I am grateful to Channel Four blogger, Dr Peter Stott, for bringing this to my attention. It is the Mass of Separation from the 13th Century and was a series of instructions to sufferers from leprosy. Strangely, the instructions are equally valid today for avoiding the spread of swine flu! Just shows how little our understanding of viruses has grown in 700 years!
"I forbid you to ever enter a church, a monastery, a fair, a mill, a market or an assembly of people.
"I forbid you to leave your house unless dressed in your recognisable garb and also shod.
"I forbid you to wash your hands or to launder anything or to drink at any stream or fountain, unless using your own barrel or dipper.
"I forbid you to touch anything you buy or barter for, until it becomes your own.
"I forbid you to enter any tavern; and if you wish for wine, whether you buy it or it is given to you, have it funnelled into your keg.
"I forbid you to share house with any woman but your wife. I command you, if accosted by anyone while travelling on a road, to set yourself down-wind of them before you answer.
"I forbid you to enter any narrow passage, lest a passerby bump into you.
"I forbid you, wherever you go, to touch the rim or the rope of a well without donning your gloves.
"I forbid you to touch any child or give them anything. I forbid you to drink or eat from any vessel but your own."