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The Black Death in Cranfield

This page was written by Sally Williams

In the 14th Century, there was widespread poverty and famine across England as summer droughts were followed by severe winters causing death of livestock and crop failures.

It was then that the Black Death or Bubonic Plague struck its peak in Bedfordshire in the summer of 1349. Cranfield was badly affected: the Rector Thomas de Neuby was a victim and across the county it is estimated that around 30% of the population perished. Land remained untilled and mills fell into disuse.

The labour shortage would have been exacerbated by men being called up for war duties in France.

There were further outbreaks of plague in 1361-2 and 1369 but these do not seem to have affected the county or Cranfield to any great extent.