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Recipe: Plague Water

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Recipe: Plague Water

Lettice Pudsey's recipe for plague water is one of many recipes against this dreaded disease. This, like many remedies, was more preventative than curative, and gives instructions on when to make it -- presumably because the necessary ingredients would be available in early summer.


Click the links in the transcription below, or at the right, to learn more about distillation and women's networks.

Hannah Woolley. The compleat servant-maid; or, The young maidens tutor. London, 1683

The Surfett of plague watter: good aga[i]nst any infectionus; d[is]eases & to drive any thing from the hart; it is to be made in [M]ay or [J]une:


Ta[ke] sage: saladine: rosemary: wormwood: Balme: rosasoles: mugwort: pympernell: scabious: egrimonye: rue: mint: scordium: cardus: Betonye: Dragon: cowslips Flowers: marigolds Flowers: of each a larg[e] han[d]full: tormentell rootes: angelico: alycompane: pyonye: zyduiary: lycorich: of each one o[u]nce: & a Lettel safron: [shred] the herbs well & smale: alltog[e]ther & bru[i]se the roots: steepe them all in a gallon of whit[e] wine: or sake [sack]. Sa[ck] is better: for 2 days & 2 nights: stir[r]ing them once a day: putt them in a earthen pott: & bee sure to stop is close: you may ma[ke] 2 stillfull of th[i]s quantetie if you please: or else one: destill it in a ordinary still (1): ta[ke] of the first running one pint: of the second running one quart: of the Last one pint: which is the fittest for chillderinge: of the first 2 spoonfull will s[e]rve: of the second 4: of the Last for chilldren: 2 or 3 spoonefull: you may give it at any time: when you see o[c]catione: warme it a Lettel: & sweeten with sugar: when you use it: of with surrip of gilleFlours: or violetts: this is my Lady Shirleys: recipte (2):


Hannah Woolley. The compleat servant-maid; or, The young maidens tutor. London, 1683

Penelope Patrick. Receipt book of Penelope Jephson. Manuscript, 1671 and 1674/75

Learn More

(1) Distillation: "Distill'd from Limbecks"

(2) Women's Networks: Sharing Knowledge

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