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REASSESSING FRONTLINE MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS OF THE BRITISH CIVIL WARS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY MEDICAL WORLD

  • ISMINI PELLS (a1)
Abstract

Medical provision in Civil War armies has generally suffered a poor reputation. Medical matters have been excluded from assessments of how far Civil War armies confirm evidence of the so-called ‘Military Revolution’, whilst Harold Cook argued that it was not until after the Glorious Revolution that the medical infrastructure of the armed forces was brought in line with continental practices, particularly those of the Dutch army. Despite the recent rehabilitation of early modern practitioners elsewhere, frontline military practitioners continue to be dismissed as uneducated, unskilful and incompetent. This is largely due to the lack of a fresh perspective since C. H. Firth published Cromwell's Army in 1902. This article argues that the English were well aware of current medical practice in European armies and endeavoured to implement similar procedures during the Civil Wars. Indeed, almost all the developments identified by Cook for the later seventeenth century can be found in Civil War armies. Whilst failures may have occurred, most of these can be attributed to administrative and financial miscarriages, rather than ignorance of contemporary medical developments. Moreover, there is little to suggest that medics mobilized for Civil War armies were any less capable than those who practised civilian medicine in this period.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester, Marc Fitch House, 5 Salisbury Rd, Leicester le1 7qr Ismini.pells@leicester.ac.uk
Footnotes
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I am very grateful to Jonathan Barry and Peter Elmer for their encouragement and for reading drafts of this article, as well as to Margaret Pelling for many helpful discussions on some of the themes discussed here. I would also like to thank the anonymous referees of the Historical Journal for their comments and helpful suggestions on earlier drafts. This article draws on research undertaken whilst a postdoctoral research associate on the Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘The Medical World of Early Modern England, Wales and Ireland, c. 1500–1715’ at the University of Exeter (grant reference number 097782/Z/11/Z). I am hugely indebted to Anne Laurence for making her research into the army pay warrants in The National Archives (TNA), SP 28 available to the project. This article is based on archival materials publicly available in a variety of repositories, as specified in the footnotes. No new data was created for this article.

Footnotes
References
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1 Wiseman, R., Severall chirurgicall treatises (London, 1676), p. 402.

2 von Arni, E. Gruber, Justice to the maimed soldier (Nottingham, 2015), p. 8.

3 Gabriel, R. A., Between flesh and steel (Washington, WA, 2013), p. 1.

4 Hopper, A., ‘The armies’, in Braddick, M. J., ed., The Oxford handbook of the English Revolution (Oxford, 2015), p. 267.

5 Ibid., p. 261.

6 Cook, H. J., ‘Practical medicine and the British armed forces after the “Glorious Revolution”’, Medical History, 34 (1990), pp. 126, at pp. 1 and 26.

7 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, p. 2.

8 Firth, C. H., Cromwell's army (London, 1962), pp. 254–5. This work was originally published in 1902.

9 Holmes, C., The Eastern Association in the English Civil War (London, 1974), p. 174.

10 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, p. 43.

11 Pelling, M., The common lot (Harlow, 1998), pp. 232–4.

12 Carlton, C., Going to the wars (London, 1992), pp. 226–8; Gabriel, Between flesh and steel, p. 71; Roberts, K., Cromwell's war machine (Barnsley, 2013), p. 122.

13 British Library (BL), Kings MS 265, fos. 44v– 45v (pay-rates of the Dutch army in 1630); Cruso, J., Militarie instructions for the cavallrie (Cambridge, 1632), p. 24; Hexham, H., The second part of the principles of the art militarie (London, 1638), p. 6 (note irregular pagination).

14 Cook, ‘Practical medicine and the British armed forces’, pp. 4–5.

15 Grose, F., Military antiquities (2 vols., London, 1786–8), i, pp. 278 and 370–8; TNA, SP 14/119/93 (report presented by the council of war for raising an army for the Palatinate, 13 Feb. 1621) fos. 159–64; Rushworth, J., Historical collections (London, 1682), pp. 1046–50.

16 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, pp. 5–6; Parker, G., ‘The universal soldier’, in Parker, G., ed., The Thirty Years’ War (London, 1997), p. 183; Parker, G., The army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567–1659 (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 233–5; Heizmann, C. L., ‘Military sanitation in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries’, Annals of Medical History, 1 (1917–18), pp. 281300, at pp. 287–94.

17 Holmes, Eastern Association, p. 174.

18 TNA, SP 28/127 fo. 310v (Aylesbury garrison accounts, 6 May 1643), SP 28/2b/iii fo. 510 (pay warrant for John Stanley, 7 Sept. 1642).

19 Wilson, P., Europe's tragedy (London, 2010), p. 145.

20 BL, Kings MS 265, fo. 45v. A guilder was comprised of twenty stivers and Cruso's Militarie instructions suggests a conversion rate of six stivers to a shilling. Thus 600 (guilders) x 20 = 12,000 (stivers), which ÷ 6 = 2,000 (shillings) i.e. £100.

21 TNA, SP 28/3b/ii fo. 440, SP 28/6/i fo. 80, SP 28/6/ii fo. 252 (pay warrants for Richard Gardiner, 23 Nov. 1642, 1 Mar. 1643, and 12 Apr. 1643), SP 28/3b/ii fo. 442, SP 28/5 fo. 335 (pay warrants for Edward Odling, 23 Nov. 1642 and 28 Feb. 1643). The pay warrants show that the physicians were paid every day, so on a calculation for 365 days, their salary would have been £121 13s 4d.

22 TNA, SP 28/7 fo. 127 (pay warrant for Edward Odling, 26 May 1643), SP 28/7 fo. 145 (pay warrant for Richard Gardiner, 29 May 1643).

23 For example, TNA, SP 28/12/i fo. 69 (pay warrant for Edward Odling, 5 Feb. 1643/4), SP 28/25/iii fo. 379 (payment to Henry Glisson (Eastern Association) for 1 Jan. to 26 Feb. 1644), SP 28/29/i fo. 9 (pay warrant for Adam Stryall (New Model), 17 Apr. 1645). Stryall only collected 5s a day in accordance with the New Model Ordinance, whereby any officer who received 10s a day or more received half their pay at the time and was issued with a debenture for the rest: Firth, Cromwell's army, pp. 200–1.

24 TNA, SP 28/62/ii fo. 229 (pay warrant for William French, 21 Aug. 1649), SP 28/62/i fo. 40 (pay warrant for Joseph Waterhouse, 30 Aug. 1649).

25 BL, Kings MS 265, fo. 45v; TNA, SP 28/2A/ii fo. 189 (pay warrant for Abraham Webb (Essex's army), 8 Sept. 1642), SP 28/25/iii fo. 379 (payment to Thomas Bert (Eastern Association), 20 Dec. 1643 to 28 Feb. 1644), SP 28/36/ii fo. 147 (pay warrant for Abraham Webb (New Model Army), 6 Feb. 1645/6); Journals of the House of Lords, x (1648–9), p. 66.

26 For example, TNA, SP 28/2/iia fo. 197 (warrant to pay Richard Gardiner, 9 Sept. 1642), SP 28/2A/i fo. 96 (warrant to pay Abraham Webb, 3 Sept. 1642).

27 BL, Kings MS 265, fo. 44v.

28 Cruso, Militarie instructions, p. 24.

29 For example, Lawrence Loe/Lowe, Essex's original staff surgeon, was paid 20s a day for himself and two mates: TNA, SP 28/3B/ii fo. 499 (pay warrant for Lawrence Loe, 29 Nov. 1642). Likewise, the pay warrants issued to the colonels in Essex's army in Aug. 1642 only allowed for 2s a day for the surgeon's mates: TNA, SP 28/1a fos. 29, 38–9, 40–1, 64, 66–9 (pay warrants for regimental colonels, Aug. 1642).

30 For example, TNA, SP 28/3b/ii fo. 411 (pay warrant for Roger Dixon (Essex's army), 19 Nov. 1642), SP 28/14/i fo. 180 (account of Thomas Fothergill (Eastern Association), 1 Jan. to 21 Apr. 1644), SP 28/122/iii fo. 417 (payment made to Alexander Aurelius (Southern Association), 25 Apr. 1645); SP 28/138/iii fo. 4v (Beverley garrison accounts, 1642–3).

31 For example, TNA, SP 28/16/i fo. 108 (pay warrant for Timothy Langley, 26 June 1644), SP 28/15/iii fo. 265 (pay warrant for Edward Elsing, 10 May 1644), SP 28/30/ii fo. 172 (pay warrant for James Winter, 6 May 1645).

32 TNA, SP 28/41/iii fo. 224 (payment to Thomas Fothergill, 21 Dec. 1646), SP 28/1a fos. 29, 38–9, 40–1, 64, 66–9 (pay warrants for regimental colonels, Aug. 1642).

33 Hildanus, G. F., Cista militaris (London, 1674); Woodall, J., The surgeons mate (London, 1639), preface to ‘Viaticum, being the path-way to the surgeons chest’; Young, S., The annals of the Barber-Surgeons of London (London, 1890), p. 405.

34 Holmes, Eastern Association, pp. 146–7; Gentles, I., The New Model Army (Oxford, 1994), pp. 49 and 239–40; Firth, Cromwell's army, pp. 197–9.

35 Historic Manuscripts Commission, Thirteenth report, appendix, part I (London, 1891), p. 187; Journals of the House of Commons (JHC), iii (1643–4), p. 658; TNA, SP 21/7 fo. 227 (Proceedings of the committee of both kingdoms, 9 Oct. 1644); Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/JO/10/1/177 (petition of Isaac Demergue, 21 Dec. 1644).

36 Wanklyn, M., The warrior generals (London, 2010), pp. 116–17 and 121.

37 Whitelock, B., Memorials of the English affairs (4 vols., Oxford, 1853), i, p. 300.

38 JHC, iii (1643–4), p. 683.

39 Calendar of state papers domestic (CSPD), 1644–5, p. 25.

40 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, pp. 16–31; J. Worton, ‘The royalist and parliamentarian war effort in Shropshire during the First and Second English Civil Wars, 1642–1648’ (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chester, 2015), p. 216.

41 Wanklyn, M. and Jones, F., A military history of the English Civil War (Abingdon, 2014), p. 18.

42 Bund, J. W. Willis, ed., Diary of Henry Townshend of Elmley Lovett, 1640–1663 (2 vols., London, 1920), ii, p. 126.

43 Ibid., p. 153.

44 Atherton, I., ‘The accounts of the royalist garrison of Lichfield Close, 1643–1645’, Staffordshire Studies, 18 (2007), pp. 6396, at pp. 82–90.

45 TNA, SP 28/143/iii fos. 20a, 66a, and 68a (royalist account book, 19 Mar. to 13 June 1644).

46 Firth, Cromwell's army, pp. 253–4.

47 TNA, SP 18/101 fo. 14 (petition of Thomas Fothergill, 3 Oct. 1655).

48 Firth, Cromwell's army, p. 186.

49 Ibid., pp. 184–7 and 254.

50 Ibid., p. 254.

51 Keevil, J. J., Medicine and the navy (2 vols., London, 1957–8), i, p. 213.

52 Ibid., ii, p. 8.

53 Pelling, M., Medical conflicts in early modern London (Oxford, 2003), pp. 246 and 267–9.

54 Ibid., pp. 263–5.

55 Pelling, Common lot, p. 89.

56 Cook, ‘Practical medicine and the British armed forces’, p. 8.

57 Digby, A., Making a medical living (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 50, 119, and 230.

58 Webster, C., The Great Instauration (London, 1975), p. 293; C. S. Knighton, ‘Knight, John (bap. 1622, d. 1680)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography (ODNB).

59 Firth, C. H. and Rait, R. S., eds., Acts and ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 (3 vols., London, 1911), ii, pp. 168–91.

60 TNA, 121/3/3/118–119 (certificates of sales of crown lands to Thomas Trapham, 18 May 1653 and 26 May 1653).

61 TNA, E 121/3/4/95 (certificate for sale of crown land to Daniel Judd, 14 Feb. 1652).

62 I. J. Gentles, ‘The debentures market and military purchases of crown land, 1649–1660’ (Ph.D. dissertation, London, 1969), pp. 70–9.

63 TNA, E 121/3/4/95; TNA, E 121/5/7/36 (certificate for sale of crown land to Henry Cleare, 20 Nov. 1650).

64 Firth and Rait, eds., Acts and ordinances, i, pp. 241–2; Carlton, Going to the wars, p. 68.

65 Liu, T., Puritan London (London, 1986), p. 134; Lindley, K. and Scott, D., eds., The journal of Thomas Juxon, 1644–1647 (London, 1999), p. 21.

66 TNA, SP 28/121A/iii fo. 339 (muster roll of the Southwark White Auxiliaries, 16 Apr. 1644); London Metropolitan Archives, H01/ST/A/067/001/19 (letter from Oliver Cromwell to St Thomas's Hospital, 1652).

67 TNA, PROB 11/267 fos. 250v–251 (will of John Anthony, 17 Sept. 1657), PROB 11/211 fos. 31v–32 (will of Jonathan Crosse, 25 Jan. 1650), PROB 11/315 fos. 179v–180 (will of Bradbury Clarke, 25 Nov. 1664), PROB 11/293 fo. 20 (will of Henry Barnwell, 25 June 1659).

68 Surrey History Centre, QS2/5/1677, m. 19 (Quarter Sessions Roll, Easter 1677); Foster, J., Alumni Oxonienses, 1500–1714 (4 vols., Oxford, 1891), i, p. 41; CSPD, 1655–6, pp. 113–14.

69 TNA, SP 29/119/26/vi fo. 62 (letter from Edward Atkinson to John Knowles, 25 Apr. 1665).

70 Green, M. A. E., ed., Calendar of the proceedings of the committee for compounding, 1643–1660 (5 vols., London, 1889–92), ii, p. 1567.

71 G. C. R. Morris, ‘Molins, Edward (1610?–1663)’, ODNB.

72 Prayer, C., ed., ‘Oliviero Cromwell dalla battaglia di Worcester alla sua morte’, Atti Societa Ligure Storia Patria, 16 (1882), pp. 366–8; Morris, G. C. R., ‘Which Molins treated Cromwell for stone – and did not prescribe for Pepys?’, Medical History, 26 (1982), pp. 429–35, at p. 428.

73 Firth, Cromwell's army, p. 254.

74 Pelling, Medical conflicts, p. 142.

75 Ibid., pp. 1–2 and 102.

76 Ibid., pp. 142 and 167–8.

77 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, p. 11.

78 Pelling, Common lot, pp. 237–8; Wear, A., Knowledge and practice in English medicine, 1550–1680 (Cambridge, 2000), p. 471.

79 Pelling, Common lot, p. 238.

80 Ibid., pp. 232 and 237.

81 Young, Annals of the Barber-Surgeons, p. 260.

82 Ibid., p. 119.

83 Those made free by methods other than apprenticeship are noted, excepting those made free by patrimony because it is not unreasonable to suggest that they learnt from their surgeon fathers. A Daniel Judd was free of the Company by apprenticeship but served a hotpresser, whilst a Humphrey Hughes was free of the Company by patrimony but his father was a haberdasher, so these have been discounted as the Civil War surgeons until further connections can be made (see Table 5).

84 M. Pelling, ‘Barber-surgeons’ guilds and ordinances in early modern British towns’, p. 5, http://practitioners.exeter.ac.uk/, accessed 7 June 2016.

85 Pelling, Common lot, p. 209.

86 Pelling, ‘Barber-surgeons’ guilds’, pp. 2–3.

87 Williams, C., The masters, wardens, and assistants of the Guild of Barber-Surgeons of Norwich (Norwich, 1900), p. 15; Holmes, Eastern Association, p. 164.

88 TNA, SP 28/26/iii fo. 312 (payment to Andrew Vanderlash, 18 Jan. 1645).

89 Pelling, Common lot, p. 208.

90 Ibid., pp. 211–12.

91 I. G. Murray, ‘Clowes, William (1543/4–1604)’, ODNB. Clowes's treatise was reprinted as late as 1637 as A profitable and necessarie booke of observations.

92 Pelling, Common lot, p. 255.

93 Wiseman, Severall chirurgicall treatises, p. 409; Woodall, Surgeons mate, p. 94.

94 Woodall, Surgeons mate, preface to ‘Viaticum’, sig. q2.

95 Brugis, T., Vade mecum (London, 1651), p. 105.

96 Donagan, B., ‘Halcyon days and the literature of war: England's military education before 1642’, Past and Present, 147 (1995), pp. 65100, at p. 97.

97 Wiseman, Severall chirurgicall treatises, pp. 66, 122 and 341; Cooke, J., Mellificium chirurgie (London, 1648), pp. [x]–[xi] and 28.

98 A. Griffin, ‘Clowes, William (1582–1648)’, ODNB; GL, MS 5265/1.

99 Peacock, ed., Army lists, pp. 74 and 83. ‘Trinity’ is almost certainly a misreading of ‘Timothy’.

100 Birch, Military memoir, p. 208.

101 Cook, ‘Practical medicine and the British armed forces’, p. 16.

102 Ibid., p. 2.

103 Ibid., p. 15; Rutherford, S. M., ‘Ground-breaking pioneers or dangerous amateurs? Did early modern surgery have any basis in medical science?’, in Pells, I., ed., New approaches to the military history of the English Civil War (Solihull, 2016), pp. 153–85, at p. 156.

104 Wiseman, Severall chirurgicall treatises, p. 378.

105 Donagan, B., ‘The casualties of war: treatment of the dead and wounded in the English Civil War’, in Gentles, I., Morrill, J., and Worden, B., Soldiers, writers and statesmen of the English Revolution (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 114–32, at pp. 120–1.

106 Wanklyn, Warrior generals, p. 177.

107 Firth, Cromwell's army, p. 254.

108 Holmes, Eastern Association, pp. 174 and 284n; TNA, SP 24/35 fo. 363 (Bowman v. Birch, 15 Sept. 1648).

109 Pelling, Medical conflicts, p. 53.

110 Woodall, Surgeons mate, pp. [xv]–[xvi].

111 Firth, Cromwell's army, pp. 254–5.

112 Not the same man who served in Essex's army, who was dead by Dec. 1646: TNA, SP 28/41/i fo. 79 (receipt for surgery chest, 3 Dec. 1646).

113 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, pp. 116–18.

114 Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS, a, lx, fos. 323–6 (examination of Edward Cooke, 7 Aug. 1658).

115 Gruber von Arni, Justice to the maimed soldier, p. 117; TNA, SP 18/182 fo. 147 (petition from the sick and wounded in Dover, 2 Sept. 1658).

116 Wiseman, Severall chirurgicall treatises, p. 408; Firth, Cromwell's army, p. 255.

117 Pells, I., ‘“Stout Skippon hath a wound”: the medical treatment of parliament's infantry commander following the battle of Naseby’, in Hopper, A. and Appleby, D., eds., Battle-scarred: mortality, medical care and military welfare in the British Civil Wars (Manchester, 2018).

118 Wheeler, J. S., The making of a world power (Stroud, 1999), p. 16.

119 Robinson, G., Horses, people and parliament in the English Civil War (Abingdon, 2016), p. 3.

120 Wheeler, Making of a world power, p. 20.

121 Ibid., pp. 6–9.

122 TNA, SP 28/173/i fos. 1a–18a (payments to the sick and wounded that came into Northampton since 14 June 1645).

123 Rutherford, ‘Ground-breaking pioneers’, p. 183.

124 West Yorkshire Archive Service, QS1/45/3/6 (petition of William Walker, 1706), QS1/47/8/6 (petition of William Hilton, 1708), and QS1/48/3/6 (petition of John Genn, 1709).

125 Wiseman, Severall chirurgical treatises, p. 403; Carlton, Going to the wars, p. 226.

I am very grateful to Jonathan Barry and Peter Elmer for their encouragement and for reading drafts of this article, as well as to Margaret Pelling for many helpful discussions on some of the themes discussed here. I would also like to thank the anonymous referees of the Historical Journal for their comments and helpful suggestions on earlier drafts. This article draws on research undertaken whilst a postdoctoral research associate on the Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘The Medical World of Early Modern England, Wales and Ireland, c. 1500–1715’ at the University of Exeter (grant reference number 097782/Z/11/Z). I am hugely indebted to Anne Laurence for making her research into the army pay warrants in The National Archives (TNA), SP 28 available to the project. This article is based on archival materials publicly available in a variety of repositories, as specified in the footnotes. No new data was created for this article.

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