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List of Kempston Parishioners with Kings Evil 1684-1704

Scrofula, or mycobacterial cervical lymphadenitis, is an infection of the lymph nodes in the neck and can be tubercular or non-tubercular. The sidease was also known as King's Evil and it was supoposed that it could be cured by being touched by an anointed monarch. This superstitious practice was discontinued by King George I (1714-1727).

One of the Kempston parish registers has a short list of parishioners (all women) with King's Evil sent for touching by the king [P60/1/9]. The text is as follows [note the original spelling].

"On ye 9th day of January 1683/4 [1684] there was sent to this parish of Kempston an express order from ye King and council wch is affixt in ye parish Church, & was publickly read there, commanding that a Register should be keptof ye names of all those in this parish, to whom any certificates should be given sighned with ye Ministers & churchwardens hands at any time from yt day; Before yei should be presented to ye King to be touched for ye Kings Evill. In pursuance of wch order these following leaves in this register are set apart for ye purpose aforesaid. Jos: Margetts vicar ibidem".

  • 1684 Ann wife of Ric Francis had a certificate signed, 26 Oct.
  • 1685 Mary dau. of Henry Notingham glover had a certificate signed 12 April.
  • 1686 Mary wife of Mich Houghton has a certificate signed 26 March.
  • 1687 Sus dau. of Ric Dickens had a certificate signed 24 Sept.
  • 1688 Mary dau. of John Watts has a certificate signed 30 Sept.
  • 1689, 1690, 1691, 1692 [blank]
  • In ye month of Aprill 1704 Sus dau. of Jeremy Stoakes had a certificate signed".