Eyam Hall and the Plague Village

9 Sep


If you were unlucky, in or around 1665 and caught the Plague and rich enough to call a Doctor, he may well have showed up wearing a leather “beak” mask like the one shown here. Invented in Paris , with the beak filled with scented herbs to ward off the evil within the air, your Doctor would come and treat you with a variety of weird and wonderful and mostly useless potions , coupled with useless advice. You would probably be horrified to see this masked ghoul and then desperate as you realised he was the plague Doctor, come to treat you. Instant diagnostic method . Poor bedside manner!

When George Viccars, Tailor of Eyam , brought contaminated fabrics from London into the village, little did he know of the deaths and desolation it would cause. He was the first to die.


Click on the pics to expand and see for yourself.


Today, we headed for the National Trust property, still owned by the Wright family. A village and place full of history and character.


This is the banqueting house in the Hall Gardens. A two storey, stone built building with open fire to warm guests during after dinner parties held within the hall itself. With views of the beautiful gardens, it is now a garden store. The village probably had the very first public water supply in the country. Water soaks down through the limestone crust into the grits and strata below to spring up to feed large troughs in a couple of locations in the village.


The village has seen lots of lead mining. This is how the money to build the Hall was generated. There has also been  quarrying, silk weaving, shoe making, agriculture and much more. The museum shows a history of endeavour, hard work and hardship. Tough people these Peak District folk !

Both the Wright family and the people of the village were heavily hit by the events of WW I. The museum currently shows exhibits regarding this.


Many of these bandsmen never returned from France. Many with no known grave. They probably played at some village festival or works celebration or even in the Garden of the Hall perhaps. Just looking through the spyglass in the mock up of a trench and watching shells explode, red hot shrapnel rain down and men shot to death does bring home the horror of what happened in 1914-1918.



In total contrast to these stories of infection and despair,the Hall itself retains a warm, welcoming atmosphere, brought about by the belongings of the Wright family when they left the buildings about three years ago. With the option to move back in again, I would say visit this N.T. Gem as soon as you can. Whilst you can.

We came away loaded with Hartington cheeses including Hartington Blue and a Ewe milk version for the best crackers we can find! We also bought some local beers. Choosing mainly stouts and porters, they will get stored until the next family get together. The cheese will not last that long. Both shops, on site at Eyam Hall.

The one hundred mile round trip gave us the perfect excuse to run in the tyres. Don’t forget to see the previous half dozen new posts, recently put on. You don’t want to miss anything, do you ?




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