Hall's Chronicle 1486

Hall's Chronicle 1486 is in Hall's Chronicle.


1485 Sweating Sickness Outbreak

Nov 14851. In this same year a new kind of sickness [Sweating Sickness] came suddenly through the whole region even after the first entry of the King into this Isle, which was so sore, so painful, and sharp that the like was never heard of, to any man's remembrance before that time: For suddenly a deadly and burning sweat invaded their bodies and vexed their blood with a most ardent heat infested the stomach and the head grievously: by the tormenting and vexation of which sickness, men were so sore handled and so painfully panged that if they were laid in their bed being not liable to suffer the importunate heat, they cast away the sheets and all the clothes lying on the bed. If they were in their apparel and vestures, they would put of all their garments even to their shirts. Other were so dry that they drank the cold water to quench their importune heat and insatiable thirst. Other that could or at the least would abide the heat and stink (for indeed the sweat had a great and a strong savour) caused clothes to be laid upon them as much as they could bear, to dry out the sweat if it might be. All in manner as one as the sweat took them, or within a short space after, yielded, up their ghost. So that of all them that sickened there was not one amongst an hundred that escaped: in so much, that beside the great number which deceased within the city of London, two Mayors successively died of the same disease within eight days and six Aldermen. And when any person had fully and completely sweat twenty-four hours (for so did the strength of this plague hold them) he should be then clearly delivered of his disease: Yet not so clean rid of it, but that he might shortly relapse and fall again into the same evil pit, yea again and twice again as many one indeed did, which after the third time died of the same. At the length by study of the Physicians and experience of the people, drying thereunto by dreadful necessity, there was a remedy invented. For they that survived, considering the extremity of the pain in them that deceased, devised by things mere contrariant, to resist and withstand the furious rage of that burning furnace, by lukewarm drink, temperate heat, and measurable clothes. For such persons as relapsed again into the flame after the first deliverance, observed diligently and marked such things as did them ease and comfort at their first vexation, and using the same for a remedy and medicine of their pain, adding ever somewhat thereto that was sanative and wholesome. So that if any person either after fell sick again, he observing the regiment that amongst the people was devised could shortly help himself, and easily temper and avoid the strength and malice of the sweat. So that after the great loss of many men, they learned a present and a speedy remedy for the same disease and malady, the which is this: If a man on the day time were plagued with the sweat, then he should straight lie down with all his clothes and garments and lie still the whole twenty-four hours. If in the night he were taken, then he should not rise out of his bed for the space of twenty-four hours, and so cast the clothes that he might in no wise provoke the sweat, but so lie temperately that the water might distil out softly of the own accord, and to abstain from all meat if he might so long sustain and suffer hunger and to take no more drink neither hole nor cold, then will moderately quench and delay his thirsty appetite. And in this his amending, one point diligently above all other is to be observed and attended, that he never put his hand or foot out of the bed to refresh or cool himself, the which to do is no less pain then short death. So you may plainly see what remedy was by the daily experience excogitated and invented for this strange and unknown disease, the which at that time vexed and grieved only the realm of England in every town and village as it did diverse times after. But fifty-five years after, it sailed into Flanders and after into Germany, where it destroyed people innumerable for lack of knowledge of the English experience. This contagious and evil plague chanced in the first year of King Henry's reign as a token and a plain sign (if to the vain judgement of the people which commonly common more fantastically then wisely, any faith or credit is to be had gave or attributed) that King Henry should have a hard and sore beginning, but more truly if vain superstition can set forth any truth, it pretended and signified that King Henry to the extreme point and end of his natural life should never have his spirit and mind quiet, considering that now in the very beginning of his new obtained reign he was (as you shall shortly hear) with sedition and emotion of his people, troubled, vexed and unquieted, and it was in manner a manifest proof that hereafter he should live in small rest and great mistrust of such rebellious and seditious conspiracies. These were the fantastical judgements of the unlettered persons which I overpass, and return to my purpose.

Note. This entry describes events in Nov 1485 despite being in Henry VII's second year.