The Early Modern Commons

The Bills of Mortality & Sudden Violent Death

Recent Posts

Tracking Epidemic Disease in 17th Century London

6 May 2020

Two panels from a contemporary broadsheet (1665/6) showing the work of the Searchers who collected the cause of death data for the Bills of Mortality: in the lefthand panel they are...

A time when smoking could result in sudden death

13 November 2019

Between 1671 and 1730 at least seventeen Londoners died as a result of smoking. This may not seem particularly surprising to modern eyes but at that time the consumption of tobacco...

The dangers of breaching a fireground cordon: a lesson from history

22 June 2018

Glasgow City Council have warned people not to breach to cordon around the recently fire-ravaged Glasgow School of Art. Their concern is that those approaching or entering the site...

Encounters with the Dead

30 October 2016

Encounters with the dead were common in pre-modern society. With death rates from disease and illness high most people would come face-to-face with the dead at some time or other. But...