formerly printed by Rhwymbooks


TREASURY of HIDDEN SECRETS: A 17th-century housewives' handbook of cookery, herbals, and medicine
attributed to
John Partridge


Appendix: John Partridge's 1584 Text

Reprinted below is the front matter from the 1584 edition, released during Partridge's lifetime and including his name and original dedications. Although this was the "fourth enlarged" edition since 1573, a comparison of this material with our 1653 text shows quite clearly where material was later deleted, and additions made to create the "newly enlarged" edition we find by about 1591, that included further substantial material on medicine and gynecology.

Comparing the 1584 and 1653 texts, we can observe several interesting changes. First, there is the common printer's dedication, where we find that the book cost 4 pence in 1584. Second, here we find Partridge's original dedication of the book, to "the Worshipfull Master Richarde Wistow, Gentleman, one of the Assistants of the Companie of the Barbors and Surgions," a dedication that disappears in the later editions. Third, here we find Partridge's original poem to the lady he calls a "certaine G tlewoman, being my deare and speciall freend," in the later anonymous editions abridged into a few lines of generic address that would fit almost any woman known to almost any author.

A comparison of the two texts for their "recipe" contents also illustrates several differences. First, Partridge began his original book with some recipes on cooking meat, and these were omitted from the "enlarged" version. Second, wherever chapter titles are virtually the same in the different later editions, the wording of the chapter's recipe is in fact absolutely identical, even including the same subsections. With very little exception, the sequence of chapters is also identical. The "enlarged" content is merely inserted between pre-existing chapters but does not alter their original order in any way. Thus the "enlarged" edition is clearly based on the text by John Partridge.

The anonymous hand, that "enlarged" Partridge's text by adding 33 new chapters, was clearly someone with a particular interest in women's medicine. The added chapters include a few on conserves, waters, and powders, but most relate to the "secret remedies pertaining to women." This added text consists of the "enlarged" editions' chapters 61 through 76, 92, 93, and 95 through 97, chapters with a particular focus on menstruation, childbirth, and breastfeeding; and chapters 121 through 132, general advice for a woman overseeing a household with women and children. Does this suggest a woman's hand as the real author of the "enlarged" edition? We will probably never know.

The 1584 Title Page:

The treasurie of commodious Conceites, and hidden Secrets. Commonly called, The good Huswiues Closet of prouision, for the health of her houshold. Meete and necessarie for the profitable vse of all estates. Gathered out of sundry Experiments lately practised by men of great knowledge: And now the fourth tyme corrected, and inlarged, with diuers necessary and new additions.

At London,
Printed by Richarde Ihones: dwelling at the signe of the Rose and Crowne, neere Holburne Bridge. 1584

Printer's Dedication:

The Printer to all that practice of good Huswifery, as well wives as maides.

Good Huswives here you have, a jewell for your ioye,
A Closet meete your Huswivery, to practise and imploy.
As well the Gentles of degree, as eke the meaner sort,
By Practise here to purchase health, their houshold to c fort
As the Proverbe proveth true, to remedie eche ogreefe,
Amongst the rest of Phisicks helps, the huswives help is cheef.
Therefore good huswives once againe I say to you, repaire
To this Closet when you need, & marke what ye find there.
Which is a meane to make most things to huswives use pertain
All Conserves & Syropes sweet, to comfort heart and brain
& banquets to, here may you find your dishes how to frame,
Succad, Marmalad, Marchpane to, & ech thing els by name.
And powders eke for linnen clothes, and wollen, furd or faste,
To keepe them sweete, and safe from mothes, in chests when they be plaste.
And medicins to for present health, an Closet here you have,
To maintaine life & kepe ye yong, the cheefest thing ye crave.
As to conclude, I wish ye marke the benefits of this boeke,
To a Gentles state, the Farmers wife, & Craftes mans huswife Cooke,
& if ye reape commoditie by this my freends advice,
In give him thanks, and thinke not much of foure pence for the price.

John Partridge to his patron, Richard Wistow:
To the Worshipfull Master Richarde Wistow, Gentleman, one of the Assistants of the Companie of the Barbors and Surgions: John Partridge wisheth increase of knowledge by his worthy travell.

After that I had (worshipful Syr), taken some paine, in collecting certaine hidden secrets together & reduced them into one Lybel or Pamphlet (for my owne behoote & my familiar freends) yet at the instance of a certaine G tlewoman, being my deare and speciall freend, I was constrained to publish the same, & considered with my selfe the saying of the wife: which is, That good is best, which to all indifferently is of like goodnes, or effect: or which without respect of person is good to all indiffer tly. The c sideration of which, & her importunacie togethers, instiged me to c municate unto the view & publike benefit of all men, this little booke: the contents whereof doth instruct & teach all maner of persons & degrees, to know perfectly howe to make divers & sundry sorts of new c ceits, as wel of meats, Conserves, & Marmalades, as also of sweete and pleasant Waters, of wonderfull Odors, Operations & Vertues: with divers other things, that have not hitherto bene publiquely knowen: which fact of mine (I know) wil be not only disliked of some, but altogether condemned: not for that it is evill: but that their fine heads cannot disgest that any other beside th selves should enjoy the benefit therof, having for their Maxime, that such things are of small price, as are c mon to all men. Much after our Englishe Proverbs, Quaintie & daintie: Farre fet and deare bought, is good for great estates. But I account that person foolish, and unworthie helpe of any Physitian or Surgeon, that wil refuse to receive or gaine health by the medicine of any such Physitian or Surgeon: Who by learning the same out of Galene, Avicen, Hipocrates, or any other such like, hath oftentimes cured the diseases in sundry and many persons, for that the same hath ben commonly used: but rather most willingly and curteously to embrace the same (for present remedy) as a thing excellently well experimented and proved. I neede not (right worshipfull) to use these wordes for the defence of this little Booke, considering that your worship doth very well accept such thinges, as universally bring with them a publike profite and utilitie: whence consisteth your delight, rewarding liberally the travaile of such, who have and do travaile therein. Wherefore, for that I among all other persons, do thinke my selfe most beholden unto your worship, to gratifie your goodnesse, and to satisfie the request of my freend, I have complished this litle booke: which I have put foorth under your worships name and protection: protesting, that if I shall see this worke, which with some cost and charge I have brought to perfection, be well accepted at your handes, I shall shortly exhibite unto your worship a thing of greater value and estimation. And thus committing your good worship unto God, I end: who send you your desire of understanding and knowledge.

Your Worships to commaund. I.P.

The Author's Dedication:

The Authour to his Booke, concerning his freend, whose importunate sute procured him to publish the same.

Go little Booke, of profite and pleasance,
Unto thy good Mistresse, without delay:
And tell her I send thee for the perform ce
Of her earnest sute, sith she would have no nay.
Let her use thy c modities, as right wel she may,
To profite her freends, for healths perservation,
And also to pleasure them for recreation.

Tell her that all things in thee contained,
have seene them put oft into use:
And given thee to be her servant retained,
To serve her, faithfully doing thy cure.
And also say, of this let her be sure,
That she with her sute, of me hath obtained
Thee, that no gold nor good could have gained.


Chapter Titles in the 1584 Text

*1. To bake a Capon with yolkes of Egges
*2. To bake a Fesant, or Capon in steede of a Fesant.
*3. To bake Chickens
*4. To bake Woodcocks
*5. To make Pescods of Marow
*6. A sauce for a rosted Rabbet: used to king Henry the eight.
*7. To bake an Oxe tongue
8. To make Vineger of Roses
9. To make Marchpane (identical text to later version chapter 1)
10. To gilde a Marchpane, or any other kinde of Tarte
11. To bake Quinces
12. To keepe Quinces unpared all the yeere long
13. To make Paste of Suger, whereof a man may make all manner of fruites and other fine thinges with their forme, as platters, dishes, glasses, cuppes, and such like things, wherewith you may furnish a table: and when you have done, you may eate them up. A pleasant thing for them that sit at the Table.
14. To make fine blaunch powder, for roasted Quinces
15. To conserve Quinces in Syrop condict, alway ready to be served, in whole or in quarters
15. Plums condict in Syrop
*16. To make fine Rice pottage
17. To make Marmalade of Quinces
18. To make Marmalade of Damsins, or Prunes
19. To make Succade of Peeles of Oranges and Limmons
20. To make greene Ginger
21. To make Manus Christi
*22. To make Ipocras
23. To make conserve of roses, or other flowers.
24. To make Conserve of Violets
25. The Vertue of the Conserve of Buglosse.
26. The vertue of the Conserve of Borage.
27. The vertue of the Conserve of Rosemarie
27. To keepe Cherries Condict, or Gooseberies
28. The vertue of the Conserve of Succarie
29. The vertue of the Conserve of Elderflowers
30. The vertue of the Conserve of Sorrell
31. The vertue of the Conserve of Maiden haire
32. To make Conserve of Elicompana Rootes
33. To make conserve of Acorns, or Gladen with the vertue of the same.
34. To make conserve of Strawberies, with the vertue of the same.
35 To make conserve of Cherries, and Barberies
36 To make all kinde of Syrops
37. A Violet powder for wollen clothes and Furres
38. A sweete Powder for Naperie, and all Linnen clothes.
39. To make a Pomamber
40. To make a fine Fumigation to cast on the coles
41. To make the same in Oselets.
42. A moyst Fume, upon a Fuming dish
43. A Fumigation for Presse, and clothes that no Moth shall breede therin.
44. A powder wherewith to make sweete waters
45. Another maner of making of Damask water
46. Powder of Holland against Collicke, and the gnawing of the belly.
47. Powder to make the belly soluble, causing a gentle laske: meete for Noble personages
48. A receit to restore strength in them that are brought lowe with long sicknesse
49. To make Loosings
50. To perfume Gloves
(7 ways)
51. A perfume for Chests and Cupbords, and also for Gloves
52. To colour Glovers.
53. To make Muske Sope
54. To make red Sealing waxe
55. To keepe Damsins in syrop
56. To know whether a woman shall ever conceive or no
57. To make a barren woman beare children
58. To make women have a quicke and speedy deliverance of their children, and without paine, or at least very litle.
*59. For the gnawing in a womans Stomacke
-To make a sweete Damaske powder fowre maner of ways
-To make Pepper soft: with the vertue of the same
-To keepe Barberies
60. For the ague in a womans brest.
61. For the unnaturall heate of the Liver
62. For the canker in the mouth
63. To make the face fayre and the breath sweete.
64. To make haire as yellow as gold.
65. To drive away all venomous Beastes from your house.
66. Against all poyson eaten or drunken
67. To drive away Lice
68. How to make a soveraigne water, that Master Doctor Stevens Physitian, a man of great knowledge and cunning, did practise, and used of long experience. And therewith did very many cures, and kept it always secret, till of late, a little before his death, a special freend of his did get it in writing of him.
69. To make a water that taketh off all stayning, dying and spots, from the hands of Artificers that get them by working and maketh them very white and fayre. It is also good for them that be Sunneburned.
70. To heale all maner of inflammation, and evill, disposition of the ayre, leaperie faces, great swollen legges, or inflamed hands.
71. A singuler Ointment, which health all burning with fire, not leaving any skarre where it hath bene.
72. To draw an Arrow head, or other yron out of a wound.
73. For him that hat a bunch on his head, or that hath his head swollen with a fall.
74. To know what time in the yeere hearbes and flowers should be gathered in their full strength.
75. Here followeth the sundry vertues of Roses, for divers medicins.
76. The sundry vertues of Lillies
77. Of the sundry vertues of Milfoyle
78. Of the sundry vertues of Rosemarie
79. How to make a speciall soveraigne water, which is of three colours, and it is called the Mother of all waters: which is verie excellent to cure the Canker, the Pockes, or Leaprosie, or any other kinde of superfluous humours, of any sore, olde or newe, and it is thus made.
80. A perfect waye to cure the lothsome disease of the French Pockes, paynes in the ioyntes, lamenesse of limmes, palenesse of colour, lothsome scabbes, or any other filthy disease, proceeding of superfluous and evill humours, as also to asswage over grose and foggy fat bellies, and that without danger.
-The maner to make another kinde of Diet drinke, of stronger operation, for the same diseases, which by the practise onely of one man, hath done very great good, as well in the Citie of London, as in divers parts of the Realme
82. The maner to choose the best Guaicum or Lignum vitae
83. A most certaine and approved remedie against all maner of pestilence or plague, be it never so vehement
84. To make a water to take out all spots out of cloth of gold and Velvet.
85. To take spots of greace and oyle out of all sorts of cloth, white or other
86. To take all maner spots out of silke
87. To take spots out of cloth
88. A soveraigne remedy for the cough
89. To keepe Poultry from destroying with Wesels.
90 A breefe Treatise of Urines, as well of mens urines as of womens; to iudge by the colours, which betoken health, which sickenes, and which death.
91. Here followeth all the urines that betoken death, as well the urine of the man, as of the woman.