Accidents among medieval children as seen from the miracles of six English saints and martyrs
By Eleanora C. Gordon
Medical History, Vol.35:2 (1991)
Introduction: Accounts of recoveries from accidental injuries in medieval children recorded among the posthumous miracles of saints are a particularly valuable source of information about childhood during an age for which such material is scarce. Whereas reports of miraculous healing of chronic illnesses or handicaps often emphasize the prayers offered and the sudden joyous return to health at the shrine in front of astonished worshippers, those describing recoveries from accidents, especially numerous among children, also set down the events leading to the catastrophe.
These circumstances, often described in detail, provide excellent evidence about children’s behaviour. In addition, the responses ofparents, bystanders, and the community to the crises tell us a great deal about family relationships and the status of children in medieval society. These accounts, therefore, reveal the world of medieval childrentheir upbringing, their play and playmates, their work, and their families.