“The Mortality is less this week” (Samuel Pepys, 1665)

Lord have mercy on London (1665) croppedOctober 5th –  On this day in 1665, exactly three hundred and fifty years ago, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“The Bill [of Mortality], blessed be God! is less this week by 740 of what is was the last”.

The “Great Plague” was finally past its peak, although it had still not yet run its entire course.   It eventually killed at least 70,000 people in London, and possibly as many as 100,000 – far more than the “Black Death” of 1348-9, although far fewer in proportion to the overall population.  The “Bills of Mortality” show that of the 70,000 recorded Plague deaths, only 10,000 were in the 97 parishes within the walls of the City  – possibly because a significant proportion  of those inhabitants who could afford to do so had fled to the country.  The remaining 60,000  Plague deaths were in the 16 parishes without the walls, the 5 in Westminster, and the 12 in Middlesex and Surrey.  Stepney was the worst affected, with 6,500 deaths.

Lord have mercy on London (1665) cropped2The Parish Clerks’ “Bills of Mortality” for the Plague Year of 1665 are examined at  the church of All Hallows Staining on our “London Wall” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London”, “Tudor and Stuart City highlights” and “Lost City highlights” themed specials.  The bulk of the church collapsed in 1671, the foundations undermined by plague burials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

Lord have mercy on London (1665)

Lord have mercy on London (1665)

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