Health and Medicine in Medieval England - History Learning Site
Health and medicine in Medieval England were very important aspects of life. For many peasants in Medieval England, disease and poor health were part of their daily life and medicines were both basic and often useless. Towns and cities were filthy and knowledge of hygiene was non-existent. The Black Death was to kill two thirds of England’s population between 1348 and 1350. In 1349, Edward III complained to the Lord Mayor of London that the streets of the city were filthy: No one knew what caused diseases then. Other theories put forward for diseases included “humours”. Astronomers blamed the planets going out of line As important, no-one knew how diseases spread – the fact that people lived so close together in both villages and towns meant that contagious diseases could be rampant when they appeared; as happened with the Black Death. Physicians were seen as skilled people but their work was based on a very poor knowledge of the human anatomy. Operations were carried out by ‘surgeons’.
Related: Medieval Europe