Hospital Care and the British Standing Army, 1660–1714: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Hospital Care and the British Standing Army, 1660–1714

1st Edition

By Eric Gruber von Arni


266 pages

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At the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, amongst the first acts of Charles II's government was the abolition of the New Model Army and the sweeping away of the legislation and institutions that had supported it, including most of the medical provisions provided by the republican regime. Nevertheless, a small rump of the Commonwealth forces was retained to form a royal standing army, which rapidly expanded over the next sixty years to become a formidable fighting force. Inevitably, as this force grew, the new government was compelled to provide medical care for its soldiers and ex-servicemen. Taking a broadly chronological approach, this book explores the nature and the quality of medical, nursing and welfare facilities provided in hospitals for soldiers during the formative years of the British standing army between 1660 and 1714. It shows how, over the course of latter part of the seventeenth century, the British army adapted and developed its facilities in line with new advances in science, medicine and military theory. Increased involvement in continental wars and contact with European armies provided inspiration for the founding of the well-known Royal Hospitals at Chelsea and Kilmainham, based on Louis XIV's Hôtel des Invalides. The work also provides an in-depth examination of the work of the hitherto sparsely documented field hospitals that provided acute casualty care to troops during the reigns of James II, William III and Queen Anne. Following on from his ground-breaking study of medical care during the English Civil Wars (Justice to the Maimed Soldier), Eric Gruber von Arni in this study shows how the British army of the Restoration period struggled to develop systems and institutions that could cope with the increasing scale of contemporary warfare. Through extensive archival research and a thorough understanding of military medical requirements, a lucid account is provided that will be of interest not only to military and medical historians, but also anyone interested in the development of early modern institutions and organisations.


'Eric Gruber von Arni has provided a splendid account of the birth of modern military medicine, charting the development of hospitals in the British Army from the Restoration, through the Irish campaigns of William III, to the war of Spanish Succession. Contrary to established views, he shows that commanders such as Marlborough often took great interest in the care of their troops, and significantly reduced fatalities in doing so. Based on thorough research in a wide range of archives, this book will become essential reading for anyone interested in the history of early modern military medicine.' Dr Mark Harrison, Reader in the History of Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford. '… von Arni has produced a detailed and valuable study of medical administration…' Journal of Military History 'No-one interested in the early days of the British Army should fail to have this book: it is masterly in its research and analysis, detailed in its documenting of a much-neglected yet vital area of the social history of the Army and meticulous in its footnotes.' Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research ’Gruber von Arni has produced an excellent and much-needed series of contributions to the professional literature for those serving within the field of military medicine. At the same time, this historical work provides a reading of English documents that will stimulate specialists in this period to go further in examining the subject, particularly the interrelationships between military and naval medical practice, and, even more importantly, to examine the subject in the light of foreign archival materials.’ English Historical Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Garrison Hospital at Tangier, 1662-1683; Hospitals and welfare for the standing army in Britain, 1660-1688; Hospital provision in Ireland, 1689-1692; Medical support during the Nine Years' War in Flanders; Soldier patients in the London hospitals; Hospital provision during Marlborough's campaigns; The army's hospitals in Spain and Portugal; Evaluation; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

The History of Medicine in Context

An interest in medicine is one of the constants that re-occurs throughout history. From the earliest times, man has sought ways to combat the myriad of diseases and ailments that afflict the human body, resulting in a number of evolving and often competing philosophies and practices whose repercussions spread far beyond the strictly medical sphere.

For more than a decade The History of Medicine in Context series has provided a unique platform for the publication of research pertaining to the study of medicine from broad social, cultural, political, religious and intellectual perspectives. Offering cutting-edge scholarship on a range of medical subjects that cross chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, the series consistently challenges received views about medical history and shows how medicine has had a much more pronounced effect on western society than is often acknowledged. As medical knowledge progresses, throwing up new challenges and moral dilemmas, The History of Medicine in Context series offers the opportunity to evaluate the shifting role and practice of medicine from the long perspective, not only providing a better understanding of the past, but often an intriguing perspective on the present.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General