Both gruesome and heroic (a quote in the book from the register of Malpas, Cheshire, in case you're wondering about the stiffness of the language):
"Richard Dawson, being sick of the plague and perceiving he must die at that time, arose out of his bed and made his grave, and caused his nephew, John Dawson, to cast straw into the grave, which was not far from the house, and went and laid himself down in the said grave, and caused clothes to be laid upon [him], and so departed out of this world."
The endnote adds to the story:
"This he did, because he was a strong man and heavier than his said nephew and another wench were able to bury."
Like I said, gruesome and heroic.