what sort of book is this?when and where was it printed? what is the author called? the picture...
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What sort of book is this?When and where was it printed?What is the author called?
The picture shows the author. Underneath are some Latin words meaning “His age” – but how old is he?
What different features can you see on these pages that are designed to help sell the book? (Mention pictures, words, layout etc).
The book is designed to help families. Would you expect to find a book like this in most households in the 1680’s? (Explain your answer)
This is William Walwin, the author of “Physick for Families”. He is a physician. In our day we would call him a doctor.
A physician was just one of a range of people who tried to heal the sick in the 17th century.Click to learn about other people who were – or claimed to be – healers at that time.
Only men were allowed to be physicians. They studied at university for fourteen years before they qualified. They learned medicine from books written by famous names such as Galen, Vesalius and Harvey
A physician charged fees for his work. He could become quite rich - if he had wealthy patients. It would have cost a labourer over a month’s wages to receive treatment from a physician.
A “Quack Doctor” was an untrained healer. He made and sold cheap potions that promised much but cost very little. Some – like the one in this 18th century picture –could read and might have some real skill to help people.
Most “Quacks” were uneducated and travelled around selling remedies and pulling teeth at fairs and markets. We still use the phrase “Quack doctor” to describe people who promise easy solutions to difficult problems.
A “Wise Woman” would usually be the first person beyond their family that poor people would go to for medical help.
She would be a local person who used treatments that had been handed down from ancient times.
But Wise Women could get into serious trouble if she lost the trust of local people: like the one shown in this 19th century picture of a scene from the 17th century…… she might be arrested and put on trial for using witchcraft!
Surgeons spent many years learning how to operate on all sorts of injuries and wounds. They needed a licence from a bishop before they were allowed to work on patients. They charged people for their help.
But most physicians looked down on surgeons as they worked with their hands and were not educated at universities.
An apothecary made and sold medicines by mixing herbs and plants.
He or she was not allowed to treat the sick or suggest treatments … but they might do if it meant they could earn a little money!
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/File:Eucharius_R%C3%B6%C3%9Flin_Rosgarten_Childbirth.jpg c.1515 but used by midwives to c 1730
A midwife would care for women in the final stages of their pregnancy and would deliver babies in return for a fee from parents and god-parents.
It was very responsible work and they had to be licensed by a bishop as they sometimes had to baptise dying infants. They had no real medical training but learned from older midwives and from experience. Some might study books such as this one.
They were always supposed to call for help from a physician if there were complications. By 1700 physicians were taking over more and more of the midwife’s duties.
Apothecary MidwifeWise Woman
The physician William Walwin is going to make a few statements about some other healers. For each statement, decide which person he is talking about.
They lack real learning. But they have skilful hands and – after inflicting severe pain – they can do all sorts
of important work.
These people are dangerous!
They boast about their
ability and fool poor people into paying good money for potions that do no
good and may often do harm.
So that just leaves the midwife. What do you think William Walwin might have said about her? Think of your own ideas then click to see what we have written.
I admire their knowledge and skill in making remedies that I
give my patients – but I
wish they would not try
to treat people. That
is not their job!
They are fine women in many ways – but some are careless and none can understand the
mother’s body the way we physicians do. We physicians
should do more of their work in future.
Finally, can you think of one thing that all the other healers might agree to say about the physician? Click again to see what we think they might say …
I know some of these do have real knowledge and skill – but beware: others use the power of
Sir – we beg you to understand: we are only trying to help all those
people who cannot afford to pay the fees of a fine, educated physician such
The images from “Physick for Families”, William Walwyn (1681) is reproduced with permission from the Discovery Library, Derriford Hospital
The image of the Quack Doctor on slide 4 (and detail on slide 9) is reproduced by Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. It is not known to whom the copyright of the original image belongs but we will readily acknowledge this or remove the image should anyone establish their rights over the original image.
The sources of all other images in this presentation are from web pages indicated at the foot of the slide and are used in accordance with the information provided there.
The content of this resource is available for download and reproduction under the terms of the “Creative Commons Licence”. Only non-commercail use is permitted under these terms – any use from which there is financial gain is not permitted. In any use of the resource, the Discovery Library, Derriford Hospital must be clearly credited.
Copyright and Acknowledgements