Document lists causes of death in London from 1632

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Kil’d by several accidents doesn’t sound pleasant.

Interesting they have both cancer and consumption, I guess it must be visible vs internal.


Yeah, very glad I wasn’t born in a time when the leading cause of death was being an infant.


Where to begin? So many weird and wonderful questions in that list.

Teeth? (Bitten to death? Died of toothache?)
Jawfaln? (Jawsaln? I have no idea)
Cancer, AND Wolf?
Rising of the Lights?
Surfet? (A surfeit of WHAT?)

(And by-the-by I see the war on prepositions continues. I could not fathom how a list could contain “causes of death in London from 1632” …onwards? …to the present day? Should read: “causes of death in London in 1632”
Or perhaps it should have been “Document from 1632 lists…”?)


I love how it’s got “Suddenly” in the middle of a list of causes. Was the coroner on holiday that day?


According to Anna, “wolf” would refer to “particularly nasty forms of cancer” - one that eats into the flesh.

I was ready to make a Gladiators joke, but that sounds like a horrible way to die. Fuck cancer.

Have a picture of Wolf anyway, hopefully it will cheer us up


27 people died of worms? :thinking:


Since I looked into some of these before:

Consumption primarily means tuberculosis.

Alternate spelling of “jawfallen”, meaning dejected, dispirited, or I guess in this case - depressed.


This is the source of the mistaken belief that most people at the time didn’t live past age 50 or so. In reality, the average lifespan then was heavily skewed by infant mortality. Once a society gets a handle on that problem (and on safe childbirth for women), the average lifespan increases dramatically.

According to the article posted by @the_borderer, this was probably lockjaw, meaning tetanus.


Removal of bladder stones. Samuel Pepys wrote about it in his diary. Interesting read.

Also, read the article @the_borderer linked, it explains most of it and has more.


That’s the one that gets me. “Oh no, cancer! How could this day get any worAHHHH!”


Probably intestinal parasites. What a wretched way to go!


Tired Ariana Grande GIF by NETFLIX

Yes. I’m aware…


Some others I haven’t seen explained yet:

King’s Evil: Tuberculosis. Name comes from the belief that the touch of the (divinely appointed) king could cure it.

Overlaid and Starved at Nurse: died of malnutrition while under the care of a wet nurse.

Quinsy: Peritonsillar absess, or tonsillitis.

Surfet: probably an alternate spelling of surfeit, which means an excess of something. It’s hard to guess what the excess was though.

Tympany: something that causes a large and bloated intestinal tract which makes a hollow sound when tapped. Could be kidney disease, intestinal infection, or a cancerous tumor.

Planet: short for planet-struck. Believed to have died due to astrological reasons, probably something like aneurysm, stroke, or heart attack.

Tissick: a corruption of phthisis, meaning a wasting disease of the lungs. Likely asthma, bronchitis, or possibly tuberculosis.

Made Away Themselves: I couldn’t find anything definitive, but presumably this is referring to suicide.


I can help with some of these

Rising of the Lights - an obstruction in the throat, larynx or lungs. (Lights is an old word sometimes still used when talking about offal in British butchers).
Jawfaln - lockjaw - tetanus.
Over-laid - smothering of a child.
Surfet - over consumption. People who suffered through medieval English history will remember classes having the fact that Henry I died from ‘a surfet of lamprey’.
King’s evil - a form of tuberculosis that affects the lymph glands. It was thought to be cured only by royal touch - so expect something similar from the MAGA crowd.


Death by Teeth sounds horrific.



Kinda think that cancer might be a bit underreported in that report then, but maybe the woo folks are right, maybe there is more cancer nowadays? /s


Thanks for the Wolf picture. It reminds me of my late friend, Simon. Who, like Wolf, had great Gowron eyes.

TIL that Scrofula was TB. I always assumed it was Gout. :smile::thinking:

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Someone died of piles ?!?!?!?!

I really do not want to know any more.

Thank you.

I probably won’t be eating lunch, now.

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I think “several” in this case is what we would call “various” and is a catch-all category for all cases of accidental death.

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