Eyam and The Great Plague

Why Was Eyam Important

At the end of August 1665 bubonic plague arrived at the house of the village tailor George Vicars, via a parcel of cloth from London. The cloth was damp and was hung out in front of the fire to dry, this released the plague infested fleas. On 7th September 1665, George Vicars, the first plague victim, died of a raging fever. As the plague started killing the villagers it was decided to hold the church services outdoors at nearby Cucklett Delf and, on the advice of rector William Mompesson and  Thomas Stanley, villagers stayed within the village to minimize the spread of the disease. Thomas and William decided that a boundary stone was to be placed on the  edge of the village. Here, money was to be exchanged for food. the food was left on the stone and the villages left money in a water trough filled with vinegar to steralise the coins left in them. Their decision remains famous to this day. Eyam was important as their decision meant that the plague did not spread to the surrounding villages. The decision to use vinegar to sterelise the coins also proved successful as the plague was not spread this way. Eyam's decision was important as it meant that much fewer people died of the plague and the plague did not spread across the rest of England. This also meant that the plague ended sooner.
Picture
The boundary stone