Eyam, Peak District Sunday 27th July 2014

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer   Distance: approx. 14 miles

On leaving the car park next to Eyam museum, we headed down through the village towards ‘Stoney Midddleton’ (approx. 1 mile). From there we headed towards Calver along some local roads towards the river. From here we followed the river towards Baslow. (so far fairly flat ground, conditions dry). We headed towards the ‘Robin Hood’ pub up a steady incline, leading us to Birchen Edge where we stopped for lunch. Making our way through moorland we headed towards ‘Big Moor’ walking along White Edge. At the top (365 metres) we started our descent towards ‘Froggatt Edge’ crossing some boggy marshland. Descending through ‘Bee Wood’, crossing the river and heading back to the village of Eyam.

Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 7-8 miles

Eyam – Sir William Hill – Eyam Moor – Stoke Ford – Bretton Clough – Eyam Edge – Eyam.

A pleasant walk, past the Llama farm, through fields, past streams on to the hill top with lovely views of Eyam and the surrounding district, and back into the very interesting village of Eyam.

Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey   Distance : approx. 6.5 miles

I have done this recce but, after starting out, we found a really steep hill down The Delf (which I was not happy with). So, on our walk we will go down Eyam Dale which is not recce’d. Please bear with me on this – thank you!

We will join our recce’d walk at Black Harry Gate. From here we make our way to the Sailer Hole Mine. Up to Stoney Middleton and then back into town. It is a pleasant walk with not too many stiles or ups and downs. If we are lucky, the weather will be as kind as on our recce.

Easy Leader: Philomena Walker & Lydia Ashton   Distance: 4.5 miles

We set off walking through a housing area and out onto open green fields, following the sign to Foolow. There are some stiles along the way. The scenery is wonderful.

We can decide (weather permitting) to detour to Foolow village and duck pond. Then some road walking to a walled track back to Eyam.

On return to the village we can choose to walk up to Riley Woods and visit Riley Graves before returning to the car park.

Notes On The Area

Eyam is pronounced ‘Eem’ and has become known as “The Plague Village”. It was in August 1665 that the village first suffered from the Bubonic Plague. The disease came to England via the trade routes from China, spreading quickly in London due to the bites of fleas which had previously lived on the bodies of infected black rats. It is thought that the disease came to Eyam in a parcel of cloth delivered from London to the local tailor, George Viccars, who lodged with Widow Cooper in one of the cottages by the church. After opening the parcel, George Viccars found the cloth damp, so he put it in front of the fire to dry. This was possibly his undoing; after developing a fever, then rashes on his body, he died on 7th September 1665. Others in the same house died within weeks and the disease then spread throughout the village

It was the rector, William Mompesson, together with his non-conformist friend and predecessor, Thomas Stanley, who united the village and persuaded the villagers to stay within the boundaries of the village to stop the disease from spreading throughout Derbyshire. With the help of the Earl of Devonshire, who arranged for food and other needs to be left at the Boundary Stone, now known as Mompesson’s Well, the epidemic was kept within Eyam. Coins, as payment, were left soaking in vinegar so that suppliers of goods knew that they would not be infected. In all 259 people died during 1665 and 1666, but without the heroism of the villagers of Eyam, the plague would have spread all over the county.

Eyam Church is dedicated to St Lawrence, having been used for worship since Saxon times. Inside the 850 year old church is a fascinating exhibition telling the story of the plague. In the churchyard is an 8th century Celtic cross decorated with carvings of angels. There is also a sundial from the late 18th century and many interesting headstones, including one to Harry Bagshaw, a famous Derbyshire cricketer.

Eyam Hall is a beautiful manor house, built in 1671, home of the Wright family. The present incumbents inherited the house in 1990 and two years later opened it to the public. Interested visitors will see history through the eyes of one family for over 320 years.

Foolow is a former lead mining village gathered attractively around the village green. It boasts a 14th century stone cross, a bull ring and a mere. At the edge of the green is a well with steps leading down. The Bulls Head Inn is the last surviving pub in the village – at one time there were five!