Sunday, 22 October 2017

Plague and Dead Lane

Last week we had a quick look at disasters and plague houses in and around Loughborough. Today, a quick word on the plague house and some comments upon Dead Lane.

Following the death of Clemente Parsons and his son, Richard Harryman was paid eleven shillings to build the Pesthouse in The Rushes. Hewgh Foster provided either the foundation for the building, or the doorway and Nicholas Smith was paid five shillings for nails, and eighteen pennies for carrying stone to the house.

Of course, you know what I'm going to say next ... Nicholas Smith also died of the plague in May 1610.

Percy Davenport, author of that 1935 article on the plague, goes on to say that the Accounts of the Bridgemasters include an entry which indicates that they paid five shillings to have the Pesthouse taken down. Initially this sounds odd, but Percy establishes that this probably refers to a building that was already standing that was to be replaced by this new one that was currently being built. A later entry in the accounts shows that the building (whether this means the old one or the new one isn't quite clear) was sold to a John Marshall of Cossington for the sum of fifty shillings. Where exactly the Pesthouse was on The Rushes is not clear.

Next we learn that people buried at this time weren't given their own coffin, so one coffin was re-used time and time again. This particular coffin was made by Robert Joyner who was paid two shillings to make it.

As well as casting huge bells for churches and cathedrals, Taylors the bellfounders on Freehold Street, also make handbells, but I don't think they were responsible for making the handbell used during times of plague in Loughborough, as Nicholas Smithe was paid four shillings and sixpence for it. Besides, Taylors were not in Loughborough at the time.

And so to the topic of Dead Lane, or le Dede Lane, or le Dedlane, or Dedelane, as it has variously been known.

Percy suggests that the story of the origin of the street name, handed down from generation to generation of Loughborough folk, and even told by a respected school teacher to pupils of the Churchgate school in the 1890s, is an unlikely tale.

Percy thinks it's also unlikely that plague pits were dug along Dead Lane in the 17th century, and has not found any evidence that the ground had been consecrated. The street name goes back much further than this, and Percy goes on to quote five instances of mention of the name Dead Lane in old documents:
the oldest comes from a deed probably in the reign of Edward II, so between 1307 and 1327, in which it is recorded that Adam, the son of Ellias de Shathewelle, was granted land in Dede Lane.
in 1460 William Staunton rented a piece of land near Dede Lane from the Lord of the Manor, which land was adjacent to several tenements on Dede Lane itself
unscoured ditches on Dede Lane in 1486 led to a number of people being fined
in 1488 someone appears to be illegally living on le Dedlane
rentals paid to the Lord of the Manor in 1490 refer to le Dede Lane
So, there were people living on Dead Lane from times much earlier than the plague of 1609-1610, and even before the earliest mention of the plague in Loughborough, in 1515.

Percy's final comments are, well, either ironic, or poignant:
"I strongly hope that the suggestion which has recently been mooted, for changing the name of this old lane, will not be listened to by the Corporation."
Today, Dead Lane, which if I remember rightly, ran alongside the Shakespeare Street School, is no longer there, being covered by the ground level car parking area of The Rushes shopping centre.

School at the end of Shakespeare Street along whose side Dead Lane used to run.
The school at the top of Shakespeare Street 

The building that runs across the end of Shakespeare Street where Dead Lane used to be.
The new build at the end of Shakespeare Street along which Dead Lane used to run

Dead Lane used to run where the fence of this car park is now.
Dead Lane used to be on the left of what is now a ground level car park in The Rushes

Dyer, Lynne (2017). Disasters in Loughborough! Available from https://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.com/2017/10/plague-and-dead-lane.html  [Accessed 22 October 2017]

Take down policy:
I post no pictures that are not my own, unless I have express permission so to do. All text is my own, and not copied from any other information sources, printed or electronic, unless identified and credited as such. If you find I have posted something in contravention of these statements, or if there are photographs of you which you would prefer not to be here, please contact me at the address listed on the About Me page, and I will remove these.
Thank you for reading this blog. 


Lynne 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Disasters and plague houses

Last week we had a look at some of the fires and disease that have affected Loughborough over the years. 

A quick flick through some of the literature and I came across a chap called Percy Davenport, who had written an article about the plague, in the Loughborough Echo. A bit more a delve revealed that Percy was an "old boy" from the Grammar School, who, whilst working at the Ministry of Health, used to copy out old documents he found, in his leisure time. Some of these are the Manor Accounts and Wills of Loughborough.

So, if Percy read what he was copying in any detail, his voice holds a lot of weight. In his 1935 article in the newspaper he wrote about "When the plague came to Loughborough", saying:
In the years 1609 and 1610 Loughborough was a place to avoid, for it was then in the grip of the deadly plague. The story told by the Parish Registers is indeed a grim one. Under the month of August, 1609, the writer sets down the simple words "A plague began on the 24th day," and for the period of the next 18 months or more, long lists of victims who succumbed are entered, each name prefixed by the letter "p". 
He also mentions the possibility of there being a "plague house" somewhere, which was associated with Thomas Rawlins who founded a school in Woodhouse in 1691. This school lasted until the late eighteenth century, after which it closed until it relocated to Quorn village hall where it re-opened in 1892, firstly, as a boys' grammar (Thomas Rawlins Grammar School), before becoming a co-ed school of the same name, and based in the building occupied today by the Rawlins Academy. Thomas Rawlins is reputed to have escaped the 1665 Plague of London and settled in Pest Cottage in Old Woodhouse. This cottage is still standing today, and is named Pestilence Cottage. 
Mill stone at Pestilence Cottage Woodhouse, former school founded by Thomas Rawlins



Pestilence Cottage a school founded by Thomas Rawlins



Percy has this to say about Pest Cottage:
Whatever may be the historical facts behind the "Plague House" of Thomas Rawlins, allusions to which have appeared in recent numbers of the "Echo", we are on solid and indisputable ground when we speak of a "Plague House" in Loughborough.    
The Accounts of the Bridgemasters, (who gathered funds to maintain the bridges, and the Free Grammar School and for many other local needs) were responsible to the Feoffes of the Loughborough Town Lands, and these accounts show that the feoffes took responsibility for building a Pesthouse in The Rushes, in a vain attempt to stop the spread of the plague in 1609. 

Percy quotes from the accounts:
Payed to Richard Harryman on Thomas Wingkfeild hosse [house], in earnest for the newe house in The Rushes vjd [6 old pennies]." 
This is a formal transaction, and the builder is bound to enact the contract and build the house, which is outlined below:
Payed to Clemente Parsons for Carriadg of wood into the Rushes xjs [11 old shillings]
Ironically, both Clemente Parsons and his son died from the plague in October 1610, only a few months after this contract was agreed.

Sadly, I've run out of time to carry on with this post, so pop back next week for a final installment on the plague in Loughborough, and some comments about the infamous Dead Lane!

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2017). Disasters in Loughborough! Available fromhttps://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.com/2017/10/disasters-and-dead-lane.html [Accessed 15 October 2017]

Take down policy:
I post no pictures that are not my own, unless I have express permission so to do. All text is my own, and not copied from any other information sources, printed or electronic, unless identified and credited as such. If you find I have posted something in contravention of these statements, or if there are photographs of you which you would prefer not to be here, please contact me at the address listed on the About Me page, and I will remove these.
Thank you for reading this blog. 


Lynne