The Gisburn Village Prostitute

Someone recently told me I was a respectable, pillar of the community. Intrigued, I asked why. They pointed out I was a church minister, JP and some-time office holder within a mainstream political party. I reflected on this, and took it in the complimentary way it had been intended.

My however-many-great grandmother, Margaret Danser, however, was anything but. Living in Gisburn in the 1640s and 50s, she’d had four children to at least three different fathers. Illegitimate kids were reasonably common back then, but Margaret’s record made her exceptional even by the standards of her day; this was over a 15 year period, and the men in question were all from some distance away. One researcher has suggested she possibly supplemented her meagre income by offering ‘favours’ to men who came to the markets at Gisburn. Of course, little can be proved, but I can’t rule out being descended from the local village prostitute (I’m not aware if this role is currently filled).

So however ‘respectable’ we may appear in 2015, we are probably all descended from folk whose morals are dubious and circumstances questionable. If you know your Bible though, you already knew this. We are descended from Adam. Though made perfect by God, his rebellion in Eden corrupted both him and his descendants. Deep down within us all is the spirit of rebellion, pride, greed, bitterness, hatred etc.

Thankfully, God sent to Earth a second Adam to un-do the work of the first. Being one of His followers hardly makes one respectable. But being forgiven by God is better than being respected by humans.