Friday, January 09, 2009

The King's Evil

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1683 King Charles II of England issued orders for the future regulations of the ceremony of touching 'the King's Evil'.

This was the name for scrofula, a a form of tuberculosis, affecting the lymph nodes (usually spread by unpasteurized cow's milk) which from the time of King Clovis of France in 481 CE was believed to be cured by a touch of the monarch's hand.

Shakespeare mentioned it in Macbeth. The famous diarist, Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), recorded in his diary for April 10, 1666, that he saw the cure effected by the king. From 1633, the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church had contained a ceremony for this practice.

The notion was first introduced into England by King Edward the Confessor and the belief continued to be common throughout the Middle Ages but began to die out with the coming of the Enlightenment.

In Cornwall, it was believed that the seventh son of a seventh son was able to touch-cure the disease. The seventh son of a seventh son was widely believed in Britain and Ireland to have all kinds of powers ...

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