Episode 10

Published on:

14th Apr 2020

London, Quarantine, and the Plague in the 17th Century

"Thus this month ends with great sadness upon the publick, through the greatness of the plague every where through the kingdom almost. Every day sadder and sadder news of its encrease. In the City died this week 7,496 and of them 6,102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead, this week is near 10,000; partly from the poor that cannot be taken notice of, through the greatness of the number, and partly from the Quakers and others that will not have any bell ring for them."

So wrote Samuel Peyps in his diary on Thursday 31 August 1665 while in London during The Great Plague. Join Ash and Sarah in this bonus episode in which they discuss how their quarantines are going and reflect on what history can teach us on hygiene, quarantine etiquette and what it was really like in London in the 17th century when facing yet another outburst of the Bubonic plague.


  • Newman, Kira L. S. “Shutt Up: Bubonic Plague and Quarantine in Early Modern England.” Journal of Social History, vol. 45, no. 3, 2012, pp. 809–834., www.jstor.org/stable/41678910. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.
  • Slack, Paul. “The Disappearance of Plague: An Alternative View.” The Economic History Review, vol. 34, no. 3, 1981, pp. 469–476. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2595884. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.
  • Totaro, Rebecca C.N. “Plague's Messengers: Communicating Hope and Despair in England 1550-1750.” Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, vol. 89, no. 1/2, 2003, pp. 87–95. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24531515. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.
  • Hammill, Graham. “MIRACLES AND PLAGUES: Plague Discourse as Political Thought.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, 2010, pp. 85–104. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23242142. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.
  • Theilmann, John, and Frances Cate. “A Plague of Plagues: The Problem of Plague Diagnosis in Medieval England.” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 37, no. 3, 2007, pp. 371–393. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4139605. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.
  • MUNRO, IAN. “The City and Its Double: Plague Time in Early Modern London.” English Literary Renaissance, vol. 30, no. 2, 2000, pp. 241–261. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43447603. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.
  • HINES, KATHLEEN. “Contagious Metaphors: Liturgies of Early Modern Plague.” The Comparatist, vol. 42, 2018, pp. 318–330. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26533661. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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About the Podcast

Demons and Dames
Demons & Dames is a tongue-in-cheek feminist history podcast. Ashley Mauritzen and Sarah Worley-Hill dive deep into the stories of notorious women who shaped history - by design or simply by being in the right (or wrong) time or place. We examine how they were viewed by their contemporaries, and how and why their stories have been interpreted, shaped and passed down. We also laugh. A lot.

About your hosts

Ashley Mauritzen

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Writer, thinker and former wild child, Ashley has a BA in English Literature from Oxford (apparently - she doesn't remember any of it) and an MA in Fashion Journalism. She does an uncanny Kate Bush impression, wears wigs on nights in, and asked for 10 metres of black velvet ribbon for Christmas when she was seven. By day, she's a commercial semiotician. It's a thing. Former alter egos include Oxford gossip column denizen 'Masher', queer comedy performance artist 'the Dreary Mademoiselle', cerebral burlesque star 'Curious Peach', and everyone's favourite Halloween mashup - 'Adam Antoinette.'

Sarah Worley-Hill

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Bibliophile, historian, and all round goof ball. Sarah has an MA Oxon from Oxford University in Ancient and Modern History, but has also taught maths at a boys' boarding school so considers herself an all-rounder. She would invite Alexander the Great, Queen Teuta of Illyria, and Wu Zetian to her ideal time-machine sponsored dinner party but would definitely need a translator. She loves her Shih Tzu, Calypso, very much and wants to get a French bulldog named Odysseus. She's terribly dyslexic and really really can't spell (or pronounce things). She has a mild tea obsession.