The medical issues encountered by the people of Wing would likely have been no different to those experienced in other surrounding rural villages. Significant advances have been made in the knowledge of disease and how to prevent it or minimise its impact, but our ancestors did not yet have the benefit of this knowledge. The standard of living has improved, and with it the standard of health. Or, rather, the medical issues encountered in Wing today are more likely to be caused by old age or life choices than by living conditions.

endorsement for Guys Tonic from Mrs Geoge Gardiner
An endorsement for Guy’s Tonic from Mrs Gardiner in the Penny Illustrated Paper, 4 July 1896

Death certificates didn’t exist until 1 July 1837, and even then the cause of death may not have been known or as thoroughly investigated as it is today. Before that date, we are dependent on those filling out the parish registers to record a cause of death which may help us identify particular health issues. This wasn’t recorded as a matter of course, but if there was something noteworthy about the death it may have been so noted. Anything particularly infectious was feared and therefore likely to be commented on. This anecdotal rather than comprehensive information does make it difficult to draw any conclusions about common medical issues affecting the past residents of Wing.

More about the general housing and sanitary conditions in Wing in 1870 and the impact on health can be learned from the medical officer’s report on that year’s scarlet fever epidemic in Wing (included in the Scarlet Fever page in the list below).