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A Spiritual Botanology, shewing what of God appears in the herbs of the earth, together with some of their natural virtues and uses, in blank verse and rhime, by S. Lucilius Verus (Edmund Jones)

The Revd Edmund Jones, ‘Yr Hen Broffwyd’ of Pontypool (1702–1793), is best remembered today for recording stories of ghosts, fairies, evil spirits, and magic. His ‘Spiritual Botanology’ is a diverse and multifaceted work, granting key access to many different areas of eighteenth-century culture, thought, and society, as well as to the personal life and belief of its author. It is ostensibly a work about plants, an herbal discussing the properties, appearance, and use of over a hundred-and-fifty different plants. As this includes both their aesthetic and, importantly, medicinal uses, the work offers unique insights into horticultural and medicinal cultures in eighteenth-century Wales. The explicit purpose of the work, however, was religious, and each plant is discussed in the context of what quality of God or Christianity is reflected by it, portrayed as sermons which could be ‘read’ by the faithful.

The ‘Spiritual Botanology’, published here for the first time, offers fascinating insights into the nature of eighteenth-century Welsh medical, horticultural, religious, and literary cultures, as well as to the life of its author.

South Wales Record Society publication no. 30
Edited by Adam N. Coward
Published 2017
ISBN 978-1-9998326-0-5 (hardback)

Price: £28.00

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