Black Death

By: Shahzan Mian

The story of the plague

You might be wondering what the black death is well it was the devastating plague that peaked in Europe from 1348 to 1350. The plague is flea-borne so it is transmitted by fleas. It was transported by ground rodents, including marmots. The plague is bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic. So since it is a bubonic plague the symptoms include buboes(big bumps) in the groin and armpits, which ooze pus and blood. A person with the plague lasts about 4 to 7 days. It is very harmful to us because it can spread very quickly, can be transported by rats, and it can kill us. It is curable as long it is caught early. Plague stripped villages, cities, castles and towns of their inhabitants so thoroughly that there was scarcely anyone left alive in them. The pestilence was so contagious that those who touched the dead or the sick were immediately affected themselves and died, so that the penitent and confessor were carried together to the grave. Eventually, the plague reduced the world's population from an estimated 450 million to some where between 350 to 375 million. This topic is important to the community, science, and me because if it happened again we would know what it is, how it is transmitted, and how to cure it.

The Path of the Plague

It hit London in September 1348, and spread into East Anglia all along the coast early during the new year. By spring 1349, it was ravaging Wales and the Midlands, and by late summer, it had made the leap across the Irish Sea and had penetrated the north. Bristol was the first major British city that was affected by the plague. The plague flourished in the foul conditions of that time.After spreading in England the plague reached Durham and Scotland.Then it goes from there to Whales then to Ireland.It is difficult to assess the affect of the plague in Ireland, because of the scarcity of manorial records and other sources. However, it is from Ireland that we get perhaps the most poignant testimony to the effect of the plague.

Quotes of Black Death

We see death coming into our midst like black smoke, a plague which cuts off the young, a rootless phantom which has no mercy or fair countenance. Woe is me of the shilling in the arm-pit; it is seething, terrible, wherever it may come, a head that gives pain and causes a loud cry, a burden carried under the arms, a painful angry knob, a white lump. It is of the form of an apple, like the head of an onion, a small boil that spares no-one. Great is its seething, like a burning cinder, a grievous thing of an ashy colour. It is an ugly eruption that comes with unseemly haste. It is a grievous ornament that breaks out in a rash. The early ornaments of black death.'

Jeuan Gethin died in March or April 1349.

'Sometimes it came by road, passing from village to village, sometimes by river, as in the East Midlands, or by ship, from the Low Countries or from other infected areas. On the vills of the bishop of Worcester's estates in the West Midlands, they (the death rates) ranged between 19 per cent of manorial tenants at Hartlebury and Hanbury to no less than 80 per cent at Aston.... It is very difficult for us to imagine the impact of plague on these small rural communities, where a village might have no more than 400 or 500 inhabitants. Few settlements were totally depopulated, but in most others whole families must have been wiped out, and few can have been spared some loss, since the plague killed indiscriminately, striking at rich and poor alike.'