BoAr:FNQ:17th Century

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Interactive version ©2006 R.J.PENHEY

The Bourne Archive


Fenland Notes and Queries. This will have been originally in the quarterly Part 2, July 1889 or 3, October 1889. Edited by W.H. Bernard Saunders, F.R. Hist. Soc.

Articles 1 to 237 (April 1889 to October 1891) were re-published as Volume 1, in 1891, by Geo. C. Caster, Market Place, Peterborough.

This quarterly periodical which, from the second volume (part 12) became associated with the name of W.D. Sweeting, took the form of a forum in which people sent in questions about the history, ecology and so on of the Fens and the region’s environs and others replied with some sort of answer. Some ‘answers’ seem to have been spontaneous, so qualifying as ‘notes’. Editorial notes in the form [note] are those of FNQ; those in the form [note] are those of RJP.

My thanks to the trustees of the Willoughby Memorial Library for the loan of the copy from which the following was transcribed.

Seventeenth Century and Civil War.

42.    Four Hundred Persons destroyed by a Coat at Ramsey. – NOBLE in his Memoirs of the Cromwell’s [sic], vol. i., p. 56, says, “That Major Cromwell died of the plague at Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, on the morning of February the 23rd, 1666, and was buried next evening in the church there. He caught the infection by wearing a coat, the cloth of which came from London; and the tailor that made the coat, with all his family, died of the same terrible disorder, as did no less than four hundred people in Ramsey, as appears by the register, and all owing to this fatal coat.”

C. Golding, Colchester.

 [This date falls during the latter part of the course of the Great Plague of London, which preceded the Great Fire. If this cloth had not been the vector responsible, something else probably would. The effect of the plague was felt several times during the seventeenth century and in most of the towns of the Fenland region; Boston and Stamford included. For example, Thompson, p. 799.  and Davies. p.10. The burial patterns in Bourne also suggest it. (Foster). See also FNQ 346, Plague in the Fens.]