In this week's Claire Chats video talk, I look at the practice of touching for the king's evil, including how and when it started, what it involved and when it stopped. It's a fascinating subject and I enjoyed researching it.
Notes, Sources and Further Reading
- Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn (1899) Historical memorials of Westminster Abbey, G.W. Jacobs & Co., p. 158. Read online at https://archive.org/details/historicalmemor07stangoog
- Barnes, Henry (1895) On Touching for the King’s Evil, Royal College of Surgeons, Kendal, Printed by T. Wilson. Read online at https://archive.org/stream/b22321755#page/n0/mode/2up
- Sparrow Simpson, Rev. W. "On the forms of prayer recited 'at the healing' or touching for the king's evil", Journal of the British Archaeological Association, Volume XXVIII, 1871, London, p. 282 onwards and 295 onwards for the office in Mary I’s reign.
Read online at https://archive.org/stream/journalofbritish27brit#page/n7/mode/2up
- Gold coin used in the ceremony of touching for the king’s evil - https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/gold-coin-used-in-the-ceremony-of-touching-for-the-kings-evil
I was wondering if this was contagious or infectious and if the Monarch took any precautions against it as many skin diseases are passed by touch as are types of TB.
I have seen a picture of Mary I carrying out and there is also a picture of Charles II doing this touching and these are of course famous. 90,000!!! from Charles ii, wow!!!!
I think it was spread through the air so I think touch was ok but I do wonder if the monarch held a pomander or something to their face. I don’t know!
Thanks. A pomander would certainly make the air smell nice.
And it would make the person holding it to their nose and mouth feel protected.