Here are six mini history tales that I just though I'd write......

1) In 1665, the Great Plague hit London which, at its peak, killed up to 7000 people a WEEK. A fifth of London's population may have perished.

The bearers, who collected the corpses of the victims and loaded them onto the backs of carts to be taken to the plague pits, were foul-mouthed brutes, frightening onlookers with their swearing and cursing as they brough out the dead.

One unpleasant specimen was a man named Buckingham, infamous for the habit of picking up the body of a young child by one leg, holding it upside down, and bawling: "Faggots, faggots, five for sixpence!" At the lip of the gaping plague pit, where the bodies were thrown, he took ghoulish pleasure in exposing the naked bodies of young women to public view.

He was eventually arrested, publicly flogged, and sentenced to one year in gaol.

2) Huge pits were dug throughout London during the Great Plague of 1665, to bury the thousands of victims who dies each week. There was now no longer any space in the graveyards.

Escaping from the Great Plague of London, 1665

Visitors were forbidden at the pits, initially to prevent infection. But eventually, it was because there had been cases where plague victims or grieving relatives of dead plague victims hurled themselves into the pits with the bodies to be buried alive. At the pit in Finsbury, bodies were discovered still warm, buried alive. An entire cart and horses, carrying the corpses of many victims, plunged into a pit when the driver accidentally lost control. He was later identified by his whip.

3) George I became king in 1714. He could speak no English, only German. When he arrived in London in September of that year, he arrived in a cavalcade of 260 horse-drawn coaches that took three hours to pass. In the coaches were more than 90 of his German ministers and courtiers, his two German mistresses - one very fat and one very thin - and his much-favoured Turkish grooms and body-servants, captured at the siege of Vienna in 1683.

4) In 1666, an Act designed to promote the wool industry came into force in England, insisting that everyne should be buried in a woollenn shroud. Other fibres, such as silk or linen, were banned. A certificate had to be signed by a relative of the deceased, declaring that a woollenn shroud had been used at the burial, and this was sworn as an affidavit before the local Justice of the Peace. The only exception was plague victims.

5) An embalming technique ppular in England was the "mos teutonicus" method. This involved chopping up the body and boiling the parts in wine or vinegar until they became skeletalized (the flesh falling from the bones). When King Henry V died in 1422, his remains were subjected to "mos teutonicus", but the operation was not a success, and the body was in no condition for display. As an alternative, an effigy of the king was constructed from leather and dressed in his cloths. A wax death mask served as a face. The effigy headed the procession and was later displayed in Westminster Abbey.

The magnificent London Bridge had houses and shops all along its length. It was demolished in the 1830s

6) Needless to say, flushing toilets did not exist in Tudor England. A few castles had "houses of easement" situated above the waters of the moat. The magnificent London Bridge (demolished in the 1830s) had a hundred or so homes built on it, plus many shops and businesses. There was a straigh drop from the privy in each of these place to the River Thames below - though this was a hazard for passing boatmen.

In 1592, Queen Elizabeth I was staying with her godson Sir John Harington near Bath when she was invited to test his new invention - the world's first modern water closet, complete with a seat and a lever by means of which you could flush water down by means of a cistern above. The Queen lied it so much she had one installed at Richmond Palace!

by Blackleaf