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John Wesley’s ‘deadly’ medical ‘cures’ to go on show in Launceston
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
THE medical work of one the founding fathers of Methodism, who preached and rested in Launceston, is to be explored in exhibitions across the country.
John Wesley is well-known throughout the world as a Christian evangelist, but his experiments into producing cures for the sick are not often talked about — until now.
The renowned preacher, who spread his Methodist views across the country, included visits to Launceston. Whilst on trips to the town, he resided at Wesley Cottage, Trewint. Members of the public can still visit the cottage and an annual Wesley Day celebration is held each year.
An exhibition revealing the surprising and illuminating history of Wesley’s wild and wonderful medical ideas will tour the country from April 2 until September 30, visiting Epworth, Bristol, Launceston, Englesea Brook, London and Newcastle.
The exhibition, entitled ‘Wesley and Well-being’, will explore Wesley’s medicinal manual, Primitive Physic, which was so popular in its day that it was republished 23 times, making it an 18th century best-seller.
Although some of his ‘cures’ were denounced by 18th century critics as ‘possibly deadly’, his thinking was occasionally ahead of his time: honey is used in many of his remedies, even though its antiseptic and antibacterial properties have only been recently confirmed by science. It was only in the 1700s that medicine in Western Europe began to be a respectable profession and care for the sick was not seen as an extension of the pastoral care provided by the Church.
For a full report, and a round up of the area news and sport, please see this week’s edition of the ‘Post’.
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Sir Ray Tindle
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