Horrid Medieval Medicine Rules at Barley Hall During Illuminating York

29 October to 1 November 2014

Visitors to this year’s Illuminating York (IY) festival are invited to uncover the more gruesome side of medieval and early Tudor medicine in the candlelit surroundings of historic Barley Hall.

Says Danielle Daglan, Head of Festivals and Events at The JORVIK Group of Attractions: “With this year’s Illuminating York theme focused on innovation and discovery we thought it was only right that we showcased the evolution of medieval medicine, horrid and gruesome as they were, in the beautiful surroundings of Barley Hall, bathed in candlelight.”

Visitors will join the Barber Surgeon and Plague Doctor as they test out new and dangerous treatments, all available in the medieval period on their ‘patients’.

“Although the medieval period saw an expansion of interest in medical knowledge they didn’t always understand how the body worked and instead relied on superstition and herbal remedies with no real medicinal benefits,” adds Danielle.

Barley Hall, located just off Stonegate in the centre of York, already plays host to the ‘Plague, Poverty and Prayer: A Horrid History with Terry Deary’ exhibition, where visitors can explore medieval medicine in York.

“The exhibition at Barley Hall allows you to actually smell and touch the spices and herbs medieval medical practitioners would have used to try and cure their patients. This has given us a good base for our Illuminating York event but we’ve added an extra, ‘live’ element to really showcase the gory details of medieval medicine,” says Danielle.

‘Horrid Medieval Medicine at Barley Hall’ will take place from Wednesday 29th October to 1st November, from 7pm to 9pm. Entry is £2 for adults and £1 for children and concessions. More information can be found at www.barleyhall.co.uk/events/category/illuminating-york.  


The JORVIK Group is owned by York Archaeological Trust, a registered Charity in England & Wales (No. 509060) and Scotland (SCO42846) and is made up of five York city centre attractions:

The JORVIK Viking Centre, which has celebrated 30 years in 2014

DIG: An Archaeological Adventure

Barley Hall – a medieval townhouse in the centre of York

Richard III and Henry VII Experiences on York’s city walls

More information can be found at www.thejorvikgroup.com/press.

About Illuminating York

Now in its ninth year, Illuminating York runs from Weds 29th Oct – Sat 1st Nov from 6pm – 10pm.  With the theme York’s Leading Lights, the central artwork is Hidden Worlds which will be projected onto the York Crown Court.  

Tickets for Hidden Worlds cost just £4 / £3 for under 16’s.  Under 5’s are free and under 12’s must be accompanied by an adult.  A £1 transaction fee applies.  Tickets are available from 29th September  from York Theatre Royal Box Office either by phoning 01904 623568 or going to www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk  

The full programme of all the artworks is available on www.illuminatingyork.org

Photo shows:

Louis Carter as the Barber Surgoen and Tom Turton as the Plague Doctor as they prepare to open their evening surgery at Barley Hall for Illuminating York 2014.

Other photographs will be available to download from:


Media Contact:

For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698

Email:    jay@pyperyork.co.uk

About Us

Based in York, UK, the JORVIK Group of Attractions comprises:JORVIK Viking CentreDIGBarley HallThe Richard III Experience at Monk BarThe Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar The JORVIK Group also organises the annual JORVIK Viking Festival each February in York, and the Yorkshire Medieval Festival in August.