A family members renovating a residence in East Cork have identified a 17th century receipt signed by one particular of history’s more vibrant figures, tucked away in the attic.
The receipt, for more than £680, was signed by Valentine Greatrakes, a self-defined healer whose statements divided community opinion throughout Ireland and England in the 1660s.
Greatrakes was born to Protestant landowners in Affane, near Lismore, on February 14, 1628.
Getting served as a Cromwellian soldier, he was afterwards made a clerk of the peace and a registrar for transplantations.
He was also a witch hunter, citing as a ‘witch tester’ in the 1661 Youghal witch demo of Florence Newton.
In 1662 Greatrakes noted God-impressed “impulses” to recover scrofula, a tuberculosis disease impacting the neck, usually called ‘the King’s evil”.
The big crowds alarmed Youghal magistrates who, ironically, purchased him to leave lest they distribute ailment.
Greatrakes was favoured by ‘father of fashionable medicine’ Robert Boyle, but other people labelled him a fraud or even deluded.
He was nicknamed ‘The Stroker’ immediately after his healing procedure, with clients claiming diseases exited via their human body extremities.
The Bishop of Lismore banned him from practising as he was unlicensed to heal, which only the Church could confer.
However, Greatrakes visited England on invitation, failing to impress Charles II but acquiring even more fame and criticism in London.
He died in Affane in 1683.
The receipt was “enclosed in a glass circumstance alongside a biography cutting” by 20-year-previous Loughlin O’Connor, whose family acquired the property in Grattan Avenue.
The doc refers to a land sale and is deciphered by local historian David Kelly as, ‘Ye 7th of May well 1680, obtained then from my cousin Mr Barry Perot, ye sum of six hundred and eighty lbs, 7 shillings and 5 pence in payment for rents thanks to me for his holdings in ye County of Limerick of Sir Robert Southwell’s estate as by ye in particulars annexed as witness to my hand ye working day the exact higher than I say acquired ye reported sum of…’ V A Greatraks Currently being current,Ye W Greatraks, Thomas Crokor, Thomas Neesham Notary General public.
“It is especially interesting for the substantial sum of funds involved, given an acre could have value about £5,” said Mr Kelly.