Eyam (pronounced Eem) is infamously known as the Plague Village. In 1666 a local taylor received a bundle of infected clothes from London. It didn’t take long before the plague spread & terrified villagers prepared to flee.
The local rector, William Mompesson, persuaded the villagers to stay put. Because of Mompessons intervention most of the neighbouring villages survived.
Eyam was quarantined for over a year, relying of food left on the village boundary. Out of 350 inhabitants only 83 survived.
An open air service is still held on the last Sunday in August, at Cucklet Delf. Known as ‘Plague Sunday’ the service commemorates the villagers’ brave self sacrifice.
The village itself is quite large & self contained, typical of a mining & quarrying settlement. An interesting place to wonder around, Eyam has many information plaques documenting events where they took place.
Eyam museum tells the village’s story & the Church of St Lawrence houses an excellent exhibition of Eyams history.
Also inside the church are two ancient coffin lids; the top of one of the lids is known as St Helen’s Cross. Born in Derbyshire, St Helen was the daughter of a British-Roman chief & the mother of Emperor Constantine.
In the churchyard is the best preserved Saxon Cross in the Peak District, along with an unusual sundial which dates to 1775.
Eyam Hall is a 17th century manor house which is now open to the public. The Hall was home to the Wright family for over 300 years. The Hall has an impressive stone flagged hall, tapestry room and the magnificent tester bed. There is also a café, gift shop & gardens.
The Eyam Hall Craft Centre is housed in the farm building & contains several units which specialise in unusual & skilfully fashioned crafts.
A walk up the hill the ‘The Barrel Inn’, Derbyshire’s highest pub, reveals fantastic views to the North & South from the picturesque ridge.