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A new Shakespearean plot about a daughter and king

Shakespeare created interesting and unique ways for characters to interact with plants, which are frequently used in modern cuisine and now recreated in a historic garden.



With the help of thyme, Ophelia bolsters Hamlet’s memory, and Puck gives Titania a “madly doting” love for Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ophelia boosts Ophelia’s love for rosemary in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Herbal gardens are being recreated in Shakespeare’s 1613 house where Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna lived with her physician husband, John Hall, who is thought to have given his father-in-law advice on medical ailments because of Shakespeare’s recognition of the magical powers of herbs and flowers.

The herb garden at Hall’s Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he lived, will be filled with plants that he used to treat his female patients, according to evidence from his medical records. There is a joint effort between the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) and the University of Brighton (UB) to study Susanna at the site.

They are using Hall’s 400-year-old medical casebook, which was recently translated from Latin into English, as a source of information for their study. He documented symptoms and treatments for 178 patients between 1611 and 1635.


As a result of his studies at Cambridge University’s Queen’s College, Hall emerges as a compassionate scholar-physician. He used rhubarb to treat “constipation of the belly, melancholy, sleeplessness,” while borage, mallow, and mugwort were used to treat “frenzy after childbirth,” which is now known as postnatal mental health issues. There are several instances in which Rosemary shows up to treat Susanna’s scurvy, back pain, and “melancholy.”

Dr. Ailsa Grant Ferguson, a literature professor at the University of Brighton, is leading the project. She told the Observer, “We’re going to create a garden with the plants that were actually used for women’s health, particularly reproductive health, looking at how that was treated and how we might treat it now.

There were three children in the family; Susanna was the oldest and married Hall in 1607; they had only one child, Elizabeth, who was born the following year. It’s possible that she helped compile the First Folio, the first collection of Shakespeare’s plays, which was published in 1623, by acquiring some of Shakespeare’s papers. Despite the fact that she is portrayed as a teenager in Ben Elton and Maggie O’Farrell’s popular novel Hamnet, in which she learns about the medicinal properties of plants from her mother, she will be brought out of the shadows by this project that will also study early modern women’s health and literacy….

I want to find out what kind of help her late father would have given Susanna if she had been a physician’s wife at the time, like Helena in All’s well that ends well, who uses medicines learned from her father, an anesthesiologist, to treat the King of France.


The epitaph on Susanna’s tombstone reads, “witty above her sex.” Susanna died in 1649 and was interred at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The phrase “comforts cordiall” – a play on the words “cordial” and “medicine” – was coined by her.

“William and Anne Shakespeare had gardens, an orchard, and vines at their home, New Place,” Dr Paul Edmondson, the SBT’s head of research, said in a statement. However, Susanna, their oldest daughter, inherited their love of gardening and used it as a means of self-care. With her husband’s patients and her neighbors to visit with her “comforts cordial,” her own unique bedside manner, she had a full plate.

Women have long been recognized as the greatest garden designers in the world, and I believe that Susanna, too, drew a great deal from her extensive knowledge of all things botanical.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has given the project a grant of £300,000. Next year, the garden will open.