The Beatons

A Medical Kindred in the Classical Gaelic Tradition

By John Bannerman

Format: Multiple Formats

The history of an exclusive and knowledgeable Gaelic medical family who served several centuries of Scottish noble families.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

Product Description


This book traces the Clann Meic-bethad or Clan MacBeth whose members practised medicine in the classic Gaelic tradition in various parts of Scotland from the early fourteenth to the early eighteenth century. From many medieval Gaelic manuscripts known to have been in their possession, individual members of the clan and their activities are identified. Sometime in the second half of the sixteenth century the kindred began to adopt Beaton as a surname for use in non-Gaelic contexts. The medical Beatons fell naturally into two divisions: one confined mainly to the Western Isles and the other to the mainland of Scotland. This detailed study of the Beatons and their medicine describes how the position of medical doctor was inherited by the eldest son, and potential Beaton physicians were sent out to be trained by other members of the family for several years before undertaking their own practice. The book provides information on medieval medicine at the highest levels of Highland society.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 21 Sep 2015
SKU 9781906566920-grouped
Number of Pages 192

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'This book is a significant contribution to the history of medieval medicine as it firmly outlines the organization of a hereditary group of physicians unlike any other yet studied in Western history' - Scottish Tradition

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