Writing in the 1920s, H. V. Morton said 'In the quiet Derbyshire village of Eyam, men still talk about the Plague of London as though it happened last week'. It is much the same today and the main reason why people visit the place is to pay tribute in some way to a tragic story of human gallantry which will never be forgotten.
The Plague was brought from London in 1665 in a consignment of clothes resulting in the death of five out of every six inhabitants within a few months.
The church and the churchyard were dosed and the dead were buried in the fields in hastily constructed graves. Services were conducted by the Rector, the Rev. William Mompesson, who preached in a dell ffom a lofty rock, since called 'Cucklet Church', where an annual Commemoration Service is now held on the last Sunday in August. During the plague the inhabitants accepted a rigid routine of isolaion, and purchased their supplies from neighbouring areas by depositing their 'contagious money' in a well, now called 'Mompesson's Well', after which supplies were left upon the stones in isolated spots. The rector was assisted by Thomas Stanley, the ejected dissenting minister, who had stayed on at Eyam. A well-dressing festival is held at Eyam, starting on the Saturday before Plague Sunday.
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