A brief and partially faded voucher has turned up amongst those for Colton. It reads ‘19 Febry 1756 To reducing Young Partons Thigh 11s 6. Jany 21 1757 Rd of Mr Clark the contents above in full Gilbt Hordeane’.
This produced much speculation amongst the volunteers. Had Clark given Hordeane the reduced bit of Parton’s thigh? What had caused Parton to require the reduction of his thigh? What exactly is thigh reduction?
Currently, thigh reduction treatment involves surgery. The removal of fat and skin from the thigh area is designed to recapture a more youthful figure; but surely this was not practiced in the mid-eighteenth century? Of course it was not. As usual volunteers on the project were able to provide the answer: ‘Thigh reduction’ refers to setting a fracture. It may refer to a displaced fracture where the two ends of the bone are out of alignment. Reduction and manipulation involves the stretching of the bone to pull them back into alignment.