The village of Eyam lies in a picturesque location in the Derbyshire Dales and became famous after the Black Death of 1665 and 1666.
Nestled in Hope Valley, it offers a story of sacrifice, loss and indeed hope. The Eyam Museum recounts how the village tailor, when receiving a package of materials from London, unwittingly triggered a chain of events which led to more than 270 deaths from the bubonic plague. The villagers decided to contain the outbreak by isolating themselves from surrounding communities to prevent spreading the infection. While many died, others were genetically unique and proved immune to the disease – and there are descendants still living in Eyam, or the ‘Plague Village’, today.
The museum is open to visitors at weekends, with hours varying according to the volunteers, while the 12th-century village church is open from noon until 3pm (Monday to Friday) and has a record of the 273 plague victims.
This Advent, you may even wish to plan a ‘Peak Pilgrimage’, walking between the villages of Ilam and Eyam and visiting the churches along the way. Full details of a suggested route, and information on which churches are open, can be found at www.peakpilgrimage.org.uk.