Re: There's a Lot More Skeletons Where These Came From
- I realize that the skeletons they have found in Charterhouse date from the 14th century, not the 17th. What I was expressing surprise about was that, as Phil said, news stories seem to take the tone that the find was unexpected.
I thought some dead from the 1665 plague had been buried there, but there were certainly plague pits in other areas from that plague, which killed a third of the population. There was nothing orderly about it.
Peter Ackroyd's "London: the Biography," quotes Daniel Dafoe "A Journal of the Plague Year" (yes, I know it was written later, but it dealt with the 1665 plague). On "a piece of ground beyond Goswell Street, near Mount Hill ... abundance were buried promiscuously from the parishes of Aldgate, Clerkenwell, and even out of the city."
Ackroyd says that the Mount Mills pit "was comparable to the burial pit in Houndsditch, about forty feet in length, sixteen feet broad and twenty feet deep, containing more than a thousand corpses." The pit was near the Pye Tavern and the drunken patrons "jeered anyone who mourned for the newly dead." One dead cart driver, "when he had any children in his dead cart, could cry 'Faggots, faggots, five for sixpence,' and take a child up by the leg."
Ackroyd, writing in, or at least published in, 2000, said "The area of Mount Mills is a waste ground still." I sought that place out in 2005. Much of it was taken up by a parking lot and still had the appearance of "a waste ground." But there was some construction that appeared to be fairly new, so perhaps the spell of a haunted ground had finally been put behind it.