Black Death

The people die so, that now it seems they are fain to carry the dead to be buried by daylight, the nights not sufficing to do it in. And my Lord Mayor commands people to be inside by nine at night that the sick may leave their domestic prison for air and exercise - Samuel Pepys 1633 - 1703

Black Death

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Black Death: The lasting impact


Contemporaries were horrified by the onset of the plague in the wet summer of 1348: within weeks of midsummer people were dying in unprecedented large numbers. Ralph Higden of Chester, the best known contemporary chronicler thought 'scarcely a tenth of mankind was left alive'. His analysis of the scale of the mortality is repeated by other commentators. The phrase 'there were hardly enough living to care for the sick and bury the dead' is repeated in various sources including a chronicle compiled at St Mary's Abbey, York.

The Malmesbury monk, writing in Wiltshire, reckoned that 'over England as a whole a fifth of men, women and children were carried to the grave'. The…

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Last Updated : Wednesday, July 24, 2019