This timeline is a chronology of the outbreak of plague known as the Great Plague that affected London in 1665
See also: The Great Fire of London 1666
Outbreaks of the plague
King Charles II suspended trade with the Dutch after learning that there was an outbreak of plague in Holland.
All ships coming from the continent into London were quarantined for a period of 30 days.
The quarantine period for ships coming into London was increased to 40 days..
John Graunt, a Fellow of the Royal Society, estimated the population of London to be around 460,000.
The first case of plague was reported in St Giles-in-the-Fields, a parish just outside London. The cause of death would have been determined by a searcher. Searchers were appointed by parishes to determine causes of death. They had no medical training and often recorded a death as ‘consumption’ rather than try to find the exact cause of death. They carried a white stick for identification.
The total number of deaths from the disease was recorded as 43 people.
It was ordered that people travelling from one town to another had to have a certificate of health in order to do so. This led to forgers making a good income from counterfeit certificates.
1665 (7th June)
The diarist Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary that he had seen houses marked with a red cross. This signified that someone in the house had caught the plague. The house was then locked up for 40 days or until the victim died.
1665 (30th June)
The total number of deaths from the plague for June was recorded at 6137 people.
The numbers of people dying from the disease rose to more than 1,000 per week.
King Charles II and his family left London for Salisbury.
The Lord Mayor of London, Thomas Bloodworth, ordered all stray dogs and cats be killed since he believed that they were spreading the disease.
1665 (31st July)
The total number of deaths from the plague for July was recorded at 17036 people.
The numbers of people dying from the plague was so great that people were buried in mass pits rather than individual graves. Carters travelled through the street shouting ‘Bring out your dead!’
The plague reached the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, probably in a bale of cloth infested with fleas that had been brought from London. The people of Eyam quarantined themselves to prevent the disease spreading.
1665 (31st August)
The total number of deaths from the plague for August was recorded at 31159 people.
King Charles II and his family left Salisbury for Oxford after a few cases of plague were reported.
The plague continued with around 7,000 Londoners dying per week.
Parliament met in Oxford rather than London.
The weather turned cooler and the number of cases of the plague began to fall.
It was deemed safe to return to the city and King Charles II and his family returned.
Published Sept 27, 2018 @ 11:14 am – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2018 – 2020). The Great Plague of London 1665. Available: http://www.thetimelinegeekhttps://www.thetimelinegeek.com/the-great-plague-1665. Last accessed [date]