Alun Withey
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Caring for the sick
in Physick and the family
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This chapter explores the issue of domestic care for the sick, with particular emphasis on gender healing roles within the family unit. It highlights the important medical relationships between parents and children, such as that of father and daughter, and foreground the important role of men in collating and recording household medical knowledge. There were few formal places of medical care available in Wales beyond the home until the nineteenth century. In the early modern period, physicking the family was, at least culturally, part of the domestic duties of women, and they were expected to have a basic knowledge of herbs and medical preparations. There are clear signs that Welsh practitioners desired 'legitimacy' and aspired to be viewed as orthodox, and their numbers and spread should raise questions about the almost total dominance of magical and lay practice in Wales.

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Physick and the family

Health, medicine and care in Wales, 1600-1750


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