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Find out more about the blood-curdling techniques of medieval medicine from the Barber Surgeon; tales of the Black Death, treating battle wounds, setting bones, and pulling teeth – not to mention the bloodletting and the leeches!


PS 5

KS 4


Meet the Barber Surgeon, who will take pupils through his role in medieval society. Learn about the methods used to treat the ill and wounded, the theory of the four humours, the influences of the Greeks and Romans and how leeches were used to remove blood. This session can also be adapted to include the developments of medicine during the Tudor period.


The workshop will last for 75 minutes. Please note that a guided tour is not included in the workshop price but can be arranged at a small additional cost. If chosen, the tour will take approximately 50 minutes. Please see what is also included in your visit below.

Key Learning Outcomes

By the end of the session, your pupils will have:

  • Learnt what options were available for medical care in the medieval period
  • Learnt the difference between a physician and a barber surgeon along with the role of the barber surgeon
  • Learnt about the Greek and Roman influences on the medieval medical practices (e.g. Hippocrates, Galen and the theory of the Four Humours)
  • Learnt how a variety of ailments would have been treated and the belief that led them to be treated in that way
  • Learnt about how leeches were used to treat wounds
  • Learnt about surgical implements that were used at the time
  • Learnt about the techniques used to perform some of the operations at the time (a mock operation will be demonstrated)
Links to the National Curriculum

Humanities (Wales)

History Key Stage 4

  • Medicine Through Time

Please enquire about the possibility of lengthening the workshop to include a section on Tudor Medicine including Pare and Vesalius, or changing it to Tudor Medicine, which some primary schools choose to do.

What Else is Included in Your Visit

  • Workshop as detailed above.
  • Use of the Audio Guide that has been written especially for children, downloadable in advance.
  • Access to areas of the Grounds including the Keep, the Battlements and Wartime Shelters.
  • A Visit to Firing Line – Museum of the Welsh Soldier (Military Museum in the Interpretation Centre). Please note: Firing Line is independently managed and any activities offered are not a part of Cardiff Castle’s Education Service. Visits may not be possible on certain days, or may incur an additional charge.


029 2087 8110


Enquiry: The Normans / Medieval

Please let our Education Office know if you have any questions about the The Normans / Medieval workshop.