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John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

For the gowte.  Take the leaves of the wild vine (bryony, vitis alba); bruise them and boyle them, and apply it to the place grieved, lapd in a colewort-leafe.  This cured an old man of 84 yeares of age, at Kilmanton, in 1669, and he was well since, to June 1670:  which account I had from Mr. Francis Potter, the rector there.

Mr. Wm. Montjoy of Bitteston hath an admirable secret for the cure of the Ricketts, for which he was sent to far and neer; his sonne hath the same.  Rickettie children (they say) are long before they breed teeth.  I will, whilst ’tis in my mind, insert this remarque; viz. about 1620, one Ricketts of Newbery, perhaps corruptly from Ricards, a practitioner in physick, was excellent at the curing children with swoln heads and small legges; and the disease being new and without a name, he being so famous for the cure of it they called the disease the ricketts; as the King’s evill from the King’s curing of it with his touch; and now ’tis good sport to see how they vex their lexicons, and fetch it from the Greek {Gk:  Rachis} the back bone.
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For a pinne-and-webbe* in the eye, a pearle, or any humour that comes out of the head.  My father laboured under this infirmity, and our learned men of Salisbury could doe him no good.  At last one goodwife Holly, a poore woman of Chalke, cured him in a little time.  My father gave her a broad piece of gold for the receipt, which is this:-Take about halfe a pint of the best white wine vinegar; put it in a pewter dish, which sett on a chafing dish of coales covered with another pewter dish; ever and anon wipe off the droppes on the upper dish till you have gott a little glassefull, which reserve in a cleane vessell; then take about half an ounce of white sugar candie, beaten and searcht very fine, and putt it in the glasse; so stoppe it, and let it stand.  Drop one drop in the morning and evening into the eye, and let the patient lye still a quarter of an hour after it.

I told Mr. Robert Boyle this receipt, and he did much admire it, and tooke a copie of it, and sayd that he that was the inventor of it was a good chymist.  If this medicine were donne in a golden dish or porcelane dish, &c. it would not doe this cure; but the vertue proceeds, sayd hee, from the pewter, which the vinegar does take off.

* [The following definitions are from Bailey’s Dictionary (1728):-” Pin and Web, a horny induration of the membranes of the eye, not much unlike a Cataract.”  “Pearl (among oculists), a web on the eye."- J.B.]
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In the city of Salisbury doe reigne the dropsy, consumption, scurvy, gowte; it is an exceeding dampish place.

At Poulshot, a village neer the Devises, in the spring time the inhabitants appeare of a primrose complexion; ’tis a wett, dirty place.
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