Eyam

Extract from Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1932.
Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004

EYAM, a township, village and parish, 3 miles south-west from Grindleford station on the Dore and Chinley section of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, and 7 north-east from Millers Dale station on the main line, which is mostly resorted to for fast trains, 12 south-west from Sheffield, 5 east from Tideswell and 6 north from Bakewell, in the Western division of the county, hundred of High Peak, rural district, petty sessional division and county court district of Bakewell, rural deanery of Eyam, archdeaconry of Chesterfield and diocese of Derby. Water is supplied by the Rural District Council.

The church of St. Lawrence (formerly known as St. Helen from the edifice having a chapel of that name) stands nearly in the centre of the village, and is a venerable looking edifice of stone, surrounded by stately sycamore and elm trees, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower with crocketed pinnacles at the angles, containing a clock and 6 bells, 4 of which date from 1628 to 1659. The nave arcades, as well as the eastern arch and belfry windows of the tower are Decorated. The north clerestory windows are Perpendicular, but those on the south side are debased work of the 17th century. A good many wall paintings were brought to light during the restoration, but did not survive exposure. In the chancel is a brass inscription to Bernard Wells (1648) There is a stained window to Mrs. Gregory, and another to the Rev. Edwin Benjamin Bagshawe, rector here 1826-62, memorials to the Rev. Ralph Rigby, 22 years curate of Eyam, d.1740, and to the Rev. Joseph Hunt, rector, d.1708, and a brass to the Wright family, of Eyam Hall.

The plain circular stone font, lined with lead, is probably Norman. Another ancient font, supposed to be that used during the plague, has been placed in the church. The chancel, and the tower were rebuilt about 1615; the church was restored in 1868, and the south aisle in 1882; a memorial to Thomas Stanley, who resigned the living in 1662, but remained in the parish, and assisted the Rev. W. Mompesson during the visitation of the plague, was erected in 1891 on the outside south wall of the chancel. There are 400 sittings.

On the south side of the church is an ancient Saxon stone cross, probably of the 8th or 9th century, curiously ornamented with symbolic devices; on the arms of the cross are figures of angels blowing trumpets, and in the centre a representation of the Virgin and Child; it is now firmly placed on a low base and stands about 8 feet high. It is said to have been found on Eyam moor, but owes its present state of preservation mainly to the intervention of John Howard, the famous philanthropist, who, when visiting the place about 1788, found it lying neglected in the churchyard. Toward the north-east corner, beneath a fine elm tree, is an inclosed monument to Richard Furness, poet, born at Eyam 2 Aug. 1791, died at Dore 13 Dec. 1857. Here also is buried William Wood, historian and antiquary, of Eyam, d. 27 June, 1865.

In the churchyard is a stone cross, erected in memory of the men connected with the parish who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-18. The register dates from the year 1630. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £350, including 50 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of trustees, and held since 1930 by the Rev. Cyril L. O'Ferrall M.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge.

There is a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, erected in 1906, at a cost of £850. The Reformed Wesleyan chapel here was built in 1812. Gisborne's charity, left in 1818 by the Rev. Francis Gisborne, sometime rector of Staveley, provides about £7 for the poor of this parish. The Eyam Educational charity was left by the will, dated 1715, of Thomas Middleton, of Leam Hall, and the Hon. and Rev. Edward Finch D.D. to be applied to various educational puroses of the parish.

An object of great interest here is the tomb of Mrs. Mompesson, wife of William Mompesson, rector, who died during the terrible visitation of the plague in 1666, by which the village was almost depopulated; the disease, it is said, was brought from London to Eyam in a box of clothes sent to a tailor who resided near the church; five-sixths of the inhabitants were carried off in a few months. The church and churchyard were closed and the dead buried in graves hastily dug in the gardens and fields; divine service was performed by Mr. Mompesson during this period in a dell a short distance from the village, bounded on one side by craggy rocks and on the other overhung by trees, where he preached from a lofty perforated rock, since called "Cucklet church", and now overgrown with ivy, and enshrouded with bushes. A commemoration service is held here annually on the last Sunday in August.

One of the burying-places, in a field a quarter of a mile from the village, called "Riles Grave stones", was the burying-place of the Hancock and Talbot families, and their tombstones were in 1890 renovated by Sir Henry James Burford-Hancock (d. 1895). The Lydgats [Ed: sic] graves were restored by the rector in 1906. During the continuance of the plague a line was drawn round the village, the neighbouring inhabitants bringing supplies of food and leaving them upon certain stones, afterwards returning for the value, which was deposited in a trough of spring water for purification; one of these places is still called Mompesson's Well.

The village, one of the most romantic and interesting in the Peak, is built on a series of caverns, some of which have been explored to a great extent, chiefly for the beautiful stalactite with which they abound. The scenery around is highly varied and picturesque. Northward is a mountain range, nearly 400 feet in height above the level of the village, which itself is 800 feet above sea level, and which perfectly shelters the village from the northern winds. Nearly in the centre of the township rises "Sir William", a hill 1,200 feet high, said to have been so named after Sir William Bagshawe, a royal physician, whose son was formerly rector of Eyam; from the summit of this elevation the view extends over bleak moors and fruitful dales, and Axe Edge, Mam Tor and Kinderscout are seen rising in the distance.

Near the village is a beautiful dell, called the "Rock Garden", or place of echoes. The moor, until its enclosure, was covered with Druidical remains; one circle of Druidical stones more perfect than the rest on that part of Eyam moor, called "Wet Withins", is still visited, and near it are twelve smaller circles. Numerous urns, arrow heads, spears, axes, Roman coins and other remains of antiquity have been found. A barrow, yet unexplored, stands on Eyam Edge, and in the north part of the parish are numbers of cairns, barrows and mounds.

The New Engine mine here is by reputation the deepest in Derbyshire. A species of galena, called "Slickensides", found in Hay Cliff Mine, is possessed of very dangerous properties, a scratch with a pick or blow from a hammer being sufficient to explode the rocks to which it is found attached. The earthquake which destroyed Lisbon in 1755 was sensibly felt in this mine and others in Eyam Edge. The chief industry of the place is the manufacture of boots, shoes and ankle straps.

Miss Anne Seward, poetess, and daughter of the Rev. Thomas Seward, sometime rector of Eyam, was born here in 1747, and died at Lichfield 25 March, 1809. Peter Cunningham, the poet, was curate here for some time, but afterwards went to Chertsey, Surrey, where he died July, 1805. The Mechanics' Institute, opened in 1859, and enlarged in 1894, is a building of stone with a large portico, and has a reading room well supplied with the leading daily and weekly papers, periodicals &c. A library containing about 8,000 volumes was established in 1821; the annual subscription is 5s. and there are about 100 members.

Eyam Hall, the residence of the Rev. Peter William Wright, is an Elizabethan mansion of stone. Some ancient records connected with the place, consisting of deeds, charters and matters relating to the manor and rectory, exist in the Wolley collection in the British Museum, and are found among the Add. MSS. 6667 tto 6691. The Duke of Devonshire K.G., P.C., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., T.D. (lord lieut.) is lord of the manor. The executors of Mrs. Gregory are the chief landowners. The soil is a light sandy loam; subsoil, limestone and sand. Oats are grown, but the land is mostly pasture land. The acreage is 2,543; the population of the township in 1921 was 1,175, and of the ecclesiastical parish, 2,050.

By an Order in Council, gazetted May 5th, 1911, part of Hope ecclesiastical parish, viz., Nether Padley and Stoke, containing at the 1911 census a population of 168, was transferred to Eyam ecclesiastical parish.

FOOLOW, 2 miles west, is an ancient village and township, chiefly inhabited by farmers. There is a small mission church, built in 1889. In the centre of the village is a stone cross, and there is also a Reformed Methodist chapel. The acreage is 978; the population in 1921 was 136.

Post, M.O.T. & T.L.D. Office. Letters through Sheffield
Post, M.O.T. & T.L.D. Office, Grindleford Bridge.
Letters through Sheffield

There is a telegraph office at Grindleford railway station with delivery on the station premises only

Omnibuses to Grindleford station, Maurice Kenyon & Edward White, meet all trains

Railway Station, Grindleford (L.M.& S)

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