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Leper Hospital

History of D'Autrey, P.D. Mouton, 1868. Translated by Jean Louis Guichard, Autrey les Gray, France. (Please remember English is not Mr. Guichard's first language and he is translating as he learns English).

When Hugues V of Beaumont and Hugues Ist of Vergy came back from Holy Land, a number of crusaders who had followed them brought the leper, a contagious sickness which tainting the blood, covers the corpse with small pimples which devour and taint.

We ought to, at Autrey like in the other places, choose a remote spot to receive these unfortunates. One named it "Laper Hospital". This place, whose traditions only keep the name of Hospital was "la Borde", word meaning bounded place. So, this place is still today, bounded by a hedged and a wall made of stone.

We must say it is fitting for this kind of sickness. In first, it was upper than the village which did not receive the bad smells brought by the dominate winds. We will speak more fully in the chapter "The Lords of Autrey's Estate".

The ceremonies which were used for the sick of the seigniory of Autrey (which were nearly the same for the whole France) are too stickling to be missed. As soon as a man bore on himself a sign of this sort of plague, the priest was informed and so he informed the Dean of Beze.

According his decision, the clergy went in procession to the leper who waited it on the doorstep, covered with a blanket voile or a pall. The priest recited some prayers. Then the procession went back to the church. The leper followed the clergy, keeping at the distance. Arrived at church, he went to the choir in the middle of a sort of mortuary chapel which was prepared, like for a dead corpse. the clergy celebrated the mass for the death (Requiem Mass) and at the end of the burial service then censed the leper, sprinkled him with holy water, read the "recommandates", and striked the "Libera" up (two prayers for the rest of the souls). Then he went out the mortuary chapel. The procession which led him until the gate of the cemetery where there was a house. But as soon as the leper hospital was built, that was to this hospital. There, a priest after having incited the leper, stand in front of him to do penance said him that "I forbid you to go out of "La Borde" (the hospital) without putting your cover; I forbid you to enter in the churches in the mills, to the ovens and other places in which there are people; I forbid you to wash your hands and your indispensable things for you in the brooks and springs except the one in front of La Borde; I forbid you to touch what you want to buy with other things except a rod with which you point to what you want buy; I order you, if anybody speak to you, to stand you under the lee and you don't pass by a narrow way; I order you, if you must pass by a narrow way where you must use your hands, you always must put on your gloves; I forbid you to go in the taverns or in the houses, except yours; I forbid you to eat and drink except with the lepers, to go away without the authorization of the priest, and know that, when you will die and that will be the break between your soul and your corpse, you will be buried in your house."

The hospital and the surroundings resounded with the noise of the rattles carried by these unfortunates to warn the people who went to them.

It seems lepers had early ceased in this country, because the census of Charles of Vergy in 1477, it is written: "the estate of La Borde with a lot of oaks and beeches, owns to the lord." Therefore, the leper had had to cease for a hundred years at least.

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