GCSE History ‘Medicine through Time’: Renaissance Medicine in the English Civil Wars

Teacher's notes

Medicine through Time
Using Civil War Petitions for teaching GCSE Medicine Through Time
Lesson plan
Sample lesson plan
Sample handout

Fighting in the Civil Wars was a dangerous business. Some soldiers were cut by swords and others were shot by muskets. The introduction of gunpowder during the Renaissance led to the development of large cannon that caused catastrophic injuries. Accidents frequently occurred, whilst diseases quickly spread through the cramped conditions in military camps. Many of these injuries and illness are described in the petitions from wounded soldiers.

The petitions also show that many soldiers survived horrific wounds and describe some of the complex treatments that were available to them. Civil War surgeons followed the methods of leading Renaissance surgeons like Ambroise Paré and some even invented new methods of their own. Leading doctors who had served in the Civil Wars went on to help develop new scientific ideas based on the principles of experimentation and observation.

Want to find out more about the types of injuries and illnesses experienced by soldiers in the Civil Wars and the doctors and surgeons who treated them? Click on the images below to start exploring Civil War Petitions...