Eyam and The Great Plague

The Great Plague (The Black Death)

In the 14th century, the most infamous and devasting outbreak of bubonic plague occured, killing about a third of the population of Europe. The outbreak became known as 'The Black Death' and had a significant effect on the live of people all around the world.  The plague began in China and spread by ship to foreign countries. At the time, it was thought that the plague was carried by cats or dog, subsequently people were told to kill and burn their pets, however, it has since been discovered that the plague was carried by the fleas on rats. the plague spread along trade routes and reached London. The amout of deaths led to bodies being abandoned in the streets and if they were lucky enough to be buried they would often have to be buried upright due to a lack of room.

During the outbreak of plague, people had no idea as to what was the cause for the plague or how to control it. This led to many different theories as people searched for both a reason and a cure for the plague. Many people believed that a 'smell' carried the plague. Some people would squat in the waste-filled gutter thinking that the smell of the waste would fight the smell of the plague. Others placed a bag of fragrant herbs over their nose to keep the plague away. It has since been proved that it was not 'smell' that carried the plague, meaning that these cures were useless.

During the plague, death collectors covered the streets of London. It was their job to remove the dead from their houses. The collecters would collect the bodies into their cart and ferry them up to a burial site.
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The plague was carried from person to person by fleas, which moved about on rats.