Physick and the family

Health, medicine and care in Wales, 1600-1750

By Alun Withey

Physick and the family


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9125-4
  • Pages: 260
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: November 2013
  • BIC Category: Medicine / History of medicine, Wales, MEDICAL / History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Wales, History of medicine, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History of Medicine, Modern History, History


Physick and the family offers new insights into the early modern sickness experience, through a study of the medical history of Wales.

Newly available in paperback, this first ever monograph of early modern Welsh medicine utilises a large body of newly discovered source material. Using numerous approaches and methodologies, it makes a significant contribution to debates in medical history, including economies of knowledge, domestic medicine and care, material culture and the rural medical marketplace. Drawing on sources from probates to parish records, diaries to domestic remedy collections, Withey offers new directions for recovering the often obscure medical worldview of the 'ordinary' person.

This innovative study will appeal to anyone interested in the social history of the early modern period. Its multi-disciplinary approach will appeal to a broad spectrum of academics and scholars, and will enhance a range of courses and modules both in medical history and in social history more widely.


Alun Withey's first book is a wide-ranging and spirited, yet also rounded and original contribution to the social history of British...Withey has achieved more than enough already in this valuable and often fascinating book.'
Robert Allan Houston, Social History of Medicine, vol 25, no 3,

'This very welcome book is brimming full of suggestions setting medical history in a rich new context. It will also give historians of Wales itself and their students plenty to think about, and to argue with. The bibliography is excellent.'
Michael Roberts, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2012, 86

'Readers will be impressed by the breadth of Withey's research. His command over a wide range of primary services is admirable'
Alun Roberts, Morganwg: The Journal of Glamorgan History, Volume LVI 2012

Short-listed for 2013 the Longman / History Today Book of the Year award



The Longman / History Today Book of the Year


European Association for the History of Health and Medicine book prize


I. Disease and mortality in early modern Wales
1. 'Fruits of sin, forerunners of dissolution': sickness and disease in early modern Wales
II. Medical knowledge in early modern Wales
2. The Welsh body and popular medical culture
3. Medicine, oral and print culture
4. An economy of knowledge: social networks and the spread of medical information
III. Domestic sickness and care in the Welsh home
5. Care and the Welsh medical home
6. Sickness experience and the 'sick role'
7. Caring for the sick
8. 'Neighbourliness' and the medical community
9. Conclusion


Alun Withey is an historian and researcher, and lectures in Early Modern History at the University of Glamorgan and Swansea University.

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