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Eyam Village, Derbyshire

“Ring around the roses, pocketful of posies. Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down”. Who has not heard of that nursery rhyme? We have all sung it at least once in our lifetime. Nothing more apt comes to mind than Eyam Village in Derbyshire when this song is sung.

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Eyam Village (aka. the plague village) in Derbyshire is quite famous for the plague which ravaged numerous lives. Although Eyam is a thriving village today, the plague which so badly affected it years ago is the first thing that comes to people’s minds when the word Eyam is mentioned. This tragic story of death has been burned to the minds of people who inhabit the village now and even people from surrounding areas.

The plague was brought to the village in 1665 when a tailor received some materials from a London supplier. The parcel which the tailor received contained fleas which were the carrier of the plague. Within one week from receiving the parcel, the tailor was dead and by the end of September, five more people died. In October, twenty individuals died.

For fear of their lives, some villagers decided to leave the village for a nearby city, however, they were not to do so for the fear that the plague might spread even further and kill more people. The villagers agreed to quarantine and cut themselves off from the rest of civilization even if it meant sure death to them.

The village was supplied with food and other necessities by people who lived outside the village. People would bring in supplies and would leave them at the stones which mark the beginning of Eyam. In turn people in Eyam would leave money in water troughs filled with vinegar which were meant to sterilize the coins.

The village continued to be ravaged by the plague for 18 months, resulting in the deaths of 273 people according to the village church, with only 83 reportedly surviving out of the entire population.

Today there are many fine houses in the village which have been preserved and kept just the way they looked several centuries ago. The Eyam Hall, which was built in 1676, can still be seen today, as well as the home of the Wright family.

The nursery rhyme Ring a Ring of Roses relates to symptoms of the plague. The roses relate to the rash on the chest that would appear. The posies were used to mask to smell of the plague, and sneezing was the final stage of the illness before dying.

Ghosts of Eyam Village

Because of the numerous deaths which occurred during the plague, it is not unusual for a place such as Eyam to have many ghost stories. There is a large amount of sightings and ghostly incidences in Eyam. One of the most haunted buildings in the village is the Miner’s Arms. People have heard footsteps and experienced some strange occurrences in the bedrooms. Some guests have even left in the middle of the night because of fright.

The plagued cottages is also one of the must visit locations if you want to experience the supernatural. One of the cottages is haunted by the pleasant faced lady who wears a blue smock. She is reported to awaken people in the middle of the night.

Eyam Hall was built between 1671 and 1676. It incorporates a smaller and much earlier part of the house. The Hall was owned by the Wright family. This particular hall hosts the ghost of Sarah Mills. Sarah Mills was a young servant who drowned in the well. There is also the ghost of an old man who so frequents a room upstairs that it has been permanently locked.

Various ghost tours are conducted in Eyam Village daily.

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