I realised then that the rumors were true, the Strangers were presenting a Pageant for the Queen. The echoing of jeers and hissing swarmed around and I felt my face burn red with anger. As I turned to leave, beckoning Margaret to follow I felt a small, soft hand slip into mine. As I spun around, a grin spread across the face of John and Thomas was pointing at the stage. I was reluctant to spoil their day so, with great difficulty, I continued to join in with the celebrations. The procession carried on until we reached the Market Square.
The crowds fell silent and the final Oration was given to the Queen. Then, with the swarming crowds, the Monarch made her way to the Bishops palace where she spent the night and the next day (Sunday) in peace. I will never forget the next couple of years, something dreadful happened to us all. Loses of relatives and friends, even falling ill yourself could not be avoided. A strange disease had occurred among the people of Norwich, mostly dying within a few days of catching it. Many folk thought it was a punishment from God while others thought it was caused by bad smells.
The cause was unknown, and the disease spread very quickly. It carried very bad symptoms: Swellings under the armpits and between the legs, black and blue blotches on the body, vomiting and spitting blood and (in everycase)… Death. People tried to invent absurd remedies: Wash floors, hands, mouths and nostrils with vinegar and rose water, flagellation, no drinking or gambling, avoiding hot spices, leeks, garlic and anything that is likely to raise body temperature and open pores, no hot baths and to take pills made from powdered stag horns and rare spices.
Many of my friends fell ill and died, leaving behind families and friends who mourned their deaths greatly. Then, Margaret (my dear wife) fell ill and died on the 26th April 1579. I mourned her death for a long time afterwards. She was the only lady I had loved and she had left me with the responsibility of caring for three children. Then, sadly, my two sons Thomas and John died of this unknown disease. Thomas died on the 11th August 1579 and then John on the 12th August, a day after Thomas. All I had left now was my daughter, Ann.
She was to young to understand what had happened to her mother and brothers but if she had not been there, I feel I would have died without catching the disease. Due to having the ‘Plague’ in our dwelling, we were concealed in our house for six weeks, with no contact whatsoever with the outside world. With no sanitation, we were provided with small amounts of food pushed through the flap in the door, just enough to stay alive. When finally the six weeks passed, I knew there was only one sensible thing to do, re marry. I did not wish to as I felt I would be cheating on Margaret but I knew she would understand the circumstances.
Having to look after a very young child and continue with a full time job would be very difficult so I married my second wife, Brenda. We were happy together but she would never match Margaret, whom I missed dearly. If only she was there, she would be able to see her daughter grow up to be a beautiful little girl. However, my second wife fell pregnant, giving Ann a Stepsister. We named our baby Ales and she was born on the 17th July 1580. I hope, that as my life has been full of sorrow, I will see happiness through both my daughters lives and I hope my life will be prosperous in the future.