Nendick’s Pill: Selling Medicine in Rural Britain

(Anon, ‘Quacksalber’ – image from Wikimedia Commons) Even as late as the 1970s it was largely assumed that people in rural England and Wales had little contact with medical practitioners or medicines for sale. As such, they were portrayed as being reliant upon ‘irregular’ practitioners such as charmers and cunning folk, and forced to make … Continue reading Nendick’s Pill: Selling Medicine in Rural Britain

Can’t Stay Moustache: Bans on Facial Hair in Medieval Ireland

In 1457 Dublin’s city council issued an ordinance that ‘men with bardys [beards] above the mowth’, as well as Irishmen and their horses and horsemen, should not be lodged within the city walls. St Audoens and Dublin’s City Wall [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASt._Audoen’s_Church_Over_Dublin_City_Wall_and_Gate.JPG By Eric Fischer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons] Men with moustaches … Continue reading Can’t Stay Moustache: Bans on Facial Hair in Medieval Ireland

Beards, Whiskers and the History of Pogonotomy – BBC Free Thinking Transcript

This is a transcript of the paper I gave at the BBC ‘Free Thinking’ Festival in Sage Gateshead, November 2014. Enjoy! Something beardy this way comes! Love them or loathe them it seems that beards are everywhere at the moment. Walk down your local high street and before you’ve gone too far it’s a fair … Continue reading Beards, Whiskers and the History of Pogonotomy – BBC Free Thinking Transcript

10 Seventeenth-century remedies you’d probably want to avoid!

Whilst I strongly advocate not poking fun at the medical beliefs and practices of our ancestors, now and again it does no harm to remind ourselves of just how…unusual they could sometimes appear. And so I give you my top ten early modern recipes! 10) An excellent good medisian for an Eye that is bruised … Continue reading 10 Seventeenth-century remedies you’d probably want to avoid!