In 1604 the justices ordered weekly sums to be paid to unemployed weavers in infected areas. 36) A general contribution was levied in Salisbury where the disease was very prevalent, (fn.
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For the future such persons were to be ordered to the house of correction for a month. 11) About the same time a number of towns and villages were reported to be infected and many weavers of Salisbury, Devizes, Marlborough, and Fisherton Anger were losing work on this account.
At the October quarter sessions the presence of plague in Westbury was reported, the inhabitants, mainly weavers and spinners, were seriously impoverished owing to their isolation.
Wiltshire has been particularly fortunate in the quality and extent of voluntary work devoted to the health services.
About the same period growing humanitarianism, reinforced by legislation, led to stricter inspection of private lunatic asylums and the opening of the County Asylum for pauper lunatics.
On five or six of these, to my knowledge it had no effect, though on one the experiment was tried a second time'. 52) In another effort to discourage inoculation Lord Folkestone gave £100 in December 1752 to be distributed for the benefit of the poor at 5.
for every inhabitant 'who hath had the smallpox in the natural way, since the 1st of September, or who shall have it hereafter'. 53) In the following January the grand inquest warned the general sessions of the peace that loss of trade, increase of taxes, and general detriment to the town would follow from allowing persons to come to Salisbury for inoculation, as they were doing both from places in Wiltshire and from neighbouring counties. 54) The town council voted 10 guineas to be paid to a surgeon and an apothecary for their services during the epidemic, and towards the end of 1753 declared the town free from infection. 55) Wilton was anxious to proclaim its freedom from disease during the Salisbury epidemic, and in January 1753 the mayor, five aldermen, and other prominent men of Wilton signed a declaration that Wilton, and especially the Bell Inn, was free from infection despite a report to the contrary which 'has industriously been spread, by some malicious, ill-designing people'. 56) In 1763 several gentlemen, tradesmen, and inhabitants of Salisbury opened a subscription list for a smallpox hospital.The justices ordered that the hundreds of Chippenham, Melksham, Whorwellsdown, and Bradford should be assessed to contribute. 39) In 1611 a rate levied within five miles of Chippenham proved insufficient for the relief of that town, and a rate of £40 weekly was levied on all places within ten miles, with the exception of Bradford and Westbury lately infected with the plague'. 40) The object of this relief was to prevent the inhabitants dispersing abroad and further spreading the disease.The expenses of the 1636–7 epidemic submitted by the town and parish of Calne to the justices in 1638 were ordered to be paid by the parishioners. 41) Two years later a number of the parishioners of Calne petitioned the justices that £300 of the general rate levied for the plague relief and still in the hands of the collectors, should be paid over since trade was greatly impoverished and there were 2,000 poor and needy in the town. 42) Devizes on this occasion made a free gift of £6 to Calne for relief. 43) When Devizes itself suffered in 1644 inhabitants within 5 miles were charged with a weekly tax for three months, 'but by reason of great trouble and taxes laid upon this county by the King's party' the full rate could not be collected. 46) In July the whole county was rated at £100 a week for 20 weeks for the relief of Salisbury in response to a letter from the mayor stating that there were then 52 houses shut up with 196 inmates whose maintenance cost £22 15. Early in the 20th century skilled nursing was extended to the home through the Wiltshire Nursing Association, an association of local committees for training and employing qualified nurses. Until the National Health Service took them over, both Salisbury General Infirmary and the cottage hospitals, which developed rapidly following the advent of anaesthesia and antisepsis, depended upon the loyal support of local committees and local workers.The principal inhabitants of Salisbury in November 1752, when the town was suffering an epidemic, requested the medical profession in the town not to inoculate any persons after 1 February 1753.