Herbs in History

Elizabethan Herbs and Herb Gardens
Herbs in Daily Use - Celtic to Medieval Times
The Medical Astrology Garden
Herbs Through the Ages
Herbs from the Bible and Christian Legend
Origin and Meanings of Herb Names
Folklore of Herbs
The Life, Times and Recipes of Lady Anne Blencowe 1656-1718

If you would like to ask Tina to lecture to your group, e-mail us on Christina.stapley@tiscali.co.uk or telephone 01249 821087 for further information.

Elizabethan Herbs and Herb gardens

Illustrated with slides of garden areas which have been recreated as period gardens, both within Christina's own garden and elsewhere, this talk gives an insight into garden planning of the sixteenth century. The planting and reasons for giving certain herbs greater importance also allow glimpses into the daily life of the housewife as well as the gardener. Gardening practice, watering pots, joke fountains, beliefs and superstitions, coping with pests -- all reveal attitudes to the gardens of the times. New introductions to gardens caused great excitement at the time and brought new herbal knowledge and use. A fascinating exploration of the origins of gardens as we know them.

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Herbs in Daily Use - Celtic to Medieval

Covering a period which is largely unknown to many people, this talk is of interest to various groups beside historical societies. The talk begins with an exploration of possible use of herbs in Britain before the Roman invasion. With no written records from the time much of this is speculative. However Christina has followed the archaeological evidence available and discussed this with Dr. Peter Reynolds before undertaking practical research in her herb workshops at Butser Ancient Farm each year. She draws her information on Roman medical and household use from Pliny, Celsus and other sources and has made a study of the Anglo-Saxon leechbooks. The talk brings the importance of herbs in the past to life with many humorous notes and promises a lively and informative evening.

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The Medical Astrology garden

An area of herbal involvement only now beginning to re-emerge into general knowledge. This has long been a very specialist subject. Christina's own medical astrology garden demonstrates the classification of herbs according to the planets which govern them, as detailed in Culpeper's herbal. A very old science, medical astrology reveals the links seen between the heavens, plants and the basic physical structure of man. The aspects of the planets in relation to the patient when the disease began, the best heavenly aspects for gathering plants and preparing medicines were all taken into account. This talk, however, concentrates on the groupings of the herbs, their relationships with each other and the herbs revealed as having individual characters in their own right, in line with the planetary influences.

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Herbs From The Bible and Christian Legend

In Victorian times scripture herbals and collections of samples of herbs mentioned in the Bible were popular. This talk reveals the scriptural references and much more about the nature of herbs and plant resins such as frankincense, and myrrh . Samples of the herbs and slides illustrate the talk, which also delves into fascinating legends concerning the connections of herbs with Jesus and with saints in later centuries. Herbs traditionally used on Saints days in church decorations also feature.

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Origins and Meanings of Herb names

This talk is light-hearted and filled with stories associated either with the Latin or common names of the herbs. Links between botanists or explorers emerge amongst the explanations. The forms and uses of the herbs are also part of their story and an informative and fascinating evening is ensured. The talk may be illustrated with slides or given with fresh plants in summer. Herbs are seen perhaps more as characters in this talk than in others. Names sometimes reveal more than we imagine about the potential of a plant and its reason for being.

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Folklore of Herbs

Similar in some ways to the previous talk, this presentation differs in concentrating on beliefs and superstitions surrounding the plants. these are not necessarily connected with their names. Certain herbs such as the elder have accumulated a vast store of folklore over the centuries. Legends from different countries add fascinating glimpses of attitudes to herb use and all are interlinked with historical social conditions and changes. Folklore may be quite local with some herbs while other stories are to be found country-wide and beyond. Light hearted and instructive, the talk is illustrated with slides or fresh herbs according to preference and season.

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The Life, Times and Recipes of Lady Anne Blencowe 1656-1718

This talk can be tailored to the group to include more of the historical and family background of Lady Anne's life with less accent on the acutal recipes; an emphasis on her cookery in particular; or an emphasis on the medicinal recipes. Details of her life include information on her father, John Wallis, mathematician and cryptographer to both Oliver Cromwell and Charles I and one of the founder members of the Royal Society. Her husband, Sir John Blencowe was an MP and Judge. Her cookery recipes are quite elegant and delicious and 43 have been interpreted for modern use in her latest work, The Recipe Book of Lady Anne Blencowe (See under Books). The talk includes an account of differences in 17th century cookery methods, terms and measurements. Explanation of the medicinal recipes includes herbal information, medical thought at the time and sources of the more unusual ingredients, then and now.

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Herb Garden Herbs in History Medicinal Herbs Practical Herbs Crafts

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