Magic and the material culture of healing in early modern England

Year of award: 2015


  • Ann-Sophie Thwaite

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

I will compile an objects archive of charms and amulets from early modern England. My research will involve a comprehensive material study of the objects, together with a close analysis of primary literature describing the objects and their use. This will enable me to identify the objects’ key ingredients and properties to see which of these elements they share with other medically and scientifically grounded contemporaneous remedies. 

As well as providing evidence of how cures were used, my research will demonstrate the positioning of objects, materials, beliefs and practices in elite intellectual contexts. This investigation requires an examination of the social and spatial contexts surrounding both the objects and texts, which I aim to provide by exploring archival records on the geographical and social situation of the objects and associated literature. This will be crucial in understanding the part these objects played in early modern English medical practice.