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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 79    1964  page 1

The Chetney Hill Lazaret

By P. Froggatt, M.A., M.D., D.P.H.

Chetney Hill is an island of twenty-nine acres in Stangate Creek, 4 miles north-north-west of Sittingbourne. It is uninhabited and used as pasturage. Early in the nineteenth century a lazaret, i.e. a quarantine establishment, was built on the island, but it was subsequently abandoned and the materials sold for a fraction of their cost. This was the only lazaret built in England, and it was planned to rank with, and even improve on, the great 'lazarettoes' which were a feature of the European trading ports of the Mediterranean.
   The need for the lazaret, the choice of Chetney Hill for its site, the circumstances leading to its construction, the buildings and their ultimate fate, are the principal subjects of this paper. A brief review of international quarantine is first given.

   International quarantine was the enforced detention and segregation of vessels, persons, and merchandise, believed to be infected with certain epidemic diseases, for specified periods at or near ports of disembarkation. It was also observed at land frontiers in time of emergency. It is obsolete and has been replaced by more appropriate systems. It was, however, in varying degrees from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the bulwark raised by Europe and Britain against importing certain exotic diseases. It was based on the belief that these diseases are 'contagious', i.e. are spread by contact with an infected person or his effects; and it evolved from the primitive noli-me-tangere attitude which is the logical corollary of contagionist views. The practical expression of this is the strict segregation of the infected and non-

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