Because its name comes from Latin [lavare – to wash] we believe that the Romans brought Lavender to England. Before they did, it was not a ‘native’ plant. For a thousand years after that, it might have been grown by households or estates; but when the power and influence of Monasteries grew, the Monks grew Lavender – and not many other people did. After all, there are very strong Biblical references to it (usually known by the even older name of spikenard).
Their monopoly of Lavender cultivation ended between 1536 and 1541 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. After that, growing Lavender became a domestic task: people with gardens grew what their households required. Or it became industrial: people started farms to grow Lavender on a large scale, to sell to people without gardens – mostly in towns and cities.
Everyone needed Lavender. Scattered among the rushes and straw of floor-coverings, it fought against the stink of urine, thrown-away scraps of food, the mess of animals [household dogs or common rats], old spit hawked into corners, and the mud and soil trodden everywhere. Lavender’s essential oils were trampled out of it and released into the air by the constant tramp of feet.
Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII, grew to love Lavender. When she became Queen, she is said to have wanted fresh Lavender flowers in all her rooms every day, demanded Conserve of Lavender on the table at every meal; and (if all that were not enough in the English climate) she trusted that a daily drink of Lavender Tea would ease her anxieties, relieve her muscles from the cramps of stress, and even mitigate the pain of her too frequent migraines.
Strictly speaking, we would call her drink an infusion. You might think it worth a try:
You will need to experiment to find the quantities which best suit your tastes. My own experience is that it works with Yorkshire Tea and dried Lavender Flowers in equal proportions, together with dashes of fresh lemon. Warm a teapot and pour your boiling water over this mix – again, in about the quantities you would use for the same amount of tea-leaves alone. You may add sugar if you wish: Elizabeth’s servants would have added honey – most likely the honey which had itself been created by bees nourished in the same Lavender garden.