Plague Hospitals and Poor Relief in Late Medieval and Early Modern France

Murphy, Neil (2022) Plague Hospitals and Poor Relief in Late Medieval and Early Modern France. Social History, 47 (3). pp. 349-371. ISSN 0307-1022

Plague hospitals and poor relief in late medieval and early modern France.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (748kB) | Preview
[img] Text
Final Plague and Poor Relief (002).pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 April 2025.

Download (322kB) | Request a copy
Official URL:


Plague hospitals played a key role in the provision of poor relief in late medieval and early modern France. As the poor came to be identified as the principal carriers of plague, they were singled out for attention and special measures were imposed upon them – controls that were justified by the claim that they were being taken in the wider interests of public health. Yet plague hospitals were not just institutions for the confinement of the poor. Municipal councils developed these institutions as places where the poor could gain access to medical treatment and care. This article shows that plague hospitals played a formative role in the grand renfermement of the poor in seventeenth-century France. As places where the poor were confined and received care, it became natural for such hospitals to be used to house the poor outside of plague times. This article argues that municipal governments rather than the crown took the lead in the provision of welfare to the poor before the mid-seventeenth century, following which both the systems used to combat plague and wider poor relief schemes came increasingly under royal control

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Plague, poverty, France, hospitals, poor relief
Subjects: V100 History by period
V200 History by area
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2022 08:49
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 14:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics