The Church of Saint Lawrence, Eyam, Derbyshire
This is the last Sunday of 2020….. no matter where you live in this world, it has been a strange and dangerous year. We have all experienced restrictions and carried worries for ourselves, friends and family.
With that very much in mind I thought it appropriate to revisit some images of St. Lawrence, the village Church of Eyam, Derbyshire.
The significance is that back 1665, the village of Eyam, placed itself in quarantine….. in 2020 language that translates to ‘Lockdown’. A outbreak of The Plague was discovered. Knowing just how deadly the Plague would be the village cut itself off from all its neighbouring villages.
The Church, and in particular the Minister, the Rev. William Mompesson became the focus for the village.
In brief. The village set up locations on the outskirts where food could be left for the village. Contact was restricted. The dead were buried in adjacent fields or even gardens. Sunday Church Services were held outdoors in a nearby valley.
Of the village population of 350, only 83 survived. Since then Eyam has always been known as the Plague Village.
The Church remains at the heart of the village and those days of the Plague are commemorated each year, with of course,,this year 2020 being particularly poignant.
Round this beautiful, and now peaceful, village there are reminders of those days when the people of Eyam made such a sacrifice. Many of the cottages have a plaque on the wall listing the names of those who died. A sad story, but one if given the opportunity, is worth pursuing should you be in the Derbyshire area.
Just a little about the Church. St. Lawrence’s dates back to 13th century. There is a large Saxon Cross in the Graveyard and medieval Wall Paintings high on the walls within. A modern Stained Glass window has a memorial in pictures of the village. A rather charming Church and worth a visit even without the knowledge of its key role in 1665 Plague
Soon we say ‘goodbye’ to 2020… but the memories and consequences will live on. Like Eyam, our actions will be talked about in centuries to come.
It is just as important today as then to think of others
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2020