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Apothecary by Stoke Canon School

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 Annie, Daya, Rosie, Eve, Merrie, Jemima Josh, Sophia. George and Jasmine of Stoke Canon School, Exeter.

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

Dog Gloop

As you approach the stall you can see a black dog that was so still it was unmistakably dead. Just in front of the dog there is a white bed with a smiling healer wearing a scarlet cloak and black robes behind it.

The welcoming smile of the healer guided in a costumer with a warty nose. When the solider had got comfortable he started to watch the healer prepare the ingredients. When the he wished he had never came to this stall, as soon as he saw what the healer had at the back of the tent. The ingredients where so horrible that the solider thought that he might be sick but then he looked away just in time.

The solider turned on to his side but as soon as he had got comfortable the healer came over with a bucket of water in his hand and said "Sit up and I will cure you."

When the solider had sat up he the healer had put his hand in to the bucket and pulled out a thorn then it in the solider's finger then he put his hand in the bucket but before he had time to get it again the solider was making a run for it!!!

"Where are you going?!" asked the healer sounding confused "come back !!!" He shouted. The solider reluctantly turned, looking pale he took his place at the bed once more and the healer took his hand out the bucket and this time he pulled out a silky black tail of the dog and placed it on his belly then he took the thorn and put it in the tail then put it in a paper bag.

"You are free to go" said the healer as the solider sped off, blood still dripping from his finger.
Chapter five

Buried in Black

As you approach the stall you see a bench covered in a white cloth with the healer bending down beside it, at the back of the stall she has placed a bucket of black snow. Next to it, on a gilt stand, their is a feather, which can clearly be identified as a peacock's. Then, wrapped up in red ribbon, there is a little heap of seaweed. The Healer owning the stall is a old woman in a black gown with a hood, she could be described as a witch. Her voice is a startling surprise as it is the voice of a young girl's.

The solider looks rather nervous as he lies down on the bench. the Healer begins. First, she picks up a feather and brushes it over the solider. The Healer then picks up the bucket and proclaims, "Black snow from Antarctica, and dye from the land beyond human discovery!" the crowd nods in approval. Their approval then turns to confusion as the Healer tips the entire contents over the solider, before brushing it off again almost immediately. The crowd are shocked to discover that the solider is sleeping peacefully. Then, the Healer picks up the little black parcel and tips out the seaweed into her palm. "Seaweed from the gardens of the land under the sea!" Cried out the Healer. Miraculously, the second that the seaweed touches the sleeping solider he wakes up, looking very relaxed. "Is that it?" questioned the Friar.
"Yes." replied the Healer.

Now move along to the next chapter.
The next chapter will reveal by walking around the periphery wall of Cathedral Green in a clockwise manner.
Chapter six

Needle on fire

As you approach the stall, you see a cauldron of boiling hot water over a coal and wood fire. A royal queen's guard has a green slimy wart on the end of his nose. The healer, who was beautiful as a baby fish,and walk over to the cauldron and then she pulled out a needle. She said "Don't worry this wont hurt a bit" she admitted "A NEEDLE THAT WILL HURT A LOT NOT A BIT!!!!!!!!!!"he replied.

she popped the needle his nose the guard said "ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"he screamed. The healer said, "calm your self down." The healer replied. 'We'll be back in a week to see if your cure has worked.'
Chapter seven

Bull Spit and Dust

As you approach the stall you see a huge midnight black dolls house on the field. The windows are black, the tiles are black, the drain pipes are black and even the door is a deep velvet blue black, you walk inside.

The healer is holding the medicine in a big stone jar labeled 'wart cure'

She walks over to the soldier and begins putting a glove on, she then takes some of the medicine from the jar and beings to rub it on his nose.

The soldier's nose begins to swell bright red, and the wart looks even bigger than before! then he sneezed and then again and again and again in till BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the wart didn't come of but the nose certainly did "woh" said the soldier "what are you doing!"

"helping you" and the healer really thought she was!

Move on to your next chapter.
Continue beside the low wall which marks the edge of Cathedral Green.
Chapter eight

Wart on fire

As you approach the stall you see a hornet sting sitting on the floor ready for you, the ties are sitting next to the bucket full of water and the healer is waiting impatiently for you.

As if by magic the healer arrived and then started to begin, first he putting the horrible disgusting hornet sting on the wart and the solider screamed. There was a big silence and nobody moved while the solider was screaming his head of, the healer started mixing the water up with the eyebrows and forcing it down his throat he screamed 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I am not going through another like that'
said the healer before stuffing it down his mouth.
'Few' said the soldier thankful it was over but before he could do anything else the healer said 'Now we will burn it!'
'what my nose!'
'No, I mean the hornet sting, set fire to the hornet sting ok.' But when its burning he touches it and sets fire to his finger!
The monk was not impressed, 'we will see if it gone in the next week.'
Time to move on.
Chapter nine

Bang Crash Smash

All the healers are displayed around the cathedral green in Exeter everyone is making world war 2 warts from their noses. The frair looked at lots of over healers and court his eye on a man with a tropical island with palm trees souring out of his back and a coconut neck less. ''Excuse me what is in that cure your making'' ''said the friar.''

It has gun powder,diner mite fragments and vinegar.'' What are you going to do with it all''
''i'm going to mix it all together into a potion'' ''said the healer.''

The healer tipped all of the potion into a chemistry glass and pours it on his wart. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR the patient was screaming and screaming in till he settled down. ''The wart is gone'' ''said the healer''
''WOW'' ''said the firer'' and that was 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 ten

Frog Slime

As you approach the stall you see a razor sharp carving knife. on a table next to the place where the carving knife lay was a old rusty tin bucket and thick grey smoke oozing out.
You could clearly see the soldier sitting on a medium sized stool.There was an interesting smell in the air it was like burning flesh! The healer put a gloved hand into the burning bucket of singing ashes and took out a skinned frog.

To the soldier this was pure hell. Partly because he was being forced to eat the simmered frog guts and skin. As he ate, some guts from the frog fell on his clothes and he was very, very discussed he screamed in agony when he drank the ashes and they where still glowing like a volcano "Aaaarrr" he screamed.

The monk wondered whether the treatment was complete, it appeared to be!

Now move along to the next chapter.
Chapter eleven

The Frozen Rose

As we approach the stall, you saw a healer with a white dress preening herself.
As you sat on a bench, the woman grabbed a bucket with Ice cubes and roses inside. The most beautiful pattern with intricate wrens .
Carefully,(and particularity slowly), she got some tweezers to take the roses out of the bucket .
Gently she placed the frozen rose on the soldiers nose. She told the solder that he needs to let the rose melt . After, gently peel it off and put the wart in a tissue and then the bin. Then you will be happy and not have a wart.

The Friar looks on amazed but pretty sure this cure will not work.

Time to move on.
Continue along the pavement.
Chapter twelve

The big wobbly lump

As you approach the stall, you see a mug full of smelly liquid sitting on the right. On the left is a tub with fluff. Sitting on the fluffiness was a sharp piece of a shower head, and behind the stall was a little man which looked like a dwarf.

He was standing on a chair waiting for his turn to test his medicine on someone. When his big moment arrived he led the solider to a little seat where he sat down in discomfort. Then the Healer began, first, he picked out a sharp piece of shower-head and poked a hole in the wart. Then he picked up a mug of sloppy liquid and poured it into the hole in the wart. After that, he put his finger in the hole and started to shake it. After a minute, the Healer took out his finger and replaced it with a cork

"Is it done yet, is it done yet?" questioned the crowd.
"Yes," replied the Healer. Then, at last, the solider got up from the uncomfortable seat and ran off, whilst his wart was wobbling like mad.

"We will monitor it over the coming week." Said the Friar, whilst chasing the solider round the Cathedral Green.
Continue along the pavement on Cathedral Green, the next chapter is at an intersection of pavements.
Chapter thirteen

The Lava Stone

chapter 1 lava stone!!!

As you approach the stall you will see a giant fire. In the fire there was a tiny lava stone. It was so bright you can see it 10 miles away. There also was a soldier sitting on a stall. In the stall there also was a bucket of salt water and one plaster.

chapter 2 the cure begins!!!

The man took a close look at the hideous wart. The man told the soldier to stay still, then he took the tiny lava stone and placed it on the wart,then put a drop of salt water on the wart too. by now the soldier was crying in pain and there was blood and salt water everywhere. The man put a plaster on the wart to stop it from bleeding.

chapter 3 a bad cure fail!!!

After the pain stopped there still was a wart on his nose so he asked when is it going to heel? in response the man said in one weeks time at dawn. so the solider went home.

thank you for reading!!!
Continue along the pavement to the next path intersection which is only a few meters along.
Chapter fourteen

The widow maker

As you approach the stall you see a thin table with blood all over it. The friar went to the stall there was a sneaky healer tall and thin like his table.
"Excuse me,"said the friar "what is your cure?"
"I'm going to hack it off .This diamond is going to dig under the wart and then flick it of." said the healer the friar stepped back
"whats inside it?"
"A pebble from King Henry the 8th grave sharpened with William the Conquerors sword."
The subject got laid on the table and was quite calm considering what was about to happen to him. As the healer produced the diamond from a blood stained apron the solider questioned
"Is this all, I lay on a table for a week?"
"No!" the healer snaped back .

The healer started his cure, digging away, not caring about all of the blood dripping on the grass. People thought the soldier was going to pass out but he didn't. The solider was screaming like mad but the healer did not notice even though it was so loud .As soon as it had started the wart was flicked of. But the cure did not count because the solider had no noise.

Now move long for the next chapter.
Now go back to where our story began for the conclusion of this tale.
Chapter fifteen

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 sixteen

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 seventeen

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 eighteen


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 nineteen


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 twenty

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 to 9 - Welcome Collection

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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