John Hall, Master of Physicke: A Casebook from Shakespeares Stratford

A handwritten manuscript

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A revealing new edition of a casebook by the Shakespeare family physician

John Hall was Shakespeare’s son-in-law and the family doctor. An expert panel presents a ground breaking new edition of Hall’s medical casebook, his Little Book of Cures, which is a manuscript treasure of the British Library.

John Hall (c1575-1635) was a Master of Physicke and set up his medical practice in Stratford-upon-Avon. He treated Shakespeare’s family and friends although there is no record of his having treated the playwright himself. 

Between 1630 and 1635 Hall wrote up 178 cases spanning over 20 years in what he modestly called his Little Book of Cures, a 131-page Latin manuscript which is held in the British Library. This evening presents a brand-new edition of this remarkable medical casebook and its first full translation.

The edition is the work of Greg Wells (1947-2017) who, after having retired from his own career in medicine, produced an edition of Hall’s casebook for his PhD at the University of Warwick. 

Wells’s work is ground-breaking - and is now published by Manchester University Press in association with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. In transcribing and translating Hall’s casebook, he discovered the hitherto unnoticed conversations that Hall had with his patients, his prayers for their well being, and thanksgivings for their recovery. Through close examination of the Latin, Wells identified Hall’s many borrowings from other medical textbooks, thereby offering a unique insight into the intellectual climate of early seventeenth-century Stratford-upon-Avon. John Hall emerges as a compassionate scholar physician who treated all levels of society. 

An illustrated talk by Paul Edmondson, Head of Research at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, followed by discussion with Erin Sullivan, Senior Lecturer at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham and Stanley Wells, Honorary President, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


Name: John Hall, Master of Physicke: A Casebook from Shakespeares Stratford
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £13.00
Member: £13.00
Student: £6.50
Registered Unemployed: £6.50
Disabled: £6.50
Under 18: £6.50
Senior (60+): £11.00
Young Person (18-25): £6.50
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546