The King’s Evil

…because inquiring minds want to know.

“The King’s Evil” is a medieval term referring to any number of skin or lymphatic diseases which were lumped together under the archaic term “scrofula”. Most commonly, it refers to cervical tuberculous lymphadenopathy, or tuberculosis of the neck.

It was thought that the kings of France and England had the ability to cure this particular sort of disease, having inherited it from Edward the Confessor. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer included this office beginning in 1633, though in the 1700’s King George I ended the practice because it had a papist flavor to it.

The form in the previous post is from the prayer book of Queen Anne

More on Scrofula
Essay on the King’s Evil by Robert Willan, M.D., 1746


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