Age and Health, 1500-1800

Lightfoot Room, St John's College, Cambridge and on Zoom, June 24, 2024 - June 24, 2024

Registration is now open for the conference Age and Health, 1500-1800. The conference asks how experiences of health and ill health shaped and were governed by age stages, and how they shifted across the lifecycle.

The conference is free to attend, and we welcome attendees at all career stages.

Click to register


Registration is open until 14th June for in-person attendance and 23rd June for online attendance.



9:00 – 9:30 Registration 

9:30 – 9:45 Introductory remarks (Olivia Formby and Jen McFarland)

9:45 – 10:30 Keynote, chair Alex Walsham

Leah Astbury (Manchester) Health, Medicine and Childbearing Years in Early Modern England


10:30 – 12:00 Sensing and Caring, chair Jen McFarland

Théo Rivière (Cardiff) Early Modern English Disabled Children: Challenging Age and Household Conventions (1550-1750)

Carys Brown (Cambridge) Children, Carers, and Accidental Death, c. 1660-1780

Lucy Havard (Cambridge) “For on yt is thicke of hearing:” Sensing in the Domestic Sphere in England, 1600-1750


12:00 – 1:00 Lunch


1:00 – 2:00 Categories of Age and Health, chair Philippa Carter

Sarah K. Hitchen (Manchester Metropolitan) Old Age, Mental Decline, and Allegations of Lunacy in Early Modern England

Anna Graham (John Rylands Library) Old in Body: Old Age as a Condition in Early Modern English Wills


2:00 – 3:00 Readings discussion session, chair Olivia Formby

         Reading will be circulated among registered attendees


3:00 – 3:30 Tea break


3:30 – 5:00 Representing Ageing Women, chair Ella Sbaraini

Anita Hoffmann (York) “For a weakness in the back”: Medical Advertisements for Women’s Life Stage Ailments 1650-1730

Letty Pilgrim (Cambridge) Emotion and the Ageing Body in the Diaries of Lady Sarah Cowper (1700-1716)

Sara Zadrozny (Oxford) Painting Over the Lines: Reading Failing Health in Representations of Ageing women’s skin’


5:00 – 5:30 Concluding discussion


Contact us at or follow us on: X/Twitter: @AgeandHealth24 or


We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Social History Society; the Society for Renaissance Studies; the Society for the Social History of Medicine; and The Trevelyan Fund, Cambridge History Faculty.

Age and Health, 1500-1800
Location: Lightfoot Room, St John's College, Cambridge and on Zoom
Start Date: June 24, 2024
Start Time: 9:00 am
End Date: June 24, 2024
End Time: 6:00 pm
Ticket Price: Free