Plague in Elizabethan and Stuart London: the Dutch response
Grell, Ole Peter
Medical History, 34, (1990)
Plague was, without doubt, the most devastating disease that could hit an urban community in the early modern period. It was a regular visitor to London for three centuries from the Black Death of 1348 until its last outbreak in 1665. Its most terrifying impact was obviously felt when major epidemics occurred in the City-as they did in 1563, 1593, 1603, 1625, 1636, and finalyin 1665. Nearly a quarter of London’s inhabitants died in 1563 and more than 80,000 in the last epidemic in the metropolis in 1665-almost 20 per cent of the City’s population.
Apart from these major out breaks, plague persisted in London during most of the intervening years in a milder, more endemic form. Between 1563 and 1665-the first period for which we have reasonable data, thanks to the Bils of Mortality, it was only absent from the City from 1616 to 1624 and again from 1650 to 1664.