This Day in History: 1603-04-19

On 19th April 1603, according to the historian Richard Holmes in his book ‘Pontefract: its Name, its Lords, its Castles’, King James I, on his journey from Edinburgh to London to claim his throne, came to Pontefract. The castle was included in jointure property (reverting to a wife after her husband’s death) of his wife, Anne of Denmark. Anne, unfortunately, did not survive James. Holmes remarks: As was the case in other places where he stayed, the dirty habits of his followers seem to have brought upon the town a visitation of the plague, which broke out on September 2nd 1603, as is marked by an entry in the church books “Plague begonne” . The plague gradually increased in virulence during September (10 deaths/vs 11 in same month the previous year), raged violently during October (57/11), November (67/7) and December (32/8), then somewhat abating in January (18/7) and February (10/6) and nearly died out in March (13/9).’