The Royal Touch in Early Modern England
Title Details

277 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

9 colour. 14 b/w. 3 line. Illustrations

Series: Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series

Imprint: Royal Historical Society

The Royal Touch in Early Modern England

Politics, Medicine and Sin

by Stephen Brogan

  • Description
  • Reviews
First modern analysis of the custom of the "royal touch" in the Tudor and Stuart reigns.
The royal touch was the religious healing ceremony at which the monarch stroked the sores on the face and necks of people who had scrofula in order to heal them in imitation of Christ. The rite was practised by all the Tudor and Stuart sovereigns apart from William III, reaching its zenith during the Restoration when some 100,000 people were touched by Charles II and James II.

This book, the first devoted to the royal touch for almost a century, integrates political, religious, medical and intellectual history. The custom is analysed from above and below: the royal touch projected monarchical authority, but at the same time the great demand for it created numerous problemsfor those organising the ceremony. The healing rite is situated in the context of a number of early modern debates, including the cessation of miracles and the nature of the body politic. The book also assesses contemporary attitudes towards the royal touch, from belief through ambivalence to scepticism. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources including images, coins, medals, and playing cards, as well as manuscripts and printed texts, it provides animportant new perspective on the evolving relationship between politics, medicine and sin in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.

Stephen Brogan is a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he teaches early modern history.
"An engaging and lively read." JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
"Stephen Brogan's thorough study, the first book-length analysis of the topic since Bloch, adds considerably to our knowledge." BULLETIN OF THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE
"A fine book." HISTORY
"A welcome contribution, providing the reader with an accessible and fresh treatment of the subject based on a wide range of primary source material." ISIS JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE
"There is an immense amount of data here, clearly detailed and helpfully synthesized." REVIEWS IN HISTORY

Paperback

9780861933525

February 2020

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Hardcover

9780861933372

November 2015

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£60.00 / $99.00

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781782045106

November 2015

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Title Details

277 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

9 colour. 14 b/w. 3 line. Illustrations

Series: Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series

Imprint: Royal Historical Society