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Apothecary by Kenn School camo group

Welcome to the Apothecary Storywalk created for Exeter Daisi - Re Boot Project.

The cathedral monks have had enough of the 'folk' cures which are being sold to innocent and vulnerable locals, so they set a competition and invite local healers to test their skills and find out if any of their unorthodox cures actually do work.

Chapters in this story were written by Jay, Abi, Grantas, Freya and Oakley.

This Storywalk begins in front of Exeter Cathedral, walk there now to reveal the first chapter.
Chapter one

Cathedral Green

As you cross the cathedral green your basket is overflowing with a bushel of fragrant new herbs and spices, all fresh off the boat from Exeter quay after their journey from distant lands.

If correctly mixed and prepared these very plants could remedy ills, remove aches and pains, fix troubling coughs and perhaps even repair a broken heart. But if used wrongly then they would do nothing, or worse hurt the very person they were trying to help.

Today inside your basket you see a small wooden box of dry twigs, a neat bundle of seed pods (which smell very sweet) and several stone jars of oils with wax seals on top. You carry this valuable cargo across the green to the cathedral apothecary where all manner of poultices and tinctures are being prepared by the friars.

Today the cathedral green is both a garden, where many herbs are being grown and a graveyard, as by law, all who die in the city must be buried here. Some of the herbs grown are good for cooking, others good for brewing, some are good to keep food from spoiling, others are good to eat with spoiled food. None of the herbs are grown for no reason at all, everything here has a use and a purpose.
Chapter two

The Quacks

Inside the apothecary a friar precisely mixes ingredients to a recipe he knows by heart, whilst another is telling him about local rogue physicians who are brewing up hedge back weeds to cure all ills. The head monk listens quietly and shakes his head in agreement and wonders what should or could be done about these quacks.

But as he thinks he has a bright idea.

‘Why don't we have a competition, we can invite all the local healers and physicians to provide a poultice or system to cure an ailment, like a wart or something and then we put it to the test? You never know what knowledge is out there and this may be just the way to find it. It could also uncover the charlatans for what they truly are and if any succeed then they will have our blessing and by default that of our lord.'

‘Oh very good, I shall send out word immediately.'

And so a decree was announced, the word was put out about the city and outlying villages for all healers and physicians to come display their skills on St Panteleons feast day.
Chapter three

The Competition Begins

It is St Panteleons feast day, the patron saint of physicians and the cathedral green is swarming, there are stalls everywhere and each has a different wart cure solution. The friars have a team of soldiers all with warts on the ends of their noses, ready to be healed.

Take your monitoring slip and follow the friar around the green.
The first chapter will open by walking to the marble statue of Richard Hooker.
Chapter four

The Black Adders skin

As you approach the stall you see the healer chuckling like an evil villain. With a sharp pointy sorrenge in his in his hand wearing a thick white uniform like what a scientist would wear and it had thick streams of blood going down his uinform. And the solder started slightly walking backwards the tiniest bit each second. In creaking cuppards sat butterfly's and caterpillars and even a poisiousnous,cold blooded adder.He's bold and only has hair on the sides.

The sat the patient down on the thick leather chair and began his surgery. First he gets some caterpillars and blends them up with some earwigs. And makes a mixture them then he gets some adder skin and daddy long legs legs and he blends them altogether to make a mixture and he wrubs it on the wart and then he puts acid on it and it burns.The solder doesn't think of it as a good treatment for the wart.

The cure didn't work and he checked on it in the next week and the wart did not go and the solder was not very happy.

To finish ask the to write In their log sheet before moving away
The next chapter will reveal by walking around the periphery wall of Cathedral Green in a clockwise manner.
Chapter five

The dogs eye cure

As you approach the stalls there are lots of soldiers that have a wort. One person has a good cure.
It was a dogs eye in boiling hot water then you add a grass snake and stir it in till gloop then add horse eye then add frog leg then stir then take the snake out and then put it on the side then get the liquid and poor it into a cup and give it to him to drink then put the snake on his neck and bite the wart and it didn't go.
The solder was wearing a blue te-shirt and green shorts and leather shoes.

After 2 years the wart wasn't gone so they did the contest was again.

The same person did it and had one different ingredient and it was cats claw and after 4 months the wart was gone.

Please write on the sheet before you move on.
Continue beside the low wall which marks the edge of Cathedral Green.
Chapter six

The Crazy Scientist

As you approach the stall you will see a crazy scientist making smelly potions. His hair is curly and a light green colour . Then he magics out a sheep out of his pocket and then he tries to get the sheep eye out of the sheep but he needs to get the sheep to sleep so he gets a knife out of his pocket and stabs the sheep and it started to bleed and as if by magic he gets the sheep eye ball out and the eye ball fly's in the air and he caches the eye ball in his pocket.But the only bad thing was that the pocket the eye ball landed in was see through so the eye ball could see where the crazy scientist was going.So wen the crazy scientist sat down on the chair the eye ball jump out and landed back in the eye ball hole but the crazy scientist did know notice.
Follow the pavement on Cathedral Green which runs back towards the front of the Cathedral. The next chapter is not far along this path.
Chapter seven

The severed head remedy

As you approach the stall you see a white, luminous glow coming from an ornate oil lamp, smothered by brilliant magenta and deep purple cloth. The room is relatively dark and sitting on dusty, wooden shelves and in creaking cabinets, are wide, glass jars with butterflies, glow worms, fungi and myceliums inside.
A nervous looking soldier is sitting on a small, brown chair and a man with a limp hobbles over. He is the Healer, he wears a long, reindeer skin cloak with antlers glued to the soft hood.
"Are we ready?" The Healer asks and he smiles a malevolent grin showing his one diamond tooth and his other, rotten, yellow ones. The mysterious, male figure mumbles some secret, magical enchantments and rhymes, twisting and weaving the words together like ivy. Suddenly, in a flash of blue smoke a bottle appears in his very hand. Unscrewing the cork, he tips the liquid inside into a heavy, stone mortar. He grinds it into a paste with an ancient severed head skull and a mashed up salamander's brain. Then, he carefully selects a pointy shark tooth from his large ever-growing collection. By now the poor, innocent soldier is beginning to sweat with fear and is regretting ever volunteering for this.
The supposedly mad Healer all of a sudden springs into action and stabs his patient's wart with the tooth in his gloved hand. You hear the soldier squeal with pain and indignation as he dabs the hideous wart with a brush covered in the revolting tincture that he had concocted earlier. "Is it better?" Asks the Friar. "It will be, in a couple of days." The Monk does not look convinced.

Remember to write on your monitor sheet before you move on.
Continue along the pavement on Cathedral Green, the next chapter is at an intersection of pavements.
Chapter eight

The rotten pepperoni pizza

As you approach the half broken stall you see goat milk that has been out of date for 2000 years which is in a glass container, rotten pepperoni pizza and a unicorn eye, hair and legs. There was sound as good as silence when you walk forwards to the patient he had a wart that look like a blister. First you put goat milk that has been out of date for 2000 years, then put the rotten pepperoni pizza and a unicorn eye ,hair and legs. You mushed it all up together and then pour it on top of the wart. He is wearing a England football kit top to bottom including socks, shoes and shinpads on under his English football socks. White hair and a cross in the middle he is 6 foot and 8 inches .
Continue along the pavement to the next path intersection which is only a few meters along.
Chapter nine

Pin Cushion

As you approach the stall you see the healers' workers dressed in red, laying out tools on a tiny table. Charcoal is added to a fire which is stoked really hot by hand pumped bellows as the soldier is escorted to a leather reclining chair in the middle of the crowd.

Then the healer himself makes his entrance, firstly two trumpets are blown, and a long banner unrolls which catches in the wind dramatically. Then the healer throws a handful of salts onto the fire which erupts in a fabulous cloud of green smoke, the crowd thinks this is amazing.

The healer then examines the soldiers' warty nose for a moment, before selecting some of the tools from the table which he places in the fire. A moment or two passes before a worker runs forward with evil looking pincers which are locked on the soldiers nose to keep it still.

Then with great skill the healer threads hot rod after hot rod through the wart and the soldier does well not to scream with pain. With all these needles in his nose he looks like a pin cushion! Then more salt is thrown on the fire and another green plume erupts before the healer begins to remove the needles.

‘Seven days before and the wart will be gone' the healer says confidently to the friar, but the friar is not convinced the wart will go. ‘We will monitor it over the coming week' he says.

He then turns to you to make a note on your monitoring slip before you move on.
Now go back to where our story began for the conclusion of this tale.
Chapter ten

The Finale

The following weekend all the healers gather with a large crowd to await judgment here on the cathedral green. They are all eager and confident and are now ready for the friar to announce the winner.

There is quiet as the friar stands and begins to address the gathering.

‘Good healers of Exeter city, thank you for taking part in this unique experiment. This commission was designed to unlock knowledge for the good people of Exeter.'

The crowd nod to each other in approval.

‘The criteria for successful eradication of the wart is as follows'.

He then lifts up his first finger ‘point one, will be if the wart has been completely removed after the week is up.'

‘Point two' and he lifts up his second finger ‘will be how inconvenient it was for the wart sufferer to under go the treatment.'

He then lifts up a third finger ‘point three will be what complications the treatment created for the inflicted during the treatment and beyond.'
Chapter eleven

The Treatments

‘So there were many great treatments which have not worked, the first was to sever the head of an eel, rub the blood on to the wart and then burry it beneath a full moon.'

The crowd nod as they have tried this one themselves or a similar one with a potatoe.

‘This was tested and did not work' said the friar.

The crowd look very surprised, but the friar continues.

‘The next was to wear a live toad in a bag around your neck until the toad died'. Again the crowd nod, but the friar continues ‘that didn't work either.'

‘Then we have the selling and buying of warts of which many of the healers claimed to be effective. The most common of these was to put as many pebbles as warts you had in a cloth bag and leave it by a cross roads. An unsuspecting traveller would pick up the package and therefor own the warts.' The friar waits a moment before saying ‘this was tested and also does not work.'

The crowd mumble in surprise.

‘Then there was the selling of a wart to the dead, which was generally done by rubbing the wart on the shoe of a pallbearer (person carrying the coffin) in the belief that the dead would then take your wart to the grave.'

The friar looks across the crowd before saying again ‘this was tested and does not work.'

The crowd mumble in surprise again, then the friar finishes.

‘In fact, of all the remedies, therapies and treatments not a single one has worked. Every single cure or procedure which you healers have brought to this reputable place was either useless or worse.'

The crowd gasp in surprise, the friar then looks across at all the healers and says simply, ‘what we really need . . . . is a cure for rogues, thieves, con-artists and quacks like you' and the crowd begin to boo the healers.
Chapter twelve

In the Name of Science

‘But in the name of science, next year on St Panteleons feast day we shall pursue this seam of knowledge again, as all the soldiers still need curing of warts.'

‘Until then, you know where to come for help' he says and then turns towards the apothecary to continue his good work.

Chapter thirteen


Which cure do you think was most likely to work?

Do you think any of the healers should have won the competition?

How would you like to cure the wart?

What insects would you like to use?

How would you prepare your remedy?

What would you expect the patient to do in order for the cure to work?
Chapter fourteen


A few facts about this story.

Firstly, the cathedral green was a cemetery until 1637 when due to overcrowding it was moved. At that time the green itself was believed to have been a few feet higher than it is today due to these internments.

There has been a presence of apothecaries and healers across Exeter with the first being credited to the friars of the cathedral.

The ‘cures' in the final chapter were drawn from historic accounts many of which had a time element inbuilt as warts have a natural life cycle and generally disappear as the body reacts to the virus.

The images from the Welcome Collection are fabulous windows into the minds of the people of the time. The etching of a surgeon removing ‘stones' from the head of their client is testament to the desperation and general crudity of the physicians procedures.

The Toad in the Silk bag was obtained from the Exeter area in 1930 from the Edward Lovett collection of amulets and charms.

There is no evidence there was ever a competition set up by the friars or cathedral (it is very unlikely they would have). But this narrative construct enabled pupils from local schools to engage creatively with the history of Exeter and get beneath the cities skin in a rather different way.

I hope you have enjoyed the stories.

These are the schools who have been involved.
Chapter fifteen

images Copyright

Image 1 - The Apothecary - Martin Engelbrecht - Welcome Collection

Image 2 - Stone Folly - P Quast - Welcome Collection

Image 3 - Apothecary Riding a Horse - W E G - Welcome Collection

Image 4 - Moth - C Jelley

Image 5 - Cricket - C Jelley

Image 6 - Pearls - C Jelley

Image 7 - Toad - C Jelley

Image 8 - Snail - C Jelley

Image 9 - Flute - C Jelley

Image 10 - Silk bag with Frog - Welcome Collection

Image 11 - The Dentist - Watercolour - Welcome Collection

Image 12 -The Apothecaries Wife - Martin Engelbrecht - Welcome Collection

Image 13 - Corn Cure - Welcome Collection

Image 14 - A Country Apothecary - Welcome Collection

Images from Welcome Collection under Creative Commons Licence.
Images from C Jelley for sole use by Storywalks.
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