We received an email recently from Alan Crooks who is researching the Elizabethan astrological physician, Dr Simon Forman.
This is some of what they said:
In Simon Forman’s Diary (1564-1602) he writes for 1583, “The 17th of December I had my ring mad with the egles stone.”.
I have read that theItalian scholar, priest, astrologer, Marsilo Ficino (1433-1499) says that the Eagle’s Stone (aetite) is used to ease the pain of childbirth, and ascribes this ability to the astrological influence of the planet Venus and the Moon.
Furthermore, in Occult Physick, (1660) it say of eagle stones, “It is good to be worn for the Stone… Feavers and Plague. It doth also dissolve the knobs of the Kings Evil (i.e. scrofula), being bound to the place grieved”.
In his Diary, Forman says that he “cured the fellowe of Quidhampton of the king’s evill”,
Hence I believe Forman was saying that he had a ring made with such a stone set in it, especially to use for such purposes.
Alan wanted to know if we had an eagle stone set in a ring. We don’t but we do have an object which we believe is an eagle stone as it rattles when moved and is a large seed or nut. We were very interested to read what the researcher had discovered and also to share with them our own information about the object photographed above.
Cecil Williamson wrote this of it:
“EAGLE STONES. Tradition has it that Eagles placed one or more of these stones (they are in fact a nut having an exceedingly tough outer skin protecting the inner fruit). When shaken the inner fruit can be heard to rattle against the hard outer shell in their nests. It was believed that the reason for the Eagles action lay in the fact, that without the Eagle Stone the eggs would not hatch. To obtain an Eagle Stone was no light undertaking consequently they were held in high esteem. In many places it was believed that if an expectant mother were to strap an Eagle Stone to her thigh, that it would help to give an easy delivery for her child.”
Always interesting to know a little more about the objects in our collection. We think Cecil’s description goes with this object but is isn’t always possible to say with complete accuracy.