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The Lepers' Well, Broad Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset

The Lepers' Well, Broad Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset
Photograph taken 21 August 2004 © Mr Duncan Miller. Source Historic England Archive ref: 403868

This well is said to date from the 14th century or earlier and to be the only remaining structure of a medieval lepers' hospital. People who had leprosy were forced to live apart from the rest of society in the Middle Ages. Leprosy was regarded as highly contagious and the result of a curse or a punishment for sinful behaviour. In 1873 Dr. Armauer Hansen of Norway found that leprosy is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium leprae) and is far less contagious than people had believed.

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