Killed by an ‘itch’ and the ‘King’s Evil’: The bizarre causes of death in 17th century London revealed in new Royal Society exhibition
Pathology has come a long way in 400 years, but it had to start somewhere.
So it was that in 17th century London, causes of death included ‘frighted’, ‘King’s Evil’ and, bizarrely, ‘itch’.
These and other curious demises formed a fascinating ‘table of casualties’, compiled in a 1662 work by pioneering statistician John Graunt.
And now his medical study - with the unwieldy title Natural And Political Observations Mentioned In A Following Index And Made Upon The Bills Of Mortality - has gone on public display for the first time.
Bills of Mortality were weekly lists of deaths in the City of London.