Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Seventeenth century medical care

Before the NHS, a classic example of private health treatment from 1692, courtesy of the kirk session minutes from the Perthshire parish of Aberdalgie:

Septe[mbe]r ye 11th    
After sermon sess[ion] met[.]    This day Issobell Firskin in ye Milton of Aberdalgie shewing that through ane extraordinary swelling in one of her fingers she was in hazard to lose her whole hand if ye finger was not cut off and yt a person had undertaken to cut off yt finger and remove yt trouble for a certain summ of money and she be[i]ng poor and Indigent desired ye help of ye sess[ion] for yt effect[.]    The sess[ion] considering ys desire did out of sympathy wt yr petitioner appoint a Collec[ti]on to be given her and Intimation to be made ye next Lo[rds] day yranent

(Source - National Records of Scotland: CH2/1613/1/5 Aberdalgie Kirk Session Minutes)


NB: if you're having problems with reading the above, bear in mind the letter 'y' is being used as a substitute for the old letter known as a 'thorn', which was replaced by 'th' in modern type - so 'ys' = 'this', 'yt' = 'that', 'yranent' = 'thereanent', etc.

More about Scottish church records, what they contain, and how to find them, can be found in my book Discover Scottish Church Records, published by Unlock the Past. For how to research historic illness and other tragic occurrences in the past, consult my book Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Tragedy.

Both books are available in print and handy ebook formats - see for details.


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