Louise Elizabeth Wilson
Research Associate
Department of History
University of Bristol

The Miracles of St Edmund of Abingdon.

Bibliothèque Municipale d’Auxerre MS 123G


Research Interests
My published research has investigated the associations between spiritual health and disability through a study of the miracles of St Frideswide (The Treatment of Disabled Persons, 2011). Here, I argue that the connections between sickness and sin can be more clearly elucidated by looking beyond the concept of a direct causal relationship between illness, impairment and sin and instead focus on the perceived effects that enduring such conditions could have on the spiritual state of a petitioner.
In a collection of essays, which I co-edited, I also examined the impact of twelfth and thirteenth-century developments in natural philosophy and medicine on the concept of the miraculous (Contextualizing Miracles, 2014). Assessing the miracles of St Edmund of Abingdon, I show the ways in which the authors of the miracle accounts and the canonization commissioners used their practical knowledge of the natural world, alongside natural philosophical learning, medical theory and contemporary theology, to define a healing miracle as conceptually distinct from the natural world.

I was invited to contribute to a multidisciplinary essay collection on wounds and wound-healing edited by scholars at the University of Manchester. In this chapter, I offer a re-evaluation of the presentation of physicians and medical care in thirteenth-century miracle accounts, through a study of miracles documenting the healing of eruptive skin diseases, including pustule, fistulae, ulcers, swellings, ruptures, hernias along with wounds sustained through physical trauma (Wounds in the Middle Ages, 2014).

My most recent research considers the role of the saints in the practice and promotion of pastoral and sacramental care in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The preliminary results will be presented at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in July 2014.

I am currently conducting research for a monograph on witchcraft, magic and medicine in Medieval England. This project examines the involvement of physicians and medical practitioners in the formulation and prosecution of ideas about harmful magic between 1100 and 1550.