Friday, 3 July 2015


I was reading with interest today a website called locating London's Past and having a lot of fun pinpointing significant locations in the life and times of Sarah. I can see on the map the church where she was married, where her parents married, the markets she or her servants may have frequented etc

For Erynne Baynes my longtime friend - perhaps a cure for our shared madness of family history!

Whilst adding to the medicinal recipes today, a cure for Madness caught my attention! Upon further reading of cures for insanity in the 1700's, I would be quite happy to have this home-made ointment rubbed on my head in preference to some of the other options for the time which included dousing in hot or cold water, purging and blood-letting as well as the use of the straight-jacket and confinement to an asylum.

The other recipes added today include a plaster for back pain and also a searcloth for breast cancer.

Friday, 26 June 2015


Today I was revisiting Sarah's family history and her record of cures for various ailments.
I noted that Sarah died aged 73 in 1754.
Was it her careful recording  and partaking of her medical recipes, wealth, or a combination of both that contributed to her long life when the average lifespan for that time was 35 - 36 years?
This interesting website puts the timeline of her life into perspective:

I have added a medicinal recipe for a Children's cordial and a cure for Green Sickness today. It must have been quite a treat for a child to be given a cordial in these early times! The cure for Green Sickness sounds worse than the ailment! One of the ingredients mentioned to cure Green Sickness is steel powder. It seems this was quite a common addition to compounds made to be administered in a medical capacity. Alleged cures for venereal disease and indigestion also recommended the inclusion of steel powder or filings.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Yesterday a mentor and fellow Maryborough Family History Society member gave me some valuable pointers as to how to set out my blog, add gadgets and labels etc. I am learning so much about blogging and can't believe I have not attempted it before. It is such a great way to express a story and to hopefully find new family members.
I have added some new recipes (hence todays heading of Snails and Cucumbers) under the page of Sarah's Receipts.
It is an exciting journey for me as I am also learning so many more skills. I have so many more recipes to add and much more of Sarah's story to research and write. 
As well as cooking and medicinal recipes, Sarah has provided some instructions for Japanning ( heavy black lacquer) items which I will share soon. She notes that she made a "Jappan" though doesn't specify what type of item. She began it on 10 February 1695 but didn't finish it until the end of September 1696. Perhaps when I transcribe her instructions, the item will be mentioned.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

SARAH'S WILL (Spiller nee Gregory)

Today I spent some time transposing Sarah's Last Will and Testament. Sarah had been widowed after only 7 years of marriage to her husband Georgius Spiller. She and Georgius had two children Sarah and George. Sadly George died aged 12.
Sarah's first wish from her last will and testament was that her body be committed to the earth and interred in a private manner in the burial grounds "Bunhill Fields" near London. This request was dependent on her passing away in London or within a 10 mile radius. No stipulation was made as to where she should otherwise be buried. She owned considerable bank stocks which were distributed amongst family and also owned a rental property with a 52 year lease which she  left to her daughter so that she may enjoy the rent monies however she desired. Should her daughter Sarah, predecease her husband John Boyd then he would inherit the property. A sum of ten pounds was also left to her maid servant along with any clothing as her daughter should think fit and convenient. She seems to have admired her son-in-law John as he was also left a substantial sum of money and was nominated as the executor of her will. One cousin, Mary Blanch, was to receive money for the term of her natural life. As was quite routine for the time, various family members were also left amounts of money for "mourning." Sarah seemed to have been supported by a loving extended family and her demise must have brought great sadness to her  family but especially to her daughter and son-in-law whom she seems to have held in such high regard.

Monday, 13 April 2015


Today I have been perusing wills relating to Sarah and her family. Notations made in her book regarding jewellery and gifts certainly match with the wealth distributed from the wills. 

A section of a codicil placed on her will dated 1754 gives an address of property she owned as the west side of  Great James Street in the Parish of St Andrew Holborn, Middlesex. Sarah's will distributed cash sums, chattels and property amongst her daughter and son-in-law,brothers, nephews, cousins etc.
The notations, above, from her book, describes the purchase of a new gold watch. The gold value being 12 pounds and 8 shillings and the watch overall costing 23 pounds. She has dated this purchase 2 August 1703. 
We then see that a month later on the 24 September 1703, a chain for her watch was 5 pounds, 8 shillings and 8 pence, the total cost coming to 6 pounds and 12 shillings.
I had a bit of fun with an historical money calculator and the result for 12 pounds in 1703 would equal almost 2000 pounds today. In Australian dollars we could surmise about $3800. 

Sunday, 12 April 2015


Sarah's handwritten account of her wedding, 3 May 1705 at St Edmonds of Kings, Lumbard Street by Doctor Linford 

  • (Thomas Lynford, Rector)

The entry for the birth of Sarah Spiller reads: My daughter Sarah was born the 31 October 1709 between 7 and 8 o'clock if evening upon a Monday. Baptized the same evening by Mr Stonestreet.

Extract from book where Sarah has written the details of the birth and baptism of her son, George, on 6 March 1711. Born between 6 nd 9 of ye clock in ye morning being Thursday. Baptism by Mr Stonestreet.