11 July 1564 – The Plague hits Stratford-upon-Avon

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The Garrick Inn

The Garrick Inn

On this day in history, 11th July 1564, the plague hit Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, in Warwickshire, or rather the first death from the disease was recorded in the parish.

On 11th July 1564, John Bretchgirdle, vicar of Holy Trinity, where Shakespeare had been baptised on 26th April, recorded the death of Oliver Gunn, an apprentice weaver who died in what is now The Garrick Inn in the town's High Street. The words "hic incepit pestis" ("Here begins the plague") are scribbled next to the burial entry, although they may have been added to the burial entry at a later date.

The epidemic lasted six months and killed over 200 people, around a fifth (some say a seventh) of the population. William Shakespeare's family were fortunate in escaping the plague.

Photo: The Garrick Inn, Stratford Herald.

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11 July 1564 – The Plague hits Stratford-upon-Avon