Disease, Disaster and Death in Mid-Tudor England

- 'Troublous Days of Affliction'


Disease, Disaster and Death in Mid-Tudor England
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The second half of the sixteenth century was amongst the most turbulent periods of English history. Reformation, political faction, economic decline, disputed succession and foreign wars combined with a prolonged series of poor harvests to create a situation that historians labeled the 'mid-Tudor crisis'. Not least of the problems faced by people at this time was a rising rate of death from disease; which at its height may have seen one in four people dying from a combination of influenza and typhus. As this book argues, such a mortality rate constitutes the largest demographic disaster to strike England since the Black Death two-hundred years before, and dwarfs the death rates both of the seventeenth plague outbreaks, and the 1919 Spanish Flu. In this magisterial study, Dr Moore marshals a phenomenal amount of research to examine the likely impact of this disaster upon an already weakened population. Drawing particularly upon parish registers, he demonstrates that the period witnessed a much higher drop in population than has been hitherto accepted, that in turn leads to a much revised population trend for England during the early modern period. As well as assessing the ramifications of these findings, the book also examines why such a crisis appears to have passed un-noticed - or at least un-commented upon - by most of the contemporaries who lived through it. Based upon twenty-years' research, and backed up by a wealth of detailed statistical evidence, this work offers a fundamental reappraisal of the social and economic history of Tudor England. It demonstrates how disease and mortality played a major role in shaping demography, and thus the development of early modern English society.

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