Plague

posted in: Plague, Titchfield | 0

We are mercifully unaccustomed to plagues or epidemics, but our ancestors lived with the fact that disease would break out from time to time and take many lives. They called it the Plague.

in the 16th and 17th centuries there were several serious outbreaks in London recorded in the years 1592, 1603, 1625, 1636 and the Great Plague of 1665. The response of the authorities was to close the theatres and those who could, like the earls of Southampton, got out of London.

The earl of Southampton had a salubrious bolt hole in Titchfield and we know he was here in 1592 and 1593. It has also been proposed that Shakespeare came to live in Titchfield during that year the theatres closed. That is speculation of course. King Charles I and his wife spent five weeks in Titchfield in the plague year of 1625.

Although it might seem inevitable that the plague would have been carried from London to Titchfield, this may not have been so.  I have looked at the Parish registers for those particular years.There is not much to be gleaned. If anything, they tell us that Titchfield was safe from the plague in this years. The burial patterns are normal and there is not a rash of burials that would suggest that there had been an epidemic.

Retreat to the country during the summer months seems to have been a sound policy for those who could afford to do so. 40,000 Londoners died in 1625, about 10% of the population. The 1665 outbreak was even worse.

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