What Impact Did the Plauge Have on England?

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What impact did Plague have on England during the period 1348-1500? Yersinia pestis, more commonly known as ‘the Black Death’, was responsible for the death of up to 200 million people globally, including at the very least “over one-third of the population” of England. Clearly such a major historic event had many widespread impacts. These range of impacts range from impacts on popular culture and art, including the eerie and spectacle late-medieval fascination with death in images such as the Danse Macabre¸ to widespread persecution of minorities, such as the Jews, blamed for transmitting the disease. However this essay will focus on what it believes to be the greatest impacts the Plague had on England – the impact on demographics, the impact on social mobility, and the impact on religion. This essay will ultimately argue that the socioeconomic impacts that the plague caused were the most significant. The most obvious impact that the Plague had on England was that of depopulation. The exact figures of death in England due to the Black Death is unknown, but some Historians, including Barry and Gualde, have estimated death at up to 70%, claiming that the population “declined from 7 million before the plague, to 2 million in 1400”. Over 3,000 ‘DMVs’ (Deserted Medieval Villages) have been discovered in England, with historians such as Chorpa attributing the reason for desertion to the plague. In perhaps the best known example, Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire, the surviving population is thought to have fled to York to avoid starvation as the village became unsustainable due to 85% of the population dying because of the plague. Some villages, including Kilkenny, saw total oblivoration and 100% death rates. However, perhaps the greatest impact was in the major cities, particularly London, England’s biggest city in the middle ages. London was described by contemporise

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