Disability and the Tudors (Hardback)
All the King's Fools
As featured in...
As featured in The Bookseller, December 2018.
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Throughout history, how society treated its disabled and infirm can tell us a great deal about the period. Challenged with any impairment, disease or frailty was often a matter of life and death before the advent of modern medicine, so how did a society support the disabled amongst them?
For centuries, disabled people and their history have been overlooked - hidden in plain sight. Very little on the infirm and mentally ill was written down during the renaissance period. The Tudor period is no exception and presents a complex, unparalleled story. The sixteenth century was far from exemplary in the treatment of its infirm, but a multifaceted and ambiguous story emerges, where society’s ‘natural fools’ were elevated as much as they were belittled.
Meet characters like William Somer, Henry VIII’s fool at court, whom the king depended upon, and learn of how the dissolution of the monasteries contributed to forming an army of ‘sturdy beggars’ who roamed Tudor England without charitable support. From the nobility to the lowest of society, Phillipa Vincent-Connolly casts a light on the lives of disabled people in Tudor England and guides us through the social, religious, cultural, and ruling classes’ response to disability as it was then perceived.
I have a thing for English history so no wonder I enjoyed reading this book. It was informative and well-researched... I honestly recommend it to everyone who wishes to (re)discover the Tudor period and see things from a different aspect.NetGalley, Anita Salát
It really brought home to me just how poorly history is taught in this country. I had no idea that dissolution of monasteries had such a calamitous effect on the lives of disabled people living there. Nor that "natural fools" (to use the historic parlance) were held in such high esteem... It is a worthwhile - and worthy - book. Perfect for anyone who thinks the commonly-taught, rose-tinted view of Tudor society tells the whole story.NetGalley, Terence Eden
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, LOIS ELIYAHU
An extremely well-researched book.
Little has changed from the Tudor era till today in that the disabled are labelled and then either cared for or marginalised.. There is inclusion both at court and in the village to a certain degree..
How does wider society respond ? The special Tudor laws are eye-openers for both people in high places and the ordinary person as all is mixed up with religion, and superstition.
This book draws awareness to disability which is part of life. It is both thought-provoking and informative.
Overall, I found this book informative and fascinating. The lives of Tudors who had disabilities mattered, and it was an intriguing book that added a new aspect to Tudor research. I think this will open a discussion about those who had disabilities in the past and give us a better appreciation of their struggles and how they survived. If you want to learn something new about this dynasty, I suggest you check out “Disability and the Tudors: All the King’s Fools” by Phillipa Vincent-Connolly.NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Brenda Carleton
We often think of Tudors as being barbaric and backwards but this revelatory book describes how many of those who were disabled in the time of Henry VIII were treated like family amongst royalty and less stigmatized than they are now. We have a lot to learn from the past! As the author says, how people treated others is a reflection on the society at the time. Values change. She also discusses legislation, definition of "disability", the difference between "natural fools" (naturally disabled, injured in accidents and war, leprosy, amputations, infertility) "artificial fools" (as in Shakespeare's plays) and jesters (who were mocked). The terminology is incredibly useful and there is a helpful glossary at the back. The author's notes are fascinating!
Examples of "natural fools" are explained and the most discussed are Jayne Foole and William Somer. King Henry VIII's most trusted companion was William who could pull anyone out of melancholy slumps with innocent honesty and laughter, considered the best medicine. Clothing revealed much about status and William and Jayne wore the best fabrics using the best threads. To read about their treatment is touching. I really like the thought of the "Holy Innocents" who were thought to be protected by God. The disabled were highly visible unlike being treated cruelly in the Victorian era.
Laws and provisions were in place as most "natural fools" could not work but this was often dependent on food supply and prices. People were superstitious and relied on healers. Not only were there disabilities as listed above but those resulting from dental problems and syphilis. Wheelchairs and lifts were used at this time. Beekeeping was in vogue. Richard III and Lady Mary Grey were considered to be disabled as they had spinal deformities. But there is so much more to read about, too. My only complaint is that the writing is disjointed at times with some repetition.
Anyone wishing to learn more about the differences between how those with disabilities were treated then and now ought to read this outstanding book.
My sincere thank you to Pen & Sword and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this riveting book on an important topic, one seldom explored in writing.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Heather Michael
This was a fascinating book! I highly recommend it. I love everything to do with the Tudor era.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Sophia Davis
Such an interesting topic! The history of disability and how individuals have been treated over time is an area that’s given little attention but should get more. I’m so glad this book exists to shed more light on how people have been treated throughout history.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Michelle Coates
Wow what a well researched and fascinating read!
A very informative, well researched book on disability in the Tudor days. Disability has many forms, the attitude of society and royals towards it also differs according to the social hierarchy, religion in those times. Reviewing laws, society, psychology and religion , the author has written a comprehensive book on the subject. Highly recommended.NetGalley, Christine Boos
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Morgan Schaer
My mom loves everything Henry the 8th so of course, I had to read this book in order to figure out if she would like it! Needless to say, I'm sure that she will love this when it comes out.
I learned a lot I didn't know about many members of the Tudor family. I have been learning about them for years and thought I knew most of what there was to know. Thank you for showing me something new. It is a great book and very engaging!NetGalley, Ashley Porter
This was a super interesting read filled with tons of things I couldn't have expected about disability during Tudor times. The writing is super engaging (I finished this book in one day) and well-researched.NetGalley, Sierra Bornheim
Tudor Victims of the Reformation (Hardback)
This book describes a selection of people caught up in the turmoil that presaged the reformation - a period of change instigated by a king whose desire for a legitimate son was to brutally sweep aside an entire way of life. The most famous and influential of the victims were the two people closest to Henry VIII. His mentor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a great churchman and a diplomat of consummate skill. The other was to be the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. These two adversaries, equally determined to succeed, had risen above the usual expectations of their time. Wolsey, of humble birth, became…By Lynda Telford
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