First monthly meeting
big audience came to the April public meeting of Penicuik
& District U3A, the first of the monthly series following its inauguration in
March. The meeting was convened by
Margot Daru-Elliott who introduced a fascinating talk
by Brian Moffat on
Dr Moffat discussed the evidence of mediaeval medical practice available at Soutra, including the remains of blood, soft tissue, and herbs. He described how libraries of medical advice from many countries and ages could be drawn on by the more experienced Augustinians of the time. Souta holds extensive clues to major surgery, hospital use of antidepressants, the use of parturition inducing herbs (although attendance at childbirth was expressly forbidden to monks in holy orders) and tumour treatments. He covered the range of local herbs used in early medicine, including antidotes to dearth and starvation, the distances some rarer herbs had travelled to reach Soutra, the sheer number of doses prepared for daily use and the variety of ailments presented in the wards. It was an enormously informative presentation, and many carried on animated discussions with Dr Moffat face-to-face.
Afterwards, the newly formed Penicuik U3A subject groups were supplemented by new signings.