The Plague Village.

The picturesque village of Eyam found in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside is not the place you would associate with a disaster which wiped out half the population of this typical English village.

The Bubonic plague arrived in August 1665 and was brought in on a delivery of cloth for George Viccars who was the Tailor in Eyam, apparently the cloth was wet on delivery so he unfolded it and placed it next to an open fire outside. This released the infected fleas which had been brought in on the cloth from London. George Viccers was the first person to die from the plague as he was probably the first person to have been bitten by the infected fleas, he died from a terrible fever on the 7th of September 1665.

The photograph on the right shows one of the plague cottages where George Viccars was the first to succumb to the Bubonic plague.

Over time the plague started spreading throughout the village, it was decided that church services would be held outdoors at nearby Cucklett Delf to hopefully slow down the spread of the disease. The Reverend Wlliam Mompesson asked the villagers to remain within the confines of the village to stop the plague from spreading outwards to other communities.

To try to slow down the chance of cross infection food was brought to the outside of the village and left at the Boundary stone or Mompesson’s Well for the villagers to pick up. Payment was made by leaving coins in a container of vinegar which would act like a disinfectant and stop the plague spreading to the outside world.

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