MEET “Skeleton number 116”.

Sadly, she does not have a name. But what we do know is that she lived in York 700 years or more ago; she was 46 when she died – and she had leprosy.

The woman was one of a number of skeletons unearthed during an archaeological dig in the churchyard of what was once St Stephen’s, in Dixon’s Yard off Walmgate, a few years ago.

Her leprosy would have been very noticeable in her life – her nose would have been infected, and her hands crippled.

In the Middle Ages, lepers were often shunned.

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions with the York Archaeological Trust, said: “They were thought to have the disease because they were being punished by God”. The disease was also thought to be highly infectious.

There is no indication that this woman was confined to one of the four leper hospitals in medieval York, however.

She was buried in a normal cemetery. “That suggests she was accepted by her community, or perhaps she was just misdiagnosed,” says osteoarchaeologist Malin Holst, who has been studying the skeleton.

The woman’s bones reveal she also had other medical conditions. These included osteoarthritis; a distortion of her right shoulder blade – and spinal injuries.

“They could have been caused by a fall from a height, landing on her feet or bottom,” says Malin.

From Easter weekend, visitors will be able to see this extraordinary skeleton for themselves.

She will be the centrepiece of a new exhibition – Plague, Poverty And Prayer – at Barley Hall.

Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories, will officially launch the exhibition in York next week.

He will lead a parade of children dressed as plague victims – and a plague doctor – from Barley Hall to the Guildhall next Thursday morning.

The exhibition will include figures dressed in costumes from the Horrible Histories TV series, as well as interactive displays of medieval medicines and remedies.

They include toothache remedies, such as “hang the beak of a magpie around your neck”. “That works every time!” says Sarah.

As to the skeleton itself: there is no danger of catching leprosy or any other dreadful medieval disease from it, says Malin Holst.

“The bacteria does not survive in the ground”, she says.

Now that’s a relief.