Plagues and Famines of England
1313 – 1666
Over the centuries England has seen it’s fare share of Plagues and Famines killing many in it’s wake. Tell tale signs of these events can still be seen today, especially in London where some church grounds are set much higher then the road, due to the sheer volume of people buried during these periods.
These Historical events often coincide with our families history, and many of us can trace our lineage to an event in time.
Parish records generally do not list how somebody has died, although there is an exception to this rule, I have seen that some parishes have taken the time to list exceptional stories, like drowning’s, abandoned babies, strange deaths and so on.
Sadly this is not the case for most deaths by plague or famine (there were just to many of them).
Even so, we can still take these dates into consideration whilst researching our English ancestors, if we find a death/s in our family during one of these events it’s very likely they are associated. Have a close look at the parish burials and see if there was a sharp increase in deaths during such event, they often double or at times treble and more.
Even if you have no deaths in your family linked to an event, you might be able to see how these events effected the parish where your ancestor lived. It may just add a little more depth to your research and tree especially during a period which would usually only yield a record for a baptism, marriage and burial.
1313 – England
Wet period/Famine – causing 1313-20 crops to fail
1348 – England/Europe
Cold/wet summers/Plague – Plague devastates Europe; 1,224,434 die –
1349 – England/Europe
Starvation precedes Plague – Plague kills 1/3-1/2 English
1351 – England
1371 – England
Plague outbreak – Milder than previous events
1407 – England
Plague – Thirty Thousands die/food abundant/fewer people
1485 – England/London
1st Sweating Sickness – Closes Oxford/decimates army/London
1499/1500 – England/London
Plague outbreak – Thirty Thousands die/2 yrs.
1507 – England
2nd Sweating Sickness –
1518 – England
3rd Sweating Sickness – 3rd siege reaches Calais/Kills only English
1521 – England
The Great Pestilence or The Great Death
1529 – England/London/Europe
4th Sweating Sickness – Episode virulent – 100,000 die
1551 – England/London
5th Sweating Sickness
1555 – England
Famine – Green peas eaten before drying
1563 – England
Famine/pestilence – c20,000 die
1563 – England/Europe
final episode Sweating Sickness – 17 of 66 thousand killed
1595 – England
Crops fail – Food prices rise sharply
1617 – England/London
1625 – England/London
Black Death – 41,000 of 63,000 deaths
1636 – England/London
Black Death – 10,000 die
1641 – England/London
Plague – 30,000 die
1664-66 – England/London
Last Black Death due to London Fire, reorganization of city – Over 100,000 die/Red Cross centres open