Mick took last week off work but having just had a two week holiday at the beginning of August, we decided we'd spend the week at home and have a few days out. On Wednesday, we decided to venture in to my mum's county of birth, Derbyshire. I remember visiting Eyam, pronounced Eem, when I was at school but Mick had never been before.
At first sight, the village looks quite ordinary, although picturesque.
This weather vane, depicting a rat and positioned atop Eyam Museum, gives a hint at Eyam's past.
Eyam is known for an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1665. It was brought in to the village through a bundle of cloth which had arrived from London and within a week, the disease had claimed its first life. The village decided to quarantine itself to prevent further spread of the disease. Food was brought and left at the parish stones which marked the start of Eyam by people who lived outside the village so that they didn't come in to contact with the villagers. Other measures were taken to try and prevent the spread of disease amongst the villagers themselves. The dead were buried by members of their own family and church services were taken in the natural amphitheatre of Cucklett Delph so that people were able to spread out, so reducing the risk of infection.
Plague Cottage where the first victim, George Viccars, lived.
There's many plaques throughout the village marking the cottages where victims lived.
It's difficult to imagine so many people from one family being wiped out in such a short space of time. Also hard to know how those left behind ever recovered from such a tragedy.
Eyam Church where the Reverend William Mompesson was rector. He was an important clergyman and is believed to have been the driving force behind Eyam's self-imposed quarantine.
On 25th August 1666, Catherine Mompesson, wife of rector William Mompesson, died of the plague. She had sent her two children to stay with relatives in Yorkshire but stayed behind herself to help her husband tend the sick. The tomb is decorated with a rose entwined wreath every year on Plague Sunday (generally the last Sunday in August) as this is the Sunday closest to her death and the outbreak of the plague.
A map of the village.
The stocks which were used until the beginning of the 19th century.
Eyam Hall and Craft Centre.
The hall is run by the National Trust and was built in 1671, six years after the plague hit Eyam. We couldn't venture inside as we had Archie with us but we did have a wander around the the Craft Centre which is built in the Hall's former stable yard. I couldn't resist these cute little cat buttons so they came home with me.
One place we were allowed to take Archie was Eyam Tea Rooms, which was good as it just started spitting with rain as we got there.
The tea room was done up in an Alice in Wonderland theme to coincide with the local well dressing. We had a drink and a snack and was pleased to see that the rain hadn't taken hold so we could continue with the sight seeing.
I've heard so much about well dressing but have never visited at the right time of year before. Well dressing is a custom where wells, springs and other water sources are decorated with designs created from flower petals. This Children's Well Dressing was made by children aged between five and fifteen.
Town End Well Dressing. The petals used to create this design come from hydrangeas.
I can never resist taking photos of sheep, I snapped these on the way back to the car.
I'll tell you where our next port of call was in my next post.
Don't forget, if you haven't already entered my giveaway, you've got until twelve noon on Tuesday the 8th of September 2015 to do so. Just leave a comment on my Fifth Blog Anniversary Giveaway post.