Posts Tagged ‘Eyam’

Eyam is down the road from me, about 50 minute’s drive I’d estimate. So in all honesty I should make an effort to go there but as I write this there’s plenty of snow on the ground and my car’s not built for the country. However I’ll put it on the list and hopefully get there at some point.

Eyam is a village in Derbyshire, England and is famous for being the “plague village”, not to say everyone has it now of course. Back in August 1665 when the plague was found there the residents isolated the village so that the plague could not spread.

The plague was brought in by a flea-infected bundle of cloth, delivered to the tailor George Vicars, from London. Within a week Vicars was dead, he was buried 7th September 1665. After the start of the deaths the people turned to their rector, Reverend William Mompesson and they decided to begin their own precautions.

It was decided that families would bury their own dead, they would also relocate services from the Parish Church of St Lawrence to Cucklett Delph so that villagers would separate themselves more. It was designed to stop the spread, but the more drastic and well-known measure was to quarantine the village entirely to prevent it going elsewhere.

The plague raged on for over a year and around 260 villagers died, 83 survived and the church has a record of 273 individuals at the time that were victims. When the outsiders first started to visit a year or more after they found less than a quarter of it’s former size… Some however seemed to have survive by random chance as there was direct contact to the plague with them.

A rather sorry story is Elizabeth Hancock who never did get sick but buried six of her children and her husband within eight days of one another, these graves are known as the Riley Graves. It is also recorded that Marshall Howe was the unofficial gravedigger who survived and yet had handled many of the infected bodies, an immunity that may have been brought about as he had survived it earlier on.

If I should get there I shall look around for some nice pictures, the village and hall looked rather nice from what I could find online. I’ll be sure to feedback if I do!