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Stephen Brogan

The frontispiece to Thomas Sprat’s History of the Royal Society, 1667.

A microhistory offers new insights into the creation of the Royal Society amid the intellectual brilliance of Restoration England.

The belief that a king’s laying on of hands could cure the disfiguring disease of scrofula gained new heights of popularity during the Restoration, as Stephen Brogan explains.

A monarch’s divine ability to cure scrofula was an established ritual when James I came to the English throne in 1603. Initially sceptical of the Catholic characteristics of the ceremony, the king found ways to ‘Protestantise’ it and to reflect his own hands-on approach to kingship, writes Stephen Brogan.