Interactive map shows where 142 killings took place in medieval London

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Researchers at the University of Cambridge have had a closer look at the worst events in London in the period 1300 to 1340. The result is an interactive map showing the scene of over 140 brutal murders.

Each murder is marked with a point in the interactive map named “London Medieval Murder Map”. If you click on a point you get the story behind the event that took place there, approx. 700 years ago.

You can filter the points on the map to show the gender of the victim.
Where the crime was committed, in private or in public, the year the deaths took place and what sort of weapon was used are other ways to filter the map.

Difficult task to locate the killings

Finding an exact venue for an event that took place 700 years ago is not easy. The researchers at the University of Cambridge have therefore allowed themselves to associate sites with approximate locations based on written sources.

Sometimes the locations of violence are particularly well documented as in the case of the murder of Christina de Mestre. This murder site is attached to the Walebrok section of the cemetery of St.Mary de Wolcherchehawe. Other places are more vaguely documented like the murder of Ralph Sarasyn who was stabbed in 1339. Written sources placed this knife killing to a hostel whose exact location is unknown today.

High murder rate in London

According to the researchers London suffered a very high killing rate. In the Middle Ages the murder rate was 15-20 times higher in London than in other British cities.

Nobody knows for sure how many people were living in London at this time. An estimate is between 40,000 and 100,000. Say it was around 80,000 residents in London in the 14th century, then it would mean that one in 5,000 residents was killed every year.

We can also read from the events described on the map that the greatest chance of being killed was on Sundays and Mondays between 5 and 10pm.

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