thrift cottageJoseph Gerred’s talents as a medical herbalist surpassed his poetic abilities, though judging by the verse in the following advert, that’s not saying much. Born in 1816, he took up herbalism in the 1830s, while also editing his own newspaper, The Devonshire Times. In 1856, Gerred was accused of libel after his paper printed a story claiming that a political rival, Mr Stowbridge, had sold some goods belonging to the Famine Committee, and kept the money. The Devon Lent Assizes awarded costs of £20 to Mr Stowbridge, and Gerred became insolvent later that year. According to a witness at the hearing, The Devonshire Times had been “a poor thing—both editor and paper were very poor.”

Fortunately for Gerred, this was just a blip in a long and successful career in herbalism. He practised for 65 years, continuing to work until shortly before his death in 1900.

(Image: Thrift Cottage, Joseph Gerred’s house in Exeter. This image was included within the advertisement below.)

To Fellow Citizens infirm
And weakly people dwelling round;
I write these lines you to inform,
Four days each week, at home I’m found.
Fifty-six years in practice now,
Some hundreds truly thankful are;
They unsolicited avow,
That they have gain’d a lasting cure.
In pure love with all—and opposing none,
I continue on as I first begun.
If other sources you have tried,
And all have given you over,
Give me a call ‘ere you decide,
Impossible to recover.
If there is hope you to restore,
I’ll try my best what I can do;
And if no hope of this be sure,
I’ll freely tell my thoughts to you.
Scores I have cur’d—given hundreds relief,
Whose treatment by others only caused grief.

Note the address—J. GERRED, Medical Herbalist, Thrift Cottage, EXETER.
ATTENDANCE DAILY (Mondays and Wednesdays excepted) from 10 to 8. ADVICE GRATIS.
Visiting Barnstaple—North Country Inn, second and fourth Monday every month, 11 to 4,
Newton Abbot—126, Queen-street, first and third Wednesday every month, 1 to 4.
Call or send for list of Testimonials—Sent post free.


Source: Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, Saturday 22 November 1890


  1. Thank you for this. Joseph is my 4th Great Grandfather.
    I am a Chinese Herbalist!
    Anymore information would be much appreciated.

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