The Great Plague 1665

'The most fearsome visitation that any man remembered, to fill the graveyards with dead and turn even the living into haggard ghostlike creatures who hurried…
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London’s Dreadful Visitation: ‘The watchman that attends the house of sorrow, he may attend upon thy house tomorrow...’ as sickness and death ‘came with axe and spade...' The Great Plague 1665 - one haunting year in the City of London. England, London, Haunting, Plague, Medieval, Death, Sorrow, Axe, Greats
London’s Dreadful Visitation: ‘The watchman that attends the house of sorrow, he may attend upon thy house tomorrow...’ as sickness and death ‘came with axe and spade...' The Great Plague 1665 - one haunting year in the City of London.
Order to the Clergy of London concerning the King’s command by Humphrey Henchman (1592-1675) Bishop of London, 1665. To 'require all Ministers of Parishes' in the City and those 'in the Bills of Mortality, to publish' in their own Churches, that Wednesday 12th July be observed as a day of fasting in all Parishes, spent in the Public 'Worship of God' by 'Prayer, Repentance and Works of Charity' the 'people of this Kingdom may be prepared' to prevent this 'pestilence from the land.' God, People, Public, Clergy, Humphrey, 12th July, Repentance, House Of Stuart
Order to the Clergy of London concerning the King’s command by Humphrey Henchman (1592-1675) Bishop of London, 1665. To 'require all Ministers of Parishes' in the City and those 'in the Bills of Mortality, to publish' in their own Churches, that Wednesday 12th July be observed as a day of fasting in all Parishes, spent in the Public 'Worship of God' by 'Prayer, Repentance and Works of Charity' the 'people of this Kingdom may be prepared' to prevent this 'pestilence from the land.'
Londons Remembrancer: A true account of every particular weeks, Christenings and Mortality in all the years of Pestilence. Taken out of the Register of the Company of Parish Clerks of London, with observations, published for satisfaction and prevention of false papers, by John Bell, Clerk to the Company of Parish Clerks. In 1665, John Bell described that the Bills of Mortality was ‘of very great use and necessity’ as it provided ‘a general notice of the plague’ and places infected. History, Old London, British Literature, 17th Century, London History, Necessity, Bills, Social Security Card
Londons Remembrancer: A true account of every particular weeks, Christenings and Mortality in all the years of Pestilence. Taken out of the Register of the Company of Parish Clerks of London, with observations, published for satisfaction and prevention of false papers, by John Bell, Clerk to the Company of Parish Clerks. In 1665, John Bell described that the Bills of Mortality was ‘of very great use and necessity’ as it provided ‘a general notice of the plague’ and places infected.
The Bills of Mortality: Beginning the 27th December 1664 and ending the 19th December 1665. The registration of the Great Plague was the greatest task the Parish Clerks faced in all their long history. The Company of Parish Clerks called the Great Plague ‘London’s Dreadful  Visitation.’  The Bills of Mortality helped people in the 17th century to understand the geography of the city, the spread of disease and the process of time. English, Medical History, Ephemera, Medicine
The Bills of Mortality: Beginning the 27th December 1664 and ending the 19th December 1665. The registration of the Great Plague was the greatest task the Parish Clerks faced in all their long history. The Company of Parish Clerks called the Great Plague ‘London’s Dreadful Visitation.’ The Bills of Mortality helped people in the 17th century to understand the geography of the city, the spread of disease and the process of time.
Selected pages from London's Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 21st March to the 28th March 1665, 0 Plague deaths. Art, Writing, March, Objects, Safety
Selected pages from London's Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 21st March to the 28th March 1665, 0 Plague deaths.
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful  Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 4th July 1665, 725 plague deaths. Disease, Interesting Stuff, William Harvey, Access, Library Catalog
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 4th July 1665, 725 plague deaths.
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful  Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 11th July 1665, 1089 plague deaths.
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 11th July 1665, 1089 plague deaths.
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful  Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 15th August 1665, 4237 plague deaths. Genealogy, Turn Ons, The Selection, August
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 15th August 1665, 4237 plague deaths.
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful  Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 22nd August 1665, 6102 plague deaths. Books, Middle Ages
Selected pages from London’s Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality: the week beginning the 22nd August 1665, 6102 plague deaths.
The highest number of plague deaths recorded in one week was that for 12th September to the 19th September, with a total of 7165. From London’s Dreadful  Visitation, the Bills of Mortality, 1665. To access the library catalogue, click on the image and then the link below.
The highest number of plague deaths recorded in one week was that for 12th September to the 19th September, with a total of 7165. From London’s Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality, 1665. To access the library catalogue, click on the image and then the link below.
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A general Bill ending the 19th December 1665 according to the report made to the Kings most excellent majesty, by the Company of Parish Clerks, London and the diseases and casualties this year. The total number of plague deaths recorded – 68,596. Although, not all deaths were recorded or misdiagonised therefore it is estimated that there was a total of 100,000 plague deaths. Buried total: 97,306 (Males: 48,569 and Females: 48,737) London, 1665. British, Antiquities, Clerks, King Charles, Report
A general Bill ending the 19th December 1665 according to the report made to the Kings most excellent majesty, by the Company of Parish Clerks, London and the diseases and casualties this year. The total number of plague deaths recorded – 68,596. Although, not all deaths were recorded or misdiagonised therefore it is estimated that there was a total of 100,000 plague deaths. Buried total: 97,306 (Males: 48,569 and Females: 48,737) London, 1665.
London’s Dreadful  Visitation, the Bills of Mortality. The Parish Clerks recorded and published the number of people that died each week. Above is a simple line graph which illustrates the increase and decrease in plague deaths in 1665. Starting from the 21st March 1665 and ending the week beginning the 12th December 1665. Died, Graphing, Fire, Line Graphs
London’s Dreadful Visitation, the Bills of Mortality. The Parish Clerks recorded and published the number of people that died each week. Above is a simple line graph which illustrates the increase and decrease in plague deaths in 1665. Starting from the 21st March 1665 and ending the week beginning the 12th December 1665.
Images: the black rat and a rat flea - It was unrecognised in 1665 that these were the carriers of the plague.  In humans the symptoms included fever, stomach-ache and vomiting. Swellings appeared in the groin, armpits, behind the ear and under the chin. But the measures introduced to prevent the plague, like the sniffing of vinegar and the  chewing of tobacco, did not, of course, tackle the source of infection - the rat and its fleas. Bugs And Insects, Bugs, Black Rat, Plague Doctor, Fleas, Swellings
Images: the black rat and a rat flea - It was unrecognised in 1665 that these were the carriers of the plague. In humans the symptoms included fever, stomach-ache and vomiting. Swellings appeared in the groin, armpits, behind the ear and under the chin. But the measures introduced to prevent the plague, like the sniffing of vinegar and the chewing of tobacco, did not, of course, tackle the source of infection - the rat and its fleas.
Some in the past have connected the nursery rhyme 'Ring a Roses' to the plague. Rev.John Allin, an eyewitness described the symptoms as ‘generally circled about with red or blue circles' - the ring of roses. Nurses would carry posy of flowers/herbs to ward off infection. The ‘Tishoo, tishoo’ might be the sound of sneezing that could have spread the plague from person to person. ‘We all fall down’ could refer to the sudden death seen in some plague victims. Roses, Rhymes, All Falls Down, Ring, Dead, Harvey, Sound
Some in the past have connected the nursery rhyme 'Ring a Roses' to the plague. Rev.John Allin, an eyewitness described the symptoms as ‘generally circled about with red or blue circles' - the ring of roses. Nurses would carry posy of flowers/herbs to ward off infection. The ‘Tishoo, tishoo’ might be the sound of sneezing that could have spread the plague from person to person. ‘We all fall down’ could refer to the sudden death seen in some plague victims.
"Gracechurch Street, when it raged its worst. A house shut up, a saddler, his wife and their last surviving child imprisoned. They witnessed their family of children carried off in the dead-cart. The couple could not escape. From a window they lowered the naked child into the arms of a friend waiting in the street. Having put the little one in fresh new clothes, the child was safely taken to Greenwich. 'Rescued from the plague.' Artist, Frank Topham, 1898. Guildhall Art Gallery collection." Vintage, Painting & Drawing, Victoria, Old Art, Artist, Art Reproductions, Photographic Prints
"Gracechurch Street, when it raged its worst. A house shut up, a saddler, his wife and their last surviving child imprisoned. They witnessed their family of children carried off in the dead-cart. The couple could not escape. From a window they lowered the naked child into the arms of a friend waiting in the street. Having put the little one in fresh new clothes, the child was safely taken to Greenwich. 'Rescued from the plague.' Artist, Frank Topham, 1898. Guildhall Art Gallery collection."
A view of plague victims in London during the outbreak. Plague sufferers were known to run ‘wildly about in the streets before collapsing ignorant of their condition or where they were...’ There were ‘prayers for the dying’ whilst ‘others stood crying and roaring at their windows...’ As a result, people were ‘filled with gloom and fear for the future...’ Image titled ‘The Plague of London 1665.’ Artist, Robert Smirke. Engraving by A.Smith, 1810. Windows, Great Plague Of London, Fear, Wildlife Conservation, Creatures
A view of plague victims in London during the outbreak. Plague sufferers were known to run ‘wildly about in the streets before collapsing ignorant of their condition or where they were...’ There were ‘prayers for the dying’ whilst ‘others stood crying and roaring at their windows...’ As a result, people were ‘filled with gloom and fear for the future...’ Image titled ‘The Plague of London 1665.’ Artist, Robert Smirke. Engraving by A.Smith, 1810.
‘The Burial pits had become huge hummocks of the dead.’ This image illustrates a ‘view of the manner of burying the dead bodies at Holy-well Mount during the dreadful plague in 1665.’  ‘Engraved for Chamberlains History of London.’ Artist, S.Wale. Engraving by Charles Grignion, 1750. History Of England, Historic England, London Artist
‘The Burial pits had become huge hummocks of the dead.’ This image illustrates a ‘view of the manner of burying the dead bodies at Holy-well Mount during the dreadful plague in 1665.’ ‘Engraved for Chamberlains History of London.’ Artist, S.Wale. Engraving by Charles Grignion, 1750.
Plague victims were shut in their homes because people feared that they might also catch the disease. A cross was painted in red on the wooden door with the prayer: 'Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.' In London, Samuel Pepys, (1633-1703) witnessed the ‘houses marked with the sign of plague upon the doors; a crude red cross daubed on the dirty woodwork’ he wrote in his diary; ‘Lord! the number of houses visited…by Long Lane and London Wall.’ 1665. Lord, Red Cross, Cross, Marked, Sign, Mercy
Plague victims were shut in their homes because people feared that they might also catch the disease. A cross was painted in red on the wooden door with the prayer: 'Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.' In London, Samuel Pepys, (1633-1703) witnessed the ‘houses marked with the sign of plague upon the doors; a crude red cross daubed on the dirty woodwork’ he wrote in his diary; ‘Lord! the number of houses visited…by Long Lane and London Wall.’ 1665.
‘Certain approved Medicines for the Plague, both to prevent that contagion, and to expel it after it be taken’ in 'this present visitation, 1665.’ - ‘A cheap Medicine to keep from infection. Take a pint of new milk and cut two cloves of Garlick very small, put it in the milk and drink it in the mornings’ to prevent from infection. From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.’ Bubonic Plague, Medieval Period, Benjamin Zephaniah
‘Certain approved Medicines for the Plague, both to prevent that contagion, and to expel it after it be taken’ in 'this present visitation, 1665.’ - ‘A cheap Medicine to keep from infection. Take a pint of new milk and cut two cloves of Garlick very small, put it in the milk and drink it in the mornings’ to prevent from infection. From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.’
'An Ale Posset Drink' - ‘drunk often, removes the Infection’ from the heart. From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.’ 1665. Ale, Drunk, Drink, Beverages, Apothecary
'An Ale Posset Drink' - ‘drunk often, removes the Infection’ from the heart. From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.’ 1665.
An approved remedy against the plague – 'Take a sprig of rue, shred it and put it in a figg or two and eat it every morning fasting’ - it was believed that it kept ‘the Body from Infection’ and purified the blood. From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.’ 1665. Halloween, Herbs, Remedies, Blood, Doctor
An approved remedy against the plague – 'Take a sprig of rue, shred it and put it in a figg or two and eat it every morning fasting’ - it was believed that it kept ‘the Body from Infection’ and purified the blood. From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us.’ 1665.
Rich or poor 'if God says strike, he must and will come in' the door. Death did shock all, 'but more the guilt of sin' which made people 'fearful of that punishment.' - 'God’s Judgements.' To prevent the plague, a red cross was used to demonstrate that Christians lived in the infected houses; 'And Lord Have Mercy on us on the door, put in mind, to pray for them.' However, sickness and death 'came with axe and spade.' The plague 'is not yet removed.'  From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us’ 1665. Christians, Christianity, Saviour, Pray
Rich or poor 'if God says strike, he must and will come in' the door. Death did shock all, 'but more the guilt of sin' which made people 'fearful of that punishment.' - 'God’s Judgements.' To prevent the plague, a red cross was used to demonstrate that Christians lived in the infected houses; 'And Lord Have Mercy on us on the door, put in mind, to pray for them.' However, sickness and death 'came with axe and spade.' The plague 'is not yet removed.' From ‘London's Lord Have Mercy Upon Us’ 1665.
Gods Terrible Voice in the City by Thomas Vincent, clergyman (1634-1678). The sermon explains the plague was a punishment from God. The infection, a dreadful judgement was ‘inflicted by the Lord upon the City of London' because of 'a catalogue of London’s sins.'  The plague spread 'a strange kind of venom in the body.' It indeed 'made little discrimination between the bodies of the righteous, and the bodies of the wicked.' As a result, the infection killed 'without mercy.' Printed in 1667. Wicked, Venom, Sermon, Judgement, Sins, The Voice
Gods Terrible Voice in the City by Thomas Vincent, clergyman (1634-1678). The sermon explains the plague was a punishment from God. The infection, a dreadful judgement was ‘inflicted by the Lord upon the City of London' because of 'a catalogue of London’s sins.' The plague spread 'a strange kind of venom in the body.' It indeed 'made little discrimination between the bodies of the righteous, and the bodies of the wicked.' As a result, the infection killed 'without mercy.' Printed in 1667.
Remedies against the infection of the plague, by John Belson (1625-1704). From the Bills of Mortality 1602-1666. London, 1665. Infections, The Taken
Remedies against the infection of the plague, by John Belson (1625-1704). From the Bills of Mortality 1602-1666. London, 1665.
Remedies and rules against the infection. Includes: The little bag, celestial water, fume and tincture. To ‘drive away the infected air' in houses 'which are not infected, you shall use of the incense' burnt in a dish 'every morning and evening in all the Chambers, Parlours, and Shops.' People were advised to  keep doors and windows shut 'during the burning of the incense.' John Belson, the Bills of Mortality 1602-1666. London, 1665. Rules, Dish
Remedies and rules against the infection. Includes: The little bag, celestial water, fume and tincture. To ‘drive away the infected air' in houses 'which are not infected, you shall use of the incense' burnt in a dish 'every morning and evening in all the Chambers, Parlours, and Shops.' People were advised to keep doors and windows shut 'during the burning of the incense.' John Belson, the Bills of Mortality 1602-1666. London, 1665.
Remedies: The virtues wearing a small perfumed bag  about the neck and falling upon the heart or stomach to prevent the infection were extolled. It was also advised to take celestial water every morning 'as if you had squeezed in the juice of a lemon, you are to let it drop by drop, stirring it.'  Take if 'troubled with headache or vomiting,' 'a drowsy inclination of sleep,' or 'any appearance of swellings.' John Belson, the Bills of Mortality, 1602-1666. London, 1665. Headache, Prevention, Let It Be, Take That, Stomach
Remedies: The virtues wearing a small perfumed bag about the neck and falling upon the heart or stomach to prevent the infection were extolled. It was also advised to take celestial water every morning 'as if you had squeezed in the juice of a lemon, you are to let it drop by drop, stirring it.' Take if 'troubled with headache or vomiting,' 'a drowsy inclination of sleep,' or 'any appearance of swellings.' John Belson, the Bills of Mortality, 1602-1666. London, 1665.
Advice for the Poor: cure and caution: As soon as they found themselves ill or infected they were advised to immediately vomit with a large mouthful of ‘warm water with two or three spoonful's of salt dissolved in it, using the finger or feather, dipped in oil to provoke it.' Within one quarter of an hour after, 'go into warm bed' with 'two or three penny-worth' of treacle 'dissolved in five or six spoonful of warm vinegar.' Dr Thomas Cocke, the Bills of Mortality 1602-1666. London, 1665. Health, Vinegar, Vomit, Poor, Cure, Hour
Advice for the Poor: cure and caution: As soon as they found themselves ill or infected they were advised to immediately vomit with a large mouthful of ‘warm water with two or three spoonful's of salt dissolved in it, using the finger or feather, dipped in oil to provoke it.' Within one quarter of an hour after, 'go into warm bed' with 'two or three penny-worth' of treacle 'dissolved in five or six spoonful of warm vinegar.' Dr Thomas Cocke, the Bills of Mortality 1602-1666. London, 1665.
Cure: 'Let them drink freely hot posset drink, or Mace Ale, a little Rosemary and Sage boiled in it' - 'drink no other drink for two or three days nor any cold drink for four or five days.' - 'After the sweat is over, and the body well dried with warm clothes, they must wash their mouth and hands with warm water and vinegar' and 'they may refresh themselves' with food such as; Mutton Broth, Water-gruel with a sprig of Rosemary, Mint or Thyme in it. After 'they may go to sleep.' Dr Thomas Cocke. Drinking, Ideas, Juices, Thyme, Rosemary Mint, Broth, Drinks
Cure: 'Let them drink freely hot posset drink, or Mace Ale, a little Rosemary and Sage boiled in it' - 'drink no other drink for two or three days nor any cold drink for four or five days.' - 'After the sweat is over, and the body well dried with warm clothes, they must wash their mouth and hands with warm water and vinegar' and 'they may refresh themselves' with food such as; Mutton Broth, Water-gruel with a sprig of Rosemary, Mint or Thyme in it. After 'they may go to sleep.' Dr Thomas Cocke.
Caution: This paper was published for public benefit. For hot and dry medicines 'to prevent the plague is to prevent fever' with 'his majesties great care of his people.' It was advised to wash hands and mouth 'frequently with vinegar and water' and consume a 'lozenge, which being dissolved in the mouth and let down into the stomach they resist the attraction of malignancy' and 'strengthening the lungs, and wonderfully affiliating the heart to resist sudden death.' Dr Thomas Cocke, 1665. Dentistry, Vinegar And Water
Caution: This paper was published for public benefit. For hot and dry medicines 'to prevent the plague is to prevent fever' with 'his majesties great care of his people.' It was advised to wash hands and mouth 'frequently with vinegar and water' and consume a 'lozenge, which being dissolved in the mouth and let down into the stomach they resist the attraction of malignancy' and 'strengthening the lungs, and wonderfully affiliating the heart to resist sudden death.' Dr Thomas Cocke, 1665.
George Monck, Duke of Albemarle and the Earl of Craven promoted 'anything that may tend to the health's' of 'his majesties subjects.' Poorer families were particularly supported. People were encouraged to give 'their Parish Clerks 2d for each paper.' The Clerk wrote names of 'such persons contributions' and gave the money received to their Church Wardens to hand it to the poor in their Parishes. General Bills of Mortality for Seventy three years past,1665. 2d, Poor Family, George, Families
George Monck, Duke of Albemarle and the Earl of Craven promoted 'anything that may tend to the health's' of 'his majesties subjects.' Poorer families were particularly supported. People were encouraged to give 'their Parish Clerks 2d for each paper.' The Clerk wrote names of 'such persons contributions' and gave the money received to their Church Wardens to hand it to the poor in their Parishes. General Bills of Mortality for Seventy three years past,1665.