Today we read the obituaries if we want to know who has died in our area or beyond. In 1665 a town crier called out “the bills,” a running list of mortality.
In December of 1664 one of the bills for a parish read:
St. Gile’s – 16
By August of the following year numbers had grown:
St. Gile’s – 554
There were 97 parishes just within the city walls of London, all trying to keep up with the number of bodies needing to be put in the ground.
This is the very abridged cliff notes background of the world in which One Flea Spare lives. As an ensemble we have all been spending the last weeks and months reading up on the history and googling images of the plague (which Meg informed me still exists today). I encourage you to have a look for yourself. And if you’re up for some light reading check out Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year.