Surviving epidemics

Surviving Epidemics Through the Centuries

The Course

Since the Antonine Plague in the second century many epidemics have been recorded. A number of which have spread from country to country becoming pandemics. The Black Death has the highest estimated death toll at 200 million between the years 1347-1351. This is a day to explore how people coped with these situations at the time and how the larger epidemics such as plague and smallpox had profound effects on English society. We will be looking at evidence from personal diaries, household receipts, records of mortality and other publications together with official prescriptions. This will give us a picture of early and developing advice on avoiding infection, treating infected patients and rules of conduct to try to control the spread.

From the sacrifice of the villagers of Eyam in isolation for a year, to flight, prayer and plague posies, we will be learning also of the mental and emotional cost and how lives were re-built. Recipes will be of protective applications and drinks, ways of purifying the atmosphere, fever drinks and applications to lessen the after effects of smallpox on skin and hair loss. Herbs featured on the day among others will be rosemary, sage, rue, saffron, vervain, feverfew and pot marigold.

The Tutor

Christina Stapley BSc (Hons) MCPP is now a retired qualified medical herbalist with a degree in Phytotherapy (plant therapy). She has grown some 300 herbs, studied and used them for over 30 years. Her Hampshire garden was featured on television several times. She has written three books on cultivating and using herbs in cookery, fragrant recipes, wines and liqueurs, crafts and home remedies. Christina has also edited and interpreted a 17th century book of cookery and physic recipes.

Participant Information

Please bring with you a pen and paper and suitable clothing footwear as you will spend part of the day outside. The course may take place in an historic building which can be cool, it is advisable to wear warm layers.

Fee & Refreshments

£70 per person, including tuition, teas and coffees. Please let the Museum know in advance of any dietary requirements. The Museum café will be open for lunch or alternatively participants can bring their own packed lunch.

Book course



Tue 15 June 2021






Herbal & Garden