several Plants. The whole in an Alphabetical Order. By William 
Salmon, M.D. London : Printed by I. Dawks, for H. Rhodes, at the Star, 
the Corner of Bride-Lane, in Fleet-Street; and J. Taylor, at the Ship in 
Pater-noster-Row. M.DCC.X. 

(The dedicatory epistle is to Queen Anne.) 

James Peliicr. 

1715. [Hortus Peruvianus Medicinalis : or, the South-Sea herbal. Containing 
the names, figures, vse, &c., of divers medicinal plants, lately discovered 
by Pere L. Feuillee, one of the King of France's herbalists. To which are 
added, the figures, &c., of divers American gum-trees, dying woods, drugs, 
as the Jesuits bark-tree and others, much desired and very necessary to be 
known by all such as now traffick to the South-Seas or reside in those parts.] 

(Undated.) Botanicum Londinense, or London Herbal. Giving the Names, 
Descriptions and Virtues &c. of such Plants about London as have been 
observed in the several Monthly Herborizings made for the Use of the young 
Apothecaries and others, Students in the Science of Botany or Knowledge 
of Plants. 

(Undated.) Botanicum Anglicum, or The EngHsh Herball : Wherein is 
contained a curious Collection of Real Plants being the true Patterns of 
such Trees, Shrubs and Herbs as are obser\'ed to grow Wild in England. 
By which any one may most easily attain to the Speedy and True Know- 
ledge of them. With an Account (affixed to each Plant) of their Names, 
Places where Growing, and Times of Flourishing : As also what Parts and 
Preparations, of Each Physical Plant, are most in Use. And for the 
farther Instruction and Satisfaction of such, who are Lovers of Plants, 
The Composer of this Collection chose to make his chiefest References to 
the General History, Catalogue and Synopsis of that Learned Author, 
and most Judicious Botanist, Mr. John Ray : As also to our Two most 
Esteemed English Herballs, Johnson upon Gerard and Parkinson; and 
for your more speedy finding each Plant, he hath quoted the Page, wherem 
you may obser\'e its Name, Figure or Description. 

Sold by Samuel Smith at the Princes-Arms in St. Paul's Church-yard. 

[Undated. The Virtues of several Sovereign Plants found wild m 
Maryland with Remarks on them.] 


Tonrnefort's Herbal. 

1716. The Compleat Herbal : or, the Botanical Institutions of Mr. Tournefort, 
Chief Botanist to the late French King. Carefully translated from the 
original Latin. With large Additions, from Ray, Gerard, Parkinson, and 
others, the most celebrated Moderns ; Containing what is further observable 
upon the same Subject, together with a full and exact Account of the Physical 
Virtues and Uses of the several Plants ; and a more compleat Dictionary 
of the Technical Words of this Art, than ever hitherto published : Illustrated 
with about five hundred Copper Plates, containing above four thousand 
different Figures, all curiously engraven. A Work highly Instructive, 
and of general Use. 

In the Savoy : Printed by John Nutt, and Sold by J. Morphew near 
Stationers-Hall, and most Booksellers in Great-Britain and Ireland. 1716. 

Joseph Miller. 

1722. Botanicum Officinale ; or a Compendious Herbal : giving an account of 
all such Plants as are now used in the Practice of Physick. With their 
Descriptions and Virtues. By Joseph Miller. London : Printed for E. 
Bell in Cornhill, J. Senex in Fleet-Street, W. Taylor in Pater-noster-Row, 
and J. Osborn in Lombard-Street. M.DCC.XXII. 
(The book is dedicated to Sir Hans Sloane.) 

Patrick Blair. 

1723. Pharmaco-Botanologia : or, An Alphabetical and Classical Dissertation 
on all the British Indigenous and Garden Plants of the New London Dis- 
pensatory. In which Their Genera, Species, Characteristick and Distinctive 
Notes are Methodically described ; the Botanical Terms of Art explained ; 
their Virtues, Uses, and Shop-Preparations declared. With many curious 
and useful Remarks from proper Observation. By Patrick Blair, M.D., of 
Boston in Lincolnshire and Fellow of the Royal Society. London : 
Printed for G. Strahan at the Golden Ball over-against the Royal Exchange 
in Cornhill; W. and J. Innys at the West End of St. Paul's Church-yard; 
and W. Mears at the Lamb, without Temple Bar. MDCCXXIII. 

Elizabeth Blackwell. 

1737. A Curious Herbal, Containing Five Hundred Cuts, of the most useful 
Plants, which are now used in the Practice of Physick. Engraved on 
folio Copper Plates, after Drawings, taken from the Life. By Ehzabeth 
Blackwell. To which is added a short Description of y« Plants ; and their 
common Uses in Physick. London. Printed for Samuel Harding in 
St. Martin's Lane. MDCCXXXVIL 


1757. Herbarium Blackwellianvm Emendatvm et Anotivm id est Elisabelhai 
Blackwell Collectio Stirpium Qvne in Pharmacopoliis ad Medicvm vsvm 
asservantvr Ovarvm Descriptio et Vires ex Anglico idiomate in Latinvm 
conversa^sistvntvr figure maximam partem ad naturale Exemplar emcn- 
dantvr floris frvctvsqve parti vm repnesentatione avgentvr et Probatis 
Botanicorvm nominibvs cum pntfatione Tit. PI. D.D. Christoph. 
lacobi Trew . Excvdit figvras pinxit atqve in xs incidit Nicolavs-Fridericvs 
Eisenbergervs sereniss . Dvcis Saxo-Hildbvrg . Pictor avlicvs Norimbergae 
Degens . Norim bergae Typis Christiani de Lavnoy Anno MDCCL\'II. 

Thomas Short. 

1747. Medicina Britannica : or a Treatise on such Physical Plants, as are 
Generally to be found in the Fields or Gardens in Great-Britain : Con- 
taining A particular Account of their Nature, Virtues, and Uses. Together 
with The Observations of the most learned Physicians, as well ancient as 
modern, communicated to the late ingenious Mr. Ray, and the learned Dr. 
Sim. Pauli . Adapted more especially to the Occasions of those, whose 
Condition or Situation of Life deprives them, in a great Measure, of the 
Helps of the Learned. By Tho. Short of Sheffield, M.D. London, 
Printed for R. Manby & H. Shute Cox, opposite the Old Baily on 
Ludgate-Hill. MDCCXLVH. 

1748. [A complete History of Drugs. Written in French By Monsieur Pomet, 
Chief Druggist to the late French King Lewis XIV. To which is added 
what is farther observable on the same Subject, from Mess Lemery and 
Tournefort, Divided into Three Classes, Vegetable, Animal, and Mineral ; 
With their Use in Physic, Chemistry, Pharmacy, and several other Arts. 
Illustrated with above Four Hundred Copper-Cuts, curiously done from the 
Life; and an Explanation of their different Names, Places of Growth, 
and Countries where they are produced ; with the Methods of distinguishing 
the Genuine and Perfect, from the Adulterated, Sophisticated and 
Decayed; together with their Virtues, &c. A Work of very great Use 
and Curiosity. Done into Enghsh from the Originals. London. Printed 
for J. and J. Bonwicke, S. Birt, W. Parker, C. Hitch, and E. Wicksteed. 

(The above is dedicated to Sir Hans Sloane.) 

James Nexvion. 

1752. A compleat Herbal of the late James Newton, M.D., Containing the 
Prints and the English Names of several thousand Trees, Plants, 
Shrubs, Flowers, Exotics, etc. All curiously engraved on Copper-Plates. 
London : Printed by E. Cave at S. John's Gate ; and sold by Mr. 
Watson, an Apothecary, over-against St. Martin's Church, in the Strand ; 
Mr. Parker, at Oxford; Mr. Sandby, at the Ship, in Fleet-street. 


" Sir " John Hill. 

1755. The Family Herbal, or an account of all those English Plants, which 
are remarkable for their virtues, and of the Drugs which are produced by 
Vegetables of other Countries ; with their descriptions and their uses, as 
proved by experience. Also directions for the gathering and preserving 
roots, herbs, flowers, and seeds ; the various methods of preserving these 
simples for present use ; receipts for making distilled waters, conserves, 
syrups, electuaries, Juleps, draughts, &c., &c., with necessary cautions in 
giving them. Intended for the use of families. By Sir John Hill, M.D., 
F.R.A. of Sciences at Bourdeaux. 

Subsequent editions, 1812, 1820. 

1756. The British Herbal ; An History of Plants and Trees, Natives of Britain, 
cultivated for use, or raised for beauty. By John Hill, M.D. London. 
Printed for T. Osborne and J. Shipton, in Grays-Inn; J. Hodges, near 
London-Bridge; J. Newbery in S. Paul's Church-Yard; B. ColHns; And 
S. Crowder and H. Woodgate, in Pater-noster-Row. MDCCLVI. 

1769. Herbarium Britannicum Exhibens Plantas Britanniae Indigenas secun- 
dum Methodum floralem novam digestas. Cum Historia, Descriptione, 
Characteribus Specificis, Viribus, et Usis. Auctore Johanne Hill, Medi- 
cinae Doctore, Academiae Imperialis Naturae Curiosorum Dioscoride quarto, 
&c. Londini : Sumptibus auctoris. Prostant apud Baldwin, Ridley, 
Nourse, Becket, Davies, Cambell, Elmsly BibliopoUs. MDCCLXIX. 

Timothy Sheldrake. 

1759 {circ). Botanicum Medicinale ; An Herbal of Medicinal Plants on the College 
of Physicians List. Describing their Places of Growth, Roots, Bark, Leaves, 
Buds, Time of Flowering, Blossoms, Flowers, Stiles, Chives, Embrio's, 
Fruits, Farina, Colours, Seeds, Kernels, Seed- Vessels, Parts used in Medicine, 
Preparations in the Shops, Medicinal Virtues, Names in Nine Languages. 
Most beautifully engraved on 120 Large Folio Copper-Plates, From the 
Exquisite Drawings of the late Ingenious T. Sheldrake. EngHsh Plants 
are drawn from Nature to the greatest Accuracy, Flowers, or Parts, too 
small to be distinguished, are magnified. Nothing in any Language 
exceeds this Thirty Years laborious Work, of which may truly be said that 
Nature only equals it, every Thing of the Kind, hitherto attempted, being 
trivial, compared to this inimitable Performance. Designed to promote 
Botanical Knowledge, prevent Mistakes in the Use of Simples in compound- 
ing and preparing Medicines, to illustrate, and render such Herbals as want 
the Just Representations in their proper Figures and Colour more useful. 
Necessary to such as practise Physic, Pharmacy, Chemistry, &c., enter- 
taining to the Curious, the Divine and Philosopher, in contemplating these 
wonderful Productions, — useful to Painters, Heralds, Carvers, Designers, 
Gardeners, etc. The Colours of every part are minutely described; for 
Utility it must be esteemed to any Hortus Siccus extant. The Means to 
preserve Fruits, or to dry Flowers, in their Native Form and Colour are 


not yet discovered; Plants cannot be preserved to Perfection. The 
Flowers, when coloured, are represented in their original Bloom, and 
Fruits in the inviting Channs of Maturity. To wliich is now added His 
Tables for finding the Heat and Cold in all Climates, that Exotic Plants may 
be raised in Summer, and preserved in Winter. London. Printed for 
J. Millan, opposite the Admiralty, Whitehall. 

John Edwards. 

1770. The British Herbal containing one hundred Plates of the most beautiful 
and scarce Flowers and useful Medicinal Plants which blow in the open Air 
of Great Britain, accurately coloured from Nature, with their Botanical 
Characters, and A short account of their Cultivation, etc., etc. By John 
Edwards. London : Printed for the Author ; and sold by J. Edmonson 
Painter to Her Majesty in Warwick Street. Golden Square; and J. Walter 
at Homer's Head, Charing-Cross. MDCCLXX. 

1775. A select Collection of One Hundred Plates; consisting of the most 
beautiful exotic and British Flowers which blow in our Enghsh Gardens, 
accurately drawn and Coloured from Nature, with their Botanic Characters! 
and a short account of their Cultivation, Their uses in Medicine, with Their 
Latin and English Names. By John Edwards. London : Printed for 
S. Hooper, No. 25 Ludgate-Hill. M.DCC.LXX\\ 

William Meyrick. 

1789. The New Family Herbal ; or Domestic Physician : Enumerating 
with accurate Descriptions, All the known \'egetables which are any 
way remarkable for medical efficacy; with an account of their \'irtues 
in the Several Diseases incident to the Human Frame. Illustrated 
with figures of the most remarkable plants, accurately delineated and 
engraved. By William Me}Tick, Surgeon. Birmingham, Printed by 
Pearson and Rollason, and Sold bv R. Baldwin, Pater-noster Row London 

1790. Second edition — Title, etc., identical with above. 

Henry Barham. 

1794. Hortus Americanus : Containing an account of the Trees. Shrubs, and 
other Vegetable Productions, of South-America and the West India Islands, 
and particularly of the Island of Jamaica ; Interspersed with many curious 
and useful Observations, respecting their Uses in Medicine, Diet, and 
Mechanics. By the late Dr. Henry Barham. To which are added a 
Linnasan Index, etc., etc., etc. Kingston, Jamaica : printed and pub- 
lished by Alexander Arkman, Printer to the King's most Excellent Majesty, 
and to the Honourable House of Assembly. MDCCXCH'. 


Robert John Thornton. 

1810. A Family Herbal : a Familiar Account of the Medical Properties of 
British and Foreign Plants, also their uses in dying, and the various Arts, 
arranged according to the Linnsean System, and illustrated by two hundred 
and fifty-eight engravings from plants drawn from Nature by Henderson, 
and engraved by Bewick of Newcastle. By Robert John Thornton, M.D., 
Member of the University of Cambridge, and of the Royal London College 
of Physicians ; Lecturer on Botany at Guy's Hospital ; Author of a 
Grammar of Botany, the Philosophy of Medicine, etc. London : Printed 
for B. & R. Crosby and Co., Stationer's Court, Ludgate Street. 

1814. Second edition. 

Jonathan Stokes. 

1812. A Botanical Materia Medica, Consisting of the Generic and Specific 
Characters of the Plants used in Medicine and Diet, with Synonyms, And 
references to Medical authors, By Jonathan Stokes, M.D. In Four volumes. 
London, Printed for J. Johnson and Co. St. Paul's Churchyard. 18 12. 

Thomas Green. 

1816. The Universal Herbal ; or. Botanical, Medical, and Agricultural Diction- 
ary. Containing an account of All the known plants in the World, 
arranged according to the Linnean System. Specifying the uses to which 
they are or may be applied, whether as Food, as Medicine, or in the Arts 
and Manufactures. With the best methods of Propagation, and the most 
recent agricultural improvements. Collected from indisputable Authorities. 
Adapted to the use of the Farmer — the Gardener — the Husbandman — the 
Botanist — the Florist — and Country Housekeepers in General. By 
Thomas Green. Liverpool. Printed at the Caxton Press by Henry 
Fisher, Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty. Sold at 87, Bartholomew 
Close, London. 

1824. Second edition. 

John Lindley. 

1838. Flora Medica; A Botanical Account of all the more important plants 
used in Medicine, in different parts of the world. By John Lindley, 
Ph.D., F.R.S., Professor of Botany in University College, London; Vice- 
Secretary of the Horticultural Society, etc. etc. etc. London : Printed for 
Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, Paternoster- Row. 1838. 

The majority of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century gardening 
books devote considerable space to herbs. See especially : — 
1563. Thomas Hill. The profitable Arte of Gardening. 
1594. Sir Hugh Piatt. The Garden of Eden. 

1617. Gervase Markham. The Country Housewife's Garden. 

1618. Wilham Lawson. A new Orchard and Garden with the Country 
Housewife's Garden. 


(Printed books) 

This list includes only the chief works, and those which have some con- 
nection with the history of the herbal in England. With the exception of the 
Arbolayre, copies of all the incunabula herbals mentioned below are to be found 
in the British Museum. Copies in American libraries are noted in the list. 

BartholomcBus Anglicus. 

1470. Bartholomaeus AngHcus. Liber de proprietatibus rerum. Printed at 

Basle with the tj^pe used by both Richel and Wensler. 
I470(?) Liber de proprietatibus rerum Bartholomei Anglici. Printed at 
Cologne by Ulrich Zell. 

Subsequent editions, 1480, 1481, 1482, 1483, 1485, 1488, 1491, 1492, 
1519, 1601. 
{French translation.) 

(A translation was made by Fr. Jehan Corbichon in 1372 for Charles V. 
of France.) 
1482. Cy commence vng tres excellent liure nomme le proprietaire des choses 
par Fr. Jehan Corbichon. Printed at Lyons. 

Subsequent editions printed at Lyons, 1485, 1491, 1498 (?), 1525, 
1530 (?), 1539. 1556. 
1485. {Dutch translation.) Printed at Haarlem by Jacop Bellaert. 
1494. {Spanish translation.) El hbro de propietatibus {sic) rerum trasladado 

de latin en romance por ^''incente de burgos. 
1529. Another edition printed at Toledo. 

Das pfich dcr na/ur. 

1475. Konrad von Megenburg. Das puch der natur. Printed at Augsburg 
by Hanns Bamler. 

(There are a large number of MSS. of the above extant, eighteen of 
them being in the Vienna library. Eighty-nine herbs and their virtues 
are described. The woodcuts in this book are exceptionally fine. (There 
is only one of plants.) In some copies the woodcuts are coloured by a 
contemporary artist, possibly Bamler himself, for he was well known 
as an illuminator before he began printing. Though not strictly a herbal, 
the above is included in this list, as this a.nd Liber Jc Proprietatibus Rerum 
are the earliest printed books containing a section on herbs.) 

1478. Another edition. 

1499. Another edition. Printed at Augsburg by Hanns Schonspcrger. 
Cuts are copies of those in the first edition, with the addition of two 
others from the Strassburg Hortus Sanitatis of circa 1490. 


Alhertus Magnus. 

1478. Albertus Magnus. Liber aggregationis seu liber secretorum. Alberti 
Magni de virtutibus herbarum animalium et mirabilis mundi. {Colophon) 
per Johannem de Annunciata de Augusta. 

1500. Edition printed at Rouen by Thomas Laisne. 

(This book claims Albertus Magnus as its author, but is wholly 
unworthy of that great scholar.) 

Herbarium Apuleii Platonici. 

1480 {circ). Incipit Herbarium Apuleii Platonici ad Marcum Agrippam. 
Printed at Rome by Philippus de Lignamine, courtier and physician to 
Sixtus IV. First impression dedicated to Cardinal de Gonzaga. Second 
impression to Cardinal de Ruvere. The copy in the British Museum 
has the Ruvere dedication. 

America : Library of Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears, Boston. 

The Latin Herbariiis. 

1484. Herbarius Maguntie impressus. Anno 7 CLXXXIV. Printed at Mainz 
by Peter Schoffer. 

(This is the book sometimes spoken of as Aggregator, but this word 
was never used as the actual title in any edition. The work is a Com- 
pilation from mediaeval writers and consists of homely herbal remedies. 
The figures of plants are pleasing and decorative. The copy in the British 
Museum is not perfect, but there is a perfect copy in the Kew Library. 
America : Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. 

1485. Herbarius Patavis impressus Anno domi 7 cetera LXXXV. Printed 
at Passau by Conrad Stahel. 

(This edition is sometimes known as Aggregator Patavinus.) 

America : John Crerar Library, Chicago. 
i486. Another edition printed at Passau. 

Undated editions. There are several in the British Museum. It is 
believed that one of them belonged to Sir Thomas More. 

America : J. P. Morgan Library, New York. 
1484. (Flemish translation.) Flemish translation printed by John Veldener 

1500. Edition evidently a reprint of above printed by W. Osterman at 

America : Hawkins Collection, Annmary Brown Memorial, Providence. 
{Italian editions.) 
1491. Edition printed at Vicenza by Leonard of Basel and WilHam of Pavia. 

America : Boston Medical Library, Boston. 
1499. Edition printed at Venice by Simon of Pavia. 

America : Surgeon-General's Library, Washington. 
1502. Edition printed at Venice by Christ, de Pensa. 


^^^^Vercellenses^'^'"^^'^ ^^ ^'^"'"^^ ^^ ^^' ^"^^^"^ ^^ Bernardinum Fratres 
1534- {Italian iranslaiion.) Hcrbolario \'olgare nel quale le virtu de la herbe 

etc., con alcune belle aggionte noua mC-te de latino in \'olgare tradulto' 

Printed at Venice. 
Subsequent editions, 1536, 1539, 1540. 
(In the Italian editions and translations the book is erroneously 

attnbuted to Arnold de Nova \'illa, whose name is mentioned on the 

title-page with that of Avicenna. This error is pointed out in the 

Bntish Museum Catalogue.) 
1485 (circ.) {French edition.) Printed at Paris by Jean Bonhomme. 

Hcrbarius zu teutsch. 

1455. Herbarius zu Teutsch. Printed at Mainz by Peter Schoffer. 
America: Surgeon-General's Library, Washington, and library' of 

Mrs. Montgomery Sears, Boston. 
The illustrations in this herbal are evidently drawn from nature, and 
are generally held to be only surpassed by those in the herbals of Brunfels 
and Fuchs. The preface is singularly beautiful. Though the preface 
enjoins the name " Ortus Sanitatis, in German, a Garden of Health," 
the title in this and subsequent editions is Herbarius zu teutsch. 
1485 (a few months later than the above). Pirated edition printed at Augs- 
burg, probably by Schonsperger. It is interesting to note that in this 
edition a pine cone, the badge of Augsburg, appears on the title-page. 
Figures of plants are very inferior to those in the first edition. 

1456. Edition printed at Augsburg by Schonsperger. 

Subsequent editions, I4S7(?), 1488, 1493, 1496, 1499, ^oO-- There 
are several undated editions. 

America : Copy of edition printed in 1493 in Library of the College of 
Physicians, Philadelphia. 

A rbolayre. 

1485 [circ.) Arbolayre contenat la qualitey et virtus proprietey des herbes 
gomes et simeces extraite de plusiers tratiers de medicine coment davicene 
de rasis de constatin de ysaac et plateaire selon le conu usaige bien correct. 
(Supposed to have been printed by M. Husz at Lyons. It is believed 
that there are now only two copies of this book extant. One is in the 
Bibhotheque Nationale, Paris. The other was sold in London, March 2^ 

Le Grand Hcrbicr. 

Before 1526. Le Grand Herbier en Francoys, contenant les qualites vertus 
et proprietes des herbes, arbres gommes. Printed at Paris by Pierre Sergent. 


Ortus Sanitatis. 

1491. Ortus Sanitatis. Printed at Mainz by Jacob Meydenbach. 

(This is often regarded as a Latin translation of the Herbarius zu teutsch, 
but it is much larger and owes very little to that work. The woodcuts 
are copied from the Herbarius zu teutsch, but they are inferior.) 

America : Surgeon-General's Library, Washington ; John Crerar 
Library, Chicago; Arnold Arboretum, Boston; Mrs. J. Montgomery 
Sears Library, Boston ; and J. P. Morgan Library, New York. 
1511. Edition printed at Venice. 

There are several undated editions. 

America : Library of Congress, Washington ; Arnold Arboretum, 
Boston; Surgeon-General's Library, Washington; Dr. G. F. Kunz's 
Library, New York. 
1500 [circ.) {French translation.) Ortus Sanitatis translate de Latin en 
francois. Printed at Paris by A. Verard. 

(The copy in the British Museum belonged to Henry VII.) 

1539 (?) Edition printed at Paris by Philippe le Noir with the title " Le 

Jardin de Sante translate de latin en francoys nouvellement Imprime a 

Paris. On les vend a Paris en la rue sainct Jacques a lenseigne de la 

Rose blanche couronnee. {Colophon) Imprime a Paris par Philippe le noir." 

^milius Macer. 

1491 (?). Macer floridus De viribus herbarum. Printed at Paris. 

1500 (?). Another edition. (Paris?) 

1506. Herbarum varias (\ vis cognoscere vires Macer adest : disce quo duca 
doct'eris. {Colophon) Impressus Parisius per magistrum Johannem 
leune. Pro Magistro Petro Bacquelier. 1506. 

1588. {French translation.) Les fleurs du livre des vertus des herbes, com- 
pose jadis en vers Latins par Macer Floride. Le tout mis en Fran9ois 
par M. Lucas Tremblay, Parisien . . . Rouen. 

Jerome of Brunswick. 

1500. Liber de arte distillandi de Simplicibus. Johannes Griieninger, Strass- 
burg. 1500. 

{English translation.) See Bibliography of English Herbals. 

Johann Czerny. 

1517. Kineha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz. Hieronymous Holtzel. Niirn- 
berg. 1517. 


Otto von Brunfds. 

1530. Herbarum vivae eicones ad nature imitationem, suma cum diligentia 
et artificis effigiate. . . . Argentorati apud loannem Schottum. 
Subsequent editions, 1530, 1531, 1532, 1536, 1537. 

(The illustrations in this herbal are much superior to the text, which 
is based chiefly on the writings of the Italian herbahsts. Brunfeis was a 
Carthusian monk who turned Protestant. Jacob Theodor (Tabema-mon- 
tanus) was a pupil of Brunfeis.) 

Eucharius Rhodion. 

1533. Kreutterbuch von allem Erdtgewachs Anfenglich von Doctor Johan 
Cuba zusamen bracht Jetzt widerum new Corrigert. . . . Mit warer 
Abconterfeitung aller Kreuter. . . . Zu Franckfurt am Meyn, Bei 
Christian Egenolph. 1533. 

(The above was not an original work, but merely a revised and improved 
edition of the German Herbarius. The illustrations are copies of those 
in Brunfels's herbal.) 

lean Ruel. 

1536. De Nature stiipium libri tres, Joanne Ruellio authore. . . . Parisiis 
Ex officina Simonis Colinaei. 1536. 

(Jean Ruel was a physician and a professor in the University of Paris.) 

Leonhard Fuchs. 

1542. De historia stirpium effectis 6c expressis Leonharto Fuchsio. . . . 
Basileae, in officina Isingriniana. Anno Christi 1542. 

Subsequent editions, 1546, 1547, 1549, 1551, 1555. 

1543. {German translation.) New Kreiiterbuch. . . . Bedruckt zu Basell 
durch Michael Isingrin. 

1557. {Spanish translation.) Historia de yeruas y plantas de Leonardo 
Fuchsio. ... En Anvers por los herederos de Amald B>Tcman. 

Conrad Gesner. 

1542. Catalogus plantarum. . . . Authore Conrado Gesnero. . . . Tiguri 
apud Christoph Froschouerum. 

(Gesner's most important work — a general history of plants— was 
never pubHshed, for he died of plague before it was finished. The illus- 
trations he had collected were pubhshed by Christopher Jacob Trew 
150 years later.) 


Hieronymus Bock. 

1546. Kreuter Buch. Darin Underscheid Wiirckung und Namen der Kreuter 
so in Deutschen Landen Wachsen. Wendel Rihel. Strasburg. 
Subsequent editions, 1539, 1560, 1572, 1577, 1595, 1630. 
(The first edition (1539) has no illustrations. The illustrations in the 
second edition (1546) are generally supposed to have been copied from 
Fuch's Herbal (1542), but many of them are original. Bock's Herbal is 
remarkable for the accurate descriptions of the plants.) 

Remhert Dodoens. 

1554. Kruydeboeck. . . . Rembert Dodoens Medecijn van der stadt van 

Mechelen. Ghedruckt Tantwerpen by Jan vander Loe. 
Subsequent editions, 1563, 1603, 1608, 1618. 
1557- {French translation.) Histoire des plantes. . . . Nouvellement traduite 

de bas Aleman en Fran9ois par Charles de I'Escluse. En Anvers De 

ITmprimerie de Jean Loe. 
1578. {English translation.) See Henry Lyte in Bibliography of English 

1566. Frumentorum, leguminum, palustrium et aquatilium herbarum aceorum 

quae eo pertinent, historia. . . . Antverpiae Ex ofQcina Christophori 


Second edition, 1569. 
1568. Florum et Coronarium odoratarumque nonnullarum herbarum historia. 

. . . Antverpiae Ex officina Christophori Plantini. 
1583. Remberti Dodonaei mechhniensis medici Caesarei. Stirpium historiae 

pemptades sex sive hbri xxx. . . . Antverpiae Ex officina Christophori 


Second edition. 1616. 

Pierandrea Mattioli. 

1563. Neuw Kreiiterbuch . . . von dem Hochgelerten und weitberiimbten 
Herrn Doctor Petro Andrea Matthiolo. . . . Gedruckt zu Prag durch 
Georgen Delantrich von Auentin. 

Subsequent editions (" gemehret unnd verfertigt Durch Joachimum 
Camerarium "), 1590, 1600. 

Anioine Mizauld. 

1565. Alexikepus, seu auxiliaris hortus. . . . Lutetiae Apud Federicum 

1575- {German translation.) Artztgartem . . . neuwlich verteutschet durch 

Georgen Benisch von Bartfeld . . . zu Basel bey Peter Perna.) 


Nicolas Monardes. 
1569. Dos libros, el veno que trat a de tod as las cosas que traen de nuestras 
Indias Occidentales. . . . Impressos en Sevilla en casa de Hernando 
Diaz, en la calle de la Sierpe. 
1571. Segunda parte del libro de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias 

Occidentales. Sevilla en casa Alonso Escriuano, Impressor. 
1574. Primeray segunda y tercera partes de la Historia medicinal de las 
cosas que sc traen de nuestras Indias Occidentales en Medicina. ... En 
Sevilla. En casa de Alonso Escriuano. 
Second edition, 1580. 
^574- {Latin translation.) De simplicibus medicamentis ex occidentali India 
delatis quorum in medicina usus est. . . . Interprete Carolo Clusio 
Atrebate. Antverpire Ex officina Christophori Plantini. 
Subsequent editions, 1579, 1582, 1605. 
1576. {Italian translation.) Due Libri Dell' Historia de I Semplici, Aromati, 
et altre cose, che \'engono portate dall' Indie Orientali, di Don Garzia 
Dair Horto . . . et due Altri libri parimente di quelle che si portano 
dair Indie Occidentali, di Nicolo Monardes, Hora tutti tradotti dalle 
loro lingue nella nostra Italiana da M. Annibale Briganti. ... In \'enetia. 
Subsequent editions, 1582, 1589, 1605, 1616. 
1600. {Flemish translation.) Beschriivinge van het heerlijcke ende ver- 
maerde Kruydt wassende in de West Indien aldaer ghenaemt Picielt, 
ende by den Spaenaerden Tabaco, en van desselve wonderlijcke operatien 
en Krachtengemaert by D. Monardes Medecijn dez stede Sivillen en 
overgheset Door Nicolaes lansz vander Woudt. Tot Rotterdam, By 
Jan van Waesberghe. 

(The title-page has a charming illustration of a little Indian boy smoking 
a long carved pipe, and a figure of the tobacco-plant.) 
1619. {French translation.) Histoire des Drogues. ... La seconde com- 
posee de deux hures de maistre Nicolas Monard, traictant de ce qui nous 
est apporte de I'Amerique. Le tout fidellement translate en Francois 
par Antoine Colin, maistre Apoticaire jure de la ville de Lj-on. ... A 
Lyon, au despens de lean Pillehotte, a I'enseigne du nom de lesus. 

{English translation.) See John Frampton in Bibliography of English 
1895. {German translation of the 1579 Edition.) Die Schrift des Monardes 
iiber die Arzneimittel Americas nach der lateinischen Ubertragung des 
Clusius aus dem Jahre 1579. Ubersetzt und erliiubert von Kurt Stiinzner, 
Dr. med. Mit einem Vorwort von Prof. Dr. Erich Harnack in Halle a S. 

Bombast von Hohenheim (Paracelsus). 
1570. [Ettliche Tractatus des hocherfarnen unnd berumbtesten Philippi 
Theophrasti Paracelsi. ... I. Von Natiirlichen dingen. II. Beschrei- 
bung etlichen Kreiitter. III. Von Metallen. IV. Von Mineralen. V. 
Von Edlen Gesteinen. Strassburg. Christian ^liillers Erben.] 

(The " doctrine of signatures " is usually associated with the name of 
Paracelsus, but the greatest exponent of this theory was Giambattista 


Nicolaus Winckler. 

iSyi. Chronica herbarum, florum seminum. . . . Authore Nicolao Wincklero, 
Forchemio, Medico Halae. . . . Augustse Vindelicorum in oflicina Typo- 
graphica Michaelis Mangeri. 

(The above is an astrological calendar giving the times when herbs 
should be gathered.) 

Bartholomaus Carrichter. 

1575. Kreutterbuch des edlen vn Hochgelehrten Herzen Doctoris Bartholomei 
Carrichters von Reckingen. . . . Gedruckt zu Strassburg an Kornmarck 
bey Christian Miiller. 

Subsequent editions, 1577, 1589, 1597, 1615, 1618, 1619, 1625, 1652, 
1673. 1739- 

(In this Herbal every plant is assigned to one of the signs of the zodiac.) 

Charles de I'Escluse. 

1576. Caroli Clusii atrebat. Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispanias obser- 
uatarum historia, Libris duobus expressa. . . . Antverpise, Ex officina 
Christophori Plantini. 

1583. Caroli Clusii atrebatis. Rariorum aliquot Stirpium, per Pannoniam, 
Austriam & vicinas quasdam Prouincias obseruatarum Historia, Quatuor 
Libris Expressa : . . . Antverpise, Ex officina Christophori Plantini. 

1601. Caroli Clusii Atrebatis. . . . Rariorum Plantarum Historica. . . . 
Antverpise Ex ofhcina Plantiniana Apud Joannem Moretum. 

(A republication of the two works cited above with some additional 

For De simplicibus medicamentes ex occidentali India, see N. Monardes. 

Mathias de L'Obel. 

1576. Plantarum seu stirpium icones. Antverpise Ex officina Christophori 

1581. {Flemish translation.) Kruydtboeck. . . . Deur Matthias de L'Obel 

Medecyn der Princ' exc^". T'Antwerpen. By Christoffel Plantyn. 
(The Flemish translation is dedicated to William of Orange and the 

Burgomasters of Antwerp.) 

Leonhardt Thurneisser zum Thurn. 
^^m. . . . Berlin! Excudebat Michj 
Second edition, 1587. . . . Colonise Agrippinse apud Joannem Gymnicum. 

1578. Historia sive descriptio plantanmi. . . . Berlin! Excudebat Michael 


1578- {German translation.) Historia unnd Beschreibung Influentischer Ele- 
mentischer und Natiirlicher W'irckungen, Aller fremden unnd Heiniischen 
Erdgewechssen . . . Gedruckt zu Berlin, bey Michael Henl/sken. 

(Thurneisser was one of the foremost exponents of astrological botany. 
He gives astrological diagrams showing when the various herbs should 
be picked. The illustrations are not particularly good, but they are 
attractive owing to the quaint ornamental border which surrounds each 

Andrea Cesaipino. 
1583. De plantis Ubri xvi. Florentiae Apud Georgium Marescottum. 

Geofroy Linocier. 

1584. L'histoire des plantes traduicte de latin en fran^ois : . . . \ Paris 
Chez Charles Mace. 

(The above is based chiefly on the works of Fuchs and MattioU.) 

Castor Durante. 

1585. Herbario nuovo di Castore Durante, medico et cittadino romano. . . . 
In Roma. Per lacomo Bericchia & lacomo Tormerij. 
Subsequent editions, 1602, 1617, 1636, 1667, 16S4. 

1609. Hortulis Sanitatis. Das ist ein heylsam[es] vnd niitzliches Gahrthn 
der Gesundheit. . . . Ersthch von Castore Durante ... in Italianischer 
Sprach verfertigt. Nunmehr aber in unsere hoch Teutsche Sprach ver- 
setzt, Durch Petrum Uffenbachium Getnickt zu Franckfort am Mayn 
durch Nicolaum Hoffman. 

(It is uncertain whether this is a translation of Herbario nuovo. See 
Meyer, Gesch., IV. p. 383.) 

Jacques d' Ale champs. 

1586-1587. Historia generalis plantarum . . . Lugduni, apud Guliehnum 

Joachim Camerarius. 

1588. Hortus medicus et philosophicus. . . . Francofurte ad Mcenum. 

Giambaitista Porta. 
1588. Phytognomonica. . . . Neapoli Apud Horatium Saluianum. 


Jacob Theodor (Tabernasmontanus). 

1588. Neuw Kreuterbuch. . . . [Nicolaus Bassaeus] Franckfurt am Mayn. 
1590. Eicones plantarum seu stirpium. Nicolaus Bassaeus, Francofurte ad 

1613. Neuw Vollkommentlich Kreuterbuch . . . gemehret Durch Casparum 

Bauhinum. . . , Franckfurt am Mayn, Durch Nicolaum Hoffman. In 

verlegung Johannis Bassaei und Johann Dreutels. 
Subsequent editions, 1625, 1664, 1687, 1731. 

Fahio Colonna. 

1592. <I>YT0BA2AN0C sive plantarum aliquot historia. ... Ex ofQcina Horatii 
Saluiana. Neapoli. Apud lo Jacobum Cariinum & Antonium Pacem. 

(This Herbal is the first in which copper-plate etchings were used as 

Adam Zaluziansky von Zaluzian. 
1592. Methodi herbariae, libri tres. Pragae, in officina Georgii Dacziceni. 

Gaspard Bauhin. 

1596. <I>YTOniNAE seu enumeratio plantarum ab Herbarijs nostro seculo 

descriptarum, cum earum differentijs. . . . Basileae per Sebastianum 

Henric petri. 
1601. Animadversiones in historiam generalem plantarum Lugduni editam. 

. . . Francoforti Excudebat Melchior Hartmann, Impensis Nicolai 

1620. nPOAPOMOS Theatri Botanici. . . . Francofurti ad Moenum, Typis 

Pauli Jacobi, impensis loannis Treudelii. 
Second edition, 1671. 
1623. niNAE Theatri Botanici. . . . Basileae Helvet. Sumptibus et tj-pis 

Ludovici Regis. 
1658. Caspar! Bauhini . . . Theatri Botanici sive Historiae Plantarum. . . . 

Liber primus editus opera et cura lo Casp Bauhini. Basileae. Apud 

Joannem Konig. 

Claude Duret. 

1605. Histoire admirable des plantes et herbes esmeruillables & miraculeuses 
en nature. ... A Paris Chez, Nicolas Buon demeurant au Mont S. Hylaire 
^ I'image S. Claude. 


Jean Bauhin and J . H. Chcrleru 

1619. J. B. . . . et J. H. C. . . . historiae plantarum generalis . . . pro- 
dromus . . . Ebroduni, Ex Typographia Societatis Caldoriana. 

1650-51. Historia plantarum universalis. Auctoribus Johanne Bauhino, 
Archiatro. Job. Henrico Gherlero Doctore : Basiliensibus Quam recensuit 
et auxit Dominicus Chabraeus. D. Genevensis Juris vero publici fecit. 
Fr. Lud. a Graffenried. . . . Ebroduni, 

Johann Popp, 

1625. Krauter Buch . . . Leipzig, In \'erlegung Zachariae Schiirers und 
Matthias Gotzen. 

Guy de la Brosse. 

1628. De la nature, vertu et utilite des plantes. Divisd en cinq livres. . . . 
Par Guy de la Brosse, Conseiler cS: Medecin ordinaire du Roy. A Paris Ches 
Rollin Barragnes, au second pillier de la grand' Salle du Pallais. 

(This Herbal is dedicated to Cardinal Richelieu. It is the only Herbal 
with mottoes on the title-page — " Chasque chose a son ciel et ses astres "\ 
" En vain la medicine sans les plantes " ; " De I'Esperance la connaisance.") 

Antonio Donati. 

1631. Trallato de semplici ... in Venetia . . . Appresso Pietro Maria 

Pdrus Nylandi. 

1670. De Nederlandtse Herbarius of Kniydt-Boeck . . . t'Amsterdam 

\'oor Marcus Doornick. 

(The original drawing for the frontispiece by G.v.d. Eeckhout is in the 

Print room of the British Museum.) 
1678. Neues Medicinalisches Krauterbuch . . . Osnabriick bey Joh. Georg 



Adam in Eden, 167 

iEmilius Macer, 42, 43, 228 

Aggregator de Simplicibus, 8, 226 

Agrimony, 43 

Albertus Magnus, 45, 46, 63, no, 

Aldrovandus, in 
Alfred, King, 3, 6, 7, 36 
Alliterative lay in the Lacnunga, 

19. 35 
American Physihan, The, 137, 21 
Amulets, Herbs used as, 27 et 

72, 107 et seq., 155 
Ander, George, 76 
Andrew, Laurence, 69, 74, 208 
Anemone, 146 
Angelica, 108 
Anglo-Saxon gardens, 9 

herbals, i et seq. 

plant-names, 9 

Animals, Herbs used by, 170 

Anne of Denmark, 102 

Antonius Musa, 29 

Apple, 49, 50 

Aquinas, Thomas, 45, 46 

Arber, Dr., 67 

Arbolayre, 227 

Archer, John, 164, 217 

Ariel, 15 

Aristotle, 47, 71 

Art of Simpling, The, 167 et seq. 

Artemisia, 72 

Askham, Antony, 59, 61, 62, 206 

Asser, 7 

Assyrian eye-charm, 28 

Asterion, 62 

Astrological lore in herbals, 38, 43, 

63, 165, 171 
Athena: Oxonienses, 76 
Attila, 2 
209, Avicenna, 66, 69 

Babylonian incantation for toothache, 
, 18, 19 

Bacon, Roger, 46, no 
7 Bald, 6 et seq. 

seq., Baker, George, 102 

Balm, 105 

Banckes's Herbal, 44, 55 et seq., 204 
et seq. 

Barber-Surgeons' Company, 10 1, 102 

Barham, Henry, 223 

Barlow, H. M., 59, 67, 204 

Barnacle geese, 109 

Bartholomasus Anglicus, 44 et seq., 66, 

155, 203, 204, 225 

" Bartholomaeus minid senis," 67 

Bartram, John, yy 

Basil, 105 

Bassaeus, Nicolas, 103 

Batman, 45 

Bauhin, Gaspard, 234 

Jean, 83, 93, 151, 235 

Bay, 87, 155 
Bearfoot, 90 
Beauty recipes in herbals, 23, 90, 

156, 157 

Beauvais, \ incent de, 46 
Bee-lore, 154, 155 
Bede, 3, 7 
Beowulf, 2 



Berkeley, Lord, 46 

Betony, 16, 22, 29, 72, 114 

Birch. 53. 89 

Birckman, Arnold, 82, 209 

Blackwell, Elizabeth, 220, 221 

Blair, Patrick, 220 

Bock, Hieronymus, 83, 230 

Boece, Hector, 11 1 

Boke of secretes of Albartus Magnus, 
The, 63, 64 

Bologna, 76 

Boniface, i 

Borage, 106, 146, 156 

Boston, 133 

Botanic gardens, 77 

Box, 51 

Braunschweig, Hieronymus, 69, 74, 

Bridwell, Stephen, 104 

Britons, herb-lore of the ancient, 8 

Broom, 50 

Brunfels, Otto von, 229 

Brunswick, Jherome of. See Braun- 

Buckingham, Duke of, 143 

Bugloss, 72, 106, 114, 160 

BuUein, Williyam, 209, 210 

Burleigh, Lord, loi, 102 

Bydell, John, 81 

Cacao kernels used as tokens, 138 

plantations, 138 

Caedmon, 15 
Caesar, Julius, 88, 91 
Cambridge, 75, 76 
Camomile, 9, 18, 24, 88 
Camus, Professor Giulio, 66 
Cary, Walter, 58, 59, 206 
Caxton, 47, 154 
Celandine, 43, 50, 63 
Centaury, 43, 64 

Ceremonies in picking and adminis- 
tering herbs, 36 et seq. 
Charles I, 142 
Charms, 5, 31 et seq. 
Chervil, 106 
Chocolate, 138, 139 

Cholmeley, Mary, 174 

Christian rites in picking and ad- 
ministering herbs, 3, 16, 17, 27, 34, 


Circa Instans, 66 et seq. 

Citron, 92, 93 

Clayton, Thomas, 153 

Cloudberry, 114 

Coles, William, 105, 167, 215, 216 

Cologne, yy, 78, 83, 91 

Colonna, Fabio, 234 

Columbus, Christopher, 122 

Cepland, William, 57 et seq., 63, 205, 

Corbichon, Jehan, 46, 225 

Cotton plant, 144 et seq. 

Counting out charms, 32, 33 

Country customs recorded in herbals, 
89, 90, 157 et seq. 

Cowslip, 90 

Cratevas, 10 

Cniydtboeck, 93, 94, 95 

Cudweed, 89, 112 

Culpeper, Nicholas, 163 et seq., 168, 
214, 215 

CynewtUf, 2 

Daisy, 89, 113 

" danyel bain," 44 

Das piich der natur, 225 

Delphinium, 114 

Demeter, 5 

Demoniac possession, herbs used 

against, 21 
De historia Stirpium, 82 
De Proprietatibus Rerum, 45 et seq., 

203, 204, 225 
Digby, Sir Kenelm, 177, iSi et seq. 
Dionysius, 10 
Dioscorides, 8, 11, 47, 69, 85, 88, 94, 

Dodoens, Rembert, 58, 83, 86, 93, 94, 

96, 97, 98, 100, 103, 104, 211, 212, 

Druids, Sacred herbs of the, 29, 30, 31 
Dun, 7 



Earth, prayer to, 40 

Easter, 3 

Edwards, John, 223 

Egbert, Archbishop of York, 37 

Elf-shot, doctrine of the, 14 

EHzabeth, Queen, 78, 85, 86, 96, loi, 

102, 114, 162 
Ellacombe, Canon, 118 
Eloy, Saint, 37, 38 
Elves, 13 et seq., 37, 1S6, 187 
English Physician Ejilarged, 163 et seq. 
Eostra, 3, ^7 
Erce, 38, 39 

Fairfax, Henry, 174, 175 

Fairies, 187 

Falconer, John, 84 

Fennel, 18, 43, 150 

Fetter Lane, 98, loi 

Flax, 51, 52 

Flemish herbals, 82, 83, 93 

" Flying venom," 17 et seq. 

Formori, 15 

Frampton, John, 121 et seq., 211 

Fuchs, Leonhard, 82, Sz, 86, 93, 95, 

Fumigating with herbs, 26, 27, 72 

Galen, 47, 69, 85 

Gardening, joys of, 172, 173 

Gariopontus, 12 

Garret, James, 104, 105 

Gerard, John, 29, 61, 71, 93, 98 et seq., 

142, 151, 213 
Gesner, Conrad, 77, 102, 229 
Ghini, Luca, 76 
Gibson, Thomas, 69 
Gillyflowers, 147 
Glastonbury, 5 
Goats-beard, 113 
Goblins, 16 
Gourd, 91, 108 
Gray's Inn Lane, 10 1 
Green, Thomas, 224 
Crete Herball, The, 55, 62, 65 et seq., 

83, 207, 208 
Guthrie, Dr., 177 

Hainault, Countess of, 44, 56 

Helenium, 16, 22 

Helias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, 6 

Henrietta Maria, Queen, 143 

Herba britannica, 88 

Herball, The Crete, 55, 62, 65 et seq., 

83, 207, 208 
Herbarium of Apuleius, i, 8, 9, 21, 28, 

29, 36, 226 
Herbarius, The Latin, 8, 226, 227 
Herbaritis zii Teutsch, 8, 66 et seq., 83, 

Herb bath, 22 
Herbs, bound on with red wool, 28 

ceremonies in picking and ad- 
ministering, 36 et seq. 

charms and incantations used 

with, 31 g/ seq., 37 

Christian prayer for a blessing 

on, 38 

Christian rites in picking and 

administering, 3, 16, 17, 27, 34, 36, 


effect of, on the mind, yz, 156 

fumigating the sick with, 26, 


cattle and swine with, 27 

hung up over doors, etc., 28 

introduced into America by the 

early colonists, 135 

Old English names of, 9, 112 

et seq. 

used as amulets, 27 et seq., 72, 

107 et seq., 155 

used by Red Indians, 125 et 

seq., 138 

used by animals, 170, 171 

used in beauty recipes, 23, 90, 

156, 157 
used in magic practices, 63, 64, 

152. 171 

used in sun worship, 38 

Hesketh, Thomas, 104, 114 
Hill, " Sir " John, 223 
Holborn, loi, 103 
Holly, 30 
Honey, 71 
Hound's tongue, 64 



Hrede, 3, 37 
Humphreys, A. L., 58 
Hughes, William, 137, 217 
Hyssop, 88, 150 

Incantations, 31 et scq., 37 
Itahan herbahsts, 93, 230, 233, 234 

Jackson, B. D., Dr., 76, 104 
James I., 94, 102, 103, 142 
Johnson, Thomas, 142, 213 
Jossetyn, John, 133, 216 
" Joy of the Ground," 9, 44 

Kele, Richard, 59 

Kent, Countess of, 174, 180, 181 

Kitson, Anthony, 59 

Knotweed, 9 

Kreiiter Buck, 83 

Kynge, Jhon, 69 

Lacnunga, i, 12, 18, 19, 20, 27, 30, 

32, 33, 34 
Lady Sedley, her receipt hook, The, lyy, 

Langham, William, 212 
Larch, 91 
Latimer, Hugh, 76 
Laurel, 51 

Lavender, 135, 136, 149, 156 
Leech Book of Bald, i, 5 et seq., 19, 20, 

21, 32, 36 
Le Grant Her bier, 66 et seq., 227 
Lelamoure, John, 42, 43 
Leleloth, 32 

I'Escluse, Charles de, 93, 94, 121, 232 
Lete, Nicholas, 104, 145 
Libellus de re herbaria novus, 81 
Liber de arte distillandi, 69 
Lignamine, J. P. de, 9 
Lilumenne, 32 
Lily, 10, 43, 48, 86 
Lindley, John, 224 
rObel, Matthias de, yy, 93, 94, 103, 

104, III, 210, 232 

Lodestone, 71 

London gardens, 115 

L'Opera Saleritana " Circa Instans," 

66 et seq. 
Louis Xni, 94 
Lovell, Robert, 216 
Lowenbeck, M., 11 
Lynacro, Dr., 57 

Lyte, Henry, 58, 8^, 93 et seq., 211, 212 
Lytes Cary, 58, 96 

Macer, see ^milius Macer. 
Mallt-y-nos, 15 
Mandeville, Sir John, 144 
Mandrake, 11, 21, 50, 73, 91, 92, 109, 

Maplet, John, 210 
Marie de' Medici, 182 
Marigold, 43, 90, 112, 113, 147 
Marjoram, 105, 149 
Marshall, William, 104 
Mary, Queen, 78, 79 
Mary Doggett : Her Book of Receipts, 

Mason, Alexander, loi 
" Master Tuggie," 116, 117, 147 
Mattioli, Pierandrea, 8^, 230 
Mayerne, Sir Theodore, 143 
Maythen, 9, 18, 24 
Meadowsweet, 106, 107 
" Mechoacan," 125 et seq. 
Melissus, 85 
Melroset, 60 
Metrodorus, 10 
Meyrick, William, 223 
Mierdman, Steven, 82 
Miller, Joseph, 220 
Mind, effect of herbs on the, 72, 105, 

106, 156 
Mistletoe, 30 

Monardes, Nicolas, 120 et seq., 211, 231 
Monmouth, Duke of, 178 
Moray, Sir Robert, iii 
Morison, Robert, 217 
Mugwort, 18, 28, 29, 30, 108 
Mullein, 114, 156, 162 
" Mummy," 70 



Munster, Sebastian, no 
Musk, 72 

Names of herbes, The, 81 

Narrative charms, 33 ei seq. 

Nature worship, 36 et seq. 

Nettle, 9, 18, 31, 135 

Neiie Kreuterbuch, 82 

New England's Rarities discovered, 

133, 216 
Newton, James, 221 
Newton, Thomas, 213 
Nicot, John, 131 
Nidad, 35 
Nieu'e Herball, 83 
Nightmare, 16 
Noble experyence of the virtuous Handy- 

worke of Surgery, The, 74 
Northumberland, 88, 89 
Norton, John, 103 
Notes and Queries, 58 
Numbers in herbal prescriptions, 35 

Petiver, James, 139 et seq., 219 

Petrocellus, 11 

Petronius, 11 

Philippa, Queen, 44, 56 

Physical Directory, The, 163 

" Picielt," 128 et seq. 

Pimpernel, 43 

Pinax, 151 

Plantain, 9, 18, 29, 30, 135 

Plantariim sen Stirpium historia, 94 

Plantin, Christophe, 93, 94, 96 

Platearius, Matthaeus, 66, 69 

Pliny, 8, 10, 31, 88, 89 

Plukenet, Leonard, 218 

Pocahontas, Princess, 98 

Porta, Giambattista, 233 

Potato, 103, 116, 138 

Practica Petrocelli Salernitani, ir 

Priest, Dr., 98, 103 

Proceedings of the Royal Society of 

Medicine, 59 
Pulteney, Richard, 94 
Purfoot, Thomas, 94 

Old English names of plants, 9, 112 

et seq. 
Ortus Sanitatis, 66, 67, 228 
Oxa, 7 

Oxford, jy, y8, 143 
physic garden, 153 

Paracelsus, 231 

Paradisus, 116, 142 et seq., 213 

Parkinson, John, 29, 83, 90, 116, 

142 et seq., 213, 214 
Parsley, 90 
Passionarius, 12 
Payne, Dr. J. F., 6 
Pechey, John, 218 
Pemell, Robert, 214 
Pemptades, 93, 98, 103, 104 
Pena, Pierre, 93, 94, 210 
Pennyroyal, 65, 87, 107 
Peony, 29, 30, 107 
TTcpt AiSa^e'wv, I et seq., 11 
Periwinkle, 9, 21, 43, 44. 63 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 105 

Rani's little Dodooi, 96, 212 

Raspberry, 100 

Ray, John, 81, 217 

Red Indian plant-lore, 120, 125 et seq. 

Red wool, binding on herbs with, 28 

Rhine, jy 

Ridley, Nicholas, 76 

" Rind from Paradise," 24 

Robin, Jean, 102, 105 

Rolfe, Dorothy, 98 

Rose, 43, 48, 49, 60, 64, 117, 156, 180, 

184, 185 
Rose honey, 49 

water, 61 

Rosemary, 44. 56, 57, 72, 106, 135, 148 
Roses, oil of, 61 

syrup of, 60 

Rue, 43, 108 

Saffron, 92 
Sage, 43, 44. 156 



Salerno, 6, ii 

Salimbene, 45, 46 

Salisbury, Earl of, 102, 103 

Salmon, William, 219 

Samphire, 88 

Sassafras, 132, 133 

Scabious, 113, 114, 161 

Scandinavian rune-lays, 32 

Sceaf, 36 

Scents, value of herbal, 61 

Schott, Caspar, iii 

" Scythian Lamb," 143 et seq. 

Sedley, Lady, 177, 178 

Selago, 30 

" Sene," 63 

Seville, 124, 131, 133 

Shakespeare, 15, 118, 119 

Sheldrake, Timothy, 222 

Short, Thomas, 221 

Signatures, doctrine of, 168 et seq., 231 

Silverweed, 114 

Singer, Dr. Charles, 19, 40 

" Smell-feast," 160, 161 

Smiths, 34, 35 

Solomon, King, 84 

Solomon's seal, 107, 157 

Somerset, Duke of, 78, 83, 86 

Sorbiis aucuparia, 31 

Southernwood, 73, 135, 136, 156 

South-Sea Herbal, The, 139 et seq., 219 

Sowerby, Leonard, 214 

Spindle-tree, 90 

Stars, mystic communion between 

flowers and, 187, 188 
Stephens, Dr., 177 
Still-room books, 174 et seq. 
Stirpium Adversaria Nova, 94, 103, 

Stirpium histories pemptades sex sive 

libri triginta, 94, ill 
Stokes, Jonathan, 224 
Sugar, 138 
Sun worship, 38 
Sweet potato, 116 
Swiss herbalists, 82, 8^, 234, 235 

Tabernasmontanus, 103, 234 

Teazle, 75, 89 

Theatrum Botanicuni, 93, 142, 143, 

144, 151 et seq., 214 
Theobalds, 10 1 
Thor, 3, 28 

Thornton, Robert, 224 
Thyme, loi, 150 
Tiecon, 32 
Tobacco, 128 et seq. 

origin of the name, 131 

used as a wound herb in Europe, 

used by American Indians in 

religious ceremonies, 129, 130 
Tradescant, John, 143, 148 
Treffry, Sir John, 70 
Treveris, Peter, 65, 69, 70, 74, 207 
Trevisa, John de, 46 
Tryon, Thomas, 181 
Tulip, 146 

Tunstall, Thomasin, 14S 
Turner, Peter, 80, 81 
Turner, William, 75 et seq., 20S, 209 
Typographical Antiquities, 58 

" Unfortraedde, 

Vapour bath, 22 

" Vegetable Lamb," 143 et seq. 

Vertuose boke of Distillacyon of the 

waters of all maner of Herbes, The, 

69, 74, 208 
Vervain, 29, 30, 43, 44, 64, 72, 106, 

107. 113 
Vineyards, 52 

Violet, 43, 49, 61, 73, 99, 134, 147, 158 
" Virginian potato," 103, 116 

Walnut, 92 

Water, 71 

Water crowfoot, 62 

Waybroad, 9, 18, 29, 30 

Weeds introduced into America with 

the early colonists, 135 
WeUs, 78, 79 



Wentworth, Lord, 75, 85 
" Wergulii," g, 18 
Westniacott, William, 218 
We3'land, 35 
Widsilh, 2 

Wild flower life in London in Eliza- 
beth's reign, 114 
William the Silent, 94 
Witchcraft, herbs and, 109 
Woad, 89, 154, 159 
Woden, 2, 3, 20, 35, 36, 37 
Woods, 52, 53 
Wood-sorrel, 62 

Wordc, Wjmken de, 47, 54, 57 
V\'orm, Doctrine of the, 20 
Wormwood, 16, 24, 135, 167 
Wyer, Robert, 57, 205 
Wyrd, 3y 

Yarrow, 29, 30, 64 
Yew, 16, 100, loi 
Yule, 37 

Zouche, Lord, 94, 104 

PRrNTKD iM Great Britain by 
RiCHAiiu Clay & Sons, Limited,