In 1527, a certain printer, "Laurens Andrewe," translated and issued a work entitled, The vertuose Boke of Distyllacyon of the Waters of all manner of Herbes, translated from the German of " Jerome of Brynswicke" (Brunswick). It is illustrated throughout with quaint woodcuts, and extraordinary recipes, which, if followed by the housewife, must have added horrors to illness, and perhaps have done her friends and relations more harm than good. Among the plants she is recommended to use are "yellow lillies, floure de luce purpure, periwinkle, house-leek, red and white roses, Solomon's seal, woodbine, peony, marigold, besides all the herbs, such as dill, burnet, dandelion, and fruits, cherries, quinces, peach-leaves, apples, and nuts".
* = tooth. † = an auger.
The Household Books of the fifth Earl of Northumberland (1502), contain the following list of " herbes to stylle." " Borage, columbine, buglos, sorrel, cowsloppes, scabious, wild tansey, wormwood, endyff, sauge, dandelion, and hart's tonge." Many herbs in every garden were grown solely for this purpose, and these sweet waters were used in cooking as well as for medicine. A neighbourly gift of distilled herbs was often exchanged, and it is not uncommon to find records of such presents as " sweet waters," "rose water," or "syrup of roses," being accepted by the wealthy from their poorer friends. Similar offerings of flowers or fruit were no less frequent. The Parson of Titteshall sent the Squire of Hunstanton a present of pears and apples, "his boye " receiving a penny for bringing them. On another occasion " wenches," from the same parish, brought him red roses.* The Bishop of Norwich sent the Duke of Buckingham a dish of cherries, and one May day " four maydens of Kanisham brought presents of hawthorne to my Lord's Grace, being in his orchard." † One feels tempted to pause to entwine a pretty story round these four maidens of Kanisham. Without much strain on the imagination, and with the help of these simple records, it is easy to conjure up delightful visions, and to picture many a fascinating scene of homely country life in Tudor times.
* Le Strange, Household Books (1540).
† Duke of Buckingham's Household Accounts.