Medieval England had a BENEFITS system - but lepers, pregnant women and the ... trends now

Medieval England had a BENEFITS system - but lepers, pregnant women and the ... trends now
Medieval England had a BENEFITS system - but lepers, pregnant women and the ... trends now

Medieval England had a BENEFITS system - but lepers, pregnant women and the ... trends now

Today's benefit system helps those who are unemployed, who have children or who are disabled.

But in Medieval England things were a bit different, according to a new study.

Researchers have shone a light on decisions made in the 13th century regarding who was allowed to stay in hospital for long periods of time.

Archaeologists analysed more than 400 human remains unearthed from the main cemetery of the hospital of St John the Evangelist in Cambridge, revealing that the individuals buried there came from a wide variety of backgrounds – from scholars to orphaned children.

And the selection criteria appeared to be quite strict.

Today's benefit system helps those who are unemployed, who have children or who are disabled. But in Medieval England things were a bit different, according to a new study

Today's benefit system helps those who are unemployed, who have children or who are disabled. But in Medieval England things were a bit different, according to a new study

Archaeologists analysed more than 400 human remains unearthed from the main cemetery of the hospital of St John the Evangelist in Cambridge, revealing that the individuals buried there came from a wide variety of backgrounds – from scholars to orphaned children

Archaeologists analysed more than 400 human remains unearthed from the main cemetery of the hospital of St John the Evangelist in Cambridge, revealing that the individuals buried there came from a wide variety of backgrounds – from scholars to orphaned children

Founded around 1195, the hospital helped the 'poor and infirm', housing a dozen or so inmates – along with a handful of clerics and lay servants – at any one time.

The hospital was set up to provide charity for those who didn't have much money, but they had limited space and funds with which to do so.

As a result there was a type of 'benefits' system which helped decide who would receive care.

The hospital's inhabitants, which were uncovered in 2010 when the hospital site was excavated, were analysed to gather skeletal, isotopic and genetic data.

The team found that sick and poor orphans frequented the hospital, possibly driven by pity, while scholars were permitted as this led to a 'spiritual benefit'.

Meanwhile prosperous, upstanding individuals who had suffered misfortune were also deemed worthy.

And being religious was

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