publisher colophon
Summary

This article is a study of household medicine production and consumption through an examination of the papers of Elizabeth Freke (1641-1714) and a wider survey of around nine thousand medical recipes in printed and manuscript collections from seventeenth-century England. It investigates the sorts of medicines that may have been produced in early modern households and the production methods, ingredients, and equipment used. Focusing on three inventories of medicines compiled by Freke between 1710 and 1712 as well as her manuscript recipe collection and medical reading notes, I contend that she kept on hand a number of cure-alls and medicines for general weaknesses, while holding onto recipes for more-specific ailments; the recipes, in these cases, would be the "just-in-case" medicine cabinet. I also argue for a close relationship between commercial and domestic medicine, and present the idea that household practitioners purchased not only ingredients (both processed and unprocessed) and equipment, but also medical knowledge.

Keywords

early modern, gender, household, medical marketplace, early modern drugs and pharmacy

In the eighteen months between December 1710 and May 1712, Elizabeth Freke (1641–1714), an elderly widow living in rural Norfolk, compiled three separate inventories of her medicine collection. Each of these dated lists records both the type and quantity of the "cordiall waters" kept in several cupboards in her closets.1 The 1711 list reveals that Freke had in [End Page 145] her possession 114 quarts of "strong cordiall waters," 36 pints of "cordiall waters," 56 quarts of "several sorts of sirrups," and four dozen "cold stilled waters" in her closet; an additional four dozen "quart bottles full" and three hampers, one deep tub, and a shallow tub filled with empty glass bottles were stored in the "other little closet . . . within the cheese chamber."2 The three lists of medicines are nestled in her notebook among her remembrances, household inventory, medical recipes, and reading notes. Thus framed by personal writings, Freke's medicine collection provides a rare insight into the place of medicaments within the early modern household.

Elizabeth's enthusiasm for medicines was shared by many early modern householders. In elite families such as the Frekes, men and women spent considerable time in collecting the know-how to produce medicaments, and in making up various medicines. Their interest in medicine production can be seen in the large numbers of manuscript recipe collections that are now in major libraries and county record offices.3 Study and analysis of these collections suggests that interest in maintaining one's health was a fairly universal concern, and that making medicine at home was a common pastime—or, for many early modern housewives, even a duty. Centered on Elizabeth Freke, this article is an investigation into household medical activities and, in particular, an assessment of medicine production within the domestic sphere. Finally, I aim to locate household medical practices within the medical economy and narratives of early modern health care.

Situating Household Medicine

Studies of medical care in early modern England have uncovered a world where a wide variety of medical practitioners offered their wares to well-informed [End Page 146] patients.4 On one hand, we have the now familiar concept of the "medical marketplace," and on the other, uncovered via studies into the "patient's view," we know that home-based medicine constituted the bulk of health care in the period.5 Contemporary advice literature, such as Gervase Markham's The English Housewife, presented medical knowledge as essential to any early modern housewife, and the papers of gentlewomen like Margaret Hoby, Grace Mildmay, and Alice Thornton (to name but a few) attest that these views were not only prescribed but also followed.6 The making and administering of medicines not only was seen as a household duty but was often performed as part of charitable activities.7

Within recent studies of early modern medical care, the focus is firmly on commercially available advice and treatment rather than the goings-on within families and households. A handful of scholars, including Lucinda Beier, Doreen Evenden, and Linda Pollock, have produced informative case studies of early modern women conducting a range of medical activities within the domestic sphere; however, their studies work to prove the existence and importance of household medical care, rather than to [End Page 147] investigate the what, how, and when. The concentration upon personal papers and the case-study approach have tended to enforce the view of household medicine as distinct from the wider medical economy.8 The recent focus on manuscript notebooks of medical recipes, while illustrative of lay interest and expertise in medical matters, has mainly been reflective of the theory and knowledge behind household medicine rather than the actual practice.9 Consequently, within the research to date, there is a lack of information available on the types of ailments and illnesses dealt with by household medical practitioners, and on the sorts of medicaments used and produced within kitchens and stillrooms. The Freke papers, a combination of household inventory, recipe collection, and remembrances, offer the historian a glimpse not only into Elizabeth's knowledge of medical theory and pharmacy but also into the actual medicines that were produced and stored. They reveal the relationship between the collection of medical information and the role that this information played within the household. As will be seen, the strong correlation between the stored medicines and the recipes in the notebook provides clear evidence that the gathering of medical information, while serving a number of other [End Page 148] ends (consolidating female friendships, as a leisurely pursuit, etc.), was first and foremost an activity that had a practical and focused use.10

In this article I will also expand the study of household medicine by taking it beyond the case-study approach. While centered on the Freke papers, my study draws upon the analysis of around nine thousand medical recipes collected from twenty-eight contemporary manuscript and printed recipe collections.11 The recipes, from works created by both men and women and from time periods across the seventeenth century, were entered into a database that tracked the recipe title, author, date, ingredients, methods, and any appended information.12 The database was then used to trace the content and scope of these recipes and to track changes (and continuities) in therapeutic practices through an analysis of the ailments addressed, the ingredients and methods used, the dosage recommendations given, and any additional information, such as the use of efficacy phrases or references to religion. In order to gain a fuller picture of how the medium (print or manuscript), the time period, or the gender of the compiler might affect the contents of collections, these were tagged and comparisons were made. Throughout my essay, this broader survey will be used to contextualize Freke's medical activities and also to make generalizations about household medicine in the period.

The Freke Papers

Elizabeth Freke's remembrances paint a vivid picture of her life. Born in 1641 in Hannington, Wiltshire, to Ralph Freke and Cicely Culpeper, she secretly married her second cousin, Percy Freke, of Rathbury Castle in county Cork, Ireland, in 1671.13 The Frekes' only son, Ralph, was born [End Page 149] on 2 June 1675. While Elizabeth divided her time between England and Ireland during the early years of her marriage, she spent the latter part of her life at West Bilney, an estate in Norfolk given to her by her father. She was separated from her husband for months at a time, and her remembrances are a stark record of an unhappy marriage. After Percy Freke's death in 1706, the elderly Elizabeth lived alone at West Bilney until her own death in 1714. Throughout her life, she kept in close contact with her sisters Judith Austen and Frances Norton, both of whom contributed numerous recipes to Elizabeth's collection.14 The remembrances also portray a woman who actively and frequently engaged with commercial medical practitioners. Elizabeth cites around seventy sickness episodes within the Freke family over a span of nearly forty years; a medical practitioner (described as doctor, surgeon, apothecary, midwife, or keeper) was consulted in twenty-one of these episodes. These consultations were conducted in a number of different locations: Elizabeth often consulted practitioners while traveling and while staying with relatives in London or in one of the popular spa towns such as Bath, Epsom, and Tumbridge Wells.15 While in Bilney, she sought medical help in the nearby towns of Swaffham, Bury St. Edmunds, King's Lynn, and Norwich.16 Like many of her contemporaries, Elizabeth combined her need for commercially available medical advice and products with a strong interest in home-based medicine.

While three of Elizabeth's notebooks are now in the British Library, this article is mainly concerned with a folio-sized, white vellum-bound notebook given to her by a "cousin" in September 1684.17 The notebook began [End Page 150] life as a place for the recording of medical and culinary recipes and, like many such books, was used from both ends—one for medical information, and the other for cookery. It contains more than two hundred culinary recipes and nearly three hundred medical recipes, as well as extensive reading notes from John Gerard's herbal,18 Nicholas Culpeper's Culpeper's School of Physick,19 Moise Charas's and George Bate's pharmacopoeias, and Nicholas Culpeper's translation of the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis.20 In between the recipes, Freke used the book to house a variety of information including her medical reading notes, a version of her remembrances, poetry, copies of important documents and accounts, and a full inventory of her possessions. The three lists of medicines at the center of this article fit neatly into a number of these information categories. The first list was created as part of Freke's drive to record her financial position and comes at the end of a set of records of the "parchments and papers" in her upper closet and detailed accounts of her estate.21 The second list of medicines (1711) was created as part of a meticulously conducted household inventory that detailed Freke's possessions room by room.22 [End Page 151] The final, and perhaps most detailed, of these three lists was made six months after the general household inventory, in late May 1712.23

Of the hundreds of recipes contained within the white vellum notebook and the vernacular medical books owned by Freke, the three lists reveal that she chose to make up thirty-four different medicaments. Most of the instructions to make these medicines came either from her notebook or from George Hartman's The Family Physitian. Eleven of the medicines in the great cupboard match up with the titles of recipes contributed by family members:24 Elizabeth made up batches of "pallsey water" from her grandmother's recipe,25 syrup of saffron from a recipe attributed to her sister Frances Norton,26 and a variety of other recipes including "hot surfett water,"27 ague water,28 "aqua mirabolus,"29 "eliza sallutas,"30 syrup of turnips,31 poppy water,32 "red strek cider,"33 white mead,34 and cowslip wine.35 The final match—cowslip wine—was given to Freke by a Mr. Smith of Winch, a cleric who provided medical care to her and her husband on several occasions.36 Hartman's volume provided instructions for around [End Page 152] half of the medicaments found on the 1712 list and two or three items on the 1710 list; Elizabeth was particularly fond of making medicines from the "distilled" water section, and her store cupboards contained bottles of "hott surfett water," distilled cinnamon water, angelica water, lemon water, rosemary water, palsey water, Hungary water, clary water, baume water, syrup of gillyflowers, and poppy water.37

Within Elizabeth's cupboards, we see granny's "pallsey water" rubbing shoulders with well-known panaceas and distilled waters made using instructions given in contemporary pharmacopoeias and printed medical books. In this aspect, the cupboards well reflect Elizabeth's manuscript recipe collection, which was typical in its blend of information taken from her friends and family, from consultations with medical practitioners, and from offerings from the booming vernacular print trade. The contents of the cupboard and the notebook suggest that in collecting medical knowledge for use, Elizabeth combined information gained from private and public spheres and domestic and commercial medical practices. The knowledge behind household medicine was, therefore, not just passed from mother to daughter, but rather was also purchased—from vernacular medical books and medical consultations, and also through exchanges in kind within Elizabeth's own social network.

Elizabeth's Medicine Collection

A closer comparison of Elizabeth's cupboards with her recipe collection indicates that the number of made-up medicines is rather small, with less than 10 percent of the recipes actually produced. While some of the bottles are described in the inventories merely as "hot cordial water" or "syrups," many were listed by name. Elizabeth kept a wide variety of medicines on hand, both common cure-alls and medicines targeting particular ailments; however, the majority of the medicaments, more than twenty, were named after the predominant herb, making it difficult for readers to ascertain their exact use.

As Doreen Evenden writes, most early modern recipe collections contained at least one "polychrest" or universal medicine, and Elizabeth Freke's notebook and medicine cupboards are no exception.38 The cupboards contained three of the most common cure-alls used in the period: "aqua mirabolus," "Hungary water," and "eliza sallutas," all three of which were easily obtainable either made-up or in the form of a recipe. The [End Page 153] inventories suggest that of the three cure-alls, "aqua mirabolus" was most prized by Freke and was kept in the largest quantity in the cupboards, chests, and shelves.39 It is a fairly common medicament that can be seen in a number of recipe collections;40 it had many uses, and the recipes within Elizabeth's notebook describe it as suitable for consumption and "excellent for all weake people" and "great cordiall water."41

While still within the category of a cure-all, the other two medicines had more specific uses. "Eliza sallutas" is likely to be a version of the popular elixir salutis that was marketed as Daffy's Elixir during the last quarter of the seventeenth century by Anthony Daffy.42 Daffy's pamphlet describes it as effective in curing the gout, the stone, melancholy, shortness of breath, "collick," "tissick," green sickness, surfeits, scurvy, dropsy, coughs, "wheezings," consumption, agues, ailments connected with the womb, the spleen, and rickets.43 Elizabeth had three recipes for the drug in her own notebook, the titles of two of which indicate that they were made on specific occasions: "Mr Dost Eliza Sallutas made for my son: 1704"44 and "Doctter Barker Sallutas for my son R F: 1705"45 were surely made for the bouts of dropsy that Ralph Freke suffered while visiting his [End Page 154] mother and aunts.46 Similarly, Elizabeth's stash of Hungary water also seems to be linked with particular episodes of illness. "Hungary water" here refers to "Queen of Hungary Water," a popular remedy circulating in the late seventeenth century, the recipe for which was fairly ubiquitous in the period and appears in many manuscript and printed recipe collections;47 Freke's notebook contained versions from both Moise Charas's pharmacopeia and Hartman's The Family Physitian. Her reading notes from Charas describe the water as

an Exelentt Remidy for all cold distempers of the Brains And off the Nerves An Joynts; & Against all Rhumatisme, & all cold Gouts, itt dissapats pains in the head, And disolves the vapors thatt Cause virtegoes, helps deaffness and Noise in the Ears as alsoe Weakness of sightt. Itt Fortifyes The Stomack, And helps disgestion & the Tooth Ach. Itt oppens obstructtions of the Liver and Spleen, Bowells and Mattrix.48

Elizabeth lists four bottles of the medicine in her 1712 inventory; they dated from 1709 and 1711 and were labeled as "for my wretched head," with "La No" and "LN" annotated against the entries (the notation probably indicates that these medicines were produced by Frances Norton, who then presented them to Elizabeth).

In 1708, Freke visited Dr. Jeffrys in Norwich, who diagnosed her as "wasted in all [her] inwards parts"; he claimed that a recent fall had "ullcerated" her kidneys and back, which caused "stoppages" to fly up to her head and inflicted her with shortness of breath.49 Two years later, she again complains of "vapours" in her head, this time claiming that these led to her poor eyesight.50 It appears that Elizabeth's "wretched head" was a recurring bother, and it is possible that Lady Norton sent her sister the Hungary water specifically to alleviate her suffering. [End Page 155]

Although the presence of these medicines, given their popularity in late seventeenth-century England, is unsurprising, their use suggests that what appear to modern eyes to have been common cure-alls were used, by Freke, in fairly specific contexts. The "aqua mirabolus" could have been used to aid a weakened patient, but it could also be targeted against consumption. The elixir sallutas appears to have been prescribed by two practitioners for Ralph Freke's bout of dropsy. The Queen of Hungary water, to Freke, was "for her wretched head." The cure-all, thus, at least within the medical needs of Elizabeth Freke, was produced and used primarily for specific ailments and sickness episodes.

This specificity can also be traced in a number of the other medicines kept on hand by Elizabeth. The cupboards contained a "surfett" water that would have been used to deal with general overeating and overburdening of one's digestive system. The ague water was likely to have been used to deal with intermittent fevers. In addition, Elizabeth had two medicines targeting eye ailments that seem to correspond to personal sickness episodes described in the remembrances. In the spring of 1710, she suffered a number of eye discomforts: at the end of May she wrote that she was seeing "clouds of black flies," and by the beginning of June her eyesight had deteriorated so much that she described herself as blind and unable to see meat on the table;51 the two medicaments for the eye, though undated, may have been used during these bouts of sickness. The final medicine linked with a specific ailment is the "pallsey water" that was perhaps made from her grandmother's recipe listed in the white vellum notebook. Hartman, in The Family Physitian, defines a palsy as "prevation of sense of motion; not of the whole body, but of half the body; as of the Right side or of the Left, or some particular part, as the Hand or Arm or the like."52 The two batches of the medicine stored in the cupboards are dated to 1702 and 1708, and during this period, Freke had several accidents and periods of ill health that left her "confined to her chair";53 perhaps this water was used at these junctures to encourage the return of sense and motion to her body. [End Page 156]

In addition to the above-mentioned medicines, Elizabeth also kept a series of herbal waters on stand-by. These addressed a wide range of everyday ailments and general feelings of weakness. The "virtues" (that is, medicinal use) of the herbs can be found in Freke's own handwritten extract of Gerard's herbal;54 yet despite the fact that her reading notes contain selected information on the use of medicinal plants, it is still difficult to ascertain exactly to what use these waters might have been put. Almost all of these herbs are listed as having multiple "virtues." Angelica, for example, targets poisons, the plague, and corrupt air; it will open the liver and the spleen; it strengthens the heart; it drives out the afterbirth; it is good for cold shivering agues, and helps feelings of being "stuffed," surfeits, and digestion in the stomach.55 Saffron, on the other hand, strengthens and opens the chest, removes obstructions, and is useful in remedies for the lungs; it is also good for surfeits, stopping of the liver, and yellow jaundice; and finally, it will provoke urine.56

While it is easy to get lost within the myriad of "virtues" listed under each herb, it is also possible to see common threads. Certain ailments appear to come up with frequency, including surfeit, feelings of fullness, and a weakened stomach (angelica, baume, saffron, nutmeg);57 "weakness" of the liver (saffron, ivy, nutmeg, rosemary);58 coughs and general weakness of the lungs (saffron, poppy);59 blemishes of the face (scurvy grass, lemon water);60 fevers (angelica, gillyflower);61 weakness of the heart (baume, angelica, gillyflower) and of the head and the brain (rosemary, nutmeg).62 Consequently, the large number of strengthening cordial waters kept on hand was geared to deal with everyday overeating and drinking and feelings of weakness; they were presumably used when Elizabeth was feeling a bit "under the weather."

Thus far, I have emphasized the continuities between the collections of recipes and the actual medicines. However, while the instructions to make the medicines in Freke's cupboards can be found in her recipe collection, [End Page 157] the contents of the collections part ways on two accounts. First, while the cupboards housed mainly cordial waters, with some syrups and tinctures (that is, mainly liquid medicines), the recipe collection contained substantial information on producing salves, balms, and plasters. The large number of alcohol-based waters and cordials may be explained by their long shelf life and time-consuming production processes (see below). Medicines such as salves, balms, and plasters used animal products as their base: fats, such as barrows' and hogs' grease, were often used as carriers for the salves, and other common ingredients include butter, eggs, and cream; consequently, once made up, these medicines would have had a very different shelf life than did the cordial waters and syrups. Reflecting this, many of the instructions for these types of medicines advised the practitioner to make up fresh batches on a daily basis.

The second difference between the two collections lies in the types of conditions they addressed. Whereas the majority of the medicines in Elizabeth's cupboard were for general use, more than 70 percent of the recipes in her notebook addressed specific ailments and illnesses, and her book is typical in this regard: generally around 80–85 percent of recipes in a collection addressed specific ailments.63 Recipes for external ailments like cuts and burns are commonly found in collections, and circa 20 percent of Freke's recipes dealt with these sorts of ailments. The absence of made-up medicines that targeted particular internal ailments suggests that these more specific medicines were made up as required, which would have made economical sense (in terms of money for ingredients, time, and labor). Thus, their absence from the account of ready-made medicines does not mean that they were not used, only that they were not stored. The recipe, in these cases, would work as the stand-by, and the collection of the information/knowledge in the form of recipes is parallel to the collection and storage of the ready-made cordial waters. Finally, the medical sections of the notebook may date from an earlier part of Freke's life, and it may be that her medicinal requirements changed as she aged and her familial circumstances altered.

Household Medicine Production

Having established the different types of medicines that Elizabeth had in her cupboards and her medical recipes, we now turn to take a look at the ingredients and processes used within household medicine production. As the names of the medicines suggest, the majority of the drugs in her [End Page 158] cupboards and notebook were made using common herbs and spices. The waters, syrups, spirits of wine, and tinctures stored in the cupboards are linked with twenty-one different herbs: rosemary, saffron, cinnamon, gillyflower, buckthorn, bulles, damson, elderberry, hyssop, baume, purslane, turnip, poppy, scurvygrass, angelica, lemon, lavender, clary, ground ivy, nutmeg, and snakeweed.64 It is unlikely, however, that these were the only herbs used and stored by Elizabeth, for the recipes for these medicines indicate that each one contained a wide range of ingredients aside from the main herb after which it was named. For example, her recipe for angelica water uses angelica, thistle, baume, sage, angelica seed, anise seed, coriander seed, sweet fennel seed, caraway seed, wine, and a sweetener.65 Within my analysis of the larger database of recipes, investigations into cited ingredients highlight the wide range of herbs, spices, animal products, and carriers that were current in early modern English households.66 Many of the herbs used in Elizabeth's stored medicines, such as rosemary, nutmeg, and cinnamon, appear in the "top twenty" most popular ingredients list compiled from the wider database.67 The recipes for the stored medicines suggest that Elizabeth used common sweeteners such as sugar and honey, and a number of different types of alcohol as carriers.68 Although sugar did carry medicinal qualities, it was often specifically mentioned as a sweetener—readers could add sugar according to their taste. While it is not surprising that Elizabeth's cupboards contained the most popular medical ingredients of the day, more expensive ingredients (such as coral and vitriol) and materials connected [End Page 159] with "chemical" remedies (such as mercury) are both notably absent. This seems to be reflective of household medicine in general, for the wider database also suggests that while these ingredients were used, they were by no means commonly used.

The producers of household medicines could have obtained the majority of these ingredients through a number of different channels. Angelica, rosemary, lavender, saffron, and clary were all recommended by the authors of contemporary gardening manuals as "helpful" herbs that were suitable for the kitchen garden.69 However, if one's garden did not produce the necessary yields, or one was not "green-fingered," these herbs were also readily available for purchase. Gideon Harvey, in the 1670s, recommends that his readers obtain herbs from the "physical herb women" at the London markets for half a penny a handful.70 More "exotic" ingredients such as cinnamon and nutmeg and the all-important sweetener, sugar, were also available for purchase—this time, according to Harvey, from the grocers.71

A look at what seems to be a contemporary shopping list written into Mary Doggett's manuscript notebook of recipes suggests that many of the ingredients to make medicines were actually bought by householders.72 There are a number of crossovers between Mary's shopping list and Elizabeth's medicines, including rosemary, lemon, wine, and sugar candy. Interestingly, Mary's list shows that not only did she not rely on her own garden to produce common herbs, but she also purchased distilled waters such as rosewater and fennel water. In fact, many recipes required the use of preprocessed ingredients such as distilled waters of particular herbs or spices—Freke's recipe for the syrup of saffron, for example, requires aniseed, blessed thistle, and baume waters, and her recipes for "aqua mirabolus" involve aniseed, angelica, and baume waters, among other ingredients.73 Gideon Harvey names four distilled waters that were particularly useful to have on hand, either as a simple medicine or as an ingredient for compound medicines such as cordial juleps and cordial potions: these are the waters of baume, black-cherry, blessed thistle, and [End Page 160] red poppy, of which both baume and red poppy water were stored in Freke's cupboards.74 According to Harvey, these waters could be made at home by distilling herbs and water in a cold still, or, if you did not "have the convenience of distilling them, you may buy them from the Apothecaries, at a shilling a pint."75 Thus, many of the distilled waters within Elizabeth's cupboards would have been used both as an ingredient and as a stand-alone medicine; this dual role might partly explain the large quantities stored within her closet. Within the current historiography, the fact that the medicines in Elizabeth's cupboards utilized a wide variety of ingredients is not surprising. What is interesting is that medicine production within the household called for a mix of simples and compounds, and thus of processed and unprocessed ingredients. Contemporary evidence suggests that while some of these ingredients, such as rosemary, could be planted in one's own garden, household producers of medicaments also purchased the ingredients from a variety of venues. The sourcing of ingredients was one of the many areas where household practitioners had to engage with the medical economy.76 This engagement went beyond the purchasing of "exotic" imported ingredients: it extended to common herbs, and to simple distilled waters to be used both on their own and as ingredients for the further compounding of drugs.

Elizabeth Freke's inventories also highlight some of the production methods of homemade medicines.77 Her description of several of the cordial waters as "doubled stilled" points to the use of distillation, and her inventory shows that she owned a limbeck, a cold still, and a bain marie—equipment commonly used in distilling medicines.78 From the wider survey, around 10 percent of the recipes in this period call for the use of a still, and distillation was a common method for making cordial waters and other strengthening medicines.79 Aside from distilled waters, Freke was also storing syrups and tinctures, which were most probably made by boiling, "seething," and steeping herbs in a liquid carrier. Boiling [End Page 161] was the most common process used in the production of household medicines, occurring in 20–30 percent of the recipes surveyed.80 Other common processes include the pounding of herbs, and the melting and mixing of fats such as butter and grease with herbs for salves and plasters.81 While the equipment needed for distillation is specialized, these other processes required only the pots and pans of the early modern kitchen: the boiling, seething, and standing of liquid medicaments could easily be done with earthen and copper pots; the melting of fats and the frying of herbs for salves were performed in skillets and pans; jelly bags and cotton cloths were used for straining medicines; and pestles and mortars were used to crush herbs and spices.82 A number of these items can be found listed in contemporary inventories: Sara Pennell writes that brass kettles were listed in thirty-four of her sample of fifty inventories in the period 1660–80; likewise, iron pots appeared in thirty-three inventories, frying pans in twenty-eight, and skillets in twenty-six.83 Thus, it is likely that the majority of the methods and equipment used in the recipes were techniques and containers that were also readily used in the preparation of foodstuffs and in other household tasks, and medicine preparation would not have required a great deal of either additional learning or acquisition of equipment. While it is important to stress the familiarity of the production techniques to early modern householders, it is also worthwhile to point out that the processes used within the household did not differ greatly from those used commercially.

The process of producing medicaments was time-consuming and labor-intensive. A glance at contemporary recipes shows that many of them require multiple steps to be performed over several days. For example, Freke's recipe for the syrup of saffron requires four main steps: One first steeps saffron in aniseed water for twenty days, shaking the stopped bottle once a day; one then adds additional ingredients, boils the liquid into a syrup, strains the syrup, and simmers this final syrup for awhile. The product is finally left to cool in a silver basin, before being bottled.84 [End Page 162] Many of the waters produced by distillation, such as the ague water and "aqua mirabolus," required at least three steps: collecting and preparing the ingredients; infusing the dry ingredients in a liquid such as an herbal water or alcohol for at least twelve hours; and finally, distillation.85 But each batch of ingredients could be used several times: Freke's description of several of her medicines as "first" suggests that these were either first seethings or the first batch of distillation liquids; these were seen to be the strongest medicines, and subsequent batches would be weaker in the herbs' or spices' "virtue."86 Notably, most of the medicines that Elizabeth kept on hand were exactly these distilled waters which were so time-consuming to produce.

The time required to make these medicines may at least partially explain the large quantities of cordial waters kept by Freke: she inventoried them by quarts and pints. It was not uncommon in contemporary medical recipes to instruct the householder to produce large quantities of a particular medicine, and the recipes in Elizabeth's collection are no exception. For example, the recipe for a tobacco salve for all wounds requires 2 pounds of green tobacco leaves, 1 pound of hog's grease, a cup of claret wine, 1 pound of tobacco juice, and 4 ounces of venice turpentine.87 The wound drink by Lady Rives requires a handful of twenty-three different herbs, 2 quarts of white wine, and a gallon of springwater—and other compilers also provide instructions to make similar quantities.88

While it is difficult to conceive of an old woman in the country producing gallons' worth of medicine, the large quantities might be further explained by the long shelf life of these remedies—often measured in terms of years. For example, Freke writes that "the older this watter is the better itt is" at the end of a recipe for "an Excellentt Cordiall watter, against [End Page 163] the Plague."89 Other remedies with a long shelf life—that is, between seven and twenty years—include Bulls oil, Lucatella's Balsame, Lady Penrodock's "sope plaister," Freke's red cordial water and Paracelsus's Plaister.90 From Freke's 1712 list, we see that while most of the contents of her cupboards date from between 1705 and 1711, the double-stilled scurvigrass water was nearly thirty years old when the inventory was made and was evidently still considered valuable enough to be listed.91

Another reason for large batches to be made at a time is that many of the medicines had to be taken by the "pint." For example, within the recipe collection, the recommended dosage for Lady Rives's wound drink is a pint taken twice a day; other remedies that needed to be drunk a pint at a time are Freke's "goat's rue posset," Dr. Bate's waters for dropsy, and Madame Barnes's remedy for a "Rhumylisme."92 As many of these medicines required several steps and days of work to produce, and since the dosages were large and the shelf life of the medicines long, it seemed logical to make large batches to keep for future use. This would explain the large number of bottles of cordial waters kept by Freke, many of which contained "aqua mirabolus"—a water that was taken on its own and also used as a base for other remedies.93 Aside from these reasons, it may also be that Elizabeth made medicines with an aim to share and exchange with friends and family; while not recorded in the remembrances, the use of these medicines within Elizabeth's possible acts of charity would also have necessitated the large quantities stored.

Further information about the production and consumption patterns of the Freke family are revealed by the dates that Elizabeth attached to each medicine. The majority of the medicines had been produced within the last ten years, suggesting that she was making or purchasing them on a regular basis. A comparison between the three accounts shows that she was also consuming them. For example, in 1710 she listed eighteen pints of "aqua mirabolus," while in 1712 she only had ten pints left, suggesting that she or someone in her household had consumed eight pints of the medicine. There were, however, other medicines on her shelves that [End Page 164] had not been touched—rosemary water, for example, remained at four quarts in both inventories.94 The first decade of the eighteenth century saw the Freke family suffer a number of illnesses. Elizabeth herself, who was then in her late sixties and early seventies, was plagued with ill health throughout this period. She particularly suffered from lung disorders (asthma, coughs, shortness of breath) and poor eyesight, and many of the medicines kept in her cupboard may well have been made for herself. Further, in 1705 Elizabeth's husband Ralph passed away after prolonged illness, and some of the medicines dated to that year may have been produced during his period of ill health.95 At the same time, no doubt, some of these products were kept on stand-by, just in case they were needed by the family or household dependents.

Medicines, of course, were not cheap to come by. A glance at some of the ingredients reveals that the waters kept in Freke's closet were not economical to produce. For example, her precious "aqua mirabolus" required four to five different kinds of distilled herbal waters and around five different spices, plus herbs;96 another water by that name, made with fewer herbs, is quoted in Harvey's Family Physician as costing 17d. to 18d. a pint homemade, and 3s. 6d. to 4s. bought from the apothecary.97 Consequently, despite the start-up cost for home-based medicine production, in the long run it was more cost-effective than relying on apothecaries and druggists for all of one's medical needs.

Aside from cost, another advantage of laboriously producing one's own cordials was the ability to control the quality of ingredients used and the preparation of the medicines. Patrick Wallis has written about consumers' anxieties over product quality and price, and the difficulties they faced when making purchase decisions.98 Making one's own medicines not only ensured the quality and the safety of the product, but also allowed the sufferer control over the exact formula for a particular drug. There were hundreds of slightly different recipes for cordials such as "aqua mirabolus," for instance, and even Freke herself had two different versions. Making medicines from scratch would allow her to blend each one from her family recipe. Households could customize the drugs they produced: they could substitute favorite or available ingredients, and vary the steps or the strength according to their own requirements. For [End Page 165] early modern householders, there is no doubt that this customization of medicines added a certain personal value.

The meticulous accounting of these medicaments suggests that Freke herself saw them as valuable products. This is confirmed by her tirade against the runaway servant Mary Chapman. When Chapman fell ill with smallpox in May 1712, Elizabeth removed her to a "little house in the parish," hired a nurse for her, and picked up the medical fees and her room and board bills during her sickness; she was therefore very frustrated when Chapman ran away in June that year. In her rant against Chapman in the remembrances Freke totaled her financial output for Chapman's illness, adding that "forty shillings would nott pay for her cordialls shee had outt of my closett."99 Another indicator of the value Elizabeth placed on her cordial waters is the space and place of storage. The room in which the waters were kept was described by Freke as "my own closett" or "my upper closset"; within the actual room, the waters were kept in a cupboard "by the bed side," suggesting that they were kept in her own bedroom.100 This may have been for convenience—she does say that these waters are in "severall cubards in my closett for my own use";101 however, their placement also suggests that these are things that she preferred to keep close to her person for safety. Similarly, her distillation equipment was kept in the upper garrett and in a "closett by the parler chamber," and not in the kitchen where other pots and pans were kept "under the care of Mary Ram."102 The mention of Mary Ram in the inventory suggests that she was left in charge, and that if any items were missing she would be held responsible. The lack of a person named to be responsible for the other, more valuable items suggests that Freke was keeping these under lock and key.

Conclusion

While Elizabeth Freke, as an educated, reasonably wealthy gentlewoman, may not represent the majority of householders in early modern England, her interest and actual practice in medicine production is illuminating of a certain type of domestic medical care common in the period. Elizabeth's papers demonstrate that at least a portion of the thousands of recipes scribbled into notebooks were actually put into use. Householders seem to [End Page 166] have stocked their closets with distilled waters that not only had multiple uses, as medicines for a variety of ailments and as an ingredient in more complex medicines, but also had a long shelf life. I have argued that with other, more specific remedies, the recipe—that is, the knowledge to make the drug—served as the "just-in-case." The long production processes and the fast deterioration of certain ointments and drugs simply did not warrant having them made up and on hand on the off-chance that someone in the household might require them. Recipes, then, appear to have served a dual role within early modern households. On one hand, these collections were treasure stores of practical information and provided instructions to manufacture general medicaments required by the family. On the other hand, they acted as a "secondary" medicine cupboard and offered householders a wide supply of medical information just for the price of collecting the information and putting pen to paper.

Finally, my analysis of Freke's medicine lists and recipe collections has been revealing of the interaction between household and commercial medicine. Freke's papers demonstrate that when seeking a cure, householders were comfortable in mixing the domestic and the commercial: in the same way that they combined home-based self-medication with commercial medical services, household practitioners also combined ingredients sourced from their gardens or the countryside with the offerings of the early modern apothecaries or druggists. And the medical knowledge that helped Freke fill her cupboard with cordial waters and syrups did not exclusively belong to the domestic sphere or to lay medicine; rather, it was a mix of knowledge purchased from commercial medical practitioners—whether in the form of face-to-face consultations or of information presented in a printed book—with knowledge circulating within her circle of family and friends.

Consumption, when it comes to the production of medicines, extends beyond the obtaining of ingredients, equipment, and outside help—it also includes medical knowledge, advice, and practical know-how. Consequently, it appears that household medicaments were made using ingredients, equipment, and knowledge obtained from various vendors within the marketplace, and the homemade cordials were no doubt taken alongside store-bought medicines. The image of household medicine as being from the garden to the kitchen is thus perhaps an overly sentimental one; rather, household practitioners were in constant interaction with vendors of medical wares, and their role within the "medical marketplace" as sufferers and as consumers requires further investigation. [End Page 167]

Elaine Leong

Elaine Leong is a Leverhulme Research Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK (e-mail: e.leong@warwick.ac.uk). Her current research project focuses on vernacular medical literature and "medical reading" in early modern England.

Footnotes

1. London, British Library (hereafter BL), MS Add. 45718 (hereafter "white"), fol. 92r-v. The inventories can also be found in the modern edition of Freke's papers: Elizabeth Freke, The Remembrances of Elizabeth Freke, 1671-1714, ed. Raymond A. Anselment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 177-78 (hereafter Remembrances). In subsequent notes, where possible, references to both the manuscript and the modern edition will be provided. It should be noted that the modern edition does not include Freke's extensive recipe collection or her reading notes.

2. White, fol. 92r (Remembrances, pp. 177-78).

3. My survey of manuscript recipe collections in twelve major research libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States identified 259 collections (a collection was defined as a group of thirty or more recipes). My analysis of printed recipe collections in the period suggests that 236 such collections were issued between 1600 and 1700, of which sixty were new titles and 176 were reprints. For details, definitions, and the full parameters of the analysis, see Elaine Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections in Seventeenth-Century England: Knowledge, Gender and Text" (D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 2005), pp. 20-67.

4. See Harold. J. Cook, The Decline of the Old Medical Regime in Stuart London (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986); Cook, Trials of an Ordinary Doctor: Joannes Groenevelt in Seventeenth-Century London (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1994); Charles Webster and Margaret Pelling, "Medical Practitioners," in Health, Medicine and Mortality in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Charles Webster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1979), pp. 165-235; Margaret Pelling, Medical Conflicts in Early Modern London: Patronage, Physicians and Irregular Practitioners 1550-1640 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); Mary E. Fissell, Patients, Power and the Poor in Eighteenth-Century Bristol (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

5. See footnote 4 and Mark S. Jenner and Patrick Wallis (eds.), Medicine and the Market in England and Its Colonies, c. 1450-c. 1850 (Basingstoke, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) for literature on the medical marketplace. Literature on the "patient's view" includes Roy Porter, "The Patient's View: Doing Medical History from Below," Theory & Society, 1985, 14: 175-98; Porter, ed., Patients and Practitioners: Lay Perceptions of Medicine in Pre-Industrial Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Lucinda M. Beier, Sufferers and Healers: The Experience of Illness in Seventeenth-Century England (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987). Michael MacDonald's and Ronald Sawyer's studies of Richard Napier's clientele have shown that for many sufferers, the first port of call for medical care was one's family and friends, and the setting for these medical activities was the domestic sphere: Michael MacDonald, Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Ronald Sawyer, "Patients, Healers and Disease in the Southeast Midlands, 1597-1634" (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1986).

6. Beier, Sufferers and Healers (n. 5); Doreen Evenden Nagy, Popular Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988); Linda A. Pollock, With Faith and Physic: The Life of a Tudor Gentlewoman (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993), part 3.

7. See, e.g., Evenden Nagy, Popular Medicine (n. 6), chap. 5 (esp. pp. 73, 76).

8. One of the best-known case studies on women and medicine in early modern England is Linda Pollock's study of Lady Grace Mildmay's personal papers. Other such studies include Lucinda Beier's studies of Margaret Hoby, Alice Thornton, and the Josselin family, and Leonard Guthrie's study of the "Lady Sedley" notebook: Pollock, With Faith and Physick (n. 6.); Beier, Sufferers and Healers (n. 5); Leonard Guthrie, "The Lady Sedley's Receipt Book 1686 and Other Seventeenth Century Receipt Books," Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1913, 6: 150-69.

9. There is a blossoming body of literature on "receipt books." The main studies are Jennifer Stine, "Opening Closets: The Discovery of Household Medicine in Early Modern England" (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1996); Lisa Smith, "Women's Healthcare in England and France, 1650-1775" (Ph.D. thesis, University of Essex, 2001); Catherine Field, "'Many Hands Hands': Early Modern Women's Recipe Books and the Politics of Writing Food for the Nation" (Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland, 2006); Alisha Rankin, "Medicine for the Uncommon Woman: Remedy Exchange among Noblewomen in Early Modern Germany" (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 2005); and Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3). The main published sources include Evenden Nagy, Popular Medicine (n. 6); Beier, Sufferers and Healers (n. 5); Lynette Hunter, "Women and Domestic Medicine: Lady Experimenters, 1570-1620" and Hunter, "Sisters of the Royal Society: The Circle of Katherine Jones, Lady Ranelagh," in Women, Science and Medicine 1500-1700, ed. Lynette Hunter and Sarah Hutton (Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1997), pp. 89-107 and 178-97. For an assessment of culinary recipes, see Sara Pennell, "The Material Culture of Food in Early Modern England, circa 1650-1750" (D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 1997); Pennell, "Perfecting Practice? Women, Manuscript Recipes and Knowledge in Early Modern England," in Early Modern Women's Manuscript Writing. Selected Papers from the Trinity/Trent Colloquium, ed. Victoria Burke and Jonathan Gibson (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 237-58.

10. For a discussion of social aspects of recipe collecting, see Pennell, "Perfecting Practice?" (n. 9) and Elaine Leong and Sara Pennell, "Recipe Collections and the Currency of Medical Knowledge in the Early Modern 'Medical Marketplace,'" in Jenner and Wallis, Medicine and the Market (n. 5), pp. 133-52.

11. The twenty-eight recipe collections were chosen to represent a cross-section of the genre in seventeenth-century England: male/female compilers in the early/mid/late seventeenth-century time periods, and in both manuscript and print form. For a more detailed description of the database and the texts used for analysis, see Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), pp. 69-85.

12. Ibid., p. 85.

13. See Anselment's introduction to Remembrances for a fuller description of the Freke family genealogy. A genealogy of the Frekes was drawn up by Ralph Freke in the eighteenth century (later edited and enlarged by John Freke) and exists in manuscript form as "A pedigree or genealogy of ye family of the Frekes," Oxford, Bodleian Library (hereafter Bodleian), MS Eng. Misc. c. 203. The manuscript was printed by Middlehill in 1825, and an annotated copy is included in the Carbery bequest at the British Library as MS Add. 45721B.

14. Freke writes of repeated visits between the three sisters. While little is known of Lady Austen, Frances Norton's biography is included in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as a religious writer, the author of The Applause of Virtue (London, 1705) and Memento Mori: or, Meditations on Death (London, 1705): Sarah Ross, "Norton, Frances, Lady Norton (1644-1731)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), at http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/20343 (accessed 20 June 2007).

15. For example, when diagnosed with smallpox as a child, Elizabeth's son Ralph was sent to drink the waters in Epsom in July 1685: white, fol. 52v (Remembrances, p. 54).

16. Elizabeth herself consulted a Dr. Jeffrys in Norwich in 1708, and in 1705-6 numerous medical practitioners from around Bilney were brought in for the final illness of Percy Freke: white, fols. 70v, 65r-v (Remembrances, pp. 98, 84-86). Anselment identifies two doctor Jeffrys or Jefferies operating in the Norfolk region during this period (Remembrances, p. 98 n. 171).

17. The Freke papers, given by Lady Mary Carbery to the British Library, contain three of Freke's notebooks. The white vellum volume ("white") comprises drafts of the remembrances, and the culinary and medical recipe collection; the brown wallpaper volume, BL, MS Add. 45719 (hereafter "brown"), contains a second, neater copy of the remembrances. The third volume consists of geographical and historical notes collected by Freke. In addition to the Anselment modern edition, Lady Carbery herself edited Freke's papers and published them as Mrs Elizabeth Freke, Her Diary 1671 to 1714, ed. M. Carbery (Cork: Guy, 1913). Anselment has written on Elizabeth's remembrances as a "self-portrait," and on Freke's attitudes to her own health: Raymond Anselment, "Elizabeth Freke's Remembrances: Reconstructing a Self," Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 1997, 16 (1): 57-75; Anselment, "'The Want of Health': An Early Eighteenth-Century Self-Portrait of Sickness," Literature & Medicine, 1996, 15 (2): 225-43.

18. John Gerard, The Herball or Generall Histories of Plantes (London, 1597, 1633, and 1636). Freke's transcription was taken from the enlarged 1633 or 1636 editions.

19. Nicholas Culpeper, Culpeper's School of Physick or the Experimental Practice of the Whole Art (London, 1659 and many subsequent editions).

20. George Bate, Pharmacopoeia Bateana (London, 1694), Moise Charas, The Royal Pharmacopoea; Galenical and Chymical (London, 1678), Nicholas Culpeper, Pharmacopoeia Londinensis or the London Dispensatory (London, 1649?). See also Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), pp. 261-63. Freke's 1711 household inventory lists several other vernacular medical texts from which she wrote no notes in her notebook: they include John Colbatch, A Collection of Tracts Chirurgical (London, 1699); John Pechey, The Compleat Herbal of Physical Plants (London, 1694); and a volume titled "The family physitian," which most probably refers to either Gideon Harvey, The Family Physician and the House Apothecary (London, 1676 and 1678), or George Hartman, The Family Physitian (London, 1696). Internal evidence suggests that she most probably owned Hartman's volume rather than Harvey's: in her reading notes and her recipe collection, she cites many authors who also contributed to Hartman's work, and, as discussed below, a large number of recipes to make the medicaments stored in Freke's cupboards can be found in the volume.

21. White, fol. 44r (Remembrances, pp. 327-29).

22. On 15 October 1711, Freke started compiling her inventory by detailing her possessions stored in the "upper closset over the hall"; on 18 October, she moved on to listing the contents of several other rooms in the house, including her own closet, the parlor, the hall, the kitchen, the back house and milk house, the parlor chamber, the dining room, and east, west, and upper garrets. The inventory is presented in white, fols. 90r-4r (Remembrances, pp. 164-87).

23. Ibid., fol. 94v (Remembrances, pp. 187-88).

24. In comparing the medicines listed in the inventories with the medical recipes in Freke's collection, I am comparing names of medicines with recipe titles. While I acknowledge that early modern medicines were often referred to by several names, and that there are a large number of recipes for each medicine, I would argue that the coincidence of Freke's owning both the actual medicine and the instructions to make it strongly suggests a link between the two.

25. White, fol. 122v. Elizabeth traced the receipt's origin, calling it "A Pallsey Water Lady Freke, wch now goes by the Lady St Johns Dropes: Tho the original is my grandmothers of Dorsettshier"; this description is suggestive of the difficulties with nomenclature when it comes to recipes.

26. Ibid., fol. 230r.

27. Ibid., fol. 25v.

28. Ibid., fol. 236v.

29. Ibid., fol. 26r.

30. Ibid., fols. 123v and 229v.

31. Ibid., fol. 231r.

32. Ibid., fol. 28r. There are numerous versions in Hartman, The Family Physitian (n. 20); see, e.g., the two recipes on pp. 291-92.

33. White, fol. 8r.

34. Ibid., fol. 29v.

35. Ibid., fol. 32r.

36. Freke sent for a Mr. Smith to let her blood during bouts of sickness in August 1708 and February 1712: ibid., fols. 70v and 95v (Remembrances, pp. 97 and 191). Smith was also part of the group of practitioners who tended to Ralph Freke during his final illness: ibid., fols. 65r-v (Remembrances, pp. 84-86).

37. Hartman, The Family Physitian (n. 20), pp. 293, 308, 303-4, 295, 291, 298, 289, 285, 297, 326, 291-92.

38. Nagy, Popular Medicine (n. 6), p. 69.

39. The 1711 inventory reveals that Freke had 18 pints and 6 quarts of "aqua mirabolus" in the great cupboard by her bedside, and a further 8 pints in the long chest by the window. Unlike the 1712 inventory, the 1711 list does not specify all the medicines by name, but only "aqua mirabolus" and syrup of gillyflowers. Freke ends this particular inventory restating to the reader that she has 24 pints and 6 quarts of "best aquamirabolus," emphasizing the value she places upon the drug: white, fol. 92r (Remembrances, pp. 177-78).

40. The recipe for "aqua mirabolus" appears in at least eleven of the thirty recipe collections analyzed-namely, the manuscript notebooks of Lady Ayscough (London, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine (hereafter Wellcome), Western MS 1026) and Anne and Elizabeth Bertie (Bodleian, MS Eng. Misc. d 436); the family notebook linked with Philip Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield (Wellcome Western MS 761-2); the notebook linked with the Cary family (Bodleian, MS Don e.11); John Evelyn's recipe collection (BL, MS Add. 78337); Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, A Choice Manual (London, 1653); The Queens Closet Opened (London, 1655); The Accomplished Ladies Delight (London, 1675); Hannah Woolley, The Queen-like Closet (London, 1670); and the notebook linked with the Fairfax family, published as Arcana Fairfaxiana Manuscripta. A Manuscript Volume of Apothecaries Lore and Housewifery Nearly Three Centuries Old, Used and partly Written by the Fairfax Family, with an introduction by G. Weddell (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1890).

41. White, fol. 233v.

42. David Haycock and Patrick Wallis, Quackery and Commerce in Seventeenth Century London: The Proprietary Medicine Business of Anthony Daffy, Supplement to Medical History, 2005.

43. Anthony Daffy, Elixir Salutis: The Choise Drink of Health (London, 1674), pp. 2-5.

44. White, fol. 123v.

45. Ibid., fol. 124r.

46. Ralph Freke was normally based in Ireland, but Elizabeth's remembrances record him visiting his relatives between July 1704 and September 1705: white, fols. 62r, 65r (Remembrances, pp. 79, 83).

47. To name but a few instances: three recipes for Hungary water occur in the notebooks of John Evelyn, BL, MS Add. 78337 (n. 40), fols. 27v, 65v, 66r. Another recipe appears in the notebook of Elizabeth Okeover, Wellcome, Western MS 3712, fol. 136r; for a more indepth look at the Okeover manuscript, see Richard Aspin, "Illustration from the Wellcome Library: Who Was Elizabeth Okeover?" Medical History, 2000, 4: 531-40. The medicine was also made commercially and was advertised in a broadsheet in London in 1690 under the title The Virtues and Uses of the Queen of Hungary's Water.

48. This is in the middle of the white vellum notebook, in a selection of recipes that Freke took out of the pharmacopoeias of Moise Charas and George Bate: white, fol. 129v.

49. Ibid., fol. 70v (Remembrances, pp. 98-99).

50. Ibid., fol. 86r (Remembrances, p. 152).

51. Ibid., fol. 86r; brown, fol. 20r (Remembrances, pp. 152-53, 268).

52. Hartman, The Family Physitian (n. 20), p. 22.

53. Freke writes that she had accidentally fallen down the stairs in July 1704, August 1706, and October 1707: brown, fol. 12v (Remembrances, pp. 244-45); white, fols. 66v and 68v (Remembrances, pp. 88, 93-94). In April 1707, the coach she was traveling in was overturned and she was "much bruised": white, fol. 68r (Remembrances, p. 91). In the entry for 6 March 1711 Freke complained that she was suffering from "rhumatisme" and "tissick" and that this had left her confined to her chair for the last eighteen months: white, fol. 87r (Remembrances, p. 158).

54. Freke had made extensive reading notes from the second edition (either 1633 or 1636) of this expensive and difficult to obtain book: Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), pp. 273-75.

55. White, fol. 186v.

56. Ibid., fol. 212v.

57. Ibid., fols. 186v, 197r, 212v, and 160v.

58. Ibid., fols. 212v, 202r, 160v, and 175v.

59. Ibid., fols. 212v and 207r.

60. Ibid., fols. 206r and 165v.

61. Ibid., fols. 186v and 200v.

62. Ibid., fols. 197r, 186v, 200v, 175v, and 160v.

63. Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), pp. 93-94.

64. Generally, each herb was seen by herbalists to have multiple "virtues"; however, in making her notes out of Gerard, Freke normally selected only particular "virtues." One might therefore assume that the "virtues" selected by Freke are those most relevant to her own medical practice. To follow on from that, one might also be able to deduce the use of these herbal waters from the virtues noted by Freke. It is important to bear in mind that all the herbs named in the three lists can be found as entries in her reading notes: white, fols. 214r-158r.

65. Ibid., fol. 26r.

66. The approximately nine thousand medical recipes in the twenty-eight collections surveyed in the database together generated more than forty-three thousand ingredient entries and more than three thousand individual ingredients: Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), pp. 98-105.

67. Ibid., pp. 102-3.

68. For analyses of the role of sugar in early modern Europe, see Kim F. Hall, "Culinary Spaces, Colonial Spaces: The Gendering of Sugar in the Seventeenth Century," in Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects and Subjectivities, ed. Valerie Traub, Lindsay Kaplan, and Dympna Callaghan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 168-90; Jane O'Hara May, "Foods or Medicines? A Study in the Relationship between Foodstuffs and Materia Medica from the 16th to the 19th Century," Transactions of the British Society of the History of Pharmacy, 1971, 1: 61-97.

69. Leonard Meager, The New Art of Gardening with the Gardener's Almanack (London, 1699), pp. 89-90; The Country House-wives Garden (1617), in William Lawson, The New Orchard and Garden (1618), pp. 12-17.

70. Harvey, The Family Physician (n. 20), pp. 4-5.

71. Ibid., pp. 134-35. Harvey wrote that cinnamon was 8s. a pound and nutmegs 6s. a pound in 1678. Sugar candy could also be bought at the grocers at 1s. 8d. a pound for white sugar, and 10d a pound for brown.

72. BL, MS Add. 27466, fol. 153v.

73. White, fols. 230v and 233v.

74. Harvey, The Family Physician (n. 20), p. 4.

75. Ibid., p. 5.

76. Wallis has also argued for the combining of domestic and commercial medical products: Patrick Wallis, "Apothecaries and the Consumption and Retailing of Medicines in Early Modern London," in From Physick to Pharmacology: Five Hundred Years of British Drug Retailing, ed. Louis Hill Curth (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), pp.13-28, on pp. 15-16.

77. For a fuller discussion of the methods and equipment cited in the wider survey, see Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), pp. 105-8.

78. These were kept in the closet by the parlor chamber and in the upper garret: white, fols. 93v, 94r. These are pieces of equipment recommended by Thomas Brugis in The Marrow of Physick (London, 1640), part 1, pp. 86-87.

79. Leong, "Medical Recipe Collections" (n. 3), p. 106-7.

80. Ibid., p. 106.

81. Ibid.

82. Ibid., p. 107.

83. Sara Pennell, "'Great Quantities of Gooseberry Pye and Baked Clod of Beef': Victualling and Eating Out in Early Modern London," in Londinopolis: Essays in the Cultural and Social History of Early Modern London, c. 1500-c. 1750, ed. Paul Griffiths and Mark S. R. Jenner (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), pp. 228-49, on p. 241. For further details on household and kitchen equipment, see Lorna Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain 1660-1760 (London: Routledge, 1988).

84. White, fol. 230r.

85. Ibid., fols. 236v and 233v. This "infuse/distill" pattern can also be observed in the recipes in the "cordial water" section in Hartman, The Family Physitian (n. 20), pp. 274-94; there are a small number of recipes within the section that forgo the infusion stage and require only distillation using either a limbeck, a cold still, or a "balneo" (bain marie).

86. A good example of this method of reusing ingredients can be seen in Freke's recipe for the syrup of saffron, which is attributed to Lady Norton. Tagged onto the end of the recipe is this advice: "the same Saffron Affterwards infused in halfe the quantity and done as above makes a very good cordiall sirrup but weaker" (white, fol. 230v).

87. Ibid., fol. 242r. Freke does not indicate the exact quantity of the salve that would be produced by this recipe.

88. Ibid., fol. 234r. Lady Ayscough made her medicines in batches of gallons, as her recipes for a diet drink for scurvy and her approved "receit for piles" show: Wellcome, Western MS 1026 (n. 40), pp. 7 and 33. Mary Dogget also made medicines on this scale; e.g., her recipes for the "clary water for the back and stomach" and her "admirable snaile water" were both in batches of several gallons: BL, MS Add. 27466 (n. 72), fol. 10r-v.

89. White, fol. 232v.

90. Ibid., fols. 243v, 242v, 239r, 236v, and 224v.

91. Ibid., fol. 94v.

92. fols. 234r, 227v, 127r, 126v, and 30r.

93. "Aqua mirabolus" was an ingredient in a number of recipes, including one for "an excellent cordial water for dizziness and swimming in the head" in Sir Kenelm Digby, Choice and Experiemented Receipts in Physick and Chirurgery (London, 1668), pp. 273-74, and in a medicine for the cold in the collection of the Fairfax family in Arcana Fairfaxiana (n. 40), p. 193.

94. White, fol. 94v (Remembrances, p. 188).

95. Ibid., fol. 65r-v (Remembrances, pp. 84-87).

96. Ibid., fol. 233v.

97. Harvey, The Family Physician (n. 20), pp. 19-21.

98. Wallis, "Apothecaries" (n. 76), p. 14; Patrick Wallis, "Consumption, Retailing and Medicine in Early-Modern London," Econ. Hist. Rev., 2008, 61: 26-53, on pp. 42-43.

99. Brown, fol. 24v (Remembrances, p. 285).

100. For discussions of early modern closets, see Lena Cowen Orlin, "Gertrude's Closet," Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 1998, 134: 44-67.

101. White, fol. 94v (Remembrances, p. 187).

102. Ibid., fol. 92v (Remembrances, p. 179).

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
145-168
Launched on MUSE
2008-03-10
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.