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History of the Herbal at hand

Morpeth Town Council has bought copies of William Turner's Herball for public access. Gillian Turner is pictured with the books. GM028757

Morpeth Town Council has bought copies of William Turner's Herball for public access. Gillian Turner is pictured with the books. GM028757

A PIECE of 16th century Morpeth history has come home to go on public display.

Morpeth Town Council has spent around £360 on a copy of William Turner’s famous Herbal.

The first volume of the three-part book was published by Morpeth man Turner in 1551, earning him the title of the ‘father of English botany’.

The book offered the first, clear systematic survey of plants in English, with details of their uses and woodcut illustrations.

The town council already has an original copy of the work, but it is too delicate to be handled.

The new copy, however, will be accessible to the community.

Town Clerk Gillian Turner said: “We have got an original Herbal, but we have to keep it in a box so that it doesn’t perish. The new copy has been bought so that people can have a look through it.

“It is in the old English writing, but there is a translation at the back.

“We will be going through it and identifying the bits where Turner talks about Morpeth and where the area has influenced his work so that we can point them out to people.”

 

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