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Drugs, deceit and damage in thirteenth century Herefordshire: new perspectives on medieval surgery, sex and the law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-276
Number of pages22
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jul 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Apr 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2017


Discussion of Plomet v Worgan, a thirteenth-century case in which a medical man was found to have used a drug (dwoledreng) to obtain sex from a female patient. Issues which arise include: the nature of the drug in question; the nature of surgical practice in this early, provincial, setting; ideas about sexual consent and incapacity and the response of the legal system to such medical misconduct. The case shows the flexibility and complexity of ideas about sexual misbehaviour current in thirteenth century law and society. It provides valuable material on medieval English medical practice and gives insights into the treatment of medical misconduct before the better-known development of the ‘medical negligence’ jurisdiction of actions on the case in the second half of the fourteenth century and the growth of professional regulation.

    Research areas

  • Medieval, surgery, sexual offences, incapacity, drug, dwoledreng, dwale

    Structured keywords

  • LAW Centre for Law and History Research

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