April 1 – William Harvey, his experiments and blood circulation and Henry VIII courts Jane Seymour

On this day in Tudor history, 1st April 1578, English physician William Harvey, was born in Folkestone, Kent. Harvey has gone down in history as being the man who discovered the circulation of blood, and he was also physician extraordinary to King James I and King Charles I.

How did Harvey work out that the heart pumped the blood around the body and how was his challenge of Galen’s work received?

Find out more about William Harvey’s work, and also his role in the pardoning of women accused of witchcraft, in this…

Also on this day in Tudor history, 1st April 1536, imperial ambassador Eustace Chapuys recorded King Henry VIII courting a woman who wasn’t his wife, the woman was Jane Seymour.

Find out more in this video…

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One thought on “April 1 – William Harvey, his experiments and blood circulation and Henry VIII courts Jane Seymour”
  1. I have always been very interested in the history of medicine, and William Harvey’s discovery of and proof of the circulation of the blood is always worth a read, he was a quiet thoughtful and intelligent man, those who knew him and those in the medical profession afterwards revered him for his intense knowledge of the physiology of the human body, for centuries England had followed the teachings of Galileo, and there had been several theories on the circulation of the blood before Harvey, but it was Harvey who actually proved the heart pumped the blood around the body, the heart is the strongest muscle in our body and beats continuously minute after minute year after year to the day we die, unless you are born with a heart condition, it should be as healthy as the day we are born, medical science was ignorant centuries ago, they knew nothing of human anatomy, ailments were treated with all kinds of revolting concoctions, the blood itself , Dr Jonathan Miller called it the divine fluid consists of white blood cells and red blood cells, the white cells are our anti bodies which fights germs and infection, the red contains the iron we so desperately need, now we know there are different types of blood groups the liver itself, which is called the laboratory of the body, has so many different functions not even medical men know all what it does, but it is the only organ that can grow again after damage, proof of its importance to its host, William Harvey was physician to two kings, James 1st and Charles 1st, he was married but had no children and lived till a good age, he is remembered for his marvellous work on the circulation of the blood and his involvement in the freedom of two women who were arrested for witchcraft, surely helped dispel the theory that witchcraft actually existed, and that it was all a load of superstitious nonsense, it makes me shudder to think how many people were killed for simply having a black cat, had a wart on the end of their nose or was seen cradling a toad in the woods, also on this day reports were that a certain Jane Seymour was being courted by Henry V111, this lady was one of the queens maids and was as unlike her mistress as chalk is to cheese, she was small fair and so quiet she must have seemed like a ghost as she moved around the queens apartments, the attraction there I believe was the difference in temperament, when the queen spoke everyone noticed, one can imagine Anne Boleyn having quite a high strident voice, Jane Seymour on the other hand possibly squeaked like a mouse when she opened her prim little mouth, she was full of reverence for the king as well she might, she could never engage in an intelligent lively debate with him, she would never arouse in him a fiery passion, no one noticed her much, she was like a shadow she was plain and had an unhealthy pallor, she would never be the centre of attention, but this plain unobtrusive girl was to oust the queen her mistress from her exalted position as Queen of England, she was to take her place at the kings side and eventually gave him his hearts desire – a prince and heir, she was to go down in history as King Henry V111’s third wife and one whom he called his one true wife and queen, the others he airbrushed from history, her saving grace maybe was that she died before the king tired of her, and it is so interesting to imagine what would have happened to her had she lived.

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