BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    The response to plague and the poor in the suburban parishes of early modern London c. 1600-1650

    Columbus, Aaron (2021) The response to plague and the poor in the suburban parishes of early modern London c. 1600-1650. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    [img] Text
    A Columbus plague & the poor thesis - corrected version 20 July 2021.pdf - Full Version
    Restricted to Repository staff only until 30 November 2023.

    Download (19MB)


    Plague and poverty were synonymous with London’s expansion in the seventeenth century and were particularly identified with the large and socially diverse parish communities beyond the city walls. Contemporary views of the suburban parishes were couched in the pejorative rhetoric of sin, pollution, poverty and pestilence. This thesis rejects that pessimistic narrative and analyses the response of the suburban parishes to the intersecting problems of plague and the poor in the context of the significant demographic and social burden they managed. Since Paul Slack’s seminal studies of plague and poverty in early modern England, historians have tended to separate the management of the plague from that of the poor, whilst London’s plague narrative tends to focus on the epidemic events and to overlook the long periods when the disease was endemic. This thesis redresses these significant oversights. Parish records, although prosaic and representative of the parish elite, provide a different perspective from literary sources and the records of the Crown and City authorities, and are the main sources used in this thesis. Crown, City and ecclesiastical records are employed to frame the context in which the suburban parishes responded to plague and the poor This thesis presents a nuanced and sympathetic account of the response to plague and the poor in the suburban parishes between 1600 and 1650. It describes the search for efficiency amidst increasing need and limited resources and the power and responsibility devolved to the parishes by the Poor Laws and Plague Orders. These laws and orders led suburban parishes toward a double-faceted response that was marked by hardening perceptions of the right to belong, on the one hand, but also pragmatism, flexibility and independent action in meeting myriad social challenges that were exacerbated by the long-term problems of plague.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Embargoed JLK 10/12/2021
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2021 12:45
    Last Modified: 10 Dec 2021 16:25


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item