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Title: Orders conceived and published by the Lord Major and Aldermen of the City of London, concerning the infection of the plague

Creator: City of London . Court of Aldermen

City of London . Lord Mayor

Release date: February 12, 2024 [eBook #72934]

Language: English

Original publication: London: James Flesher, 1665

Credits: Daniel Lowe and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


The Lord MAJOR and Aldermen of the City of London,
concerning the Infection of the Plague.

Publisher's logo
Printed by James Flesher, Printer to the Honourable
City of London.

2 Decorative panel

Conceived and published by the Lord Major and Aldermen of the City of London, concerning the infection of the Plague.

Whereas in the first Year of the Reign of our late Sovereign King James of happy memory, an Act was made for the charitable relief and ordering of Persons infected with the Plague: whereby Authority was given to Justices of Peace, Majors, Bayliffs, and other Head-Officers to appoint within their several Limits Examiners, Searchers, Watchmen, Keepers, and Buriers for the Persons and Places infected, and to minister unto them Oaths for the performance of their Offices. And the same Statute did also authorize the giving of other Directions, as unto them for the present necessity should seem good in their discretions. It is now upon special 3consideration thought very expedient for preventing and avoiding of infection of Sickness (if it shall so please Almighty God) that these Officers following be appointed, and these Orders hereafter duly observed.

Examiners to be appointed in every Parish.

First, it is thought requisite and so ordered, that in every Parish there be one, two, or more persons of good sort and credit, chosen and appointed by the Alderman, his Deputy, and Common-Councel of every Ward, by the name of Examiners, to continue in that Office the space of two Moneths at least: And if any fit Person so appointed, shall refuse to undertake the same, the said parties so refusing, to be committed to Prison until they shall conform themselves accordingly.

The Examiners Office.

That these Examiners be sworn by the Alderman, to enquire and learn from time to time what Houses in every Parish be visited, and what persons be sick, and of what Diseases, as near as they can inform themselves; and upon doubt in that case, to command restraint of access, until it appear what the Disease shall prove: And if they finde any person sick of the Infection, to give order to the Constable that the House be shut up; and if the Constable shall be found remiss or negligent, to give present notice thereof to the Alderman of the Ward.



That to every Infected House there be appointed two Watchmen, one for the Day, and the other for the Night: And that these Watchmen have a special care that no person goe in or out of such infected Houses, whereof they have the Charge, upon pain of severe punishment. And the said Watchmen to doe such further Offices as the sick House shall need and require: And if the Watchman be sent upon any business, to lock up the House and take the Key with him: and the Watchman by day to attend until ten of the clock at night: and the Watchman by night until six in the morning.


That there be a special care, to appoint Women-Searchers in every Parish, such as are of honest reputation, and of the best sort as can be got in this kind: And these to be sworn to make due search and true report, to the utmost of their knowledge, whether the Persons, whose bodies they are appointed to Search, do die of the Infection, or of what other Diseases, as near as they can. And that the Physicians who shall be appointed for cure and prevention of the Infection, do call before them the said Searchers who are or shall be appointed for the several Parishes under their respective Cares, to the end they may consider whether they are fitly qualified for that employment; and charge them 5from time to time as they shall see cause, if they appear defective in their duties.

That no Searcher during this time of Visitation, be permitted to use any publick work or imployment, or keep any Shop or Stall, or be imployed as a Landress, or in any other common imployment whatsoever.


For better assistance of the Searchers, for as much as there hath been heretofore great abuse in misreporting the Disease, to the further spreading of the Infection: It is therefore ordered, that there be chosen and appointed able and discreet Chirurgions, besides those that doe already belong to the Pest-house: amongst whom, the City and Liberties to be quartered as the places lie most apt and convenient: and every of these to have one quarter for his Limit: and the said Chirurgions in every of their Limits to joyn with the Searchers for the view of the body, to the end there may be a true report made of the Disease.

And further, that the said Chirurgions shall visit and search such like persons as shall either send for them, or be named and directed unto them, by the examiners of every Parish, and inform themselves of the Disease of the said parties.

And for as much as the said Chirurgions are to be sequestred from all other Cures, and kept onely to this Disease of the Infection; It is ordered, that every of the said Chirurgions shall have twelve-pence a Body searched by them, to be paid out of the goods of the party searched, if he be able, or otherwise by the Parish.



If any Nurse-keeper shall remove herself out of any infected House before 28 daies after the decease of any person dying of the Infection, the House to which the said Nurse-keeper doth so remove herself shall be shut up until the said 28 daies be expired.

Orders concerning infected
Houses, and Persons sick of the Plague.

Notice to be given of the Sickness.

The Master of every House, as soon as any one in his House complaineth, either of Botch or Purple, or Swelling in any part of his body, or falleth otherwise dangerously sick, without apparent cause of some other Disease, shall give knowledge thereof to the Examiner of Health within two hours after the said sign shall appear.

Sequestration of the Sick.

As soon as any man shall be found by this Examiner, Chirurgion or Searcher to be sick of the Plague, he shall the same night be sequestred in the same house. 7And in case he be so sequestred, then though he afterwards die not, the House wherein he sickned shall be shut up for a Moneth, after the use of due Preservatives taken by the rest.

Airing the Stuff.

For sequestration of the goods and stuff of the infected, their Bedding, and Apparel, and Hangings of Chambers, must be well aired with fire, and such perfumes as are requisite within the infected House, before they be taken again to use: this to be done by the appointment of the Examiner.

Shutting up of the House.

If any person shall have visited any man, known to be Infected of the Plague, or entred willingly into any known Infected House, being not allowed: the House wherein he inhabiteth, shall be shut up for certain daies by the Examiners direction.

None to be removed out of Infected Houses, but, &c.

Item, that none be removed out of the House where he falleth sick of the Infection, into any other House in the City, (except it be to the Pest-house or a Tent, or unto some such House, which the owner of the said visited House holdeth in his own hands, and occupieth 8by his servants) and so as security be given to the Parish whither such remove is made, that the attendance and charge about the said visited persons shall be observed and charged in all the particularities before expressed, without any cost of that Parish, to which any such remove shall happen to be made, and this remove to be done by night: And it shall be lawful to any person that hath two Houses, to remove either his sound or his infected people to his spare House at his choice, so as if he send away first his sound, he may not after send thither the sick, nor again unto the sick the sound. And that the same which he sendeth, be for one week at the least shut up and secluded from company for fear of some infection, at the first not appearing.

Burial of the dead.

That the Burial of the dead by this Visitation be at most convenient hours, alwaies either before Sun-rising, or after Sun-setting, with the privity of the Churchwardens or Constables, and not otherwise; and that no Neighbours nor Friends be suffered to accompany the Coarse to Church, or to enter the house visited, upon pain of having his house shut up, or be imprisoned.

And that no Corps dying of Infection shall be buried or remain in any Church in time of Common-Prayer, Sermon, or Lecture. And that no children be suffered at time of burial of any Corps in any Church, Church-yard, or Burying-place to come near the Corps, Coffin, or Grave. And that all the Graves shall be at least six foot deep.

9And further, all publick Assemblies at other Burials are to be forborn during the continuance of this Visitation.

No infected Stuff to be uttered.

That no Clothes, Stuff, Bedding or Garments be suffered to be carried or conveyed out of any infected Houses, and that the Criers and Carriers abroad of Bedding or old Apparel to be sold or pawned, be utterly prohibited and restrained, and no Brokers of Bedding or old Apparel be permitted to make any outward Shew, or hang forth on their Stalls, Shopboards or Windows toward any Street, Lane, Common-way or Passage, any old Bedding or Apparel to be sold, upon pain of Imprisonment. And if any Broker or other person shall buy any Bedding, Apparel, or other Stuff out of any Infected house, within two Moneths after the Infection hath been there, his house shall be shut up as Infected, and so shall continue shut up twenty daies at the least.

No person to be conveyed out of any infected House.

If any person visited do fortune, by negligent looking unto, or by any other means, to come, or be conveyed from a place infected, to any other place, the Parish from whence such Party hath come or been conveyed, upon notice thereof given, shall at their charge cause the said party so visited and escaped, to be carried and brought back again by night, and the parties in this case offending, to be punished at the direction of the 10Alderman of the Ward, and the house of the receiver of such visited person to be shut up for twenty daies.

Every visited house to be marked.

That every House visited, be marked with a Red Cross of a foot long, in the middle of the door, evident to be seen, and with these usual Printed words, that is to say, Lord have mercy upon us, to be set close over the same Cross, there to continue until lawful opening of the same House.

Every visited House to be watched.

That the Constables see every house shut up, and to be attended with Watchmen, which may keep them in, and minister necessaries unto them at their own charges (if they be able,) or at the common charge if they be unable: the shutting up to be for the space of four Weeks after all be whole.

That precise order be taken that the Searchers, Chirurgions, Keepers and Buriers, are not to pass the streets without holding a red Rod or Wand of three foot in length in their hands, open and evident to be seen, and are not to goe into any other house then into their own, or into that whereunto they are directed or sent for, but to forbear and abstain from company, especially when they have been lately used in any such business or attendance.



That where several Inmates are in one and the same house, and any person in that house happen to be infected; no other person or family of such house shall be suffered to remove him or themselves without a Certificate from the Examiners of Health of that Parish; or in default thereof, the house whither he or they so remove, shall be shut up as in case of Visitation.

Hackney Coaches.

That care be taken of Hackney Coachmen, that they may not (as some of them have been observed to doe) after carrying of infected persons to the Pesthouse, and other places, be admitted to common use, till their Coaches be well aired, and have stood unimployed by the space of five or six daies after such service.

Orders for cleansing and keeping of the Streets sweet.

The Streets to be kept clean.

First, it is thought very necessary, and so ordered, that every Householder do cause the street to be daily pared before his door, and so to keep it clean swept all the Week long.


That Rakers take it from out the Houses.

That the sweeping and filth of houses be daily carried away by the Rakers, and that the Raker shall give notice of his coming by the blowing of a Horn as heretofore hath been done.

Laystalls to be made farre off from the City.

That the Laystalls be removed as farre as may be out of the City, and common passages, and that no Nightman or other be suffered to empty a Vault into any Garden near about the City.

Care to be had of unwholesome Fish or Flesh, and of musty Corn.

That special care be taken, that no stinking Fish, or unwholsome Flesh, or musty Corn, or other corrupt fruits of what sort soever, be suffered to be sold about the City or any part of the same.

That the Brewers and Tipling-houses be looked unto, for musty and unwholsome Cask.

That no Hogs, Dogs, or Cats, or tame Pigeons, or Conies be suffered to be kept within any part of the City, or any Swine to be, or stay in the Streets or Lanes, but that such Swine be impounded by the Beadle or any other Officer, and the Owner punished according to Act of Common-Councel, and that the Dogs be killed by the Dog-killers appointed for that purpose.


Orders concerning loose Persons and idle Assemblies.


Forasmuch as nothing is more complained of, then the multitude of Rogues and wandering Beggers that swarm in every place about the City, being a great cause of the spreading of the Infection, and will not be avoided, notwithstanding any Order that hath been given to the contrary: It is therefore now ordered, that such Constables, and others whom this matter may any way concern, do take special care that no wandering Begger be suffered in the Streets of this City, in any fashion or manner whatsoever upon the penalty provided by the Law to be duly and severely executed upon them.


That all Playes, Bear-baitings, Games, Singing of Ballads, Buckler-play, or such like causes of Assemblies of people, be utterly prohibited, and the parties offending, severely punished by every Alderman in his Ward.

Feasting Prohibited.

That all publick Feasting, and particularly by the Companies of this City; and Dinners at Taverns, Alehouses, and other places of common entertainment be forborn till further order and allowance; and that the money thereby spared, be preserved and imployed 14for the benefit and relief of the poor visited with the infection.


That disorderly Tipling in Taverns, Alehouses, Coffee-houses and Cellars be severely looked unto, as the common Sin of this time, and greatest occasion of dispersing the Plague. And that no Company or person be suffered to remain or come into any Tavern, Alehouse or Coffee-house to drink after nine of the Clock in the Evening, according to the ancient Law and custome of this City, upon the penalties ordained in that behalf.

And for the better execution of these Orders, and such other Rules and Directions as upon further consideration shall be found needful; It is ordered and enjoyned that the Aldermen, Deputies, and Common-Councelmen shall meet together Weekly, once, twice, thrice or oftner (as cause shall require) at some one general place accustomed in their respective Wards (being clear from infection of the Plague) to consult how the said Orders may be duly put in execution; not intending that any dwelling in or near places infected, shall come to the said meetings whiles their coming may be doubtful: And the said Aldermen and Deputies and Common Councelmen in their several Wards may put in execution any other good Orders that by them at their said Meetings shall be conceived and devised, for preservation of his Majesties Subjects from the Infection.


Transcriber’s Notes:

Some inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have been retained.

New original cover art included with this eBook is granted to the public domain.