Posted By Claire on December 17, 2013
As you know, I was ill in bed for a few days last week and it got me thinking about disease in Tudor times. I’m not going to go into detail on Tudor medicine, the four humours etc., I just want to touch on diseases that were common in that era. Today, many of these diseases can be treated with modern medicine, but in Tudor times they could be deadly.
- Dysentery, also known as “the Bloody Flux” – This was the disease which killed Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and which is still killing people in the developing world today. Symptoms include fever, stomach cramps, dehydration and severe diarrhoea. In severe case the sufferer would pass bloody stools. It is an infection spread through contaminated food or water, for example water that has been contaminated by faecal matter, or person-to-person due to poor hygiene.
- Influenza – A viral infection which attacks the respiratory system. There were three widespread influenza epidemics in Europe in the 16th century, in 1510, 1557 and 1580. The two-year epidemic of 1557 has been described as “the worst mortality crisis in early modern England”.
- Leprosy – A bacterial infection which mainly affects the skin, causing it to erupt into “red, raised, firm nodules”. It eventually leads to weakness and paralysis of afflicted areas.
- Malaria, “the ague” – This disease was spread by mosquitoes and its symptoms included fever, headaches and sweating. It could also result in anaemia, jaundice and death. It was thought to be caused by bad air, hence the name.
Posted By Claire on December 16, 2013
Catherine of Aragon by Juan de Flandres.
During the night of 15th/16th December 1485, Catherine of Aragon was born at the recently reformed fortified palace at Alcalá de Henares, a town just east of Madrid. Pregnancy had not stopped Catherine’s mother, Isabella I of Castile, from waging war on the Moors, and she had spent the summer of 1485 moving around Andalucia, following her troops’ campaign. Isabella and her troops finished warring for the year in September, and the Royal Court travelled from Andalucia to Alcalá for the winter, and for the impending birth.
Catherine of Aragon, Catalina de Aragón, was the last of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I’s children, and was named after her maternal great-grandmother, Catalina of Castile or Catherine of Lancaster. Giles Tremlett, in his biography of Catherine, writes of how we know various details about Catherine’s childhood because it was recorded by Gonzalo de Baeza, Isabella’s treasurer. For example, we know that she was baptised by the Bishop of Palencia and wore a a white brocade gown which was trimmed with gold lace and lined with green velvet, and that Dutch olanda linen was used to make her sheets, pillowcases, nightshirts and bibs. We also know that scarlet Florentine cloth was ordered to make clothes, fresh cotton was used to stuff her crib mattress, a brass basin was used for washing her, and that she owned a perfume sprinkler – interesting little insights into the life of a newborn Spanish princess.
Here is my rundown of episode 5 of Tudor Monastery Farm based on my frantic scribblings, apologies if I missed anything… In the early 1500s the state did not provide any help for the poor, they had to rely on the hospitality of others and hospitality was seen as a measure on which good Christians […]
Apologies for my absence on the site and on Facebook but I’ve been ill in bed with a virus for the past couple of days. I’m back now though! My son pointed out that today is Friday 13th, the day when some superstitious people won’t leave the house, fly, or do anything that could risk […]
On 12th December 1546, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and his son, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, were arrested and taken from Lord Chancellor Wriothesley’s house in Ely Place, Holborn, where they had been interrogated, to the Tower of London. Norfolk was taken to the Tower by barge but his son suffered the humiliation […]
Today marks the anniversary of the executions of Thomas Culpeper, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and Francis Dereham, secretary to Queen Catherine Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII. If you watched “The Tudors” series, you may be forgiven for believing that these men got their come-uppances, after all, Thomas Culpeper was a rapist and […]
Just a quick post to let you know that The Anne Boleyn Collection (my first book) is now available as an audio book on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. It is narrated by yours truly! Here are the links: Click here to buy from Audible.com Click here to buy from Audible.co.uk Click here to buy from […]
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church, which dates back to the 7th century when Eastern churches began celebrating the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is the origin of the feast, but the feast day as we know it today in the West dates back to around the […]