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Apothecary by Kenn School pink 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 Jude, Kloe, Ewan K, Darina, Fae and Pheobe.

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 great adder of Exeter

As you approach the healer, you see the crowed being amazed by the birds of pray swooping and curving chasing hopeless fake mice and of course your wart in all of its glory.
The most annoying illness in the world and the strains of pain run down your your body .
As the healer approaches you you are confused in why the old and creaky man is dressed in a pirate suit maybe to match his missing leg. Then the man looks at your wart and says come and sit down Ill cure that wart for you young and brave soldier that was wearing a baggy and old pair trousers and a yellow T-shirt .

The cure was a very different cure to what you have seen before and it wasn't a medicine it was a wild cure it was made of adders wasps and black widows so you are really confused by now your thinking this man is absolutely crazy!!.Then when he tells you to sit down on the crooked old chair that had wet bird poo on so you really didn't want to sit down but the silly lost man forced you to so you did. the old man pulled out the black adder and put it on you neck and you were really really scared because a adder is the only poisons snake in the in England so you think it is the most dangerous snake in the world and then he pulls out a black widow spider and then a wasp so you were really surprised so the mix begins .
so young soldier I see you have got a wart on that nose yes OK just get on with it the man put the adder on your neck and he put the black widow on his wart then he released the a wasp coming over and for no reason what so ever stung your wart owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!! you say why me then the black widow came and sat on the wart on the poor man then the healer made the adder bite the wart and eat the black widow dob that hurts you complete nutter why . and the wart never went

By Jude asplin age nine group pink
The next chapter will reveal by walking around the periphery wall of Cathedral Green in a clockwise manner.
Chapter five

The black spider

As you approach the healer , he is wearing a a black,gleaming suit and he is wearing a blue bow tie. He is also wearing a blue top hat he is also standing on a dark blue step and he put a tarantula and then he got some needles and pins the tarantula is on my nose and then he got a stad corn and heeled it with some pliers and it started to snip its snipers and it sniped the tarantula and the wart.

There is a person that has a amazing cure that is, tarantula and a stad corn that is a betal with pinchers
Continue beside the low wall which marks the edge of Cathedral Green.
Chapter six

The Adder Blood Mud

As you approach the healer you see a stall with only a bottle is siting on the table.When the soldier approaches the stall he finds it weird that there is only one jar now what was he going to do????For some reason the healer was wearing baggy trousers and a to big t-shirt made of badger and rabbit hair it look awful on him but nobody said a word when they saw him!!!!The man wasn't old he was very very old.The soldier walked over to the table and for some reason the man put the soldier on a cold silver damp metal step the soldier sat on it and then the healer picked up a a little bottle but when the healer started pouring the soldier said excuse me please can I go to the toilet . After the soldier the healer said the respire Which was a begum tiger head and bold of a begum tiger.And he said yuck.
The End

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 Mixed Cure

As you approach the healer, you see a tall woman dressed in a big coat made out of bear skin with a french accent getting ready to do the cure for the soldiers wart.

The soldier went over to a big red and white chair to sit down at, he looked around the room, the room was very dark and big, only at a far distance you can see a small white light that may be leading to a secret room.

The soldier then looked over at the healer, it seemed like she was cutting off a badger and squirrels fur and then mixed them together, you could see some red ants in a small see through jar too which freaked out the soldier thinking if it was too late to do a runner.

The healer came over and said, " Bonjour Monsieur, are you prêt ?"- said the woman in a shacky voice.

The soldier leaned his head to one side being unsure if he is ready.

First the healer put the badger and squirrels fur on top of the wart making the soldier feel disgusted and wanting to sneeze, then she put some red ants on top of the wart which made him feel funny, after that, she got oval shaped gold polished stone that needed to stay in for five weeks which made him feel absolutely ridiculous thinking that for sure it would not work and wouldn't get his wart to disappear.

Continue along the pavement on Cathedral Green, the next chapter is at an intersection of pavements.
Chapter eight

The Dragonfly cure

As you approach the healer, you see a soldier sat in a chair, with a huge wart on his nose looking very sad and scared. You also see the the healer a strange looking woman, who is wearing a very dark cloak and as you get closer uou can see her eye lashes were made out of dragonfly wings. The healers voice was also very high pitched.

First the healer cuts off lots of dragonfly tails and sticks a few up each nostril, next the healer gets 2 dragonfly wings and brushes them on each side of nostrils.
The soldier looks very disappointed that it didn't work but says thank you

Please write in your log sheet before your move on.
Continue along the pavement to the next path intersection which is only a few meters along.
Chapter nine

The hornet cure

As you approach the healer you can see a soldier which has something that looks like a spot, which is actually called a wart on the soldiers nose. The soldier needed something to cure it. The healer was going to make a cure for the soldier , that was wearing shiny metal armor. As the healer wanted 2 clean ingredients she had to go to a shop, because she didn't have those 2 special ingredients. The healer went to the most expensive shop in the town. Though only 1 ingredient was at that shop and that was clean, cool, fresh water. She needed to go to the most petrifying shop in the world... "help, save me" whispered the healer to herself. She needed to go to the petrifying bug shop because she needed 2 hornets for the cure to work.

When she had got the scariest insect in the world she got straight to work on making the cure.

First of all, the healer took off the stinger in the hotel, very carefully she then put the stingers to the side and got on with the dead hornet bodies. The healer needed to put cool, fresh water on the two dead hornet bodies so she did.

About 2 hours later she went out to go to the sick soldier. When she had got to the soldier she asked him if he wanted to have some of her cure. The soldier wanted to try

The soldier tried it but unfortunately... it didn't get rid of his wart he was very
disappointed and so was the healer. when it came to the challenge day which is basically (best cure that works wins day). The healer was so disappointed that when she came she actually cried because the announcer said that her cure didn't work and that is how she got so sad but she was happy in the end (when she didn't think about it).
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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