Sickness and Health
Medieval to Early Modern Times
Medieval (pre 1500)
Very little evidence relating to this period has survived and no parish records exist. During this time people had very little understanding about what caused disease and blamed it on the planets and unbalanced humours in the body.
The main three causes of death were from disease, accidents and childbirth.
Disease was often caused by poor sanitation, damp and cold living conditions, poor storage of food and infestations, often from the thatched roofs.
Early Modern (1500-1760)
Life expectancy in England was about 32-40yrs, although if people survived past adolescence and childbirth they could live well into old age. Infant mortality was at its peak in the early 1700’s, although rural areas like Colton, had lower infant mortality. One of the biggest killers at this time was Bubonic plague, there is no evidence to suggest that it came to Colton and the parish registers, which commenced in 1647, do not show any increase in deaths during the time of the plague. Remedies during this time were mainly herbal.
Extracts from Colton Parish records and Poor relief
The parish records start from 1647 and were written in Latin, some of the early records are illegible and damaged
1652 October 14” Thomas son of Thomas Lees baptised, same day wife of Thomas Lees buried” it is probable that Thomas Lees wife died in childbirth (extract from the parish records).
In 1726 “Widow Short given 1s while ill” (extract from the poor relief records.)