Gerard’s Herball and the treatment of war-wounds and contagion during the English Civil War
in Battle-scarred
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Published in 1597, the Herball of John Gerard was instantly recognised as an essential medical treatise. It was substantially revised and extended in a new edition published in 1633. As the most extensive and up-to-date statement on matters medical, there can be no doubt that Gerard’s Herball must have been a go-to manual during the civil wars. Yet the role it played in the treatment of the soldiery and general populace has yet to be told. This chapter analyses a surviving copy of the Herball, and its seventeenth-century ownership and usage by the royalist family, the Coopers of Thurgarton. An analysis of the numerous annotations it includes and the conditions they identify, argues that this artefact was used to inform treatments for those suffering ailments commonly associated with seventeenth-century siege warfare, and in this instance, the sieges of Newark in particular.


Mortality, medical care and military welfare in the British Civil Wars


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