Domestic medicine in Early Modern Scotland, c. 1650 – c. 1750
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date22/08/2023
This thesis examines Scottish domestic medicine in the century between 1650 and 1750. Much has been written about household medicine in the English context, but only a handful of scholars have dealt with the concept in Scotland for this period. Using recipe books, ecclesiastical and secular court documents, it discusses how early modern Scottish people obtained, maintained, and regained the health of the actors within the domestic sphere. Within this context, the study of medicine becomes intimately related to discussions of gender, religion, and interpersonal relationships. In Scottish medicine, this century was a period of change: physicians began to slowly reject Galenic theory; the first hospital solely for sick people appeared; more patent medicines became available. Despite this change, domestic medicine remained relatively the same throughout the period. Most of the chapters discuss the practice of domestic medicine, illustrating how people used their environment - both physical and social – to treat the members of their households. Those with more disposable income had larger domestic spheres and social networks from which to draw, allowing for more variety in prevention and treatment. In addition, the gendering of care comes into focus as the expectations of treatment and medical knowledge accumulation differed between male and female householders. This thesis is therefore about change over a century, but the greater concern is the continuity in practice and theory throughout the period.