Key Stage 3 History: Medieval Life 1: The Black Death - symptoms I Oxford Open Learning

    Key Stage 3 History: Medieval Life 1: The Black Death – symptoms

    Here is the first in a new series of Key Stage 3 History blogs on Medieval Life. We begin by looking at the Black Death.

    The Black Death – Symptoms

    Don’t panic. It’s ok. Stay calm. Don’t panic. DON’T PANIC!!!! What do I do? My son is sick. He has all the symptoms of the plague, the Black Death. But maybe he just has flu? Maybe it’s not that bad and he’ll be ok? What do I do? Ok, don’t panic. I just need to go back inside and take a look at him. But I think I’ll stay out here in the yard for a few more minutes first so he doesn’t see me panic.

    It all started a few weeks ago when one of the lads from next door came home from London with the plague. He died. So did most of his family. Only one sister remains and no one will go near her in case they catch it too.

    Then last night, my Richard said he felt a bit unwell. I sent him to bed early. I thought he was just tired from working too hard in the field. But then in the dead of the night, I woke to hear him moaning. Even by the light of one candle I could see the sweat shining on him. And in the cold light of day I can see the boils starting to appear on his body. I immediately put him in the back room, away from the others. I’ll keep them out the house as much as possible but what else can I do?

    Right, I’m ok. I’ll go and see how he’s doing…

    I’m panicking now! Some of the boils are as big as tennis balls and they are black, so black. One of them burst and the smell was so bad I almost gagged. He is soaking through with sweat. And now the hallucinations have started. He’s in there lying on the bed writhing in agony and talking to someone who isn’t there. The end is near. I suppose I should be grateful he’s only going to suffer for two days. It can last up to ten days for some poor souls.

    What can I do? There is only one thing. I have to go and fetch the priest to give him his last rites. I know I can’t make him better, but I can make sure he goes properly. Oh my son, my poor, poor boy….

    Penny Brooks


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    Greg is the Head Of Operations at Oxford Home Schooling and has more than 25 years of experience in Distance Learning and Home Education