John Milton’s plague sanctuary closed by coronavirus

John Milton’s cottage, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

This is the cottage to which poet John Milton fled in 1665 to escape London’s Great Plague. Now a museum commemorating Milton’s life and works, it has, ironically, been closed by the coronavirus pandemic.  

The 1665 plague outbreak was the last epidemic of bubonic plague in England. It killed around 100,000 people – a quarter of London’s population. No wonder Milton fled the city with his family. He completed his famous epic poem, Paradise Lost, here. 

Milton was also a republican support of Oliver Cromwell. He served in the Commonwealth government as Secretary for Foreign Tongues – what a wonderful title for a poet serving as a minister. 

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Today, the authorities managing the response to COVID-19 are discouraging anyone wishing to follow Milton’s example and escape from London to the country. Let’s hope the coronavirus outbreak soon passes and visitors will again be discovering the last surviving home of one of England’s most famous poets. 

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3 thoughts on “John Milton’s plague sanctuary closed by coronavirus

  1. Interestingly (to me), my now deceased ex-mother-in-law lived next door, (to the left of the photo), for a time during WWII. Her father worked at a large insurance firm in the capital, (I think it was London Victoria); and the business was moved wholesale to ‘The Vache’, a large property also in Chalfont St Giles.
    The house was then called ‘Rose Cottage’ but the last time I was there it had been renamed to the somewhat pretentious ‘Hampden Cottage’.

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