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The Black Death in London

The Black Death in London

Barney Sloane


A detailed examination of the Plague in London in 1349 and subsequently. Sloane finds a novel way to track the progress of the Black Death, using wills and ecclesiastical replacements to identify "hot spots" that can be tentatively projected out to the rest of the population. While being very careful to recognise the limits of this approach, he arrives at a mortality rate of around 45% of London's population.

One surprising snippet from the book is the surprisingly few children couples were having in the 14th century: not much higher than in modern times in Europe, in essence, whereas I'd expected something closer to rates in modern Africa.

The book has a good bibliography into modern Plague research, which (given I'm reading this for professional purposes as well as just for interest) will come in handy.

4/5. Finished 24 December 2014.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

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