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Title Page

The Title Page of William Turner's A New Herball, c.1551.
William Turner
Steven Mierdman
Early Modern English
History of Medicine Collection Eskind Biomedical Library

William Turner (1508-1568), born in Morpeth, Northumberland, spent much of his life and career traveling across Europe, preaching the Reformation and studying medicine. Between 1526-33, Turner received both a BA and a MA from Cambridge University’s Pembroke Hall. Following his graduation, Turner began to preach the Reformed doctrine until his arrest and exile c.1540, after which he fled to Italy where he studied medicine at either Ferrara or Bologna and earned his MD in 1542. Turner continued to ardently support the Reformation throughout his life. His religious stance likely introduced him to the Dutch Protestant Steven Mierdman, the prolific publisher of this Herbal. 


A New Herball illustrates Turner’s medical training and practice—he intended it to be used in apothecaries—and is the product of his travels, which this title page makes explicit: “A new Herball, wherin are conteyned the names of herbes in Greke, Latin, Englysh, Duch, Frenche.” Turner dedicated this Herbal to his patron, Edward Seymour, the first Duke of Somerset. However, the page does not bear the Duke’s heraldry, but rather that of his Tudor nephew, King Edward VI, a fellow Protestant and of whom the Duke was Lord Protector. The monarch’s initials: “E.R” (Edward Rex) are also included on the title page.