Nearby Baslow Edge
Eyam is a Peak District village with a noble past, dubbed locally as ‘The Plague Village’ this shouldn’t act as a stigma, but a draw, as the place has a very interesting story to tell. In 1665, some brave villagers were determined to stop the bubonic plague in its tracks. They chose to isolate themselves rather than let the infection spread, after a box of tainted fabric was delivered to the village from London.
There are several places in and around Eyam that date back to the time of the plague. For instance there is the cool stone, where those afflicted would leave coins, soaked in vinegar to kill infection, for food and medicine. There are also some of the boundary stones that marked the edge of the village to indicate the point which outsiders and villagers must not cross. Church records state the 273 villagers died during the 14 month quarantine. The Eyam Museum is a great place to learn the full story of the sacrifice the people of Eyam made for the greater good of the outlying area.
Eyam properties affected by the plague outbreak
Today the village is a tranquil and peaceful place with a few useful amenities. There is a convenience store for basic supplies, a couple of craft and gift shops, and a café. For evening meals, the sole pub is The Miner’s Arms, and for a fish and chip supper go to the next village of Stoney Middleton. Ale drinkers rejoice, as Eyam has a brewery with a shop. You can also enjoy a drink on the premises too. For a wide range of shops travel to Chesterfield for a good choice of chain stores, banks and petrol stations.
For walkers, there is an interesting 4.5 mile trail around the village, called The Eyam Walk. It takes in many historical spots relevant to the plague years including the Mompesson Well - where the vinegar coins were left, the Riley graves, the plague cottages, the boundary stone where people from neighbouring villages left supplies and the Hancock graves where you’ll find a protective stone wall in the middle of a field where seven family members were buried. Another good day out is to Eyam Hall and Craft Centre, a National Trust property close to the village. There are guided walks and historic, managed gardens to explore as well as many family-friendly pursuits and wildlife spotting games for kids.
The closest Tourist Information Centre is in Bakewell, a pleasant town a short way south, which is worth visiting to stock up on local knowledge and up to date news that may not have hit the Internet.