About this image
The famous Plague Cottages in the village of Eyam, where the fatal plague started. In 1665 the Plague, or 'Black Death', was raging in London. A taylor by the name of George Viccars ordered some cloth from the capital and it arrived damp and had to be laid out to dry. Unfortunately, there were fleas carrying the Plague in the box. Within days Viccars fell ill and died. Several of his neighbours also died and some families began to panic and fled the area. William Mompesson, the rector, supported by Thomas Stanley, a former incumbent, feared that this would spread the disease over a wider area and asked villagers to quarantine themselves. Food and medical supplies were left at various points on the village boundary. The church was closed and services were held in Cucklett Delf, a valley nearby where a Plague Commemorative Service is still held annually. There were no funerals and families buried their own dead near their homes. At nearby Riley a Mrs Hancock buried her husband and 6 children in a space of 8 days. The Riley graves, as they are known, are still there. The Plague ended in October 1666 and had claimed 260 lives in an 18 month period. The cottages where the plague began now carry a commemorative plaque.