Celtic Cross Eyam Village – I’ve seen some debate on the true age of the cross, it could be the 8th or 9th century.
Whilst we were staying our apartment (Saco apartment review) in Derby we visited Eyam Village in the Peak District. My youngest daughter (10) has wanted to come here for a while as shes studied the plague and the history of the village. In fact, when we were walking around I think I did too, as the history of the place was so familiar.
We travelled there by car, and the parking was plentiful and free that we found both on-street parking and carparks. The first place we visited was the Church which was built in Saxon times.
In the church, there is a record of the 273 people who died of the plague between 1665 and 1666. The population they believe was around 350 before the plague. Around the world, the Black Plague ( Bubonic or Great Plague) claimed a third of the population of Europe.
It also houses some beautiful stained glass windows. The window behind the bookstall, for example, is the work of the Victorian stained glass artist Christopher Webb. His ‘signature’, a spider’s web, can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner.
I think I might have found my next residence. Ha!
It really is a pretty village. Pretty accessible there are a few hills and areas with no pavements, but when we visited at the end of May it wasn’t very busy so easy to navigate.
The Eyam Museum – Can you spot the weather vein?
This is where we ended up next, and I’d say its a must visit if you come to the village. Suitable for all ages, its priced really reasonably at around £8.50 for three of us, the adult prices being £3 each.
You really do learn the history of the plague and how it affected the village at the museum, but the whole village set up is a great tribute to the heroism of the villages. There is a video you can watch in a small theatre as well as displays around the museum.
The plague began in the village in 1665 when a flea-infested bundle of cloth arrived from London for the local tailor. The bundle of cloth got damp on its journey and the tailors assistant George Vicars (who took in the package) dried it by the fire in his cottage. George died soon afterwards. As the disease spread, the villagers turned for advice from the Reverend William Mompesson, and Minister Thomas Stanley. They tried many things to help halt the plague spreading including quarantining the entire village.
One of our early nursery rhymes has a special association with Eyam.
“Ring a ring of roses A pocketful of posies Atishoo Atishoo We all fall down”
A ring of roses (a rash on the chest) was the first sign of the plague, the posies relate to fragrant flowers that were used to cover the smell of the infection and sneezing was the final stage of the illness before death.
Eyam Hall and Craft Centre. It has some shops, a brewery and cafe.
As you can see by the weatherproof jackets the weather was a little up and down that day.
There was just enough sunshine to warrant icecream.
Eyam Hall gardens are so beautiful. It’s back under family management after five years when it was leased by the National Trust. Jeremy Wright and his wife Tamaryn, with Bailey their dog, are moving back to their family home. This beautiful Jacobean Manor House has been lived in by the family since it was built as a wedding present by Thomas Wright in 1672. Home of the Wright family for over 350 years.
You can even see the cottages that the plague had some of its first victims right by the village church.
It was soon time to leave Eyam Village. I would definitely recommend it as a trip if you are in the Peak District or Derbyshire. We really enjoyed our time there.