Trace your family back to the 17th century in Plymouth. Did your ancestor pay the levy for the relief of the plague-stricken?
The index was created from original records held by the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office. In each record you can find
Notes – this may include additional details about the individual such as if they were a widow, gentleman, not in town, poor, deceased, or if they refused to pay.
The Devon, Plymouth Plague Rate 1626-1629 is an index of the residents of Plymouth who were taxed to help with the cost of relief of the plague-stricken. The records show additional information about residents such as if they refused to pay, left the area or were deceased. The records are comprised of 629 names across three wards of Plymouth: Looe Street, Venners and Vintry. Smaller collections of records such as this are great for finding your ancestors centuries before civil registration began and in the years between their births, marriages and/or deaths.
The bubonic plague was a commutable disease carried by rodents. It first appeared in Europe in 1347. The disease was fatal and symptoms included sores on the body, swelling of the lymph glands, respiratory problems, fever and vomiting of blood. In 1627, Plymouth suffered from a plague. The disease was most active in Venners ward. It was difficult for local authorities to combat and control the sickness. They often quarantined victims or moved them into isolated hospitals or pest houses.
History has witnessed numerous outbreaks of the plague in different regions of the world. The first epidemic was in the Eastern Roman Empire in 542. Centuries later in 1347, the plague (or the Black Death) broke out in Europe, leading to the death of a third of the population. From then, outbreaks occurred intermittently for centuries. The Great Plague of London occurred 38 years after these records were created. London lost 15% of its population.