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26 March 2016 @ 12:27 am
Health and Safety in Tudor England  
An Oxford study into "everyday life and fatal hazard" during the Tudor period, using coroners' reports:



At 3 o’clock in the afternoon of 11 March 1550, John Rusey, a labourer, was walking down the road at Chieveley in Berkshire. He stumbled on a ‘carte rote’ [cart rut] and fell over, and the knife hanging at his belt stabbed him in the stomach to a depth of 2 inches. He was found, dead on the road, by a neighbour on the way home from market.

And here's the study's website as well:

I find the composition of the "discovery of the month" from September 2015 to be rather charming:

September 2015. Inquest reports give fascinating glimpses of sixteenth-century language because the clerks often noted down English expressions the jurors had used in the middle of their Latin reports. It is reassuring to know that they were as casual as we are about hanging prepositions: Isada Deller, drowned fetching water from the Thames near Kingston-upon-Thames in February 1564, had ‘twoo payles to carye water w[ith]’. Sometimes the reports show technical terms in use long before their first recorded appearance. John ap Owen was running through a cornfield at Church Stretton in Shropshire in July 1561. He stumbled on ‘a clod of yerth’ and fell on an ‘evyll’, a two-pronged wooden fork, which gave him a six-inch wound in the thigh from which he died three hours later. Evell or evil is first recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary from 1642, but the first known mention of a springle, a thin rod of wood used in thatching, dates to 1836. John Houson, labourer, was up a ladder roofing his house in Newcastle-under-Lyme in November 1563. He fell off and landed on a ‘spryngle’ which went five inches into his left side and killed him on the spot.

And here's a new word, in an unsavory context:

June 2014. Sixteenth-century sanitary arrangements could be not only unpleasant but deadly. George Dunkyn was a Cambridge baker who lived in St Mary’s parish outside the town’s Trumpington Gate. Between eight and nine on the evening of Tuesday 2 June 1523 he went into the back garden of his house to relieve himself into the cess pit in the corner. Unfortunately he was very drunk at the time and fell backwards off the wooden seat into the pit, where he was ‘qweasomed’, or suffocated, by the stench.