Janet Few


About Janet Few

Janet Few is an experienced family, social and community historian who writes and lectures regularly on these subjects throughout the English speaking world. She is well known for her appearances as her alter ego ‘Mistress Agnes’ who aids Janet’s work as an historical interpreter. Janet is the manager of Swords and Spindles https://swordsandspindles.wordpress.com, a company providing living history presentations for history groups and schools. For further information see http://thehistoryinterpreter.wordpress.com


The Remedies and Recipes of our Ancestors

I have recently completed an article on Herbal Remedies that will appear in a future issue of Going In-Depth. In the meantime I thought, I would share a few more weird and wonderful recipes and remedies used by our ancestors. Mrs Plant’s Cure for Kidney Stones (1680) An excellent receipt for breaking & dissolving the stone. Take sassifrage, Pelletory, marshmallowes, […]


Researching Lunatics in England 1

The history of mental health is poorly understood and many of those who were labeled as ‘lunatics’ in the past would have a very different diagnosis in the present. There are a number of sources that tell us more about these unfortunate members of our family. From 1871, the census columns concerning disability added idiot (later replaced by feeble minded), […]


The Life and Times of our Ancestors: a Journey to the Seventeenth Century 1

I am currently in the midst of the latest presentation of the online course ‘Writing and Telling your Family’s Story’, that I tutor for Pharos Tutoring and Teaching. This week we are focusing on social history: what our ancestors would have worn, the food they may have eaten, what their homes were like, how their illnesses would have been treated and […]


Family History and our Pets

It started with a Tweet. Academics from Royal Holloway and the University of Manchester were investigating how we interacted with our pets between 1837 and 1939. As part of the project they were asking for pre-second world war photographs of family pets. I am fortunate to have a large number of photographs from my mother’s family and yes there were […]


Using Historical Novels for Family History 2

Good family historians want to know about the lives that their ancestors led and to put those ancestors into the national, local and social historical context of their time. We can and should, investigate that background by using reference books, websites and museums. A painless way of absorbing more information can be through reading historical novels. If the novels are […]