JUST a few weeks ago, members of our local history group (Crediton Area History and Museum Society) heard a talk about the history of herbalism and alternative medicine in Devon.

This month, our talk focused on a very different – and surprising -  aspect of local medical history.

In presenting the story of “The Amazing Dr Muden”, Elly Babbage looked at how a young man from what is now the Netherlands had qualified as a surgeon in Italy and ended up practicing surgery and midwifery in 17th century Devon.

No-one knows why he chose to come here, but he established a successful and lucrative practice and married into a prominent local family, the Courtenays.

There is also a puzzle as to why he specialised in women’s health – there was a long tradition of midwifery being practiced by women, rather than men. 

Elly explained to us how and where she had researched the various aspects of this study, and how she had used her findings to develop the story.

Elly passionately believes that research is “for everyone” and ended her talk by throwing out an encouragement to her audience to delve into topics that might interest them, and to share those findings with fellow history fans.

If we could all discover and tell stories like this, there would be many, many more history fans.  

This was the last in the current series of talks presented by the Crediton Area History and Museum Society (CAHMS).

Our museum exhibition – Customs, Charms and Cures: recollections of local folklore – runs through until October (see: http://creditonhistory.org.uk/history-society/customs,-charms-cures.aspx ).

Our next series of talks will start up again in September – look out for further details on our website: www.creditonhistory.org.uk .

Tony Gale