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Tudor Health, Horrid Hygiene, Revolting Illnesses and Worse Cures


Click here to view a letter from students at Shrubland St. Primary School. Leamington Spa


How a person’s status affected their health, illnesses and treatment in Tudor times.


The illnesses that afflicted the Tudors

(including the plague and the dreaded Sweate)


How illness was diagnosed in Tudor times using:


- Humoural theory (What the 4 humours were and how they influenced health and illness)

- Analysis of urine,  blood and  other bodily products.

- Astrology and Numerology.

How Illnesses were treated:


- Purging

- Blood Letting

(with surgical instruments and live leeches)

- Cauterizing

-  The use of medicinal herbs, spices and food

-        The role of astrology in healing



Tudor Surgery with:


-        A huge display of museum-quality reproduction surgical equipment including reproductions from the Mary Rose.

-        Demonstrations of how operations were carried out

The operations include:

-Treating arrow and bullet wounds

- Trepanning

- Tooth pulling and the treatment of the tooth worm

-Treating sword and dagger wounds

- Amputations of limbs and fingers and toes


-        The anaesthetics used


-        Comparisons with medical diagnosis and treatment today.

The presentation is interactive with students encouraged to actively participate


Left: Trephine by Ambroise Paré (1510-1590), right, reproduction by Chris Manley of Anvil Art

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