This article discusses the medicinal remedies consumed at the court of the Yorkist kings of England in the light of a lawsuit in the court of common pleas (edited in an appendix) between John Clerk, king’s apothecary to Edward IV, and Katherine Neville, Duchess of Norfolk, over the partial non-payment of the apothecary’s bills. It argues that the consumption of apothecaries’ wares in large quantities was not merely a direct result of the excessive diet of the late medieval aristocracy, but in itself represented a facet of the conspicuous consumption inherent in the lifestyle of this particular social class. The remedies supplied by Clerk over a period of several years and listed in the legal record are set in the context of contemporary collections of medical recipes, particularly a ‘dispensary’ in the British Library’s Harleian collection generally attributed to the king’s apothecary.
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