Plague pit

A plague pit is the informal term used to refer to mass graves in which victims of the Black Death were buried. The term is most often used to describe pits located in Great Britain, but can be applied to any place where bubonic plague victims were buried.


The plague which swept across China, Middle East, and Europe in the 14th century is estimated to have killed between one-third and two-thirds of Europe's population.[1][2][3] Disposal of the bodies of those who died presented huge problems for the authorities, and eventually the normal patterns of burial and funerary observance broke down.

Major plague outbreaksEdit

Plague pits were used especially often during major plague outbreaks, such as the London epidemic of 1665. Graveyards rapidly filled and parishes became strained; for example the number of deaths in the parish of St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, in 1665 was almost six times normal.[4]


  1. ^ Stéphane Barry and Norbert Gualde, "The Greatest Epidemic of History" ("La plus grande épidémie de l'histoire", in L'Histoire n° 310, June 2006, pp.45-46, say "between one-third and two-thirds"; Robert Gottfried (1983). "Black Death" in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, volume 2, pp.257-67, says "between 25 and 45 percent".
  2. ^ "Population Loss". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2011-10-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Plague and Public Health in Renaissance Europe". 1994-10-28. Retrieved 2011-10-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Burial of the plague dead in early modern London". Retrieved 2011-10-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

See alsoEdit