This came up on some ‘Spotted Alvechurch’ type Facebook group a while back.
I think someone had heard about a plague pit in Alvechurch where victims of The Black Death had been thrown into a mass grave, and they were doubting it.
Of course, a load of us old time locals then confirmed that it was true and through up a few memories of it!
It’s only after this that I realised how freakily weird that sort of thing really is.
Yeah, I grew up around a plague pit. Big whoop – wanna fight about it?
Basically, it was well known that just outside Alvechurch village, and a short walk down the aptly named “Pestilence Lane” was a large pit where they had buried people who died from bubonic plague.
If you weren’t aware of the pit before, you were certainly made aware of it when they were building the M42 motorway just South of Birmingham, as this runs straight through the middle of it. When doing the work they actually had to do loads of tests and studies to make sure the plague wasn’t still active and going to kill everyone when they dug the ground up.
As it was, the tests deemed it safe, and records will say that the Junction 2 ‘Hopwood Services’ are build on the site.
Pestilence lane was cut in half by the M42, with one end still in existence and the other sold to a private buyer who sealed it off.
Before this it was a regular walk with my Mum to go down Pestilence Lane past the pit. It was always a bit creepy around there, and many claimed to have seen ghosts.
I myself once saw what looked like the figure of a woman in that area in a headscarf and olde fashionede dress. But then we also once saw a totally naked (and shaved!!) man lay on his back in a field around there, and ran back home for my Mom to report it to the Police!
This was probably not plague related.
I can remember a few times standing in the field where the pit was believed to be. It was a sloped field and the large dip clearly visible in the grass.
The last time I went there was after the lane had been sold, and I may have accidentally and without knowing climbed over a barbed-wire bedecked fence, using the Keep Out sign to get over it. The land owners did catch me and gave me a rollocking, but, you know – ramblers rights and all that!
Before they caught me I did stand in the field overlooking the pit again, and if I am correct, the pit was still there and still visible. The motorway must have just clipped one edge of the pit, but it not where the services are built.
I did try to find some ariel views of the plans of the services as well as anything marking the location of the pit, but couldn’t find anything, so can’t confirm this for definite, other than what I’ve seen.
So, yeah – not only did I spend my formative years living and sleeping literally next to a graveyard, but there was a real life plague pit a short walk away.
All perfectly normal.
All perfectly weird.