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Magdalene College : Medical treatises

Magdalene College

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript contains a large number of medical treatises, and medical recipes alongside instructions of a magical, cosmetic, practical, equestrian, and horticultural nature.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The collection also a previously unidentified selection of recipes from the <i>Treatises of fistula in ano: haemorrhoids, and clysters</i> by the London surgeon John Arderne (1307–1392) on pp. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(162);return false;'>156-160</a>. An adaptation made to one of Arderne's recipes on p. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(166);return false;'>160</a>, called a 'Valence of Wormwood', may give an insight into the scribe's background. Arderne's original version reports how the surgeon used this medicine to heal a fisherman from London who had injured his arm on a sharp iron attached to the door of the monastery of the Carmelites or White Friars [see D'Arcy Power (1910), pp. 100, 133-134]. However, the version in Pepys MS 878 has been updated with what appears to be another medical practitioner's testimony: "This medicine I have often used and praised because with it I healed a sheriff at Bristol who endured a puncture wound in the muscle of his left arm from a small dagger while separating two (fighting) men and he was close to death because of the pain, swelling, burning, and cramp caused by a miserable cure from a barber-surgeon who put tight rolls of linen in the wound and put diachylon on top of it. I removed his cure and replaced it with 'Valence of Wormwood' and 'Sanguis Verenis' and God healed him shortly after that - in accordance with William Elmeden [Elmedon] and the mayor of Rockingham" ['þis I have mekyll vsed and loued for with it I helyd a shirreff at Bristowe þe which of þe prikyng of a small dagger poynt as he departyd .ij. men in the lacert of is lyfte arme almost for payn bolnyng and brynnyng and crampe was ny dede thorow an onappy cure of a barbowre þe which putte harde tentys of lyne in þe wounde and layde diaculium layde aboue is cure put a way valcen sanguis verenis putte in a lityll while god helyd hym. With þis cure god helyd. Secundum Wylliam Elmedene and þe mayre of Rokyngham'].</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The account has previously been largely missed. McKitterick and Beadle expand 'S. Wylliam Elmedene' to 'Ser Wylliam Elmedene' and suggest that William Elmeden was a patient (see McKitterick and Beadle (1992), p. 5). However, it is possible that William Elmeden - perhaps Sir William de Elmedon (1381-1447), Lord of Elmedon, of Embleton, Durham, or his son William Elmedon (b. 1417) - testified to the medicine's efficacy as a medical practitioner instead. The same may apply to the unnamed mayor of Rockingham, Northamptonshire, to whose testimony the text also refers. This could be suggestive of the milieu in and for which the manuscript was copied; one in which non-university trained healers shared information about medical treatments with one another.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Clarck Drieshen<br /> Project Cataloguer<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>

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