Swindon Borough Council’s Lydiard House is holding a series of evening lectures examining the extraordinary life and times of Lady Johanna St John and the history of medicine and herbal gardens in the 17th Century.
The lectures, funded by the Wellcome Trust, are part of the Science & Superstition project, looking at the legacy of Lydiard Park’s herbalist, society hostess and garden enthusiast, through her correspondence and medicinal writings.
Thursday 18 April
The first lecture is on Thursday (18 April) at 6.30pm and is an illustrated talk from Sophie Cummings, Collections Manager at Lydiard House, entitled Lady Johanna St John’s Family, Friends, Life and Times.
Thursday 25 April
The following week, Thursday 25 April, Dr Elaine Leong will talk about health, medicine and household management in early modern England.
Thursday 2 May and Thursday 9 May
On Thursday, 2 May Professor Timothy Peters will examine the “booke” of cures that Lady Johanna St John compiled during her lifetime in consultation with doctors of the day, while the final lecture on Thursday, 9 May is a look at 18th Century gardens with Dr Clare Hickman.
Sophie Cummings, Collections Manager at Lydiard House said: “Lady Johanna St John of Lydiard Park was a well-known society hostess in her day and is now remembered and revered as a herbalist whose collection of remedies forms part of the Wellcome Trust’s collections.
“Over the past year, Lydiard House has been working with medical and historical advisors plus a team of volunteer researchers to assess the significance and influence of Lady Johanna’s work and this lecture series aims to share some of the findings with a wider audience.”
Tickets for each lecture are on sale at Lydiard House priced at £7, or £5 for the Friends of Lydiard Park. A special price of £5 applies if you purchase tickets to two or more lectures. Call Lydiard House on 01793 770401, Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm to book tickets.
All lectures start at 6.30pm and take place in the main hall at Lydiard House.