29 Jan 2013

January 29th

'How many deaths will it take to be told that too many people have died?'

Over the centuries, disability has been hidden. The blind ninety-year-old Dandolo breached the walls of Constantinople. Paralyzed from the waist down, wheelchair-bound Roosevelt stood propped up for public pictures. The one-armed Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar. Each were so successful, they couldn't be classed as disabled. 

English history forgot one hundred poor souls, who probably never made it to the battle between Oliver Cromwell and his Roundhead cavalry, who went on to defeat King Charles 1's at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644. 

Recently found in mass graves at a ruined York church, 113 skeletons were arranged neatly in parallel rows, mostly laid on their side or face down in the dirt. No buckles, buttons or jewellery were found, indicating they were probably buried naked.  Given the probable 17th century date, it is likely that they relate to the largest battle in the Civil War.

Evidence suggests that the bodies could well have been Cromwell's soldiers who died from disease while laying siege to the city. Although the Royalist army was well-provided for behind the city walls, the besieging Parliamentary forces suffered severe deprivation, making them susceptible to illness and diseases such as dysentery and typhoid. Most of the skeletons had old broken bones and signs of past infection. Back then, they wrapped a wound with honey and oats as an antibiotic.

There was no such thing as disability in those days. People were just who they were. They got on with life as best they could and probably banded together for mutual support. Army life would have offered them a living, where they could do ancillary jobs like guarding the ammunition or working in the kitchens.

I'm too soft to have survived during those times. Perhaps we should try harder to manage unaided—those of us who can.


  1. I cope with Hashaimotos that makes a mess of of your muscles and joints. It affects the thyroid. When I was diagnosed I had the best doctors who get my TSH under control via meds. Howevver, one must study how to cope better. Vitamins, diet, and a chemical fee life keep me going despite the fatigue, muscle spasms, joint pain, escema, and other symptoms. But I thank the heavens everyday that I still have my thyroid and have not lost any part of it to cancer.

    Good post!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  2. Hi Francene .. I loved those programmes on historical cold cases and how much the scientists and researchers found out - I wrote one post on the Stirling Castle chap - because it totally enwrapped me in its story line ...

    I did see that programme I think - but didn't pay quite as much attention to it as I should have .. I'd like to get the DVD sometime ... and there's some information I didn't pick up - i.e. didn't remember - that I really want to know!! Irritates I can't find .. now I can't even remember exactly what it was .. but it's floating around the brain somewhere!!

    I think about - would we as adults survive a big freeze like they did in 1962/63 .. and as for fighting in a war - I don't think I'd cope .. but we would somehow.

    Interesting post - enjoyed this .. cheers Hilary

  3. The research that can be done now is amazing and like your theme, the scientists "stitch together" the probable scenario. Being in a creative mood this morning, I created a lttle poem that used your last line in your comment on my blog. Was not sure you had time to re-visit. "Hidden beneath the persona of age,
    Is a spirit that
    is always there,
    and transcends
    time and space,
    and is ageless."

  4. Hi Francene, love this post.
    I guess if you look at some of the third world countries you can see how hard it would have been for disabled people in the England, Europe & America of the past.
    They had no compassion for them and no compensation so the severly disabled begged on the streets to make enough money to eat. They had to be tough.
    I'm in your boat, I'm soft as butter. Hardship would knock me down and trample all over me.
    Thank goodness for 2013.


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