|The Plague Of Eyam|
In the summer of 1665, the village tailor received a parcel of material from his supplier in London. This parcel contained the fleas that caused the plague. The tailor was dead from the plague within one week of receiving his parcel. By the end of September, five more villagers had died. Twenty three died in October.
Some of the villagers suggested that they should flee the village for the nearby city of Sheffield. Mompesson persuaded them not to do this as he feared that they would spread the plague into the north of England that had more or less escaped the worst of it. In fact, the village decided to cut itself off from the outside would. They effectively agreed to quarantine themselves even though it would mean death for many of them.
The village was supplied with food by those who lived outside of the village. People brought supplies and left them at the parish stones that marked the start of Eyam. The villages left money in a water trough filled with vinegar to steralise the coins left in them. In this way, Eyam was not left to starve to death. Those who supplied the food did not come into contact with the villagers.
Eyam continued to be hit by the plague in 1666. The rector, Mompesson, had to bury his own family in the churchyard of Eyam. His wife died in August 1666. He decided to hold his services outside to reduce the chances of people catching the disease.