Posts Tagged ‘england’

A wonderful thing about being in England is there is a lot to see and do, from Nottinghamshire it’s a fairly short journey into the Peak District. One of the places on my list was Eyam Village, the plague village as it is also referred to.

Eyam village would have been quite isolated during the period of the plague and our journey by car was very far removed from the foot/horse travel of the day. It is however beautiful and part of the Peak Pilgrimage, its also a working village where people see us tourists coming through every day.

In 1665 Mary Cooper lived with her two sons and a lodger called George Viccars, who was a travelling tailor. She was a widow and was living fairly comfortably. Around march 1665 she had re-married to Alexander Hadfield and his will shows that he was also a tailor. She is also referred to as Mary Hadfeld in his will. Tradition holds it that a box came from London and arrived August/September containing clothes, her husband was away at this period and it seems likely he stayed with non-infected family for the year as he came back and died 12 months later. The box was opened and found to have wet cloth in it, so Viccars hung them to dry and within the week. It is thought that perhaps a flea was in the clothing and this bit him, within another two weeks Mary’s youngest son, Edward, had also died.

It was the start of the outbreak of the plague in Eyam, in more modern studies some suggestions were put forwards such as typhus, anthrax or measles. Anna Seward was the daughter of the village rector saying that in 1757 men of the village had dug up rotten linen materials and three of the men succumbed to a putrid fever, another several villagers also died. Does this support the idea of anthrax? However, it is a generally accepted event of plague that has been given to this time period.

As records show the wealthier people left the village early on, some of the poor also tried. It wasn’t possible for everyone to simply lock up and leave, often their arrival to other places was met with hostility. It’s not solely an Eyam experience but if villagers/townsfolk herd where people were coming from they may well have been driven out too. Sheffield people created barriers and had guards there to stop strangers from entering and possibly bringing infection. This also led to some villagers taking to living in the fields and caves around Eyam Moor, creating makeshift homes to avoid contracting the plague.

October that year gave another 23 listed victims, it included Jonathan Cooper (Mary’s eldest son) and by April 1666 there were 73 deaths, some would have been natural but there was a definite spike to their numbers on the records. A lull in May would have presented a sense of hope and then in June it began again.

The rector, William Mompesson and his wife had sent both their children away, his wife Catherine begged them to go too but William felt a strong sense of duty to remain. William remained there and Catherine stuck by him, this choice came at the cost of her early demise. He was a young rector at 28 years old and his position was also taken up during the point of a fairly tumultuous religious period. Thomas Stanley had returned to the village after his and Shoreland Adams had been forced to leave down to Puritan pressure. Stanley had come back and he was liked in the village, both of them had differing religious views but the one thing they did work on together was what they could do about the plague.

It is known that during the plague period people were forbidden from crossing a stream to go to the local Bakewell market, they would leave their money in the local waters and trade from a distance. This was already in place by the time they had got the stages next taken. The villagers consented to three decisions to try and stop the plague from spreading and to bring it under control.

The first was that they would have no more organised funerals and church burials, the demand was too high and so people were advised to bury their own dead. It meant the clergy could do all the other work surrounding the death and it must have been hard for all involved not to have their dead buried on consecrated grounds, it prevented the highly religious people of the time from meeting their relatives on Judgement Day. Bodies had to be buried fast and they had to be wrapped and under the ground as it was thought it would help to stop the spread too.

A second decision was made to lock up the church until the epidemic was over, services would be held in the open air. How the plague spread seemed confusing and unclear. Contact needed to be kept to a minimum, whilst they wanted to unite and keep to their services the villagers also understood this was necessary. A rock, The Delph, and the open area near it was chosen as the rock could act like a pulpit and to this day an annual Thanksgiving is held there on the last Sunday in August.

The third decision was quarantine, it was to try and stop the spread of disease beyond the village boundaries. It is speculated that the people of Eyam had little choice and viewed as forced heroism but it would only have taken one person to ignore that and get away with the disease for it to have become worse so it seems that they all agreed and kept to it.

The Earl of Devonshire lived in Chatsworth House, he was their chief benefactor and arranged for good and medical supplies to be left at the southern border of Eyam. Any requests for specific items could be left at the boundary stone and paid for there too. Cynically this kept the Earl away from the infection but without him they would have had nothing to sustain them so he was doing something to help the local population. Money was placed in running water or wells, or was sterilised by placing it in holes made in the boundary stones were the money was put into vinegar.

The villagers were isolated but the disease did not spread, all they had to do now was wait and pray. The last death was recorded in either October or 1st November 1666. 1664 showed the consensus with around 160 households (800 population) and by the end an estimated 430 people. The Hearth tax return for 1670 suggests 350 taxed households but does not list exemptions and another suggestion of only 83 survivors seems more plausibly to be 83 households. It would be hard to exact numbers for those who died to the plague too, as an example Jane Hadfield had a baby that died only 2 days after birth, not listed down to plague but not ascertained if it contributed either.

In December 1666 the Christmas period was one of recovery, slowly life was returning to the stricken village and in the summer of 1667 they held a ‘great burning’ to remove all objects etc that might carry any remnants of the plague seed.

There are still recorded outbreaks of the plague today, in 1994 there was an outbreak in India and there have been pockets of cases reported in the USA – be wary of the chipmunks and prairie dogs in some of the larger national parks. The latest listed case on WHO is in Madagascar as of 2017.

If you want a lovely day out in the Peaks and want to learn more you can visit and see a museum as well as all the sign posts around the village. It was, for me anyway, a wonderful day out with a lot to take in

Sources:
Eyam Plague Village 1665-1666 by John Clifford
The Village Museum and boards around the village.
The National Trust
World Health Organisation 
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Alright so this is off my usual planned topic but seems to be of local interest so here we are..

There have been several of the “sky trumpets” phenomenon reported world wide, the main bulk of this started around 2012 when there was a sense of apocalypse mania in some movements. The first one seems to have come from Kiev but this has continued to crop up, hoaxed or otherwise, on a semi-irregular basis. So today I spotted a few articles trending and thought it was worth a note or two.

To me they are often explainable, I have even experienced one set first hand but to be honest at 4am and not having thought to grab a phone it is entirely anecdotal but we worked out the source. I will first explain my experience, then I will go into the rest from there. Indulge me!

It was around a year before the internet started reporting those sky trumpets/odd noises and we were happily laying in bed. We didn’t really think about it in terms of aliens or anything biblical, we just woke up and it was VERY annoying. The room was floodlit and yet the only thing opposite is was another home and a pallid yellow street-light. We got up and headed outside having flung on some clothes, we looked around. Our street was nothing spectacular but at the end of it was a train track.

Many people who stumble across this post may relate to this, after a while you forget trains are there, the noise becomes nothing of note and you don’t even notice them. The train was huge! It was so loud and the lights were so bright it took a moment to register. We headed to bed and 15 minutes later all was well.

There are deliberate attempts to fake the noises that people talk about but there are also situations where the location of the noise is not apparent.

The BBC link an article here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-40069751

The Express go for a far more sensational approach http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/784772/End-of-world-apocalyptical-trumpet-noise-Nottingham

So what exactly is going on? Well to be honest… I doubt a lot. Nottingham has a lot of industry, commerce and not that far away an airport. Some comments online suggest it could be a local power plant and some the Boots factory (Boots are a large chemist company) might have been the cause. I really love a good story but detest the overly sensationalised hype that these tabloids throw out. There’s no need. Genuinely interested people will read a more reputable source.

I hope you enjoy the article and my little story but I don’t think I will be waiting for the Rapture, I’ll be sat here feeling sorry for hard working factory people in the current heat!

800 years ago the castle was built to stop the Scottish invading England and anyone caught would be subjected to torture in its dungeon. The floor there slopes away in order to drain the blood away and prisoners made marks on the walls, counting down the days until the would finally die and be mercifully released.

John Sage was a cruel and sadistic torturer who took pride in his work. He invented new methods of causing pain and in his three years of working there saw around 7,500 that he tortured to death. 7 deaths a day does seem like a lot to me, including the fact I didn’t give him a day off at all but that’s the figure apparently…

He is said to have rounded up the Scottish at the castle one day and burnt them in the forecourt. Not sufficiently happy with that he then took and axe and culled the smaller children in the Edward Room. The axe is reportedly still at the castle too.

Reports have been made that in the room the chandelier swings of its own accord, foul smells have been reported and a sense of a strange atmosphere about it have been mentioned. Sage’s tales also extend to the fact that he accidentally strangled his girlfriend whilst making love to her on the torture rack, quite the romantic too eh? The father of the woman threatened to gather up his army and sack the castle if Sage was not killed, he was hanged in a tree near the Edward room and the enthusiastic crowd took pieces off his corpse as he died for souvenirs.

There are other stories linked to the place but those ones seems the juiciest.

Chillingham Castle.jpg
By Glen Bowman from Newcastle, England – My Best of 2005 29-08-2005 16-11-39, CC BY 2.0, Link

It’s no secret that England is considered an old historical place and has a fair share of ghost stories, from headless horsemen to the ghosts of animals on the moors and Sussex, England may be subject to a road with an interesting haunting but also a potentially dangerous one. (Starting source BBC Website)

In November 1992, a unsuspecting Ian Sharpe was driving along the road from Sussex to Kent. A girl in white, with what he described as “beautiful eyes”, stepped in front of his car without warning and she disappeared under the front wheels. Shocked and distraught he stopped the car, he was sure he had killed her or at the very least caused her some serious injury. He got out and made a search to find no body, human or animal and not even a sign of impact, other than the frantic beating of his heart.

Two weeks later another report of a man experiencing a similar event came in, again he rushed out expecting a tragedy to find zero evidence of the event.

There is another nearby road where another unexplained happening has been reported, this time a little less worrying as people are not slamming on their brakes but there is a phantom hitch-hiker near the Lower Bell public house on the same road, the mysterious entity spends a ride towards Maidstone putting the worlds to right with their drive before vanishing right out of the seat.

So what is the speculation behind this? Some believe that it is of a woman called Judith Langham who was knocked down in 1965, she was wearing her white bridal gown on the way to her wedding, Has the poor victim now become a white lady?

There is another report earlier than that of 1992 with Ian Sharpe too, in 1974 a man named Maurice Goodenaugh came to the local police to say that he had left a blanket on a woman he had hit and had begged for help. When he came back with the police there was no sign of the seriously hurt woman and again nothing to suggest what had happened to her if she had been there in the first place.

After this there are two other people that stepped forward to report it, this was listed in the tabloid “The Sun” and Joseph Chester and Tracy Boon said they had seen a woman wearing a nightgown on the road, in 1968 and in 1999. They also report a man called Bob Vandeeper gave a woman a lift in 1962 but this is before the crash and so could not be the bride surely?

So is this all correct? Well it seems not, there is more information about this, Judith Langham was not the bride but there was a bride that died. 19th November 1965, a Friday and the eve of her wedding, at Blue Bell Hill. A Jaguar, driven by Harry Backhouse, collided with a Ford Cortina and killed three of the four woman, one of which was 22-year-old Susan Browne, who was due to marry RAF technician Brian Wettton, she died five days after the accident in the hospital. There were two other women, Judith Lingham and Patricia Ferguson, and Patricia died at the site, but Judith died later on, which is probably where the initial rumour about the bride began.

So is this road haunted or is it just that there’s a tragedy there and unusual events have transposed themselves around to fit it? Or is there really the ghost of a young woman killed at the scene, bride or not? And if so who was the other mystery person in 1962?

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Yes, those things you got taught to draw as a kid, if you were like me you also enjoyed turning the corner of your schoolbooks into epic motion pictures of stick man adventures too.

There are reports of these creatures/men being seen as real entity’s, some more obscure reports mention them wearing a stick hat. The walk they adopt is a sort of lo-lope gait and are surprised when seen but have followed some of their more unfortunate witnesses.

There have so far been no reports of harm coming to someone and they tend to just disappear. There seems to be no tales for their origins and but a theory is they may have come from a 2D universe. I dounf one account, via Mike Dash’s book Borderlands, which stated two people were travelling across the All Road, Elveden in England and caught a glimpse of them in the headlights.

Stories about sightings have turned up since 2008. it might be another urban legend or creation like Slenderman, or an attempt to get something viral for a marketing campaign that never reached fruition. It seems that simple google searches bring up forums that show people willing to share experiences but I couldn’t see any good video’s or footage. I was reminded of a previous subject however, about the strange alien stick figures/nightcrawlers.