About The Herb Society

Registered Charity No. 1071779
VAT No. 243 0813 91
Company No. 3616880

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The Herb Society celebrated its 85th anniversary in 2012

The Herb Society is an internationally-renowned educational charity dedicated to encouraging the appreciation and use of herbs in cooking, gardening, cosmetic, historical and medicinal uses for professionals or amateurs. Whilst the majority of members are in the UK we have members worldwide including the USA, Thailand, Japan, South Africa, Australia and Europe.


The Herb Society at Sulgrave Manor

The Society has its national herb garden at Sulgrave Manor.  The Manor dates from 1539 and was home to the ancestors of George Washington.  


The Historic Sulgrave Manor

IMPORTANT INFORMATION RE SAT NAV: Follow directions to Sulgrave Manor, Sulgrave, Banbury,OX17 2SD and not the Herb Society's Northampton administration address.


Members looking round the main herb garden at Sulgrave Manor.
The children's garden at Sulgrave Manor

The Herb Society garden in the grounds of Sulgrave Manor features herbs taken to North America from Europe and herbs which have come to us from North America. Click here for a virtual tour of this garden. 

There is also a children's garden called 'The Living Earth Garden', which has a strong ecological theme. The children's garden was designed by Cheryl Waller using ideas from our education officer, Janet Blundell, who in turn was inspired by children. Class 10 Gardening Club at Ravenswood Primary School in Newcastle-on-Tyne won a selection of potted herbs to plant in their own herb garden for providing the best ideas. To see more information and photos of the children's garden click here.



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For opening times visit www.sulgravemanor.org.uk


Brief History of the Society

During the past 100 years, much of the knowledge about the many uses of herbs has been lost or temporarily superseded by synthetically prepared drugs. One of the first people to realise that herbal remedies and products should be available to the public was Mrs Hilda Leyel who, from 1916 onwards, devoted herself to herbal research. She also practised herbal medicine and wrote numerous books and articles on herbs and cooking.

Hilda Leyel

Hilda Leyel, 1880 - 1957.
The Society's founder


The Herb Society was founded in 1927 by Hilda Leyel, who founded the Culpeper shops at the same time. The Society was at that stage called The Society of Herbalists, and Mrs Leyel used the consulting rooms of the Society above the Culpeper shops to treat her patients. The patients would then have their medication made up in the shop downstairs. The shops also sold culinary herbs, aromatic herbs, and all produce of a herbal nature.

The Society has had a dramatic history as medicinal herbalism was outlawed by the 1941 Pharmacy Act and only repealed by the Medicines Act of 1968. During this difficult time, prospective patients were able to obtain treatment legally by joining the Society of Herbalists.

Hilda Leyel died in 1957 and as a result The Society of Herbalists and the Culpeper shops split, and the Society went on independently, continuing to run events and provide its many members with a regular journal. The Society then changed its name to The Herb Society.

The Society was at that stage based in London and, as part of their charitable aims and objectives, decided to create a herb garden. Several sites were identified, and numerous award- winning herb garden designs were submitted, but ultimately nothing came of them. The search for a herb garden moved the Society out of London in 1997, when the ideal site was found at Sulgrave Manor, where the Society also established its office.

The Council & Management of The Herb Society

The formal responsibility for running the Society rests with a Council of Trustees who are also known as Directors of the Society.  They are supported by the administrator, advisors and volunteers.



Barbara Depledge (Chairman & Local Groups)
Malcolm Dickson (Vice-Chairman, Hon.Treasurer)
Peter Depledge (Hon.Secretary)

Sue Hughes

Annie Leonard

Paul Richards

Barbara Wilkinson


Ruth Ridley (Social Media Advisor)

Nicky Westwood (Events co-ordinator)

Members may propose another member for a post on Council by informing the Society in writing from 21 to 31 days before the AGM. The person being proposed must also state in writing their willingness to serve on Council.


Lynne Ridge

Accounting Technician

Karen Lane, MAAT

President 2014/15

Toby Buckland


Ivan Day - Peter Leyel - The Earl of Stockton


Jan Greenland


Andrew Chevallier - Debs Cook

Jekka McVicar

Sue Minter

Roger Tabor - Ann Walker


Editor Herbs

Barbara Segall


Forum Host

Linda Harrold DBTh, MURHP

Forum Moderator

Sarah Head B Soc Sci, Dip SFT, MNFSH

Barbara Depledge

Barbara Depledge

Lynne Ridge

Lynne Ridge


Karen Lane

Karen Lane

Accounting Technician

Toby Buckland Toby Buckland

President 2015-16



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