Bagshaw's History, Gazetteer & Directory of Derbyshire, 1846

Transcriptions by Paul Bradford and Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2001 & 2012


EYAM parish contains the townships of Eyam, Foolow, and Woodland Eyam, and has 5,030 acres of land, and a population of 1,426 souls. Population, in 1801, 1,287; in 181, 1,327. Rateable value £3,827.

EYAM, a township and considerable village on the Sheffield and Tideswell road, 12 miles S.S.W. from the former, and 4 miles E. from the latter, forms a long street, running from east to west in a serpentine form. The village is said to be built on a series of caverns, many of which have been explored to a considerable extent, chiefly for the beautiful stalactitious petrifactions with which they abound. Nearly in the centre of the village is the church dedicated to St Helen, a rectory, valued in the king's book at £13 15s. 5d. now £250. The Duke of Devonshire, Duke of Buckingham, and Earl Thanet, are patrons, and joint lords of the manor. The Rev. Edward Benjamin Bagahawe is the incumbent. The church is a venerable ivy mantled structure, with nave, chancel, side aisles, tower, and four bells. The interior fittings are neat and substantial, and it contains a small organ, erected a few years ago, and an ancient stone font lined with lead. A mural monument in the chancel, dated 1694, perpetuates the memory of John Wright, Esq. Others have been erected to the ancestors of M.M. Middleton, Esq., of Leam Hall. An alabaster monument remembers Mary, daughter of Smithson Green, Esq., of Brosterfield, who died in May 1777. A plain stone, inscribed with T.B., denotes the resting place at Thomas Birds, Esq., of Eyam, celebrated antiquary. The churchyard is ornamented with lofty Linden trees, which give it an air of quiet repose, and form an appropriate shelter to the sacred precincts of the dead. Amongst the objects of general interest is the tomb of Mrs Mompesson, who died during the memorable plague of 1666. Opposite the chancel door is an ancient stone cross, about eight feet high, although about a foot of the shaft is broken and lost; the sides are adorned with what is said to be Runic and Scandinavian knots. No cross, perhaps, is more richly embellished than this beautiful relic of antiquity. The rectory, a commodious mansion near the church, erected by the Rev. E. Seward about eighty years ago, has been considerably improved by the present rector. The township contains about 3,000 acres of land, (previous to the enclosure in 1801, a considerable portion was moorland), 225 houses, and 951 inhabitants, of whom 459 were males and 492 females. Rateable value £2,646. The principal owners are the Duke of Devonshire; M.M. Middleton, Esq.; B. Smith, Peter Wright, John William Wright, and T. Burgoin, Esqrs.; besides whom are many small owners. The tithes were commuted in 1839 for £83.

The manor Aiune was parcel of the ancient demesne of the crown; and having been granted by King Henry I., with other manors in the Peak, to William Peveril, was held under him by an ancestor of the Mortynes; Roger de Mortyne sold it about or after the year 1307, to Thomas de Furnivall, Lord of Hallamshire. A coheiress of Furnivall brought it to the Nevills, and a coheiress of Nevill, to John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury. The Countess of Pembroke became possessed of it as one of the coheiresses of Gilbert Earl of Shrewsbury, who died in 1616; from her it passed to her grandson, Sir George Saville. It remained in the Saville family till the death of William Saville, second Marquis of Halifax, in the year 1700, who left three daughters his coheiresses, amongst whom, after their marriage, the estates were divided by a partition deed, in the sixteenth year of George II. Of these three coheiresses, Anne married Charles Lord Bruce, son and heir of Thomas Earl of Aylesbury; Dorothy married Richard Earl of Burllngton; and Mary married Sackville, Earl of Thanet. It is generally supposed, that it was in consequence of the rich mines of lead ore, discovered at Eyam about the beginning of the eighteenth century, that these noblemen agreed to hold the manor of Eyam jointly, and to present a rector to the living of which they had the gift in turns. The joint portion of the manor belonging to Lord Bruce, became the properly of the Duke of Chandos, from whom it passed by marriage to the Duke of Buckingham. The portion belonging to the Earl of Burlington, became through marriage, the properly of the Devonshire family; and the other has remained in the family of the Earl of Thanet. Besides the manorial rights and the gift of the living, the lords of the manor have little or no property in Eyam. Most of the land, and other property, had been sold by Sir George Saville two centuries ago. There is strong evidence, particularly on the south side of Eyam, of mining operations having been carried to a considerable extent in past ages. Through the virtue of a charter granted by King John, many of the old freehold tenures of Eyam are exempt from the general law of the King's Field. Of the ore obtained from the mines in the whole parish of Eyam, the lot, which is every thirteenth dish, is claimed and taken by the lords of the manor. One penny a dish belongs the rector, and a small exaction called cope, is paid by the purchaser of the ore to the barmaster: these with a trifle paid to the rector and the lords at the manor, for what is provisionally called hillock stuff, are the lots and tithes paid by the mines at Eyam. The lords of the manors of Eyam and Stoney Middleton, hold a half-yearly court alternately at Eyam and Stoney Middleton, at which the Steward, John Charge, Esq., attends; M. Frost, Esq., of Baslow, is barmaster. The Edgeside vein of ore was discovered about 150 years ago, but was not worked in the parish of Eyam until some time after its discovery. In the space of fifty or sixty years, it was cut for upwards of two miles in length, but dipping very fast eastward, it speedily reached the water, and could no longer be successfully worked. A sough or level was brought to it from the river Derwent about 80 years since, but did not answer the general expectations. The quantity of metal obtained from this vein, may be judged of by the fact, that it enhanced the annual income of the rector from £1,200 to £1,800 a year, and this for a long time. Other veins in the vicinity have been very productive, but nearly all have long been overpowered with water. The Watergrove mine, just within the parish of Eyam, is by far the richest in the neighbourhood. A steam-engine of 300 horses' power has been erected on this mine, which has enabled them partially to compete with the water. Lumps of ore, from three to five hundred weight, have been obtained from this mine. The oldest lead-works in the vicinity of Eyam, are the Rake, extending over a large tract of land south of the village. The Moorwood Sough company, formed in 1843, for the purpose of draining the Eyam and Eyam Edge mines, have already driven 250 fathoms towards the great veins in Eyam Edge. Immense wealth was formerly obtained from these mines, till stopped by the water; and great hopes are entertained by the present company of their ultimate success. The Duke of Devonshire, James Sorby, John Allsop, Thomas Fentem, John Harrison, William Cantrell, and William Hattersley are the proprietors.

The Moorwoods, the original proprietors of the sough, drove it about a mile. Haycliffe mine, in Eyam Edge, now no longer worked, was once the grand depository of that extraordinary phenomenon in the mineral world, provincially called Slickensides. The external appearance of this curious species of galena is well known wherever mineralogy has been studied. At the present time, good specimens of it are extremely rare, and can only be met with in cabinets that have been long established. In those mines where it has most prevailed, it exhibits but little variety, either in form or character. An upright pillar of limestone-rock, intermixed with calcareous spar, contains the exploding ore; the surface is thinly coated over with lead, which resembles a covering of plumbago, and it is extremely smooth, bright, and even. The effects of this extraordinary mineral are not less singular than terrific. A blow with a hammer, a stroke or a scratch with a miner's pick, are sufficient to rend the rocks asunder with which it is united. The stroke is immediately succeeded by a crackling noise, accompanied with a sound not unlike the hum of a swarm of bees; shortly afterwards an explosion follows, so loud and appalling, that even the miners, though a hardy and daring race of men, turn pale and tremble at the shock. In the year 1738, an explosion took place in the Haycliffe mine, when two hundred and fifty barrels of material were blown out at one blast, each barrel containing 350 pounds weight. During the explosion, the earth had a tremulous motion, as if shook by an earthquake. In many of the lead mines in the vicinity of Eyam, the earthquake which destroyed Lisbon, on Saturday, November 1st, 1755, was sensibly felt. "Two miners who were employed in drifts about sixty fathoms deep, were so terrified at the shock, that they dared not attempt to climb the mine; five shocks in the course of about twenty minutes succeeded each other; every shock was followed by a loud rumbling noise. All the shafts remained entire, but the drifts were scattered over with minerals which had fallen from the sides and the roof". The village of Eyam, picturesquely seated at the foot of a bold eminence, contains some good mansions and neat cottages, mantled with ivy and shaded by the spreading sycamores, which gives it a rural and interesting appearance. A mountain range, crowned with thriving plantations, rises to an immense height, runs parallel with the village, and forms an impenetrable screen to ward off the northern blast. A little further north, the huge pile of Sir William, one of the most remarkable elevations in the county, rises to an immense altitude. From this commanding elevation, the eye ranges over countless hills and verdant dales. Mam Tor, Ax Edge, Masson, and Kinderscout are seen in the distance.

Eyam Dale abounds with elevated rocks, interesting caverns, and picturesque beauty. "Cucklet Church", says Rhodes, "is a rocky projection from a steep hill, and excavated through in different directions to the arches, in the midst of a romantic dell, and surrounded with the rocks and mountains of the Peak. Here Mompesson administered the consolations of religion to his mourning people, during a period of sorrow and suffering almost unparalleled in village history. Cucklet Church consists of a flinty combination of what the miners denominate Chert Balls, and of consequence it is almost impenetrably hard. The Dell in which it is placed is rich with verdure, wood, and rock. Its steep and rugged sides are embellished with the hazel, the wild rose, the dogberry, and the yew, beautifully chequered with the light and silvery branches of the birch, and the more ample foliage and deeper colour of the oak and elm. The tall aspiring ash, which, from its prevalence in this part of Derbyshire may be called the Tree of the Peak, is likewise profusely scattered throughout the dell. The ash, indeed, is peculiarly entitled to the appellation here bestowed upon it. Wherever a cottage rears its head there flourishes the ash; wherever the side of a hill or the base of a rock is adorned with trees, there wave the graceful branches of the ash; and the rivers that circulate through the dales of Derbyshire have their banks decorated, and their various windings marked by this graceful tree, which uniformly characterises the woodland scenery of the Peak. The dell opens into Middleton Dale, the wildness of which it softens and improves by its milder features. Here its extremest width prevails; nearer Eyam, the two sides rapidly approximate, and a little above Cucklet church, they form the entrance into a narrow chasm, called by the villagers the Salt Pan. The name is sufficiently undignified, but the picture it presents is exquisite of its kind. Two perpendicular rocks terminate the dell, and on their nearest approach, where they meet within a few paces only, the lofty trees and thick underwood with which they are created, cast an almost midnight darkness into the deep space that separates them, while the elm and the ash which flourish at their base, throw their boughs athwart the gloomy deft, and intermingle their topmost foliage with the descending branches from above. The trees in this lovely dell have a majestic character, and during the summer months, the tufts of brushwood, which are scattered along its steep sides, are fancifully festooned with honeysuckles and roses."

The varied and romantic scenery of this place has distinguished the inhabitants by all the characteristics of mountainous districts, and their observance of ancient customs, and adherence to hereditary prejudices. Mr William Wood, the author of the History and Antiquities of Eyam, says, "It is lamentable, however, that the physical condition of the inhabitants of this far-famed village is greatly inferior to that of their forefathers, the principal case of which is the decay of the lead mines. Previously to the present century, each miner had his cow and small plot of land, to which be attended during the intervals of his work at the mine; this double employment yielded him sufficient to live in health and happiness, leaving him abundance of time for halesome recreation. The mines being under water, can no longer, in their present condition, be successfully worked, and this deplorable circumstance is fast changing the aspect and character of the village." Many interesting objects of antiquity have been found in the vicinity at various periods. About twenty years ago, Mr Anthony Hancock, of Foolow, found, in a limestone quarry near Eyam, a petrified snake, coiled up in a ring, very perfect. A little more than thirty years ago, Mr James Wood, of Eyam, on cutting a large sandstone on Eyam moor, found a petrified fish, about a foot in length, perfect in every part. The Druidical remains, a little north of Eyam, prove, to a certain degree, the high antiquity of the place. All the tract of land called the moor, was, until its enclosure, literally covered with these relics. The Druidical temple, or circle, on that part of the moor called Whet-withins, is frequently visited. It consists of sixteen oblong sandstones standing in an upright position, forming a circle of about thirty yards in diameter. The stones are nearly equal in size, standing about a yard high, except on the north side, when two or three are enveloped in heath, and therefore appear, though clearly visible, not so large as the others. This circle is surrounded by a mound of earth about three feet high, in which the stones are placed. In the centre there stood, until some years back, a large stone, which was no doubt the altar on which sacrifices were made. It was also the Maen Gorsedd, or stone of assembly. The ceremony used at the opening of the Gorseddaw, or meetings, was the sheathing of the sword on the Maen Gorsedd, at which the Druid priests assisted. All the places of meeting were, like this, set apart by forming a circle of earth and stones around the altar, which was called Cylch Cyngrair, or circle of federation, and the priest or bard who recited the traditions and poems was named the Dudgeinaid, who, dressed in a uni-coloured robe, always commenced his recitations by one of the following mottoes - "In the eye of the light, and in the face of the sun" - "The truth against the world". Here the ancient Briton displayed his eloquence, knowledge, and patriotism. In the immediate vicinity of this circle there are at least twelve more, each surrounded with circular mounds of earth, and some with stones. Most of these, not more than twelve yards in diameter, must be sepulchral; and there appears in all of them a large heap of stones in the centre. Contiguous to the large circle, until a few years ago, there was one of the most interesting barrows in the Peak of Derbyshire. It covered an area of ground nearly thirty yards in diameter; it was in the form of a cone, ten or twelve yards high, when perfect, and was composed wholly of small stones. On opening this barrow many years ago, an unbaked urn was found containing ashes, bones, an arrow head of flint, and a little charcoal, with which the body had been burned. There is, in the neighbourhood, a very popular tradition of some great chief being buried in this barrow, and it has frequently been explored; nothing has, however, been found, except the urn, but in the vicinity, spears, arrow heads, axes, hatchets, and many remains of antiquity have been turned up. About a mile west from this barrow there was, about forty years ago, another of great dimensions. It stood on Hawley's piece. When the moor was enclosed, it was carried away to make fences. An urn of large size was found near the centre, on the ground, and was carried away to the residence of the person who found it, but was afterwards broken and buried, from a superstitious notion that it was unlucky to have it in the house. Many urns have at various times been found around Eyam. About forty years ago, Mr S. Furniss found one richly decorated, which contained nothing but ashes. Not many years ago, two men discovered an urn surrounded with stones; one of the parties wishing to secure it entire, went some distance for a spade; in the meantime, the other, thinking it might contain some treasure, dashed it to pieces, when, to his mortification, he found it contained some ashes and two copper coins, on one of which was inscribed Maximianus, and some other characters not legible. About forty years ago, one was found at Riley, in which was some ancient weapons and arrow heads of flint. Near the same place, two barrows or cairns were destroyed, in which were found urns containing ashes and bones. Many customs of the ancient Druids still remain amongst the villagers of Eyam. One of the incantations practised at their festivals was to anoint the forehead of the sick with May-dew, which was carefully gathered at day-break; - hence the prevailing custom of anointing deceased children with May-dew. Another part of the ceremony of the great Druidical festival consisted in carrying long poles of mountain ash decorated with flowers; and it is the practice of the villagers to hang bunches of flowers from the cottage windows on May-day. Singing at funerals, and other observances, have purely a Druidical origin.

From the word Tor, said to be of Phœnecian origin, and the word Bole, anciently signifying the hearth on which the lead was smelted - words in common use at Eyam - we are led to conclude that the lead mines have been worked from a very early period, and probably by a colony of foreigners. On Eyam moor small pieces of lead have frequently been found; one weighing fourteen pounds was met with a few years ago. About thirty years since, near Leam Hall, a piece of load was found weighing between thirty and forty pounds; it was thirty-six inches long, and had a hook attached to it. In the year 1814, a great number of silver and copper coins were found in Eyam Dale, bearing the inscriptions of Probus, Gallienus, and Victorinus, Roman emperors. Ancient coins, spears, and other implements of war have frequently been found in different places of this interesting locality. That the Saxons penetrated among the mountains of the Peak, and resided in and around Eyam, is evident, for every little eminence has a Saxon name or termination. Lich is a Saxon word signifying a dead body, and the gate into the church yard through which the funerals pass is known by the name of Lich-Gate. The principal road into Eyam was once the Lyd-gate, now called Ligget. Lyd implies to cover or protect, and at this entrance there was a strong gate where watch and ward was kept every night. Every effective man who was a householder in the village, was bound to stand in succession at this gate from nine o'clock at night to six in the morning, to question any person who might appear, and to give alarm if danger was apprehended. The watch had a large wooden halbert or "watch bill", for protection, and when he left watch in the morning he took the "watch bill" and reared it against the door of the person whose turn to watch succeeded him. The ancient cross in the churchyard formerly stood in that part of the village called "The Cross", another stood in Eyam Edge, and one at Cross lane, both of which have been destroyed. The ancient names and customs, so well described by Mr. W. Wood in his history, prove the great antiquity of Eyam, and will at the same time be applicable to most other parts of the Peak of Derbyshire.

The desolation of Eyam by the plague, in the years 1665 and 1666, has, from the time of its occurrence, always been considered a singular and remarkable event, for its ravages were far more appalling and fatal at Eyam, than any other pestilence hitherto recorded. From the autumn of 1664 to December 1665, about one-sixth of the population of London fell victims to this fatal pestilence; but at Eyam five-sixths of the inhabitants were carried off in a few months of the summer of 1666. It appears this terrible disease was brought from London to Eyam in a box of old clothes sent to a tailor who resided at the west end of the churchyard. It is supposed the box was opened by George Vicars, a journeyman tailor, as he was the first victim who fell a sacrifice to this fatal malady. In removing the articles he observed how very damp they were, and therefore hung them before the fire to dry; while he was watching them he was suddenly seized with a violent sickness, and other symptoms of disease, which greatly alarmed the family. On the second day he grew seriously worse; at intervals he was delirious, and large swellings began to rise about the neck and groin. Medical aid was of no avail. On the third day of his illness, the fatal token - the plague spot - appeared on his breast, and he died in dreadful agonies the following night, the 6th of September, 1665. By the end of September six persons had perished. Towards the latter end of October, the pestilence had increased, and the distress of the sufferers was dreadful; few or none would visit them, and all avoiding coming in contact with the infected families. Twenty-two died in this month. In December nine died. A great snow fell in this month, accompanied with hard frost, which appeared to check the baneful influence of the pest.

At the commencement of 1666, the villagers began to rejoice in the hope of being delivered from the awful scourge, as the disaster was confined to two houses; four, however, died in January. In February, eight died and many were affected., In March, the plague had carried off fifty-six souls; in the succeeding month nine died, and in May three. In June, the pestilence spread with dreadful rapidity, and despair seized every soul. Mrs. Mompesson, the rector's wife, threw herself and her two children at her husband's feet, imploring their immediate departure from the devoted place. He raised her from his feet, and told her his duty to his suffering and diminishing flock were considerations with him of more weight than even life itself. He then urged his weeping partner to take the two children and fly to some place of refuge till the plague was stayed. She, however, resisted his persuasion, and declared nothing should induce her to leave him; the children were afterwards sent to a relative in Yorkshire. At this period of the calamity, the inhabitants began to think of escaping death by flight. Mompesson, on a visible manifestation in the whole mass to flee, was aroused; he energetically remonstrated with them on the danger of flight; he told them of the fearful consequences that would ensue; that the safely of the surrounding country was in their hands; that the invisible seeds of the disease lay concealed in their clothing; that it was impossible for them to escape death by flight. He told them that he would write to all the influential persons in the neighbourhood for aid, and would by every means in his power endeavour to alleviate their sufferings, and remain with them and sacrifice his life, rather than be instrumental in desolating the surrounding country. The inhabitants, with a super-human courage, gave up all thought of flight. "One can scarcely decide", says Mr Samuel Roberts, "in this case, which most to admire - the wisdom of the pastor or the obedience of his flock. It was a sacrifice, in either case, which we are utterly unable duly to appreciate. I can form no conception of any instance in mere human beings more strongly proving the blessed effects of true Christianity than this, of faith no stronger, no obedience more perfect".

Mompesson immediately wrote to the Earl of Devonshire, stating the particulars of the calamity, and adding, that he was certain that he could prevail on his suffering and hourly diminishing flock to confine themselves within the precincts of the village, if they could be supplied with victuals and other necessary articles, and thereby prevent the pestilence from spreading. The noble Earl, in his answer, expressed deep commiseration for the sufferings of the inhabitants, and assured Mompesson nothing should be wanting on his part to mitigate them. This worthy nobleman, who remained at Chatsworth during the whole time of the plague, generously ordered the sufferers to be supplied with all kinds of necessaries, agreeable to a certain plan. A circle, extending about half a mile round the village, noted by particular and well known stones and hills, was marked out, beyond which it was solemnly agreed that no one of the villagers should proceed, whether infected or not. The places where articles were deposited were appointed in different directions, in order that the pestilence effluvia might not be directed all in one way. A well or rivulet, northward of Eyam, one of the places where articles were deposited, is to this day called "Mompesson's Brook". These articles were brought very early in the morning, by persons from the adjoining villages, who, when they had delivered them beside the well, fled fled with the the greatest speed; persons set apart by Mompesson and the Rev. Thomas Stanley, (who had been rector of Eyam from 1644 to 1662, and still continued to reside there, and assisted the Rev. William. Mompesson in this dreadful calamity), fetched the articles left, and when they took money, deposited it in the well, and in certain distant troughs to be purified. The persons who received the money took care to wash it well. An account was left at this and other places of the progress of the disease, with the number of deaths, and other particulars. When money was sent, it was only for some extra or particular articles; the provisions, and many other necessaries, were supplied, it is generally asserted, by the Earl of Devonshire. The Cliffe, between Stoney Middleton and Eyam, was another place appointed for this purpose. A large vessel of water stood there. In June it continued to spread with fearful rapidity. Funeral rites were no longer read, coffins and shrouds no longer thought of; the churchyard was no longer resorted to for internment; a half-made grave, or hole hastily dug in the fields, received the putrid corpse ere life was quite extinct. At this juncture, Mompesson deemed it dangerous to assemble in the church, and he afterwards met his diminishing flock in the Delf. Here the faithful shepherd lifted up his voice to the God of Mercy to stay the deadly pest, whilst the surrounding hills echoed the fervent responses of his sorrowing flock. From that period, the arch in which Mompesson stood and administered the consolations of religion has been called Cucklet Church.

Up to July every family had been, from dire necessity, compelled to bury their own dead, but when, as was now frequently the case, the last of a family died, some person had to undertake the charge of instantly burying the corpse. For this necessary purpose, nature seemed to have fitted the iron constitution and gigantic stature of Marshal Howe: when he learned that some one was dying, he immediately proceeded to the garden or adjoining field and opened a grave, then hastened to the house, where the victim lay still warm with life, and tying one end of a cord round the neck of the corpse, he threw the other over his shoulder, and dragged it forth through the streets to the grave, and with "unhallowed haste" lightly covered it with earth. The money, furniture, and other effects of the deceased were his unenviable remuneration. Such was the awful occupation of Marshall Howe during this fearful calamity; he however tasted the bitter cup of affliction by burying an affectionate wife and an only son; still he continued in the office of burier of the dead, and survived the plague many years. In August it continued its fearful ravages, and seventy-eight died. Amongst the victims of this month was the amiable wife of Mompesson, and terrible as was the devastation of the pestilence, yet the few inhabitants that were left seemed to forget their own sufferings in the death of Mrs Mompesson.

   -- "One lightning-winged cry
Shot through the hamlet, and a wailing grew
Wilder than when the plague-fiend first drew nigh,
One troublous house; and from all quarters fly
The wretched remnant who had ceased to weep;
But sorrow, which had drained their bosoms dry,
Found yet fresh fountains in the spirit
Wringing out burning tears that lov'd one's couch to steep."

They had witnessed in her worthy husband so much sympathy and benevolence, so much attention and humane feeling in his daily visits from house to house; hence their participation in the sorrows of their beloved pastor. The houses, from the east end of the village to the middle, wore now nearly all empty. The few inhabitants of the western part of the village shut themselves up in their houses, nor could they be prevailed on to cross a small rivulet eastward, which runs under the street at Fidler's Bridge, and it is commonly asserted that the plague never crossed it westward. In September it raged with unmitigated fury, and twenty-four wore carried off during the month. On the 11th of October, 1666, this awful minister of death totally ceased, after having swept away five-sixths of the population of Eyam. The number of those who perished is stated in the parish register to be 259. This is certainly appalling, when we consider the population at the commencement only amounted to 330.

A letter written by the venerable Mompesson, dated November 20th, 1666, says - "The condition of the place has been so sad that I persuade myself it did exceed all history and example. Our town has become a Golgotha, - the place of a skull; and had there not been a small remnant, we had been as Sodom, and like unto Gomorrah. My ears never heard such doleful lamentations, my nose never smelt such horrid smells, and my eyes never beheld such ghastly spectacles. Here have been 76 families visited within my parish, out of which 259 persons died, now (blessed be God) all our fears are over, for none have died of the plague since the eleventh of October, and the pest-houses have long been empty. I intend (God willing) to spend this week in seeing all woollen clothes fumed and purified, as well for the satisfaction as for the safety of the country. Here have been such burning of goods that the like I think was never known. For my part I have scarcely apparel to shelter my body, having wasted more than I needed, merely for example. During this dreadful visitation, I have not had the least symptom of disease, nor had I ever better health. My man had the distemper, and upon the appearance of a tumour, I gave him some chemical antidotes, which operated, and after the rising broke, he was very well."

Several respectable families left the village on the first appearance of the distemper, some of whom never returned. All the villages round were filled with consternation at the appalling reports of the pestilence in Eyam, and the inhabitants of Tideswell caused a watch to be placed at the eastern entrance, to question all who came that way. A female from Orchard Bank, in Eyam, ventured to the market in Tideswell; the watch, not knowing the place, suffered her to pass, but she had scarcely reached the market when some person knew her, and "the plague! the plague! - A woman from Eyam!" resounded from all sides, and the poor woman fled, chased by an infuriated mob. The Riley Graves, the burial place of the Hancock family, is about ¼ mile E. of Eyam. The mother, after burying her husband and six children, of the plague, deserted the house. Riley House occupies the site of a house formerly the residence of the Talbots, a family that was all carried off by the plague. The pestilence had raged ten months before it reached Riley; a monument in the orchard of the present farm house records their deaths. The Hancocks are remembered on head-stones, which have been surrounded by a stone wall for their better security, by Thomas Burgoine, Esq., of Edensor, the owner of Riley. One hundred and seventy-nine years have now passed over since this unequalled and dreadful visitation. Most of the impressive records which marked the resting places of these moral heroes, and lay scattered in all directions in the vicinity of Eyam, have been wantonly destroyed. The annals of mankind afford no instance of such magnanimous conduct in a joint number of individuals so awfully situated; their ashes ought to have been for ever undisturbed, and every vestige of their calamities guarded from the defacing hand of time. Mompesson, after the fatal ravages of the plague, was presented with the rectory of Eakring, Nottinghamshire: a brass plate, with a Latin inscription, marks the place in the chancel, at Eakring, where his ashes repose. Though his tomb may moulder in the dust, and be forgotten, yet his, memorial of humanity and devotedness to his afflicted parishioners will never perish.

Eyam is now the residence of many respectable families. The Hall is a large Elizabethan structure, the seat and property of Peter Wright, Esq. Eyam Firs is the residence of John W. Wright, Esq. Eyam Terrace occupies a romantic situation near Eyam Dale, and is the property and residence of Thomas Fentem, Esq. A good mansion nearly opposite the church, is the residence of William Wyatt, Esq. Hollowbrooke Cottage is a neat residence recently built by Mr Francis Cocker. The View is a good dwelling at the west end of the town. The Methodists have a small chapel at the eastern entrance. Many of the inhabitants are employed in silk weaving. The Free School was rebuilt in 1826, (see charities), in addition to which, £20 is raised by subscription, and paid for the education of 20 poor children. A subscription library, established in 1821, contains about 500 volumes.

Eyam formerly had a market and a fair, both of which have long been obsolete; but an effort has lately been made to restore the market on Thursday, and to establish fairs on April 13th, Thursday after the last Sunday in August, and October 18th. The feast is held on the last Sunday in August.

Eyam has produced several literary characters. John Nightbroder, a native of Eyam, highly distinguished for his literary taste, founded the house of Carmelites, or White Friars, at Doncaster in the year 1350. Miss Anna Seward, the poetess, was born at Eyam in the year 1747; the various poetical works of this lady are universally admired; her father, the Rev. Thomas Seward, rector of Eyam, published several works of considerable learning and taste. Richard Furniss published a history of this, his native village; the Rag Bag, and Medicus Magus, are amongst his poetical works. William Wood, the author of the History and Antiquities of Eyam, with several other productions, is now a resident in the village. Thomas Birds, Esq., of Eyam, well known for his antiquarian researches, possessed one of the finest collections of fossils in the kingdom. Caverns abound in the vicinity of Eyam, which extend to a considerable distance; some of them are, adorned with stalactitious petrifactions, and are objects worthy of the attention of the curious. The Rock Garden, once a place of considerable attraction, contained a beautiful collection of all kinds of fossils found in the Peak.

CHARITIES.- Thomas Middleton, by will, 1745, devised to his two sisters two parcels of land called the Upper Lowe and the Nether Lowe, at Eyam, desiring them to settle the same in equal proportions to a schoolmaster at Eyam, to teach five poor boys and five poor girls to read and write. In consequence, a rent charge of £5 was secured by indenture, 1746, to be issuing from the two closes. They are now the property of Marmaduke Middleton Middleton, Esq., who pays the annual sum of £5 of to the schoolmaster for instructing ten children, boys and girls of the of the township of Eyam to read and write.

Honble. and Rev. Edward Finch, D.D., formerly rector of Eyam, gave £100 to the school, for teaching five poor children of Eyam and five of the out hamlets, which sum, with £15 given by another benefactor, was laid out in purchasing land in the parish of Hope, near Bradwell, called the Long Meadow, about the year 1750, said formerly to have consisted of several small pieces, but at the inclosure, about 1807, an allotment containing between three and four acres was laid together, now let for £5 per annum, for which 10 poor children are taught to read. The school premises at Eyam consist of a house in which the master resides, a large school-room, a garden and small yard adjoining, which were rebuilt by voluntary contributions in 1826. The old buildings were purchased in 1792, by the Rev. Charles Hargrave and others. On the inclosure of the commons under an act 43 George IV., about three roods were set out in respect of the school, now let at £1 10s. per annum. The Duke of Devonshire makes a voluntary donation of £2 2s. to the schoolmaster.

Honble. and Rev. Edward Finch, Finch, D.D., it is stated on the church tablet, gave £15, the interest to be paid to the poor on St Thomas's day, and that a person gave £20 gave for the same purpose. It appears by the parliamentary returns, 1782, that £2 10s. of these sums had been lost. The residue, £32 10s. was lent on security of the Chesterfield and Hernston turnpike road, bearing interest at 5 per cent. The interest, £1 12s. 6d. per annum, is received by the overseer of the poor of Eyam; and distributed amongst poor people about Christmas.

Rev. Francis Gisborne's charity.- (See Bradley). The annual sum of £5 10s. is received by the rector, which is laid out in coarse woollens and flannel, and distributed amongst the poor about Christmas.

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in June 2012.


POST-OFFICE.- Wm. Froggatt and Son, Postmasters.
Letters from Bakewell daily at 9 in the morning, and are despatched at 5 in the evening.

Marked 1 are at Bretton, 2 Cuckoo Stone, 3 Hanging Flat, 4 High Cliff Nook, 5 Hollowbrook Cottage, 6 Ladywash, 7 Riley, 8 Shepherds Flat, 9 Stanedge House.

Bagshawe Rev. Ewd. Benj. M.A. rector
Bagshaw Mrs Melicent
Bagshaw Thomas, confectioner
Baker John, corn miller
Dane Wm. parish clerk
Casson Rev. John, curate
Chapman Robert, corn factor
Froggatt Win. & son, grocers, drapers, and druggists
Fentem Thos. sen. gent. Terrace
Fentem Thos. jun. surgeon, Terrace
Gregory Thomas, solicitor, The View
Hibbert George, tailor
Lowe Mrs Elizabeth
Oakes Edward, gent
Partridge Miss Ann
Turner Samuel, attorney's clerk
Unwin Jph. beast jobber
Wood Mr Wm.
Wright John Wm. Esq., Firs
Wright Peter, Esq., Hall
Wyatt Wm. Esq., lead merchant

Barrel, John Morton
Bold Rodney, Samuel Furness
Bull's Head, John Outram
Miners' Arms, Wm. Bland
Old Miners' Arms, John Slinn
Rose and Crown, Verdun Siddall

Charley Ann
Thorpe George
Turner Samuel

Casson Rev. John, Private Boarding
Hawksworth Eliz
Orpin Wm. Henry, & Ann (free)

Barnes Wm.
Barton George
Briddock Jph.
Drabble Benj.
Mosley George
Unwin Isaac
White Robert

Bailey Wm.
Blackwell James
Bromley John & Jas.
Buckland Joseph
Daniel George
Frith John
Nash Henry
Rippon John
Tyree Joseph
Townsend Henry
Wilkinson Wm.

Cocker John
Gregory Wm.
Burton Sarah
Pursglove Elizth.
Siddall Elizabeth & Joanna
Wood Lydia

4;  Andrew Nathaniel
Andrew Philemon
Bailey Godfrey
Barton George
3  Blackwell James
Blackwell Robert
Blackwell Samuel
Cooper Abraham
Cooper Wm.
2  Daniel John
Elliott George
9  Elliott Peter
Furness Matthew
Furness Joseph
Furness Peter
Furness Samuel
6  Heathcote Fredk.
6  Middleton Joseph
Mosley Matthew
Ollerenshaw Henry
Outram James
Palfreyman George
Palfreyman Paul
Pursglove George
4  Siddall Ager
FARMERS (Cont'd)
Slinn John
Slinn Samuel
Smith Wm.
7  Thorpe Robert
4  Turner John

5  Cocker Francis and timber merchant
Dane Wm.
Fox Richd. & cabinet maker

Blackwell Ruth
Elliott George
Slinn John
Unwin James

Froggat and Wain
Slinn John

1  Morton John
Unwin Edward
Unwin James

Wm. Smith, to Buxton Monday and Wednesday, and Sheffield Tuesday & Saturday

Transcribed by Paul Bradford in March 2001.

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