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1625: Thomas Hobson’s business operations affected by plague


Plague was endemic in Cambridge in the first half of the seventeenth century, but the years 1625-6 and 1630-2 were periods of particular stress and created serious problems of poor relief for the authorities. The University and town worked together in a body called the Paving Leet to mitigate the worst effects. On 11 July 1625, the Vice-Chancellor and Mayor agreed a series of orders for the control of infection. Regular court sessions were held for the enforcement of these orders and for the distribution of the proceeds of a levy enforced through a fast. The court book includes presentments of breaches of the orders and of the fast; bonds of carriers and letter-carriers to carry no goods from London or other infected places; and orders for the release of certain goods and the airing of others; for the implementation of the watch; and for the closing of Sturbridge Fair.

The extracts digitised here comprise:

• Bonds of Thomas Hobson, Francis Adcock and John Cutchie, carriers, not to carry and re-carry goods from London for fear of bringing infection into the town. Letters may be carried by Adcock if he airs them before delivery, 11 and 19 July 1625 (classmark: UA T.X.19 f.6r)

• Order that Cutchie and Hobson who have brought books from London for Green and Williams, stationers, are to air them several times in a barn outside the town, 21 July 1625 (classmark: UA T.X.19 ff.7v-8r)

• Oath of Thomas Hobson that all London goods that he holds are those set out in a schedule he presents, 4 Aug. 1625 (classmark: UA T.X.19 f.10r)

• Bond in £20 of James Child and William Reeve on Thomas Hobson's terms (unspecified), 4 Aug. 1625 (classmark: UA T.X.19 f.11r).


For an outline of the jurisdiction and procedure of the University courts, and the methodology employed in presenting records online, see the introduction to this CUDL collection.