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Nicholas Culpeper

1616 - 1654
Nicholas Culpepper was raised in the village of Isfield . His grandfather William Attersole. was the rector of St Margarets, His father had died 19 days before his birth so as a new born, in 1616, he came to reside at Isfield Rectory.

Nicholas Culpepper is the most famous English herbalist writing in English. His book The English Physitian, or 'An Astrologo-Physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of this Nation' -remains in production, as it has done in countless forms since it was first published in 1653.

He was the first person to translate the London Pharmacoepia or (Doctors dispensary) from Latin into English. This meant that for the first time non-university trained people could read the book. This was only possible because Charles I had been executed the year before and the usual censorship of the time was not in place.

Nicholas Culpepper was also the First to write a book on the subject of midwifery in English.

He was introduced to his passion of Astrology from his Grandfathers library, and his interest in Herbal Medicine came from his Grandmother, and the Sussex countryside.

After two years studying at Cambridge, Culpepper planned to elope with his Childhood Sweetheart . The story tells that they planned to meet 'near Lewes', but on the way his bride was caught in storm and was killed in her carriage by a lightening strike.

After recovering from this tragedy Culpepper became apprenticed to an Apothecary in London. His training was intertwined with the English Civil war. He fought in two battles for the Parliamentarians in the civil war, was wounded at the Battle of Reading, whilst captaining a troop of infantry.

He was famous for his books and for treating the poor, which he did in great numbers. He emphasized the use of local and common herbs rather than foreign imports. He was a true revolutionary figure, whose legacy can still be found in most bookshops. He remains an inspiration to herbalists today.

Many thanks to Haskel Adamson - Medical Herbalist Bsc (hons) Herbal Medicine. Lewes, Sussex

Villages Referenced

Folkington  -   (Teasles and Badgers)
Isfield  -   (Simon de Montfort and the Lavender Line)

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