Louise Elizabeth Wilson

The Miracles of St Edmund of Abingdon.

Bibliothèque Municipale d’Auxerre
MS 123G
My desk, if only for a few months.

Huntington Library, San Marino.


Research Interests
My research explores the intersections of medieval medicine and theology in western Europe during the central Middle Ages.

For my doctoral research I examined Latin manuscripts of the miracles of St Frideswide of Oxford, St Edmund of Abingdon and St Thomas Cantilupe of Hereford. I used these manuscripts to investigate how medieval clerics tried to prove that a healing miracle had really occurred. I discovered that those investigating and writing about miracles drew on the latest legal, theological, medical and natural philosophical ideas to authenticate miracles.

This led to several publications in the field of medical history. I addressed the associations between spiritual health and disability in the miracles of St Frideswide in 2011. I examined the roles of natural philosophy and medical knowledge in defining a miracle during the thirteenth century in a chapter published in 2014. I also contributed to a multidisciplinary collection on wounds in the Middle Ages. Here I assessed the presentation of physicians and medical care in healing miracles involving eruptive skin diseases, ulcers, hernias and physical trauma.

In my postdoctoral research I switched from miracles to magic, researching and writing a book on theological and medical ideas about the influence of demons and harmful magic on the human body in England during the central and later Middle Ages. I addressed beliefs in external bodily harm caused by demons and in demonic possession, along with the roles of gender and sin in demonic susceptibility. I also considered medical and theological remedies against demons and magic. I am working towards a final draft of this book.

I am also co-editing a multidisciplinary collection on witchcraft and counter witchcraft in Europe from the twelfth century until the twentieth century. I will be writing a chapter for this on medieval medical remedies against witchcraft, magic and demons.