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.
That was so interesting, such a beautiful village and they've been able to preserve so much of their history. I've never heard of well dressing, it looked lovely xxReplyDelete
It's a lovely village, but the history it holds is fascinating. As you say, they've preserved so much of it so it's an interesting place to visit. Well dressing is an ancient custom, closely associated with Derbyshire and Staffordshire, giving thanks for the water.Delete
How the villagers lived with so much death is hard to fathom, it really is heartbreaking seeing all those names listed for each household.ReplyDelete
The well dressings are amazing works of art, such a steady hand needed!
Love the tearoom's decorations.
I think the signs outside each cottage really brings it home how many deaths there were in the village in such a short space of time. I especially noticed two sons dying on the same day in Rose Cottage, how very sad. I've been wanting to see well dressings for some time, I'm glad our visit to Eyam was at the right time of year to see them. The tea room was really lovely, the staff were very attentive and even had biscuits for Archie.Delete
Interesting post and pictures. Good to see that you had an enjoyable day out. I've never been there but it's the sort of place that I've always enjoyed visiting and learning about. Flighty xxReplyDelete
I remember Eyam from my visit there during my school days, it's a place which has a real effect on you. Well, it did me. I enjoy visiting places with some history to learn about them and Eyam certainly fits the bill.Delete
What a great day out, I love exploring little villages and having a history lesson as well, very interesting.ReplyDelete
We're so lucky that we have so many interesting places to visit here. There's so many sad tales to learn about in Eyam but the villagers there we so brave that I'm glad their story is still remembered today.Delete
The plaques are sad to read aren't they, very fascinating though. They had something about well dressing on Countryfile a few weeks back. Incredibly intricate aren't they xxReplyDelete
The plaques are terribly sad, especially seeing the many young children listed there. I'd popped Eyam on my list of places to visit right at the start of this year and then read posts on a number of blogs about it this year, as well as seeing it on Countryfile. I didn't see the programme about well dressing though, I've been wanting to see them for some time, they're very intricate and must take many hours of work to create.Delete
What a lovely tour. Thank you.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's a great place to visit, so much history there.Delete
I've just read a book called The Year of Wonders about the Plague in Eyam, I recommend it!ReplyDelete
I shall definitely look that book up, it sounds fascinating and I'd love to read more.Delete
Oh, yes I've read The Year of Wonders, it is good! It's by Geraldine Brooks. Eyam is such an interesting place, isn't it. Such a sacrifice was made by those villagers, I can't imagine it happening these days sadly. I'm glad you didn't miss the well dressings, they look lovely. xxReplyDelete
It's very sad wandering round and seeing all the names on the plaques of those who died but there'd have been many more without their sacrifice. I was pleased to see the well dressings, I've been wanting to visit at this time of year for a long time so that I could see them.Delete
Ooh, that village looks gorgeous and I've seen articles about well dressing, so it must have been fascinating to see it for real. How tragic that all those people in the village passed away in such a short space of time. I can't really imagine tragedy on such large scale, although I suppose we still have it today, though in different circumstances. Hope your weekend is going well and take care.ReplyDelete
I'm sure that in another 350 years people will be looking back at the tragedies of today. Eyam is a beautiful village, definitely worth a visit for its history alone but even more special when it's well dressing time too.Delete
A fascinating visit! I hope to go myself someday! xxReplyDelete
I hope you manage to visit as it's a place I'm sure you'd find fascinating. There's so much history and so much to learn too. I'm pleased we got to see the well dressings while we were there, that added a little something extra to our visit.Delete
An interesting place to visit, Jo, but also a bit sad.ReplyDelete
It is sad when you read the plaques and take in the extent of the tragedy, it must have been terrible, whole families wiped out. I'm glad that we still remember all these years later.Delete
Glad you got to visit Eyam, Jo.ReplyDelete
Me too. There were things I'd remembered from my visit there all those years ago but lots of things that I hadn't remembered too.Delete
Sounds a very interesting place to visit, and I love the pictures of the well dressing.ReplyDelete
All the best Jan
I think the fact that I remembered my visit to Eyam from my school days is testament to how interesting the village is, I can recommend it wholeheartedly, it's such a fascinating place. I've been wanting to visit well dressings for a number of years so I was pleased we visited at the right time, the only thing is, I want to see more.Delete
This could have been my post, from our visit there two years ago (or was it three?!) A fascinating place to visit, and I too was amazed at the well dressings!ReplyDelete
It's a wonderful place to visit, certainly worth taking the time to stop off if you're in the area. I want to visit other well dressings now that I've seen these.Delete