The Board of Ordnance
Artisans and Supply
Whinyates Troop forms the fighting element of the Wellingtons Artillery and is supported by our artisans and supply displays.
Jane's Historical Kitchen
Janes kitchen is the latest addition to the Board of Ordnance. During the day Jane, Corporal Cook as she is often referred to, prepares food for the officers as well as the troop lunch in the camp kitchen.
The kitchen is a must-visit as Jane cooks authentic 19th-century recipes using copper and brass pots that glisten in the sunlight. Jane also prepares fresh bread daily using Dutch ovens. Jane researches new recipes continually to keep the camp happy and to show the important place that food has had throughout history.
Jane is often helped by other troop members. Jane (aka Tracey Grand) is well known on the re-enactment circuit for her presentation of ‘Jane’s Historical Kitchen’.
Whilst the army did employ doctors and surgeons, they were too expensive for the average solider and rather fond of bleeding you, applying leeches or cutting bits of you off, so being treated by a herbalist may have been a preferable as well as a cheaper option!
Remedies would be concocted to solve digestive distress, sleep issues, foot rot, burns, hay fever, headache, constipation, parasites, cough & colds, baldness, impotence, depression and many more!
The herbs would also be used in cooking to compliment meals, make them more palatable and easily digestible, particularly when the rations were sparse!
Herbalism was primarily a female vocation with the vast body knowledge being refined and passed down over thousands of years. Remedies were seldom written down, passed on verbally and through instruction from a young child.
On campaign children would learn by being sent out to gather local ingredients and helping to prepare them. Each ingredient would need to be used or preserved so remedies could be made throughout the year.
These herbal remedies were within the pocket of the average soldier and served to augment the pay of the women which was very low. This extra money would help the women to buy new clothes, pay for a donkey to carry her belongings, or allow her to buy extra food to increase her (and her children’s) meagre rations.
In Wellington’s army women could be employed to serve as part of the support services during the Napoleonic campaign. Between 4 – 6 women were employed per company, a ratio of around 60:1000 men. These women were often married to NCOs or above and took part in a wives ballot to be allowed to go.
To earn the pay, rations and protection of the army the women had to be of use and preferably without children. Employment opportunities were restricted to duties such as laundresses, seamstress, nurse, or herbalist.
Should her husband die a woman was given 3 days to gather her belongings and children, her role terminated and was then instructed to make her own way back to England. A woman was rarely allowed to stay as a widow, so she often remarried another solider within those 3 days and so continued her employment. Some were married many times to preserve her pay and rations for herself and her children until she, her children and the company she was attached to was returned to England.