The Black Death arrived in Southampton towards the end of 1348. Henry Knighton, the Leicester chronicler, stated that it was at Southampton that the plague first entered England. That is possible, as the disease seems to have arrived in the Mediterranean by 1347 and spread through most of France by the summer of 1348. Other contemporary observers claimed it entered through various other ports. It is probable that the bacteria arrived independently in a number of ports over the course of several months before spreading inland.
In the warm weather of spring and summer 1349 the plague spread rapidly. The precise effects of the outbreak on Southampton are not known, but nationwide it is estimated to have killed between a half and one third of the inhabitants. D G Watts estimates for the deaths of villain tenants on the Titchfield Abbey estates range from 41% at Stubbington to 100% and Cadland.
Southampton: Points in its Development to the End of the 18th Century, by G. H. J. Daysh, p17 (HS/h)
Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt, p120-121. (HS/h)
'The Black Death in Dorset and Hampshire' by D G Watts in The Hatcher Review, vol. 5 no. 46, Autumn 1998, p21-28.
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