The Cleansing of Germany

17th century accounts of a devastated Germany are incompatible with religious war and the technology available to humans. Sat 16 April 2022

Skull found at Narborough bone mill, Norfolk. Source

From Narborough Bone Mill website, Norfolk, England:

One of the most fascinating finds has been the frontal bone of a human skull. It has always been suggested that human bones from Germany were used at the mill but there was speculation about whether this was really true. This find suggests human bones were used.

From New visitor centre sheds light on one of grisliest episodes in Norfolk’s history, Eastern Daily Press, 2016-05-01:

At one time the mill is believed to have processed human remains after bones were imported from German graveyards.

While it had always been a rumour that human bones had been ground at the Narborough Bone Mill it was not confirmed.

However, part of a skull found at the site suggests this may well be true and it is one of the items displayed in the centre.

From History of the Bone Mill:

it was said at the time that "one ton of German bone-dust saves the importation of ten tons of German corn" 1

From Prodigies and Apparitions, or, England's Warning-Pieces,, John Vicars, 1643, pp 8-9:

...Germanies succeeding miserie, still fresh in the memory of many yet living; who have been both eye and eare witnesses of the manifold and most lamentable distresses and destructions which have befallen; and, even to this day, lye still very heavy on that (once) most famous and flourishing Eden of the whole Christian world, now, made a desolate desart, and bare and barren wildernesse.

From Deserted Medieval Landscape near Pier in the Northern Rhineland:

During the religious wars in the 16th and 17th centuries the landscape was ravaged until finally plague hit.

From Roman Mystery in Elsbach Lignite Pit, Louis Hissink:

The Romans did not bury this aqueduct as is commonly believed. Instead this aqueduct was engulfed in a massive deposit of sediments and lignite.

Eastern England's bone mills have largely disappeared. Oddly, very few records of them - and of their operations - remain.

Narborough Bone Mill - and other bone mills, such as the mill at nearby Spalding - are thought to have been built early in the 19th century.

Something appears to have:

  • Burned and felled trees.
  • Covered earlier settlements with sand.
  • Created many German bodies prior to the early 19th Century.

German records of extreme weather events have been destroyed. We know this because Austrian historian Katrin Pfeifer traced the loss of 17th century Hapsburg Empire weather records. In Reporting On Historical Severe Storms: Two Examples of Utrecht (1674) and Abtenau (1796), she wrote:

Data on severe storms in Early Modern Times (1600–1800 AD) are sparse... Many historical sources were destroyed: at the beginning of the Second World War all weather notes of the Central Meteorological Institute (ZAMG) of Vienna were transferred to Berlin, because the institute got affiliated to the German ministry of aviation. A fire destroyed most sources on April 7, 1945, and only the material from 1936 onwards could be saved.

Only piecemeal reconstruction of 17th century events by Pfeifer, among others, hints at how England's bone mills acquired their raw material:

The 17th century devastated Germany more than World War II. Source: Geoffrey Parker - Arcade 2

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  1. Bones of dead soldiers from the 1815 battle of Waterloo, Belgium, were also imported via Hull, England. Approximately 17,000 skeletons were ground for fertiliser according to Waterloo Uncovered: The Human Cost of Battle and The Bones Of Waterloo

  2. Based on Geoffrey Parker's 2008 paper Crisis and Catastrophe: The Global Crisis of the Seventeenth Century Reconsidered in The American Historical Review, Volume 113, Issue 4. 

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