Peak District National Park: Day 1: Eyam

10/03/2009

A few weeks ago I went to Peak Districk National Park.  The catalyst for the journey was a concert review opportunity (Ray Lamontange and Josh Ritter) in Sheffield, the major city just east of the park.

I left early in the morning and traveled by 3 trains to Sheffield, arrived at my pub/inn to eat my packed lunch then catch a bus into the park.  The park is full of tiny, well preserved villages.

I decided to visit the village of Eyam because of it’s interesting mark on history.  During the plague, the disease was largely contained to densely populated cities (ie London).  Eyam’s local tailor and the couple he shared a flat with came down with the plague and died.  The source was traced to a bolt of fabric he brought from London and contained a flea or two carrying the disease.  The plague made it’s entrance to the countryside and now all villages were in danger.

The pastor or Eyam gave the town an idea- to quarrantine themselves in an effort to contain the plauge to their village and prevent its further spread.  Eyam citizens agreed to the plan – meaning no one left the village.  They set up quarantine boundaries high above the village and two drop-off points were arranged where deliveries of food and supplies were left (one at a well at the top of a hill- the well had divets carved out where they left money soaked in vinegar to kill the germs).  About 1/3 of the village died from the plauge.  It’s impossible to know the impact of the town’s sacrificial decision but historians and disease specialists agree their choice prevented the plague from spreading in the English countryside.

Then it was back to Sheffield for a half pint and to see the concert.  It was wonderful music.  You can read the official review here on Consequence of Sound.

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