The plague, known as the Black Death,
that began in the Crimea in 1346 and swept across Europe, spreading
to England 1348-9; there were further outbreaks throughout the Middle
Ages. The plague, which was carried by fleas, took two forms: the
bubonic plague was characterised by swellings in the armpits and
groin; the pneumonic plague was less common and passed from person
to person causing death within three days.