Hugh Plat

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Sir Hugh Plat

Sir Hugh Plat (1552–1608) was an English writer on agriculture and inventor, known from his works The Jewell House of Art and Nature (1594) and his major work on gardening Floraes Paradise (1608).


  • I dare boldly conclude that the most valiant armie of the best approved soldiers, (yea though consisting of lovers themselves, and that giving battaile in the presence of their Ladies and Mistresses) may easily even with a small band of ingenious scholars and Artists be utterly overthrown and vanquished.

The Jewell House of Art and Nature, 1594[edit]

The Jewell House of Art and Nature, title page 1653
The Jewell House of Art and Nature, 1653, p. 214
  • What eie doth not pitty to see the great weaknes and decay of our ancient and common mother the earth, which now is grown so aged and stricken in yeares, and so wounded at the hart with the ploughman's goad, that she beginneth to faint under the husbandman's hand, and groaneth for the decay of her natural balsam. For whose good health and recovery, and for the better comfort of sundry simple and needy farmers of this land, I have partly undertaken these strange labours, altogether abhorring from my profession, that they might both know and practise some farther secrets in their husbandry, for the better manuring of their leane and barren groundes with some new sorts of marie not yet knowne, or not sufficiently regarded by the best experienced men of our daies."
  • The secret virtues which lie hid in salt confirm the same. For salt whiteneth all thinges, it hardeneth all thinges, it preserveth all thinges, it giveth favour to all thinges, it is that masticke which gleweth all thinges together, it gathereth and knitteth all minerall matters, and of manie thousand peeces it maketh one masse. This salt giveth sounde to all thinges, and without the sounde no metall will wring in his shirle voyce. Salt maketh men merrie, it whiteneth the flesh, and it giveth beautie to all reasonable creatures, it entertayneth that love and amitie which is betwixt the male and female, through the great vigour and stirring uppe which it provoketh in the engendering members; it helpeth to procreation, it giveth unto creatures their voyce, as also unto metalles. * * * * * And it is salt that maketh all seedes to flourish and growe, and although the number of men is verie small, which can give any true reason whie dungue shoulde doe anie good in arable groundes, but are ledde thereto more by custome than anie philosophicall reason, nevertheless it is apparaunt that no dungue, which is layde uppon barraine groundes, could anie way enrich the same, if it were not for the salt which the straw and hay left behinde them by their putrifaction.
    • As cited in: Robert Kemp Philp (1859, p. 73)
  • I must here acknowledge that the best naturall philosophic that I ever coulde learn in this point, was neither out of Aristotle's Physicks, nor Velcurie's Naturall Philosophy, nor garseous meteors, nor out of any of the olde philosophicall fathers, that writ so many hundred years past; but that little which I have, I gathered it on the backside of Moore fieldes, where, by sundrie undoubted argument, I did heare it maintained, that all the elementes doo onely differ in attenuation and condensation: so as earth beeing attenuated becommeth water; and water condensate, becommeth earth; water attenuated becommeth aier, and aier condensate becommeth water; and so likewise aier attenuated becommeth fire, and fire condensate becommeth aier; and thus all of them spring from one roote, which being admitted is a manifeste proofe that there is a greate and neere affinity betweene the lande and the sea, wherein we shall finde salte water enough for our purpose.
    • As cited in: Robert Kemp Philp (1859, p. 74)
  • A sillie swaine, passing over an arm of the sea with his seede corne in a sacke, by mischance at the landing, his sacke fell into the water, and so his corne being lefte there till the next low water, became somewhat brackish, yet such was the necessity of the man, as that he (notwithstanding hee was out of all hope to have any good successe thereby, yet not being able to buie any other) bestowed the same wheat upon his plowed groundes, by the advice of a gentleman of good worship from whence I received the report thereof, and in June when the harvest time came about, he reaped a rich crop of goodly wheat such as in that yeare not any of his neighbours had the like, and yet notwithstanding (for aught that ever I could yet learne) neither he nor any other of his countrimen would ever adventure to make any further use thereof, belike being perswaded, unless that the corne by chance fell into the sea, it would never fructifie.
    • As cited in: Robert Kemp Philp (1859, p. 74)

Diverse new Sorts of Soylenot yet brought into any publique Use, 1594[edit]

  • In the groundes bordering uppon tile woods of Arden, which are verie colde, they use lime instead of dung, and thereby they make ye earth most fruitful which was barren before, Now if lime (which is nothing else but a baked or burnt stone within those fierie furnaces, and whose moisture is altogether exhaled, so as there remaineth therin nothing else, but the terrestriall parts replenished with a fierie vertue) be found so rich a soile, I know not why the heat of marle may not nmch better be endured
  • All Marie was earth before it became marle, it is a kinde of clay ground, and chalke it selfe was marle before it became chalke. And that which is more, that which is yet chalke within the Matrix of the earth, wil in time harden into a white stone, And last of all, wheresoever there bee any stones that be subiect to calcination, they were first marle before they were stones, for otherwise by their calcination they could not possibly amend any barren grounds … Also chalke and lime, after the frostes have taken them, whereby they crumble into powder, do become good marle, and serve in stead thereof.
    • p. 23-24; Cited in: Malcolm Thick (1994)
  • For too little of tile best Marle can doe but little good, and too nmch therof hath beene alreadie founde to bee verie hurtfull to the Corne.
    • p. 30; Cited in: Malcolm Thick (1994)

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