What was like to be leper in medieval times? Lepers lost their rights under common law, including property rights. They were excluded from places where people gathered. They had to carry a bell to warn others of their presence. They were isolated, typically sent away to remote hospitals with chapels, as lepers were expected to follow Christian rule. Hospitals were usually run by religious orders. The reportedly well-funded Berwick hospital was later by Royal Charter of James 1 of Scotland in the charge of the King's Chaplain, Thomas Lauder.
|RC St Clemens, ex Benedictine Cloisters, Bad Iburg|
Historically people with leprosy were recognized because of resulting deformities and were shunned because of fear of contagion. Untreated, leprosy could progress, causing serious disease and deformity to nerves, skin, nerves, limbs and face, including flattening of the nose due to destruction of underlying cartilage, and associated changes in the quality of speech.
A stone tower was erected at the Spittal in Berwick in 1369 as look-out point and protection from raids over the nearby border by the Scots. The buildings were demolished and nothing above ground remains.
|Red staining of organism that causes leprosy|
Professor Carole Rawcliffe, Medieval History, University of East Anglia
Leprosy in Medieval England, 2006.