The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview
Save to active project

V

vaccination, a term first used by *Jenner ( 1798) for inoculating cowpox matter (vacca = cow) to produce immunity from the far more virulent smallpox, has since come to mean the creation of immunity from infectious diseases in general. Its benign effect on death rates from smallpox led to gradual abandonment of earlier techniques, but not without opposition. The 1840 Vaccination Act prohibited inoculation and permitted vaccination of the poor at ratepayers' expense; the 1853 extension made the practice compulsory, though it was not universally enforced. An organized movement to repeal compulsory vaccination developed after 1871, leading eventually to amendments of previous statutes ( 1898). Nevertheless, with compulsory notification of infectious diseases and better trained public health officers, vaccination and revaccination rapidly reduced the prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of smallpox. Subsequent vaccines (using attenuated or altered viruses) against diphtheria, polio, measles, whooping cough, and rubella have largely controlled these diseases.

ASH

Vagrancy Acts. Vagrancy was a phenomenon which particularly worried late medieval and Tudor society, not merely because it often led to crime, but because 'masterless men' seemed to threaten the whole social structure. The breakdown of the authority of lords of the manor freed men and women to move, and unemployment, demobilization, enclosures, and high prices could combine to produce destitution and vagrancy. London, by far the largest town in the country, produced its own vagrants and imported others from the neighbouring counties. In 1608 Thomas Dekker, the playwright, wrote that suburbs were 'caves where monsters are bred up to devour the cities themselves'.

One of the earliest government interventions came in 1351, after the *Black Death had caused an acute shortage of labour. The statute attempted not only to control wages and enforce contracts but declared punishment for persons fleeing from one shire to another. Another flurry of legislation came after the *Peasants' Revolt of 1381. An Act of 1383 authorized JPs to apprehend vagabonds and another Act of 1388 insisted that anyone leaving his abode or service must carry letters patent from the hundred explaining the purpose of his journey. Tudor legislation on the subject was both frequent and fierce. The Parliament of Henry VII in 1495 enacted that vagabonds should be put in the stocks for three days and three nights on bread and water. Henry VIII improved upon this in 1531 declaring that an able-bodied vagrant should be 'tied to the end of a cart naked and be beaten with whips till his body be bloody', and then sent back to his place of birth or last employment. In 1535 it was announced that on a second offence any 'valiant beggar or sturdy vagabond' would lose part of his right ear, and on a third offence would be hanged. Branding was introduced in 1547 and the vagabond was to be sold into slavery. By 1572 they were to be flogged and have their ears bored and by 1604 they would be branded on their shoulder with the letter 'R' for rogue. Hanging for repeat offences was certainly no idle threat: four vagrants, including one woman, were hanged in Middlesex in 1575/6. Transportation was also introduced after 1597, mainly to the new American colonies. A different approach was *Bridewells, where work was provided: opened in London in 1553, they were soon imitated in other towns and counties. After the Restoration the problem of vagrancy diminished, partly because paupers were given help in their parishes of origin, partly because an expanding economy provided better opportunities for employment. The increasing expense of *poor relief led in the early 19th cent. to reorganization of the whole system, but vagabondage had ceased to terrify.

JAC

Valence, Aymer de, earl of Pembroke (c.1270-1324). Valence's father William was a half-brother of Henry III, being a son of John's widow Isabella by her second marriage, and came to England in 1247. He fought on the king's side in the baronial wars and commanded against the Welsh in the 1280s. Aymer de Valence inherited in 1296 and spent his early years campaigning in Scotland, fighting at *Falkirk (1298) and defeating Robert I Bruce at * Methven in 1306. The following year he was himself defeated by Bruce at * Loudoun Hill. In 1307 he was recognized as earl of Pembroke by virtue of his mother, a granddaughter of William *Marshal, earl of Pembroke (d. 1219). In Edward II's reign he was at first an *Ordainer but switched to the king's side after the murder of *Gaveston, who was seized from his custody. He fought with the king at *Bannockburn and was subsequently employed watching the Scots and on diplomatic missions. His widow founded Pembroke College, Cambridge.

JAC

Vanbrugh, Sir John ( 1664-1726). Dramatist and architect. A good imitation of Renaissance Man, Vanbrugh was of

-951-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Oxford Companion to British History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 1044

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?