The effects of the Black Death on the lower gentry and offices of coroner and verderer in fourteenth-century England
Evidence put forth by John Hatcher in Plague Population and the English Economy, and by Rosemary Horrox, editor of The Black Death, shows that in the years of 1348-49, 1361, 1369,1375, and 1390-93 plagues of varying strengths struck England. By examining the Calendar of the Close Rolls, the death rates of coroners and verderers during these outbreaks can be determined. This in turn allows a death rate to be obtained for the county gentry from which these officials were drawn. The plagues of the latter fourteenth century also had an effect of the offices of coroner and verderer themselves. As the plague removed large numbers of people from the offices, Chancery found it increasingly difficult to maintain suitable people within them. This in turn led to less effective county and forest administration.