Plague in Britain
- By: Steve Ainsworth
According to a papal census 31% of the European population (23 840 000) died from bubonic and pneumonic plague between 1348 and 1351.
In popular history the Great Fire of London in 1666 was immediately preceded by the final British outbreak of plague. But that was not the end of the story. The last British plague epidemic occurred as recently as 1910.
This epidemic centred on Latimer Cottages at Freston near Ipswich. Between 13 and 29 September 1910 there were four fatalities: Annie Goodall, who was soon followed by her mother, Frances Chapman; then a neighbour, a Mrs Parker, who lived at nearby Turkey Cottage; and lastly George Chapman.
Tests quickly established that hares, rabbits, and rats in the area were carrying plague. Twenty rat catchers were employed; in Felixstowe a rat cart reportedly collected up to 8000 dead rats in a day, all of which had died of plague--other