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The Plague of Bridgwater

In 1665, the whole nation suffered from the plague, and Bridgwater was no exception.  Across the country, people were afraid to enter the town for fear of infection.  Since the food to supply the towns had to come from the country, hence special arrangements were made.  For Bridgwater, this meant that on the Bath Road, country people would deliver farm produce as far as Horsey Lane.  There they were met by the townsfolk who kept a safe distance.  An elm planted on the spot was known as “Watch Elm”.  Hundreds died in the town and where they were buried is a mystery.  One opinion is that there was a common grave, roughly opposite the current Town Hall in the High Street.  What is known for certain is that there were no extra graves in St Mary’s during that period.  If they were buried where suggested, then those poor souls now lie beneath the shops which were built during the 1880s opposite the Town Hall.

Text Copyright © 2008 Roger Evans

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