Culpeper’s Complete Herbal might not be the first historic book you’d associate with the Buxton Crescent.
It’s found its way onto our reading list this week, as we continue to plan new learning activities based on the history of medicine, healing, and wellness in Buxton.
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654), a former apothecary apprentice and famous ‘astrologer physician’ is the kind of character we strive to bring to life at the Crescent.
He was a a medical rebel, who defied the establishment by translating the ‘Pharmacopoeia Londinensis’ into English from Latin (therefore revealing physicians’ medical secrets to the ‘common masses’). Accessible, easy to use, and only 3 pence a copy, his Complete Herbal helped make the privileged art and science of healing available to all.
Why, where else could your average Buxtonian find cures for ‘the heat of the liver and kidneys’ (Liver Wort bruised and boiled in small beer) or a nasty bite from a mad-dog (half an ounce of ash-coloured Liver Wort, two drams black pepper, both finely powdered, mixed and added to warm cow’s milk)…
If you’ve been to the new Buxton Crescent Visitor Experience in the few weeks it was open pre-lockdown, you will remember a rather gruesome basement apothecary. Thanks to generous support from The Bingham Trust and Clowes the Chemist, we’re working to bring this story to life even more.
Working behind the scenes we’re developing activities for schools, families and groups which will delve further into the murky history of medicine.
When we reopen, you’ll be able to meet a Buxton apothecary (Abe Bannedman), learn about the benefits (and risks!) of natural remedies, and mix and make your very own cures and potions. We’ll announce how, where and when as soon as we are able.
For now, find out more at this article on the Kew Garden’s webite: https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/nicholas-culpeper-and-his-herbal
Or track down a copy of Benjamin Woolley’s book about Culpeper The Herbalist: Nicholas Culpeper and the Fight for Medical Freedom
If you’d like to find out more about this or any other planned learning activity, drop us a line by filling out the form below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.