English Life and Manners in the Later Middle Ages

By A. Abram | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
PUBLIC HEALTH

IN the Middle Ages men were threatened by dangers of which we, happily, have no experience. Bubo-plague, like the Black Death, and other pestilences frequently attacked them: there were five great epidemics, besides some smaller ones, in the second half of the fourteenth century, and many outbreaks of plague in the course of the fifteenth. It did not always, especially during the last forty years of the period, spread over the whole country at once, but showed itself in different localities at different times, and the towns suffered more than the rural districts. It very often "reigned" in London: in 1433, 1444, 1449, 1467-8, and 1474, Parliament was prorogued on account of it. In 1408 it was so bad that the Court of Husting was closed, and in 1434 and 1487 the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas were obliged to suspend their sittings. The Chroniclers record large numbers of deaths--thirty thousand persons died in London in 1407, according to the St. Alban's annalist. In private letters we also find dismal accounts of the plague and of the terror it inspired-- "we lewyn in fer," writes Margaret Paston, in 1471, but we wut not qweder to fle, for to be better than we

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English Life and Manners in the Later Middle Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xiii
  • Abbreviations Used in the References xv
  • Chapter I- Social Classes 1
  • Chapter II- Life Amongst the Aristocracy 9
  • Chapter III- Characteristics of Town Life 18
  • Chapter IV- The Position of Women 31
  • Chapter V- The Church and the Nation 46
  • Chapter VI- Some Aspects of Monastic Life 62
  • Chapter VII- Business Life 80
  • Chapter VIII- The Unemployed 95
  • Chapter IX- Aliens in England 103
  • Chapter X- Family Life 113
  • Chapter XI- "Mete and Drinke" 134
  • Chapter XII- The Mirror of Fashion 152
  • Chapter XIII- Houses 173
  • Chapter XIV- Public Health 190
  • Chapter XV- Education 204
  • Chapter XVI- Amusements 230
  • Chapter XVII- Travelling 248
  • Chapter XVIII- National Character 260
  • Appendix Authorities 284
  • Index 337
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