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Thomas Newington’s Recipes

March 6, 2021
by the gentle author

I thought readers might take inspiration from these recipes – culinary and medicinal, including a cure for the plague – from Thomas Newington‘s book that he wrote in 1715 while in domestic service in Brighton, illustrated with wood engravings by Reynolds Stone. Do let me know how you get on.

Madam, Perhaps you may wonder to see your Receipts thus increased in Bulk and Number, Especily when you consider that they come from me who cannot make pretentions to things of thy nature, but haveing in my hands some Excelent Manuscripts of Phisick, Cookery, Preserves &c which were the Palladium of Many Noble Familyes, I did imagine that by blending them together, which in themselves were so choice and valuable, they woud magnifie and Illustrate each other.

Madam, I might well fear lest these rude and unpolished lines should offend you but that I hope your goodness will rather smile at the faults committed than censure them.

However I desire your Ladyships pardon for presenting things so unworthy to your View and except the goodwill of him who in all Duty is bound to be.

Your Ladyships Most Humble & most Obeiant Sarvant,

Thomas Newington

Brighthelmstone, May the 20: 1719


Take your Pigg and hold the head down in a Payle of cold Watter untill strangeled, then hang him up buy the heals and fley him, then open him, then chine him down the back as you doe a porker first cuting of his head, then cut him in fower quarters, then lard two of the quarters with lemon peele and other two with tops of Time, then spit and roast them. The head requeares more roasting than the braines with a little Sage and grave for sauce.


Pull of the skins to the taile, then strow on them a little cloves, Mace, peper & salt, a little time and savory and parsly shred very fine. Then draw up the skinn and turn them up in the shape of S, and some round. Run a skure through them, then frye or boyle them and lay them round other fish.


Take your wallnuts when they be so young that a pin will go through them, then set them on fire and let them boyle in fair Watter till the bitterness go out, shifting it once or twice. Then take to every pound of Walnuts a pound of lofe sugar, half a pint of watter, boyleing till they be tender in this surrupe. Then let them stand to soak in this surrupe 3 or 4 dayes, then take them out and prick 3 or 4 holes in each sticking half a Clove and a little Cynament in each, but if you fear it will be to strong of the spice omit some of them. Then set on your surrupe and skim it, adding a pound more of sugar. Boyle them therein to thick syrrupe and let them stand for a fortnight or three Weekes, then boyle them up and add more sugar if you see Occasion. They are Cordial to take in a Morning, good for the stomach and Loosen the Body.


Among the excelent and aproved medecines for the Pestilence, there is none worthy and avaylable when the sore appeareth. Then take a Cock Pullet and pluck of the fethers of the taile or hinderpart till the rump be bare, then hold the bare of the said Pullet to the sore and the pullet will gape and labour for life and in the end he will dye. Then take another Pullet and doe the like and so another as the Pullets do dye, for when the Poyson is Drawn out the last Pullet that is offered therto will live. The sore Presently is assuaged and the party recovereth.


An Eminent Officer in the great Army with the Emperour Charles the 5th sent into Barbary had his quarters there Assigned him in an Old Gentlemans House with whom by mutall offices of Humanity he soone contracted a singular Freindship. Seeing him looke very Old yet very Fresh and Vigourous he asked him how old he was – he answerd he was 132 years old, that till Sixty Yeares of Age he had been a good Fellow takeing little care of his health but that then he had begun to take a spoonfull of surrup every morning fasting, which ever since has keept him in health. Being Desired to impart that receipt to his Guest he freely granted it and the Officer being returned to his Cuntry made use of that surrup and with it Preserved himself and many more, yet kept the Receipt secret till haveing attained by this surrupe ninety two years of Age, he made a scruple to keep it secret any longer and publisht for the Common good.

Take of the juices of mercurial eight pounds, of the juice of Burridg two pounds, of the juice of Buglosse two pounds. Mingle these with twelve pounds of clarrified Honey, the whitest you can gett, let them boyle together aboyling and paas them through a Hypocras Bag of new flannell. Infuse in three pints of White Wine, a quarter of a pound Gentian Root and half a pound of Irish root or blew Flower de Lis. Let them be infused twenty fower houers then straind without squeezing, put the liquor to that of the herbs and Hony, boyle them well together to constistence of a surrup. You must order the matter so that one thing stays not for the other but that all be ready together. A spoonfull of this surrup is to be taken every morning Fasting.


Take a pound of the flowers when they are cleane cut from their white bottom and beat them into a stone Mortar till they be very fine all. Then haveing Fair watter very well boyled, take a quart of it boyling hott and pour it to them in the Mortar, then cover it close and let it stand all night, and the next dat streyne them out and to every pint of this Liquor take a pound and a half of Duble Refine Lofe Sugar beaten, then put your sugar and set it on the fire and boyle it and, when it is clean scimed, take it of and pour it into a silver or Earthen Bason and so let it stand uncovered till the next day, then glass it up and stop it close and set it not but where it may stand coole & it will keep the better.


Take a Peck of Garden Snayles in their Shells. Gather them as near as you can out of lavender or Rosemary and not in trees or grass. Wash them in a Tubb three times in Beere, then make your Chimney very clean and power out a bushall of charcole and, when they are well kindled, make a great hole with a fire shovell and put in your Snayles and Put in some of your cleane burnt coals among them and let roast till they leave makeing a noise. Then you must take them forth with a knife and clean them with a cleane Cloathpick and wipe away the coales and green froth that will be upon them. Then beat them in a mortar shells and all.

Take also a Quart of Earthworms, slitt and scower them with salt, then wash them in whitewine till you have taken away all the filth from them, and put them into a stone Mortar and beat them to peices. Then take a sweet, clean Iron pott which you will sett your limbeck on, then take 2 Ms. of Angellica and lay it in the bottome of your Pott and 2 Ms. of Sallendine, on the top of that putt in 2 quarts of Rosemary Flowers, Bearsfoot, Egrimony, the redest Dock roots you can get, the barbery bark, Wood Sorrell, bettony, of each three handfulls, 1 handfull of Rue, of Flengreek and Turmerick, of each one ounce well beaten.

Then lay your Snayles and wormes on top of your herbs and flowers and power upon them the strongest Ale you can gett fower gallons, and two gallons of the best sack and let it stand all night or longer, stirring Divers times. In the morning put in two ounces of Cloves, twelve ounces of hartshorne, six ounces of ivory, the waight of two shillings of Saffron. The Cloves must be bruised. You must not stir it after these last things are in.

Then set it on your limbeck and close it fast with Rye Past and receive your water in Pintes. The first is the strongest and so smaller, the smallest may be mended by puting in some of the strongest. When you use it, take three spoonfulls of beere or Ale to two spoonfulls of the strongest and to this three quarts of cowslips flowers, one quart of Buglose and buridg flowers and 3 Ms. of liverworth.

If you will, you should feed your Snayles with sallendine and barbery leaves and bough, and the wash them in new milk fower times and then in a Tubb of strong Ale so that they may be very cleane, and then burn them.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. mlaiuppa permalink
    March 6, 2021

    Seriously? Hold the pig’s head in a bucket of water until he’s drowned? I question if this guy ever actually did this. Because it sounds more to me like he asked a farmer how to kill a pig and had his leg pulled quite thoroughly.

    I think I’ll pass on the snail and worm facial.

  2. Wendy permalink
    March 6, 2021

    Some grim and ghastly remedies.

  3. Val Mutch permalink
    March 6, 2021

    I think I’ll give the snayles and worms recipe a miss and trust my spirits will revive without help!
    All very interesting. Thank you.

  4. Elizabeth Barton permalink
    March 6, 2021

    Is it possible to buy a copy of Thomas Newington’s book?

  5. Linda Granfield permalink
    March 6, 2021

    I checked the rules for our condo building.

    No, we are not allowed to keep ‘Cock Pullets,’ be-feathered, or bare-rumped, on our balconies. (I see from the illustration that I would need to have at least nine in the seven-by-six foot open space I have. That’s a problem.)

    That said, there are no condo rules about my purchasing and utilizing the eggs of any hen companions of the Cocks.

    So I shall continue to await my vaccination—and make a fine omelet!

  6. paul loften permalink
    March 6, 2021

    As much as I admire the attempts of Mr Newington’s recommended remedy for the Plague I would dare to offer a more palatable remedy of a “Jewish Penicillin Soup” should a chicken come into the components of a possible cure. I can’t promise the effectiveness of the soup, but I am sure the poor plague victim would die a happier person having taken this alternative cure.
    Thank you for bringing these recipes to our attention

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