The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

[Several passages may have been noticed in the preceding pages, calculated to shew the ignorance which prevailed in Aubrey’s time on medical subjects, and the absurd remedies which were adopted for the cure of diseases.  In the present chapter this topic is further illustrated.  It contains a series of recipes of the rudest and most unscientific character, amongst which the following are the only parts suited to this publication.  Aubrey describes in the manuscript an instrument made of whalebone, to be thrust down the throat into the stomach, so as to act as an emetic.  He states that this contrivance was invented by “his counsel learned in the law,” Judge Rumsey; and proceeds to quote several pages, with references to its advantages, from a work by W. Rumsey, of Gray’s Inn, Esq., entitled, “Organon Salutis, an instrument to cleanse the stomach:  with new experiments on Tobacco and Coffee.”  The work quoted seems to have been popular in its day, for there were three editions of it published. (London, 1657, 1659, 1664, 12mo.)-J.  B.]

The inscription over the chapell dore of St. Giles, juxta Wilton, sc. “1624.  This hospitall of St. Giles was re-edified by John Towgood, Maior of Wilton, and his brethren, adopted patrons thereof, by the gift of Queen Adelicia, wife unto King Henry the first.”  This Adelicia was a leper.  She had a windowe and a dore from her lodgeing into the chancell of the chapell, whence she heard prayers.  She lieth buried under a plain marble gravestone; the brasse whereof (the figure and inscription) was remaining about 1684.  Poore people told me that the faire was anciently kept here.

At Maiden Bradley, a maiden infected with the leprosie founded a house
for maidens that were lepers. [See a similar statement in Camden’s
“Britannia,” and Gough’s comments thereon.-J.  B.]

Ex Registro.  Anno Domini 1582, May 4, the plague began in Kington St. Michaell, and lasted the 6th of August following; 13 died of it, most of them being of the family of the Kington’s; which name was then common, as appeared by the register, but in 1672 quite extinct.

[The words “here the plague began,” and “here the plague rested,” appear in the parish register of Kington St. Michael, under the dates mentioned by Aubrey.  Eight of the thirteen persons who died during its continuance were of the family of the Kingtons.-J.  B.]

May-dewe is a very great dissolvent of many things with the sunne, that will not be dissolved any other way; which putts me in mind of the rationality of the method used by Wm. Gore of Clapton, Esq}. for his gout; which was, to walke in the dewe with his shoes pounced; he found benefit by it.  I told Mr. Wm. Mullens, of Shoe Lane, Chirurgion, this story; and he sayd this was the very method and way of curing that was used in Oliver Cromwell, Protectour. [See “Observations and Experiments upon May-Dew,” by Thomas Henshaw, in Philosophical Transactions, 1665.  Abbr. i. 13.-J.  B.]

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