Belford Mothers’ Union


PLAGUE AND PESTILENCE: In the second of her talks to Belford Mothers’ Union, Isabel Gordon held the room spellbound for an hour talking about the role of plague, pestilence and disease in the world’s history.

From the Romans, through the Crusades to more modern times, she drew out the diseases that were inflicted on combatants in war and conflict. And the impact of sickness on communities suffering from natural disasters now and in the past was not neglected.

In a particularly gruesome tale, Isabel reported on the lack of personal hygiene that encouraged such ill-health and cited the example of Thomas á Becket whose body remained in Canterbury Cathedral for some time after his murder to dramatic and unrepeatable effect. And in the case of the Crusades, Christians unknowingly often took disease and inflicted them on populations for whom they were new.

Disease continues to dog conflict throughout the world. We all know about trench foot in the First World War and suffering continues to this day through warfare and natural disasters.

The message, then, was that history has been significantly affected – even determined – by disease.

Branch leader Sylvia Hickey, said: “In a brilliant evening, Isabel spoke to a full and hushed room where there wasn’t even a creaking chair.

“We’re grateful, as ever, for her informative and educational talk.”