History of Abbotts of Leigh

Unfortunately Abbotts of Leigh has now closed down. If you have any questions regarding continuing our medical support (including repeat prescriptions) please contact us at head office. 0845 002 1860

Abbotts of Leigh was founded by Charles Abbott 1889-1983. His interest in herbalism began when he was 17 years of age when he was cured, against all expectations, of tuberculosis by a Bolton herbalist under whom he then studied. Despite having no formal qualifications, he opened his herbal clinic on Railway Road in 1910 when he was 21 years old.

His traditional herbal and other practices were straightforward. He also made all the medicines on the premises. However, in 1929 he introduced an electronic black box diagnostic machine which used a spot of patients blood and vibrations to determine which herbal medicine was required. He often clashed with doctors over this and coroners, following deaths, but he was acquitted of manslaughter in a case which was taken to court following the death of a boy with meningitis. He later published the trial transcript under the title “Hocus Pocus”.

For 60 years he had clashes with coroners and disputes with medical opinions over his beliefs and herbal treatments. His practice thrived and he claimed to see 10,000 patients a year drawn from all walks of life, and including the titled and famous. He became a household name throughout Lancashire and Cheshire. In 1972, aged 83, Charlie was still practising and had 2400 registered patients and a long waiting list. 

He died in November 1983 after being hit by a lorry in Manchester. His wife continued the practice after his death. At least one Radio 4 programme about him has been broadcast in recent years.

Abbots of Leigh is now part of the Napiers of Herbalists group and is managed by qualified medical herbalist, Zoe Naylor. Napiers preserves the traditional herbal medicine practices of a group of Victorian herbalists; Duncan Napier (Edinburgh), Charlie Abbott (Leigh), William H. Box (Plymouth), Henry Lane (Plymouth) building on the work achieved by E.J. and John Rickard in preserving many of the traditional formulae.

Today many of the combination formula medicines are on the market under the new THR Scheme which would have had Charlie Abbott immediately publishing a pamphlet! Others, such as the Sure Cure that Charlie Abbott used to help the citizens of Leigh get through the Spanish influenza outbreak in 1920,  are still made up as bases for our herbalists to dispense to patients.