The History and Antiquities of Eyam

By William Wood (1842)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2012

MEMORIALS OF THE PLAGUE

Riley Graves are about a quarter of a mile eastward of Eyam, on the top, or rather on the slope of a hill, the base of which partially terminates in Eyam. These mountain tumuli are generally known to be the burial places of the Hancock family during the plague. Perhaps there is no place capable of producing such peculiar and serious impressions; such sedate, venerable, and unspeakable sensations. These insulated memorials of the hapless sufferers, viewed with the surrounding scenery, give a tone to the feelings as pathetic as inexpressible. All the lighter emotions of the heart are chained down in prostrate abeyance: we feel as if we were holding communion with the spirits who murmur a saddening requiem to pleasure and frolicsome gaiety. All seems so hallowed: so over-shadowed, and so deeply imbued with solemnity. Were I competent to describe the impressive scenery of Riley Graves, it would be only a work of supererogation; seeing that it has already received the deeply impassioned strokes and the heart-softening touches of the elegant authors of "Peak Scenery", and "Rambles in Derbyshire ": therefore I shall proceed to give the details of the almost total extinction of the family of Hancock, and the sole extinction of that of Talbot - the two families who resided at Riley at the commencement of the desolation of Eyam; with a particular notice of the places of their interment; and (as is indispensably necessary in this work) a brief description of the surrounding scenery.

Those who have visited Riley Grave Stones have unavoidably noticed, about fifty yards from the enclosed cemetery, a small ash tree, it stands in a north-east direction of the stones, and it was a few yards south of this tree where stood the habitation of the Hancocks. There is not the least remains of that dwelling to be seen at this day; the disconsolate mother, after burying her husband and six children, as hereafter described, deserted it; and it was sometime after carried away to repair the neighbouring fences. The house in which the Talbots lived was about two hundred and fifty yards west or rather north-west of that of Hancocks; the present Riley-farm house is built on its site. The Manchester road to Sheffield passed, in those days, close by this house, and Talbots, being blacksmiths, had a smithy adjoining the house, and close to the road. Besides this occupation, they farmed part of Riley old land, and Hancocks the other. The Talbot family consisted of Richard, his wife, three sons, and three daughters: one son, however, had left Riley, and lived at some distance, before the commencement of the plague, in his own family, and therefore escaped. The high and airy situation of Riley, one would imagine, ought to have operated against the distemper; and being besides a full quarter of a mile from Eyam, the two families were not compelled to have any communication with the inhabitants thereof. How or by what means this subtle agent of death, found the way to Riley, is not now known; most probably some of the Talbot family brought it from Eyam, as they all perished before the infection, or at least before the death of any one of the Hancocks. The pestilence had raged full ten months in Eyam, before the Talbots of Riley were visited by this deathful messenger.

On the fifth of July, 1666, died Briget and Mary, daughters of Richard and Catherine Talbot, of Riley. They were young and beautiful: they had sported with innocence and mirth on the flowery heath only a few days before death came and laid his cold, chilly hand on their lovely bosoms. Often had they roved on the neighbouring moors, with hearts swelling with joy, and pure as the snow of their mountains: ah! they had spent full many a sunny day, in chasing the many-hued butterfly, amidst the busy hum of the wild and toilsome bees; and then, like two sweet roses just bursting into bloom, they were suddenly plucked from their lonely, parent bed. Thus these two lovely girls fell victims to the horrid pest; thus they reluctantly stooped beneath death's fearful arch in one sad, direful day. Their weeping and terrified father immediately committed them to the earth beside his mournful home. On the seventh of the same month, he performed the same awful task on Ann, another of his hapless daughters; and on the eighteenth, on his wife Catherine. Robert, his son, died, and was buried on the twenty-fourth, and on the ensuing day, the father himself died and was buried, leaving one son, who on the thirtieth died also, and was buried, probably by the Hancocks, on the same day. Thus, from the fifth to the thirtieth of July, perished the whole of the household of the fated Talbots of Riley. They were interred nearly together, close by their habitation; and in the orchard of the present Riley-house, a dilapidated tabular monument, with the following very nearly erased inscription, records their memories:- "Richard Talbot, Catherine his wife, 2 sons, and 3 daughters, buried July, 1666".

The pest now passed on to the habitation of the Hancocks, where the work of death commenced by the infection of John and Elisabeth, son and daughter of John and Elizabeth Hancock. On the third of August, only three days from the death of the last of the Talbots, they both died, and were buried at a little distance from their cottage, by the hands of their distracted mother. Although her husband and two other sons survived four days after the first victims, yet tradition insists that the mother of this family buried them herself, altogether unassisted. John, her husband, and two sons, William and Oner, now sickened of this virulent malady. She became frantic; she saw that the whole family were destined to the same fate as the Talbots, and she wrung her hands in bitter despair. In the night of the sixth, Oner died, and her husband a few minutes after, and before morning, William gave his last struggling gasp. Can imagination conceive anything so appalling as the case of this suffering woman: on the third she buried a son and daughter, and in the night of the following sixth, she closed the eyes of her husband and two other sons. How awful her situation; being far from any other dwelling; not a soul to cheer her sinking spirits; not a being to cast her sorrowing eyes upon, save her two surviving children, whose lamentations were carried afar on the startled morning breeze. Such was the terrible night of the sixth of August, to this woful woman; often she ran to the door and called out in agony for help; then turning in again, she fell on her knees, and

"With hands to heaven out-spread, 
Her frequent, fervent, orisons she said,
In loud response her children's voices rise,
And midnight's echo to their prayer replies."
 
LUCIEN BONAPARTE.

The beams of the following morning's sun fell on the shallow graves which she had made for her husband and two sons. Dreading to touch the putrid bodies, she, as she had done by the other, tied a towel to their feet, and dragged them on the ground in succession to their graves. Hapless woman, surely no greater woe, ever crushed a female heart.

The end of two short days, from the seventh to the ninth, saw her again digging another grave amongst the blooming heath for her daughter Alice. On the morning of the next day, the tenth, Ann, her only child left at home, sunk and breathed her last. Thus

"each morn that rose,
 
Her grief redoubled, and renewed her woes." 
LUCIEN BONAPARTE.

She consigned her to a grave beside her brothers and sisters; weeping in tears of sorrow until the fountains of grief became as dry as the sands of the desert. A few days after the death of her last child, she left her habitation at Riley, and went to an only son who had been, some years before the plague, bound an apprentice in Alsop-fields, Sheffield; with whom she spent the remainder of her sorrowful days. It was this son who erected the tomb and stones to the awful memory of his fated family; and it was one of his descendants, a Mr. Joseph Hancock, who, about the year 1750, discovered, "or rather recovered", in Sheffield, the art of plating goods.[1]

The houses in the top part of Stoney Middleton are nearly on a level with Riley-Graves; divided by two dells or narrow dales. The inhabitants of these houses, according to a very popular tradition, watched with profound awe the mother of the Hancocks, morning after morning digging the graves for her husband and children; and dragging them on the ground from their dwelling, and burying them therein. Awful and terrible scene. Did they not in imagination hear her audibly exclaim with the holy prophet? "Oh! that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night".

It has been observed by some writers that Riley, or Riley-graves, was the general burial place of the victims of the plague; this is, however, a mistake: none was buried there but the Talbots and Hancocks. The Talbots I have never seen noticed by any writer. Six head-stones and a tabular tomb record the memories of the Hancocks. The site of the graves was originally on the common or moor, on the verge of which was the dwelling of the Hancocks. That part of the common was afterwards inclosed, and the stones, which lay horizontally and marked precisely the places of the graves, were placed in an upright position, and somewhat nearer together. Thomas Birds, Esq., Eyam, an highly inestimable character, and profound antiquarian, caused these memorials to be put in a better state of preservation. He purchased the ground whereon they lay; but, since his death, or just before, it became the property of Thomas Burgoine, Esq., of Edenzor, who for the better security of those relics of the plague, has removed them still nearer each other, and erected a wall round them in the form of a heart. It is hoped that the owner will prevent any further change in the situation of these sacred stones. On the top of the tomb there is the following inscription and quaint rhymes:-

"John Hancock, sen., Buried August 7, 1666.
Remember man
As thou goest by,
As thou art now,
Even once was I;
As I doe now
So must thou lie,
Remember man
That thou must die."

On the four sides of the tomb are the words - Horam, Nescitis, Orate, Vigilate. On the head- stones the inscriptions are as follows:-

Elizabeth Hancock, Buried Aug. 3, 1666.
John Hancock, Buried Aug. 3, 1666.
Oner Hancock, Buried Aug. 7, 1666.
William Hancock, Buried Aug. 7. 1666.
Alice Hancock, Buried Aug. 9, 1666.
Ann Hancock, Buried Aug. 10, 1666.

It is impossible for the tourist to describe his feelings fully and minutely when he visits this hallowed and lonely place; he beholds, in the language of Ossian, "green tombs with their rank whistling grass; with their stones of mossy heads"; and his soul becomes suddenly overcharged with grave and solemn emotions. The scenery around these rude and simple monuments of eventful mortality, is highly picturesque; and adds greatly to the impressiveness of the sensations which a visit to this place invariably creates. Standing within this paling we behold to the left a long range of sable rocks sheltering the ancient villages of Corbor and Calver. Farther on, Chatsworth meets our view, and forms a conspicuous object in the prospect. This costly mansion, surrounded by such wide contrasting objects, has an unique effect: it has a magic-like appearance. Proud Masson is seen in the dim distance holding imperial sway over a thousand lesser hills. To the right we glance on the plain tower of Eyam church rising above the ivy-adorned cottages in rural magnificence. Lovely village, amidst thy dells we hear the muses of thy living and departed minstrels in sweet communion sing. Still farther off we see the peaks of endless hills, where the winding, classic Cressbrook flows,- the minstrel Newton's Arethuse. And behind, plantations of young trees are richly commingled with purple-blooming heather. Such are a few of the most prominent objects viewed from Riley-graves - "The Mountain Tumuli", where heath-bells bloom - where nestling fern and rank grass grow - where lone and still,

"Their green and dewy graves, the unconscious sufferers fill." 
WILLIAM AND MARY HOWITT.

One hundred and seventy-six years have now transpired since this unequalled and dreadful visitation; and, therefore, many of the stones which told of the calamities of Eyam, have been destroyed. In order that the future inhabitants of Eyam may be enabled to point out to the tourist most of the places where the ashes of the sufferers repose, I shall describe in a few following pages all the places where stones have been known to exist; where bones and bodies have been found; and where the still existing few memorials may be seen.

In the Cossy-dell there were, about fifty years ago, two or three grave-stones to the memory of a portion, or the whole, of a family of the name of Ragge; and the Register mentions four persons of that name who died of the plague. These stones have either been broken or carried away. It was the last of these memorials which is the theme of the short and beautiful poem, entitled "The Tomb of the Valley;" written a few years ago by Richard Furness.

At the Shepherds-Flat some stones existed until very lately, to the memories of the Mortins and Kempes; two families who perished by the plague, with the solitary exception, as we have before seen, of one individual. These memorials, after having marked for more than a century and a half, the precise places where the mortal remains of the sufferers of Shepherds-Flat were deposited, have been destroyed by some late barbarian occupants of that secluded place. Bretton, about a mile north of Eyam, was visited by the plague; and a many grave-stones once recorded the names of those who died. A few still remain. The victims were of the families of Mortin, Hall, and Townsend. One of these sufferers was buried in Bretton-Clough, and a round stone still covers the grave, but without any inscription. In Eyam-edge some grave-stones were once seen near to the house now belonging to Mr. I. Palfreyman; but they have disappeared long ago. Behind, or rather at the west-end of some dwellings, now recognised as the Poor-houses, one or two of these stones which are said to have recorded the deaths of some persons of the name of Whitely, have been of late demolished. In a field adjoining the back part of the house occupied by Mr. J. Rippon, Eyam, one of these "melancholy tablets of mortality" once existed. That part of Eyam called the Townend was, about eighty years ago, bestrewed with these calamitous memoranda. Some have served for the flooring of houses and barns; while others have been broken up for numerous purposes. The house and barn contiguous to the Miners' Arms Inn was built on a small plot of ground which contained the unconsecrated graves of a whole family at least. The stones which commemorated the untimely fate of these sufferers were sacrilegiously broken when the present building was erected. A piece of waste land at the east end of the village, now forming a part of Slinn's Croft, must, from the number of monumental stones it once contained, have been the general place of interment for a many families. Some of these humble tablets were inscribed with a single H; probably the initial of Heald: the name of a family of whom a many perished. This brief and simple inscription is, however, equally as applicable to two other families of the names of Halksworth and Hadfield, who might inter their deceased members in this place. One of these stones, still existing, is to the memory of a woman of the name of Talbot; and others were commemorative of many other persons of various names. These mournful memorials, with their serious and impressive records, are now, with one single exception, no longer seen. They have been wantonly and unnecessarily destroyed; and, principally, (as I am informed,) by a man, from whose pretension to classical attainments, something different might have been expected. A want of becoming veneration for the remains of those unparalleled sufferers; an utter absence of a due sense of feeling, must ever be the degraded characteristics of that being who has lent a hand to destroy those simple monuments of the greatest moral heroes that ever honoured and dignified mankind! The inhabitants of Eyam ought to have vied with each other in the preservation of every relic of the eventful fate of the victims of the plague; the ground in which their ashes are laid, ought to have been for ever undisturbed; and the tablets which told the story of their calamities guarded as much as possible, even from the defacing hand of time. Alas! alas! such has not been the case: nearly all the humble stones which were laid to perpetuate their memories have been demolished.

"Ah! There no more
The green graves of the pestilence are seen;
O'er them the plough hath pass'd; and harvests wave,
Where haste and horror flung th'infectious corse."
 
ELLIOTT.

The following are, however, the few stones that still remain:-

Besides Mrs. Mompesson's tomb there is another in the church-yard, but the inscription is now obliterated; yet I believe it was erected to the memory of a person of the name of Rowland, who died of the plague in 1666. The Register mentions several of this name, who were carried off during that awful time. In a field behind the church, known as Blackwell's Edge-field, there are two stones with the following inscriptions:- "Margaret Teyler, 1656, Alies Teyler, 1666". According to the Register, Margaret was buried July 14, 1666; and Alies was one of the last who perished by the hand of the pest. Nearly the whole of this family died of the distemper, although there is no mention of any other on the present existing stones. It appears, however, that the father, mother, and children of this family, died at long intervale, considering the sweeping, sudden, and awful desolation.

In a field adjoining Froggatt's factory, there is an old dilapidated tabular tomb, with H.M. inscribed on one end. These letters are the initials of Humphrey Merril, who was buried there on the 9th of September, 1666. In the parson's fields in the Lydgate, Eyam Townend, two gravestones are laid nearly parallel to each other, containing the following records:- "Here lye buried George Darby, who dyed July 4th, 1666"; "Mary, the daughter of George Darby, dyed September 4th, 1666". The house in which this family dwelt is supposed to have been contiguous to their graves. There is a tradition that the lovely young maiden was extremely beautiful and engaging; that she was frequently seen in the adjoining flowery fields; that she was suddenly seized by the terrific pest while gathering flowers in the field of her father's sepulchre; and that she lingered only one short day before she was laid beneath the daisy-sods, beside her father's grave. How sudden the change. Homer's beautiful simile on the death of Euphorbus, may be applied with equal felicity to the fate of this hapless young maiden:-

"As the young olive, in some sylvan scene,
Crown'd by fresh fountains with eternal green,
Lifts the gay head, in snowy flowerets fair,
And plays and dances to the gentle air;
When lo! a whirlwind from high heav'n invades
The tender plant, and withers all its shades;
It lies uprooted from its genial bed,
A lovely ruin, now defaced and dead."

A stone in the possession of Mr. John Slinn, of the King's Arms Inn, Eyam, has the following inscription: "Briget Talbot, Ano. Dom. 1666". She was the wife of Robert Talbot, clerk, and was buried on the fifteenth of August, 1666. The stone was found in a small piece of ground, now forming, as aforementioned, part of Slinn's croft, and it is hoped that this memorial of the desolation of Eyam, will be preserved, which I am happy to state, there is no doubt. This Robert Talbot was in holy orders, but where he officiated, or whether he ever exercised the sacred functions or not, I am not able to affirm. The house in which he resided is known to this day as the Parson's house. These calamitous tablets, with those at Riley, are all that now bear testimony of the plague at Eyam. Many have been destroyed, and probably a many more are buried beneath the surface of the gardens and fields of the village.

Within the present generation several human skeletons and other remains of the victims of the plague have been discovered in various parts of the village. In making some alterations in some buildings opposite the school, about twenty years ago, three skulls and other bones were found. From the position of the skulls, the bodies appeared to have been laid side by side, very near each other, and what was most particularly observed was, that the teeth were extremely white and perfect. The jaws of all the skulls had the requisite number of teeth, which were most remarkably sound. On making the new road from the Dale to the Town-end, fifteen years ago, a human skeleton, lying at full length, was found in a garden. It measured nearly six feet, and the teeth, as in the above case, were equally perfect. The skeleton, on account of the stature, was supposed to be that of a young man, and the whiteness and soundness of the teeth, were most probably owing to his being at the time of death in the vigour of life. An old house, opposite the Church, was pulled down a few years ago, when a human skeleton was found under the parlour floor. Two or three gravel-stones, which had in part paved the same room, were destroyed at the same time. A very many persons can recollect having seen the stones, but all have forgot the particular inscriptions. In an old house on the Cross, now occupied by J. Wilson, miller, some human bones were found in removing part of the kitchen floor. There was a grave-stone, if not some part of a human skeleton, once found in a field which is now called Phillip's sitch. In a cleft of the rocks in the dale side, some bones were found a many years since, by Mr. Samuel Hall, Eyam. These bones were undoubtedly the remains of some person or persons deposited there at the time of the plague. In the Dale, very near the Hanging F[l]at, some bones have been dug up. There is no doubt whatever, that the remains of the plague's victims are scattered far and wide in and around the village. By way of concluding this doleful subject, it may be proper to notice a few particulars respecting the still existing difference of opinion concerning the respective merits of Mompesson and Stanley, in the happy influence exercised over the villagers of Eyam, during their awful calamity.

It is insisted by a few, that Stanley exerted himself in mitigating the sufferings of the inhabitants of Eyam during the plague, to a far greater degree than Mompesson; that he was the principal means of preventing the contagion from spreading to the neighbouring villages; that the fame of Mompesson has cast an undue shade over the lofty virtues of his pious predecessor; and that, for this and other reasons, the venerable and conscientious Stanley has not had justice done to his memory. Without wishing to detract anything from the merits of Mompesson, I must confess that there are grounds for suspecting that Stanley has not had that justice done him which he so deservedly merited. It is lamentable that such should have been the case; yet I believe, although there is no particular clue to the motives of the persons by whom his name has been kept back, that it will scarcely admit of doubt. The following extract from Bagshaw's Spiritualibus Pecci, quoted by Calamy, in his Lives of the Nonconformists, sufficiently corroborates what is here advanced: - "When he (Stanley ) could not serve his people publicly, he was helpful to them in private. Some persons yet alive will testifie how helpful he was to his people when the pestilence prevailed in Eyam, that he continued with them when, AS IT IS WRITTEN, 259 persons of ripe age and 58 children were cut off thereby. When some who might have been better employed moved the then Noble Earl of Devonshire, Lord Lieutenant, to remove him out of the town, I am told by the creditable that he said, 'It was more reasonable that the whole country should in more than words testifie their thankfulness to him, who, together with the care of the town, had taken such care AS NO ONE ELSE DID, to prevent the infection of the towns adjacent'".[2] The well-known veracious character of the venerable Apostle of the Peak, gives to his testimony the weight of indubitable truth. And I may here add, that the memory of Stanley amongst the inhabitants of Eyam is, to the present day, greatly revered and deservedly cherished. By some he is invariably designated as, THE GREAT GOOD MAN. He died at Eyam in the year 1670, satisfied to the last in the cause of Nonconformity". The house in which he lived was, until it was pulled down, called Stanley's house. Tradition gives to this honourable character all the glowing virtues of the Man of Ross:

"And what! no monument, inscription, stone?
His race, his form, his name almost unknown." - POPE.

This highly exalted character of Stanley must not be supposed to detract in the least from that of the benevolent Mompesson. No; Mompesson's memory is richly worthy of all the admiration with which it has been honoured. The living of Eyam was presented to him on the death of Sherland Adams, in 1664; only one year before the first breaking out of the plague. From the following passage in his letter to his uncle, J. Beilby, Esq., ___, Yorkshire, he appears to have been dissatisfied with his situation at Eyam:- "Had I been so thankful as my situation did deserve, I might have had my dearest dear in my bosom - God grant that I may repent my sad ingratitude!" - He seems, however, to have known with Seneca, that "Virtue is that perfect good, which is the complement of a happy life; the only immortal thing that belongs to mortality". His virtue was not contemplative, but active: and it must be remembered, that this divine property is never so glorious as when exhibited in extremities. What a sublime sentiment he gave to the world in the following words, in his letter to Sir George Saville: - "I am not desirous that they (my children) should be great, but good"; and he then adds, "my next request is, that they may be brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord". When he considered himself on the verge of eternity, he thus in the purest spirit of philanthropy addresses his patron:- "I desire, Sir, that you will make choice of a humble, pious man to succeed me in my parsonage; and could I see your face before my departure hence, I would inform you in which manner I think he may live comfortably amongst his people, which would be some satisfaction to me before I die". In another part he says: "Never do any thing upon which you dare not first ask the blessing of God". Such were the requisitions and holy admonitions of this admirable minister of Christ. His high sense of duty was made strikingly manifest on the following occasion. The Deanery of Lincoln was generously offered him; but he humbly declined accepting it in favour of a friend, whom he sincerely esteemed: Dr. Fuller, not the author of "The British Worthies". How noble! how disinterested! was this Christian-like act of friendship. He, however, in addition to the Rectory of Eakring, accepted of the Prebends of York and Southwell. He married for his second wife Mrs. Nuby, relict of Charles Nuby, Esq., who bore him two daughters. He died at Eakring, the 7th of March, 1708, in the 70th year of his age. A brass plate, with a Latin inscription, marks the place in the Church at Eakring where his ashes repose.

Of this man, Miss Seward thus emphatically observes:- "His memory ought never to die! it should be immortal as the spirit that made it worthy to live".

And is it not gratifying to the villagers of Eyam, to know that the place of their humble residence has been honoured by the deeds of such a disinterested, benevolent, and exalted character as Mompesson? The conduct of this ever-to-be-admired man was a pure emanation from the heart of a Christian in spirit and truth. And while France glories in the name of the good Bishop of Marseilles, England shall exult in her transcendant rival - Mompesson, the village pastor of Eyam![3]

It is lamentable that so little is known of the descendants of this worthy and dignified character. In Miller's "History of Doncaster", his son, George Mompesson, is mentioned as witness to an indenture, connected with the establishment of a library, in 1736, at Doncaster church. This said George Mompesson was rector of Barnborough, Yorkshire; be married Alice, daughter of John Broomhead, schoolmaster of Laughten-en-le-Morthen. She is buried in Barnborough church; and a Latin inscription distinguishes her grave: she died on the 10th of October, 1716, aged 47 years. Another inscription records the death of John, the son of George and Alice Mompesson, rector of Hassingham; he died on the 2nd of January, 1722, aged 32 years. Few or no descendants of this family are now left.[4]

"In the summer of 1751", writes Miss Seward, "five cottagers were digging on the heathy mountain above Eyam, which was the place of graves after the church-yard became too narrow a repository. The men came to something which had the appearance of having once been linen. Conscious of their situation, they instantly buried it again. In a few days, they all sickened of a putrid fever, and three of the five died. The disorder was contagious, and proved mortal to numbers of the inhabitants. My father, who was the Canon of Lichfield, resided in that city with his family, at the period when the subtle, unextinguished, though much-abated power of the most dreadful of all diseases awakened from the dust, in which it had slumbered 91 years". After a most careful inquiry, I am almost certain that Miss Seward was mistaken; at least, as respects the date. That some linen or woollen cloth was dug up at Riley, some very old persons have some faint recollection; but it could not be in 1757, and have produced such effects as Miss Seward describes; as the mortality in that year was only ordinary. In the month of January, 1779, the weather was unusually warm; indeed, most remarkably so; and in the ensuing summer, a bad fever broke out, which carried off upwards of twenty of the stoutest persons in the village - chiefly men. This happened in the middle of the summer; and the flesh meat whiche villagers had provided for the wakes, became tainted and green, in a most astonishing short time: so much so; that it was nearly all buried without being tasted. Those who died, swelled in the neck and groin; and the villagers apprehended that the terrible ghost of the plague had risen from the dust. This contagious fever after a while passed away. If it were not to this time that Miss Seward alludes, she was totally misinformed. In 1813, another fever made its appearance, and hurried a few to their graves, with great speed. On both these occasions, the desolation of Eyam, in 1666, was the theme of the whole village. It is singular that, even to this day, the villagers express their disapprobation of one another in the following phrases:- "The plague on thee", and "The plague take thee".

In the year 1766, the Rev. Mr. Seward preached a centenary sermon in the church of Eyam, in commemoration of the plague. The sermon was written with great descriptive power: it drew forth abundant tears from the sobbing auditors. It is hoped that in the year 1866, a second centenary sermon will be preached at the same place and on the same event.

I shall take but little notice of the several causes which the few survivors believed had brought down the plague on the village as a judgment. At the wakes preceding the first appearance of the pest, some few wanton youths are said to have driven a young cow into the church during divine service; and to this profane act the dreadful visitation was by some ascribed. A persecuted Catholic, of the name of Garlick, who was taken prisoner at Padley Hall, in the reign of Elizabeth, is said to have been much abused as he passed through Eyam, in custody, when he said something which has been, by some, construed into a prediction of the plague. These with other presumed causes of the awful scourge must be considered fanciful. The great omniscient Disposer of events in his wisdom permitted it; and we poor worms of creation must not pretend to know for what wise end it was intended; nor must we more presumptuously presume

"To teach eternal wisdom how to rule." - POPE.

According to the Register, the following are the names of those who died of the plague, with the dates of their respective deaths. Their ages are not given. Some were young, as they are mentioned as being the children of such and such persons. I shall, for brevity's sake, only give the simple names:-

BURIED. A.D.
George Vicars, Sept. 7, 1665
Edward Cooper22...
Peter Halksworth23...
Thomas Thorpe26...
Sarah Sydall30...
Mary Thorpe30...
Matthew Bands, Oct. 1...
Elizabeth ThorpeOct. 1, 1665
Margret Bands3...
Mary Thorpe3...
Sythe Torre6...
William Thorpe7...
Richard Sydall11...
William Torre13...
Alice Torre (his wife)Oct. 13, 1665
John Sydall14...
Ellen Sydall15...
Humphrey Halksworthl7...
Martha Bands17...
Jonathan Ragge18...
Humphrey Torre19...
Thomas Thorpe19...
Mary Bands20...
Elizabeth Sydall22...
Alice Ragge23...
Alice Sydall24...
George Ragge26...
Jonathan Cooper28...
Humphrey Torre30...
Hugh Stubbs, Nov. 1...
Alice Teyler3...
Hannah Rowland5...
John Stubbs15...
Ann Stubbs (his wife)19...
Elizabeth Warrington29...
Randoll Daniel30...
Mary Rowland, Dec. 1...
Richard Coyle2...
John Rowbotham9...
___ Rowe (an infant)14...
Mary Rowe15...
William Rowe19...
Thomas Willson22...
William Rowbotham24...
Anthony Blackwell24...
Robert Rowbotham, Jan. 1, 1665-6
Samuel Rowbotham1...
Abell Rowland15...
John Thornley28...
Isaac Willson28...
Peter Mortin, BrettonFeb. 4...
Thomas Rowland14...
John Willson15...
Deborah Willson17...
Alice Willson18...
Adam Halksworth18...
Anthony Blackwell21...
Elizabeth Abell27...
Jon. Thos. Willson, March _, 1666
John Talbot_...
John Wood_...
Mary Buxton, Foolow_...
Ann Blackwell_...
Alice Halksworth_, 1666...
Thomas Allen, April 6...
Joan Blackwell6...
Alice Thorpe15...
Edward Bainsley15 or 16...
Margret Blackwelldo...
Samuel Hadfield18...
Margret Gregory21...
___ Allen (an infant)28...
Emmot Sydal29, 1666
Robert Thorpe, May 2...
William Thorpe2...
James Teyler11...
Ellen Charlesworth24...
Isaac Thornley, June 2...
Anna Thornley12...
Jonathan Thornley12...
Anthony Skidmore12...
Elizabeth Thornley15...
James Mower15...
Elizabeth Buxton15...
Mary Heald16...
Francis Thornley17...
Mary Skidmore17...
Sarah Lowe17...
Mary Mellow18...
Anna Townsend19...
Abel Archdale20...
Edward Thornley22...
Ann Skidmore24...
Jane Townsend25...
Emmot Heald26...
John Swanna29...
Elizabeth Heald, July 2...
William Lowe2...
Eleanor Lowe (his wife)3...
Deborah Ealott3...
George Darby4...
Anna Coyle5...
Briget Talbot, Riley, July 5, 1666
Mary Talbot, Riley5...
John Dannyell5...
Elizabeth Swanna6...
Mary Thornley6...
John Townsend7...
Ann Talbot (Riley)7...
Francis Ragge8...
Elizabeth Thorpe8...
Elizabeth Lowe9...
Edytha Torre9...
Anne Lowe13...
Margret Teyler14...
Alice Thornley16...
Jane Naylor16...
Edytha Barkinge17...
Elizabeth Thornley17...
Jane Talbot17...
Robert Whytely18...
Catherine Talbot18...
Thomas Heald18...
Robert Torre18...
George Short18...
Thomas Ashe18...
William Thornley19...
Francis Wood22...
Thomas Thorpe22...
Robert Thorpe22...
Robert Talbot24...
Joan Nealor25...
Thomas Healley25...
Richard Talbot25...
BURIED. A.D.
John NealorJuly 26, 1666
Joan Talbot26...
Ruth Talbot26...
Anna Chapman26...
Lydia Chapman28...
Margret Allen29...
John Torre29...
Samuel Ealott, 29...
Rowland Mower29...
Thomas Barkinge30...
Nicholas Whitby30...
Jonathan Talbot30...
Mary Whitby30...
Rowland Mower30...
Sarah Ealott31, 1666
Joseph Allen31...
Ann Martin, Bretton31...
Robert Kempe, Shepherd's Flat31...
George Ashe, Aug. 1...
Mary Nealor1...
John Hadfield2...
Robert Buxton2...
Ann Naylor2...
Jonathan Naylor2...
Elizabeth Glover2...
Alexander Hadfield3...
Jane Nealor3...
Godfrey Torre3...
John Hancock, jun3...
Elizabeth Hancock3...
Margaret Buxton3...
Robert Barkinge3...
Margaret Percival4...
Ann Swinnerton4...
Rebecca Mortin, Shepherd's Flat4...
Robert French6...
Richard Thorpe6...
Thomas Frith6...
John Yealot7...
Oner Hancock7...
John Hancock7...
William Hancock7...
Abram Swinnerton8...
Alice Hancock9...
Ann Hancock10...
Frances Frith10...
Elizabeth Kempe11...
William Halksworth12...
Thomas Kempe12...
Francis Bocking13...
Richard Bocking13...
Mary Bocking13...
John Tricket13...
Ann Tricket (his wife)13...
Mary Whitbey13...
Sarah Blackwall, Bretton13...
Brigett Naylor13...
Robert Hadfield14...
Margaret Swinnerton14, 1666
Alice Coyle14...
Thurston Whitbey15...
Alice Bocking15...
Briget Talbot15...
Michael Kempe15...
Ann Wilson15...
Thomas Bilston16...
Thomas Frith17...
Joan French17...
Mary Yealot17...
Sarah Mortin, Shepherd's Flat18...
Elizabeth Frith18...
Ann Yealot18...
Thomas Ragge18...
Ann Halksworth19...
Joan Ashmore19...
Elizabeth Frith20...
Margaret Mortin20...
Ann Rowland20...
Joan Buxton20...
Frances Frith21...
Ruth Mortin21...
___ Frith, an infant22...
Lydia Kempe22...
Peter Hall, Bretton23...
___ Mortin, an infant24...
Catherine Mompesson25...
Samuel Chapman25...
Ann Frith25...
Joan Howe27...
Thomas Ashmore27...
Thomas Wood28...
William Howe30...
Mary Abell30...
Catherine Talbot30...
Francis Wilson30...
Elizabeth FrithSept. 1...
William Percival, Sept. 1, 1666
Robert Trickett2...
Henry Frith3...
John Willson4...
Mary Darby4...
William Abell7...
George Frith7...
Godfrey Ashe8...
William Halksworth9...
Robert Wood9...
Humphrey Merril9...
Sarah Willson10...
Thomas Mozley16...
Joan Wood16...
Mary Perciyal18...
Francis Mortin20...
George Butterworth21...
Ann Townsend, Bretton22...
Ann Glover23...
Ann Hall23...
Francis Halksworth23...
___ Townsend, an infant29...
Susanna Mortin29...
James ParsleyOct. 1...
Grace Mortin2...
Peter Ashe4...
Abram Mortin5...
Thomas Torre_...
Benjamin Mortin_...
Elizabeth Mortin_...
Alice Teyler_...
Ann Parsley_...
Agnes Sheldon_...
Mary Mortin_...
Samuel Hall_...
Peter Hall_...
Joseph Mortin_...
   

The number of these hallowed names is 267; but, as Mompesson states the precise number of the all-glorious self-martyrs to be 259, it is thought that eight out of the 267 died during the plague, but not of the plague. Tradition mentions this to be the case in two or three instances. The Register gives no date from the fifth to the fifteenth of October, therefore it cannot be ascertained which of the two or three last mentioned deaths occurred on the eleventh of October: the date of the death of the plague's last victim. There appears to have been from the fifteenth to the last of October, six deaths out of the small remnant left; but the authority of Mompesson, for the cessation of the pestilence on the eleventh of October, must be conclusive and satisfactory. A very many of the victims of the same name, are distinguished from each other in the Register by stating their degrees of relationship;- this I have omitted, as before mentioned, to avoid tedious repetition and useless verbosity.

Notes
[1] Vide Rhodes' Peak Scenery.
[2] The Author, notwithstanding his appeal to some written testimony, is certainly mistaken as to the number who died of the plague.
[3] It would be doubly gratifying, had there been some honourable mention of Stanley by Mompesson, in one or all of his letters.
[4] The name - Mompesson - is not English: and it is believed that the immediate ancestors of the worthy Rector of Eyam of that name, were foreigners.

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This information was collated and transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in September 2012.

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