18. The Black Death in Hampshire

18. The Black Death in Hampshire

Hampshire Papers 18: The Black Death in Hampshire
by Tom Beaumont James (1999)

In 1350 Hampshire was beginning to recover from the ravages of the devastating Black Death. The disease, carried by black rats from the Continent, struck the county in autumn 1348 and in less than two years killed probably half the population.

This paper describes the course of the Black Death in Hampshire where it is estimated that nearly 50% of the clergy died between 1348 and 1350 and where the peasant population was also decimated. For example, on the abbot of Titchfield's estates 423 deaths were recorded between January 1349 and January 1350, and in one hamlet, Quob to the west of Wickham, the community was completely wiped out.

It also describes the effects of plague in the county, both in the immediate aftermath and in the century that followed. In the later 14th and early 15th century, for example, with the decline in population, landlords throughout the county changed from arable to pasture farming, and some villages, such as Idsworth and Lomer, disappeared completely. The paper also puts forward arguments for changes in art and architecture following the Black Death, showing, for example, that major building work on Winchester Cathedral was halted because of the plague and resumed 20 or so years later in the new Perpendicular style.

Physical description 295mm x 210mm; softback; 28 pages.
Published in 1999 by Hampshire County Council.

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