Women’s History Month | 17th Century Healers: Lucy Apsley & Johanna St.John

Delighted to be with Gillian Polack on her blog today, with an article about Lucy Apsley’s role in the Tower of London – not only as the Keeper’s Wife, but as the woman responsible for the health and wellbeing of the prisoners.

“…Sir Walter Raleigh and Mr. Ruthven being prisoners in the Tower, and addicting themselves to chemistry, she (Lucy St.John Apsley) suffered them to make their rare experiments at her cost, partly to comfort and divert the poor prisoners, and partly to gain the knowledge of their experiments, and the medicines to help such poor people as were not able to seek physicians. By these means she acquired a great deal of skill, which was very profitable to many all her life. She was not only to these, but to all the other prisoners that came into the Tower, as a mother. All the time she dwelt in the Tower, if any were sick she made them broths and restoratives with her own hands, visited and took care of them, and provided them all necessaries; if any were afflicted she comforted them, so that they felt not the inconvenience of a prison who were in that place.”

Lucy Hutchinson, Biographical Fragment
Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson

Women’s History Month guest, Elizabeth St. John

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