KILL OR CURE
Although it doesn’t happen very often, one of the joys of searching parish registers is finding the unexpected—the odd cartoon or snide comment about the quality of the other priest’s record-keeping, showing that they didn’t always live in harmony and weren’t the perfect beings they might have liked us to believe them. I have even found knitting and crochet patterns for mittens in the flyleaves.
The registers of Blackditches (Valleymount) in North Wicklow have a few gems—
FOR THE GOUT
Boil a handfull of the Elderbark or soft tops on sour Buttermilk & Oatmeal. When thick enough spread mix it with tar & apply a poultice of it to the toes.
FOR THE GRAVEL1
Take a handfull of Cranebill otherwise bloodworth. Infuse with water on it in a teapot, sweeten it with soft sugar and cream and take a cup of it often in the day.
FOR A COUGH
Gum amoniac 6 ozs
Syrup of squils2 half an ounce
Mix both together & take a tablespoonfull when the cough is troublesome.
On the next page (not shown):
A RECIPE FOR KILLING MICE
½ ounce of best flour
½ ounce of best sugar
½ ounce of butter without salt
½ ounce of Arsenic powdered fine
4 drop of oil of Cloves
4 drop of oil of Aniseed
4 drop of oill of Caroway
Mix all together & put some to the ends of turf to prevent being used for any other purpose.
Just don’t mix up your recipes.
- Gravel was a disease caused by kidney stones.
- I have not been able to find out what were squils but they appear in Nicholas Culpeper’s Herbal & Complete Physician published in 1653.