Monday, June 11, 2018

Doctors in the Regency Era

I bet you didn’t realize that there were several types of doctors in the Regency Era. There were physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, and midwives/accouchers. The type of doctor they were determined what they practiced and their place in society.

Physicians- The highest rung on the social ladder
During the early 1800’s, physicians were regarded as gentleman because of their extra schooling and lack of apprenticeship. These men avoided any manual labor that was associated with their profession and spent most of their time diagnosing patients and writing prescriptions.

In turn, physicians were well received by the families they treated and often were invited to social events. If they dined with the families, they would eat with them as a guest of honor.
Physicians were the only qualified doctor to use the title of “Doctor”. (Surgeons and apothecaries were addressed as “Mister”.)


Surgeons occupied a lower rung on the ladder due to their lack of schooling. They learned their trade from an older doctor and basically learned on the job. They preferred surgeries but treated common ailments of ordinary people.


Apothecaries was considered a trade and ranked even lower on the social scale. They went through an apprenticeship to learn how to make drugs and poultices. In most rural areas, they were known to act as surgeons as well, making house calls and treating patients. But largely, they mixed drugs, dispensed them, and trained apprentices.

Midwives / Accouchers
In the early 1800’s, women often turned to midwives to help deliver their babies since midwives often had a higher survival rate than the doctors and surgeons of their time. (This was because midwives would wash their hands between their patients)

During the Regency period, the aristocracy started employing accouchers, which were male doctors who specialized in the childbirth from conception to delivery.


  1. This is a very interesting article. I'm going to bookmark this, because I know I'm going to need it with one of my stories.

  2. YES. I did SO much research on medical practices in regency England.