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The Books Of Hilda Leyel

December 14 2007 at 2:07 PM
from IP address

I have a few of Hilda Leyel's books in my herb book collection, these are:-

Herbal Delights
Elixers Of Life
The Truth About Herbs
The Gentle Art of Cookery
A Modern herbal by Maude Grieve that was edited by Hilda Leyel.

I'm struggling to find a complete list of books written by Hilda Leyel, once compiled I'd like to add all of them to my personal collection, but more importantly I'd like to add the information to the HS website. So if anybody has any titles to add to the above list I'd greatly appreciate it.

I'm also wanting to expand the current information the HS website has on Mrs Leyel, so if anybody has anything to add to her bio/background please let me know. I've only seen 2 photos of Mrs Leyel, the one on the HS site and another with her wearing a rather fetching hat, are there anymore in existence? As the founder of the herb society, it would be nice to give her a page of her own don't you think?


 Respond to this message   

See the 'Mrs Leyel Thread'!

December 14 2007, 10:20 PM 

Hi, Debs!

Just in case you haven't spotted it, 'Keven' started a thread re Mrs Leyel on April 28 2007.

There were several postings, including some very useful and informative contributions from Audrey Butterworth.



Pamela Dadachanji

Books of Hilda Leyel

December 16 2007, 4:33 PM 

Dear Debs,

The online 'book market place' of www.abebooks.co.uk has the following Hilda Leyel books which do not appear on your list:

Diet and Common Sense (1936)

Diet for Children (1936)

Green Medicine

ps. Would you recommend 'The Gentle Art of Cooking'?


The Books of Hilda Leyel

December 18 2007, 5:15 AM 

Dear Debs,

Just a couple more titles,
Compassionate Herbs there were 6 titles in the Culpeper House Herbals series.The rest[the last being Green Medicine] are in your list.

The Magic of Herbs This was I believe her first herbal work.

Mrs.Leyel also edited an edition of Culpeper's Herbal,being a selection to which she added the modern uses of her selection.

I think there were also a numberof short cookery books dealing with "puddings" and the like.

Regards Kevin

Re: The Books of Hilda Leyel

December 18 2007, 3:02 PM 

Hi Kevin :)

Thanks for that, I did see a copy of The Magic Of Herbs on ebay but it was in the USA and they wouldn't ship here grrr! I also have Culpeper's Herbal Remedies: Arranged for use as a First Aid Herbal, is that the same one you referred to? What I want to do is compile a complete list with the original publication dates and publishers if possible, so if you have any dates. Only my Truth about Herbs is an original, all the rest are later publication dates and they have't listed orginal dates.

Pam.... I have got the Gentle Art Of Cookery, but not read it yet, shall we say that I gave Santa a list and my hubby got some of the books on the list and has spirited them away until Xmas, he told me he had that one as I was about to buy it myself so he had to confess lol! I won't have access to it until the 25th Dec, but I will let you know what I think then, but if its anything like the others I have it will be well worth it. Even if some of the information is now no longer used, they are wonderful examples of herbal history. I think everyone should be aware of what was used in the past and why.

I have come across a few of Mrs Leyel's cookery titles on ebay, 'Picnics for Motorists' and 'Puddings: Baked, Boiled, Fried, Steamed and Iced' but I'm not sure if they're general cookbooks a la Mrs Beeton or if they have a herb based? Does anybody own any of the Leyel cookbooks and do they contain herb recipes or not? If anybody has any more information to add on either Mrs Leyel or her books then please post it or email me.


Herb Society Webmistress

The Books of Hilda Leyel

December 21 2007, 5:00 AM 

Dear Debs,

The six volumes of the Culpeper House Herbals[not in any order]
Herbal Delights
Elixirs of Life
Compassionate Herbs
Green Medicine

were originally published by Faber and Faberin the early and mid 1950's.Mrs.Leyel died before she could complete the series which was to be 8 volumes.The remaining 2 volumes were to cover veterinary herbs and herbs with an industrial use.
Regards Kevin

Re: The Books of Hilda Leyel

December 21 2007, 11:24 AM 

Hi Kevin

Thanks for that information, I never knew that there should have been 8 volumes! Just proves my point that its worth asking for everyones input. Maybe I should try and convince you to write a piece for the website about Mrs Leyel, you seem to know a lot more about her than I?

I'll ask Jenny Jones to keep an eye out for any books, papers or information involving Mrs Leyel when shes organising the library at Sulgrave. If you do fancy writing up what you know then feel free to do so and email it to me. I think its about time that there was more information about Mrs C F Leyel on the internet and I can't think of a better place than the Herb Society for that information to be


The Books of Hilda Leyel

December 23 2007, 7:23 AM 

Hi Debs,

Let us get Christmas and the New Year over and early January I shall put on my thinking cap and put down the bits and pieces about Mrs.Leyel and the Herb Society that I know.

I used to have the bulk of her herbal books,but over the years and the greater part of my life being spent outside the U.K. I fear many things went astray.

One other thing to look out for,if you ever come across any of the old,and I mean old Culpeper House catalogues of early 1930's[something else that has gone astray] they contain photographs not of Mrs.Leyel but the interiors of the old shop and her consulting room which was originally upstairs at 7 Baker Street.If you can get hold of it this shows the consulting room lined with old leather bound Herbals,the collection which Mrs.Leyel left to the Society and which appears to have been disposed of under very opaque circumstances.

The collection stayed with the Society for some time after her death as I recall seeing a picture of the Collection in an issue of Health from Herbs Magazine issued in the mid 1960's at which time the books were at 21 Bruton Street.Health from Herbs was a magazine published by NIMH aimed at the general public rather than herbal practitioners.At that time the Society of Herbalists still ran a clinic at 21 Bruton street with the assistance of 2 NIMH Members a Mr.Newman Turner and a Mrs.Alice Kerswell who also had a practice in Crystal Palace,south London and were both actively involved with the Society.

All the best Kevin

Re: The Books of Hilda Leyel

December 26 2007, 4:54 PM 

<<Let us get Christmas and the New Year over and early January I shall put on my thinking cap and put down the bits and pieces about Mrs.Leyel and the Herb Society that I know.>>

Thanks Kevin, I'll look forward to that! There are a couple of old photos on the about us page on the Culpepers website in their About Us section, are they the photos you mean? I'll keep my eyes peeled for the Culpeper's catalogue, one never knows ones luck


Re: Books of Hilda Leyel

December 28 2007, 1:52 PM 

Hi Pamela

You asked me <<Would you recommend 'The Gentle Art of Cooking'?>> I've now had the chance to look at the book and can now tell you what I think.
As I suspected it isn't a herb cookery book, although it does have some herby recipes such as cowslip pudding, marigold cordial and standards like horseradish sauce and geranium jelly. It's broken into 20 chapters and each chapter has an introduction and the chapters are peppered with anecdotes, quotes and poems.

My favourite chapters are Home-Made Wine And Cups, Flower Recipes and the final chapter called The Alchemist's Cupboard, which details the ingrediants that Mrs Leyel thought every cook should have in their store cupboard which includes chilli vinegar, tarragon vinegar, worcester sauce and celery and onion salt which in my 1935 copy Mrs Leyel notes that the two salts are only ontainable at Harrod's and other big Grocer chains! I'd recommend it if you're interested in a Mrs Beeton style cookery book, but not if you want a herb cookery book. I'm not sure if there would have been a purely herb based cookery book available back then, someone please correct me if I'm wrong?

Hope that helps?


The Magic Of Herbs

January 4 2008, 12:29 PM 

Just thought I'd add to this thread that I managed to get a copy of The Magic Of herbs from Canada of all places. If you're not familiar with this book, don't let the title mislead you. This was Hilda's first book and it's a delight. Full of historical information, facts like Gilbert's Puppy Dog ointment on page 60 this ointment is what the English herbalist Gilbertus Anglicus (1175?-1240?) is most famed for. It unfortunately contained real puppy dogs, I'd actually never heard of the ointment or Gilbert until I read that chapter of Hilda's book. Although I will be rethinking the 'What are little girls made of?' nursery rhyme now!

There are more acceptable old recipes for things like Virgins Milk (sugars of lead (saccharum saturni), better known today as lead acetate, aside) and Divine Cordial. The historical information starts with herbs in medicine before the birth of christ, and concludes with apothercaries, their shops and gardens. I haven't finished reading it yet, but even at this early stage if you're a fan of historical herbal information and Mrs Leyel then this book is a must.

A quote from Mrs Leyel's 'Author's Preface' sums up this wonderful book:-

[ "Searching through the literature of Herb's, I could find no history of the use of herbs in medicine and pharmacy. Facts bearing on the subject are scattered through hundreds of books in different languages.

This book, therefore, is an attempt to bring together in one volume for the general reader the information I have collected.

Hilda Leyel - 1926" ]

Peter leyel

Hilda Leyel's books

January 5 2008, 2:14 PM 

The following list of books written by my grandmother Hilda Leyel (né Wauton) was published in vol 3 no 3 of The Herbal Review (1978 the herb Society)
The magic of herbs (1926)
The truth about herbs
herbal delights
Compassionate herbs
Elixirs of Life
Hearts Ease
Green Medicine
Diet and Common sense
and then 9 titles in the "Lure of Cooking" series:
1. Puddings: boiled, baked, fried, steamed and iced
2. Meals on a Tray
3. Summer drinks and Winter Cordials
4. Cold Savoury Meals
5. Green salads and Fruit Salads
6. The Complete Jam Cupboard
7. Cakes of England
8. Picnics for Motorists
9. Diet for Children

Together with Olga Hartley, she wrote:
The Gentle Art of Cookery
Lucullus- the food of the Future.

She contributed chapters on herbs, perfumes and pot pourri in the
The Gardiner's Chapbook, edited by E.H.M. Cox

and , finally, she edited
A Modern herbal by Mrs M. Grieve.

The volume of the "Herbal Review" referred to was dedicated to Mrs C.F.Leyel (1880-1957)- her life and work, carried her photo on its cover, and contained pictures of the Culpeper House shop in Baker's St, and another which the author was not sure was in Harrogate or Knightsbridge!

Peter Leyel

Hilda Leyel and Maud Grieve

March 18 2008, 12:53 AM 

I am currently writing a book about Maud Grieve. In my research I, unsuccessfully, attempted to contact descendants of Hilda Leyel through the solicitors of her estate. I hoped to discover some correspondence between the two women. I'm delighted to see Peter Leyel's letter on this Forum and would be glad to correspond with him, most particularly if there is any archival material in his family's possession.

Re: Hilda Leyel and Maud Grieve

March 18 2008, 12:59 PM 

Hi Joan

From the email conversations I've had with Peter, there doesn't seem to be much, if any information on Mrs Grieve that he has. Peter has sent some information to me about his grandmother that I'm working to add to the website, but I'm sure if you email him on the contact mail on one of his previous postings he'll let you know if he does have anything specific about Mrs Grieve. I must admit I was asking about Hilda and not Maude, so it may be possible that something survives?

I have some papers, photos and publications to go through as part of the library cataloguing/archiving, so I'll keep my eyes peeled for you and let you know if I find anything that may be of use. I'd be most interested in reading your book when its complete, there is very little written about Hilda Leyel and seemingly even less about Maude Grieve, which is such a shame. Good luck with your research.


Peter Leyel

Maud Grieve

March 20 2008, 10:02 AM 

Hello Joan,
Unfortunately I have absolutely nothing on Mrs Grieve (apart from her book which was edited by my Grandmother).
On searching the internet I found the information below:
"Reference: GB 0237 Dc.3.97/1-4; Dc.3.98
Title: Collection of material relating to Mrs. Maud Grieve, F.R.H.S (fl.1937)
Dates of creation: 20th century
Held at: Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division
Extent: 4 volumes, 1 box
Level of Description: fonds
Language of Material: eng lat
Administrative/Biographical History

Mrs. Maud Grieve was the Principal and Founder of 'The Whins' Medicinal and Commercial Herb School and Farm at Chalfont St. Peter in Buckinghamshire, England. The training school gave tuition and practical courses in all branches of herb growing, collecting, drying and marketing. Grieve had also been President of the British Guild of Herb Growers, and Fellow of the British Science Guild. Her work A Modern Herbal contains medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and economic properties, cultivation and folklore of herbs.
Scope and Content

The material comprises of volumes of work, and pamphlets, relating to the properties, cultivation and folklore of herbs, and accounts of British trees and their by-products. The core of the collection is the four volume typescript of A modern herbal, 1937 (first published 1931), which includes an index of botanical names and an index of English names.
Administrative Information

Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.
Access Conditions

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

The biographical/administrative history was compiled using material contained in the collection.
Further Information
Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.
Publication Note

The Library (Darwin Library) holds a copy of the 1974 reprint edition of Grieve's A modern herbal: the properties, cultivation and folk-lore of herbs, grasses, fungi, shrubs and trees with all their modern scientific uses, at shelfmark 581.6:633.88 Gri.
Access Points

Grieve, Maud (fl. 1937) Herbalist"
I have a feeling that you probably know about this collection in Edinburgh. If not maybe it will be useful.
I look forward to reading your book in due course.

Hilda Leyel - info needed

March 26 2008, 5:27 PM 

Could Peter Leyel please contact me? I am including Hilda in a book about Sussex women (she lived near Bognor in the 30s and 40s) and am about to go to press quite soon. Many thanks



March 26 2008, 5:30 PM 

I have searched this forum for the thread mentioned that started 28 April 2007 and it's not there - any suggestions please? Helena

Re: Leyel

March 26 2008, 5:53 PM 


Hi Helena

It's the Hilda Leyel thread started by Kevin Brown


Finding books by anyone!

March 26 2008, 6:03 PM 

Just go to


Very useful site!



March 26 2008, 6:32 PM 

Or Debs - what is this info you intend to add to the site? I fear my book will go to press before I get a chance to read this new info!


Re: PS

March 26 2008, 6:51 PM 

Hi Helena

It's general stuff about Hilda, her books, how she formed the society of herbalists, plus some herb society historical facts that Hilda is responsible for. Although we're undecided as to whether to put all the info compiled so far into a book about Hilda and The Herb Society.


Maud and Hilda

June 23 2008, 6:21 AM 

Thank you, Peter, I am very grateful for your effort in my behalf! I'm sorry to have taken so long to write. I was in the UK for 7 weeks and have had a lot of catching up to do since coming home - all sorts of things have suffered from neglect.

Yes, I have visited the collection in Edinburgh - the www is a wonderful resource, isn't it?

Of course, your grandmother died very much after Maud's death so only a little of her story intersects with Maud's, but for Maud it was a crucial intersection. It is very interesting to me to see lives of these two women side by side, as it were: Maud is the archetypal Victorian and Hilda is very much an Edwardian.
Did you know your gandmother?

Because all Maud's papers were destroyed at her death (she having no descendants) there are great holes in the biographical material and what I had hoped to be a biography will now be a novel. I hope to get it finished by the end of the year but as yet have not attempted to find a publisher.

Thank you again for your consideration.
Joan Dugdale

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