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Geneeskundeboek-Opmaak Binnenwerk-ENG.indd

58 Jacoba van Beieren, countess of Flanders and Holland, among other lands, had presented this island to the monks of the order of the antonites. These monks had established themselves at Maastricht in 1236 where, five years later, they built a monastery, next to a hermitage dedicated to Sint Antonius Abbot with a chapel on the Meuse, some hundred meters north of the town wall off the island in the Meuse. The antonites devoted themselves to the care of the sick and built some wooden sheds to house patients on the island, which came to be known as Sint Antonius island. Every time the town faced an outbreak of an infectious disease, the island was used as a place where patients could be cared for in isolation. It was not until the middle of the sixteenth century when the town started construction of fortifications on the island, that it lost its role as refuge for the sick. More is known about the second institution. We owe this to the whims of the river Jeker. The branch of the Jeker that ran outside the southern wall of the town and formed the town moat turned out to have moved dozens of meters southwards due to silting in the early years of the fifteenth century. The passage through the Helpoort was narrowed and in 1456 a new wall was built on the northern bank of the Jeker. In this way, ‘Het Nieuwe Bolwerk’ was formed, an area outside the old town wall, which was surrounded by a new wall. This was an ideal location to house sufferers from contagious diseases. When the plague struck the town once again, the city council ordered the ‘town carpenter’ to build fourteen wooden two-floor barracks southwest of the Helpoort, against the town wall. In 1471, the barracks were ready to receive patients. Opposite the barracks, against the wall around


Geneeskundeboek-Opmaak Binnenwerk-ENG.indd
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