Derwent Edge and Ladybower late autumn walk

First, I must apologise for such a long gap between blogs.
This was not by choice, but as we all know, life dictates our journey sometimes. For me, a pulled back muscle stopped my intended walk in North Yorkshire at the end of October.
However, I had been out, but for a brief walk around Derwent and Howden Reservoirs, but with that being so close to my trip to stay with family in North Yorkshire, along with work, time was not going to allow me to write up anything.
Especially as I was to have been walking in North Yorkshire, giving me something more detailed to write about….
Anyway, this walk had been in the planning for a few weeks, with some friends of mine, initially Andy H, Andy F, Barney, Shaun and Neil.
Andy F has recently signed up with South Staffordshire Search and Rescue, along with his work shifts covering 24/7, made it a little awkward for us all to get together for a walk.
I managed to find when Andy F’s next free weekend was work wise, which was 30th November and 1st December, so the date was set, Sunday 1st December.
Where would we be walking?
Good question, so I suggested Derwent Edge, with reserves of Castleton’s Great Ridge, Eyam Moor and Froggatt Edge should we have snow making access to that part of the Dark Peak difficult.
You may be wondering what I mean about making access to that part of the Dark Peak, but those who know that area well, will be all too aware that the A57 Snake Pass is one of a few roads around there, that will be closed when it snows heavy or even freezes.
As the name suggests, it’s a twisty bit of road, snaking its way east to west across the bleak and open Dark Peak between the high plateaus of Kinder and Bleaklow, between Sheffield in the east and Glossop in the west.
Oh, and the snow can get very deep in places, as you can see with this photo taken back in April 2013! I had also been on Derwent Moor in the snow, earlier this year (2013). You can read about that day in Derwent Moor to Highshaw Clough from Cutthroat Bridge.

Snow near Highshaw Clough, Derwent Moor, Easter 2013
I'm almost six foot tall, so you can see how deep the snow can get....
Now I along with Shaun had walked Derwent Edge before, independently, Shaun earlier this year, while myself last year. Derwent Edge has an impressive array of weathered gritstone formations, notably the Salt Cellar, Cakes of Bread and others.
I had covered last year’s walk on Derwent Edge in my blog; Derwent Moor and those funny shaped stones! Which this route is was based on.
So the route was shared with all, the date was set, and all looked good. Then, it was suggested we make a weekend out of it!
Sadly, due to commitments, I had to decline, but the two Andy’s and Shaun stayed at Hartington Youth Hostel, and by all accounts, it seemed they were very well catered for.
Prior to that, a friend of Shaun’s, Stuart, joined us for the walk.
Sadly though, Andy F wasn't feeling too well and had to drop out while Barney had other commitments.
But, fear not, we carried on and the boys staying at the Youth Hostel befriended a couple more walkers, Cheryl and Steve, who also joined us for the walk.
The route, we would park at Heatherdene Car Park, walk to Ladybower Inn, take the track up to Cutthroat Bridge, head across Derwent Moor to Whinstone Lee Tor, Hurkling Stone, Wheel Stones, taking the track north to Back Tor and Lost Lad.
From there, descend to Ladybower Reservoir and back to the cars.
Taking in to account the shorter available daylight time, sunset was 15:50 hrs. I carefully planned the route, looking at the timings and advised all that we could be returning to the cars after sunset, were they comfortable with that and to ensure they had head torches.
Not that I expected anyone to have any qualms, and the response was an overwhelming no problem.
So all was set, we just wanted the weather to be reasonable at least and enjoy the day.
Well, for the others, apart from Neil, who drove up Sunday morning, they had a good weekend.
Me, jealous?
Well, slightly……
Next time chaps, I hope….
Sunday arrived I’d had a very good drive up and enjoyed a Peak District sunrise, virtually no cars on the roads! I arrived at Ladybower nice and early, time to have a second breakie, some toast and a hot coffee from my thermal mug.

Sunrise over Longcliffe

Looking over towards Winster, with the sunrise behind me.

Once I’d had my second breakie, I got suited and booted, then took a walk up, to find Neil already there, also suited and booted. Neil hadn’t much later than me arriving and parking up at Heatherdene car park.
We had a good chat, for this was the first time I’d met Neil, though we had communicated many times via Twitter.
Andy H, Shaun and Stuart arrived on time and all got suited and booted ready for the walk.
We set off, from the car park, turned right on to the road alongside Ladybower, turned right at the traffic lights and headed for the Ladybower Inn.

Thick plumes of smoke,
visible soon after we started walking the path from Ladybower Inn

Straight after the Ladybower Inn is a track to Cutthroat Bridge, so named because of its gruesome history, which I covered in Derwent Moor and those funny shaped stones!

Library image Cutthroat Bridge, June 2012

The following is taken from that blog; “Just as places with the word Gallows or Gibbet in, often signified places where one or more hangings would have taken place.
The story goes, took its gruesome name when Robert Ridge stumbled across a man, still alive, with a wound to his throat... Robert Ridge, along with others, carried this wounded man to a house half a mile away, then to Bamford Hall, where two days later, he sadly died.
The wounded man had been lying in a ditch not far from where the bridge was later built. Local people remembering the murder, nick named the bridge Cutthroat Bridge.
The current bridge was built a lot later, in 1821, where another murdered victim was found, minus his head!”
However, we had observed plumes of thick smoke coming from the moor and wondered what it might be!
As we progressed, it became apparent that the land owners were burning the old heather, nothing sinister.
The burning of the old heather is done to enable fresh growth of heather the following year, all part of the managed land program which all these wonderful and wild areas undergo.

"....burning of the old heather
is done to enable fresh growth of heather the following year,
all part of the managed land program...."

The smoke also prompted a route change, for the path to Cutthroat Bridge was smoke laden, so we turned off taking a track north wards towards Ladybower Tor.
From Ladybower Tor, we then would head for Whinstone Lee Tor and pick up our intended route.
Trudging across the heather, we reached Whinstone Lee Tor, where we stopped to take in the view to Ladybower, Win Hill, Kinder, Bleaklow, Castleton’s Great Ridge, Bamford Moor, Crow Chin and Stanage Edge.
We then carried on to Hurkling Stones, of which there are quite a few Hurkling Stones in the Peak District.

Ladybower Reservoir from Whinstone Lee Tor

Looking east from Whinstone Lee Tor

Approaching Hurkling Stones

From what I understand, they had some relevance to megalithic days, but I’ve not yet found exactly what. However, in an earlier blog, Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles, I wrote the following;
Now, there is more than one Hurkling Stone in the Peak District. Along with the one on White Edge Moor, there is another on Derwent Moor, which I had come across last year, when I wrote Derwent Moor and those funny shaped stones! So a little research into what is a Hurkling Stone was called for.
This was proving to be difficult, however, I did stumble across the following; Hurkling or Herklin, means to crouch.
Well, these stones are lying on their sides…..
I have to admit, the ones on Derwent Moor do appear to be on their side too….
The views from this high point were fabulous, but then so were the previous views just as fabulous. We could see Win Hill, Castleton’s Great Ridge, Kinder and Bleaklow, very clearly.

Crow Chin, the ridge on the right on Stanage Edge, from Derwent Edge

Kinder Plateau, from Derwent Edge

Castleton's Great Ridge, from Derwent Edge

Here the path swings northwards as we head for Wheel Stones. From here through to Lost Lad you have superb views to the west across the Dark Peak, as well as the east across Strines Moor.

Library image Wheel Stones, June 2012

A quick stop at Wheel Stones, then continue northwards for White Tor, then the Salt Cellar.
I feel it fair to warn you, it’s easy to walk past the Salt Cellar, for its hidden, on your left on the north side of some boulders, about 650 metres from White Tor!
This weathered gritstone formation is worth visiting, before you continue your walk.

Salt Cellar, Derwent Edge

We continued northwards, reaching Dovestone Tor, where we met up with Steve and Cheryl, who also were at Hartington Youth Hostel.
Dovestone Tor provided a good wind break, while Back Tor and Lost Lad are very exposed, so we had a lunch stop there.
After a bite and chat, along with Steve and Cheryl, new additions to our group, we then headed off in a northerly direction for the trig point at Back Tor. Along this stretch you will see over to your right a group of weathered gritstones that look like giant scones!
These are called the Cakes of Bread.

Cakes of Bread, Derwent Edge

These are the last of the spectacular weathered gritstones you’ll see on this walk, but all in my mind, fascinating objects of nature.
Now the trig at Back Tor can be a little tricky to get to and get down from, so care needs to be exercised, for you don’t want to be a casualty for the local Mountain Rescue Teams……

Back Tor and Trig Point, Derwent Edge

Lost Lad Derwent Edge
"....It is said the cairn was built by subsequent shepherds,
picking up a small rock and placing it on the cairn
in memory of this young shepherd boy and his dog...."
We continued in a north-westerly direction, heading for Lost Lad, the cairn at this point is a memorial to a sad story, which I also wrote about in Derwent Moor and those funny shaped stones!
The story is; a young boy was tending the sheep on the moor during one particularly hard winter. He had gone out with his sheep dog to round the sheep up and bring them down the hill to the village of Derwent, now submerged under Derwent Reservoir.
The young boy had not noticed the change in the weather, so while rounding the sheep up, he became entrapped in thick fog. So he decided to take shelter, hoping the weather would improve. But sadly, the weather continued to deteriorate, the village of Derwent became cut off by snow.
The young boy had become benighted, not to be seen alive again. It is believed his trusty sheep dog stayed by his side, also suffering the same fate.
Once the weather had lifted, the villagers searched for this young shepherd boy and his dog. Sadly, when they found this shepherd boy and his dog, it was too late; the weather had taken his soul.
It is said the cairn was built by subsequent shepherds, picking up a small rock and placing it on the cairn in memory of this young shepherd boy and his dog, hence the name, “Lost Lad”.”
After a brief stop there, we then headed downhill, continuing on a north-westerly direction, heading towards Ladybower Reservoir.
As you follow this path down, the map tells you there’s a forked junction on the path. But as you will gather, the path very quickly becomes very indistinct, not the clearly defined paths we’ve had up to now!

Walking down from Lost Lad

Looking back up to Derwent Edge

Ladybower Reservoir

".... As you follow this path down, the map tells you
there’s a forked junction on the path.
But as you will gather, the path very quickly becomes very indistinct,
not the clearly defined paths we’ve had up to now! ...."

However, you can make out where the forked junction is, where we wanted the left fork to head for Ladybower.
Now we were heading in a south-westerly direction and starting to descend quite nicely, though at times, it did get steep, so care with your footing.
Eventually, we reached a sign where paths cross each other. For us, we needed to continue towards Ladybower.

".... we reached a sign where paths cross...."

Continuing our descent, we reached a point where we had to continue downhill, but go back on ourselves a short distance, before picking up a south-westerly descent, reaching the road that runs parallel to Ladybower Reservoir, just below the Derwent Dam.Continuing down the road in a southerly direction, you reach a forked junction, where a road heads north and we continue south.

Derwent Dam

" ....we reached a point where we had to continue downhill,
but go back on ourselves a short distance .... "

This is the point where you have to go back on yourself

for about 180 metres

then through this gate to start a short but steep descent!

Steve and Cheryl had parked at Fairholmes, near to the Derwent Reservoir Visitor Centre, so it was at this point we bid them farewell while we continued our route back to the cars at Heatherdene.

The steep descent down to the road, alongside Ladybower Reservoir

The road alongside Ladybower Reservoir is just the other side of the gate

The forked road junction, left to Ladybower and Heatherdene,
right for Fairholmes

Ladybower reflection.
This and more can be viewed on my Flickr account
Peak Rambler Photosets; Derwent Edge December 2013

Keep to the road, take the gate on the right
and walk alongside Ladybower Reservoir
" .... follow the road as it runs alongside Ladybower Reservoir .... "
The last gate ahead before the A57 Snake Pass

The A57 Snake Pass

From here, it really is a case of just follow the road as it runs alongside Ladybower Reservoir, right down to the point where the viaduct that carries the A57 Snake Pass across the reservoir.
Shaun, Andy and I grabbed some photo opportunities, with some nice reflections of the trees on the water.
We finally reached Heatherdene almost at sunset time!
Here we sorted out kit out, had a quick chat about the day, then set off home, nicely satisfied from a good days walking, with great people.

The map showing the route

To end on a light hearted note, we had a look at the route that Shaun had on his mobile, using Social Hiking and Viewranger. It was agreed that the shape depicted Casper the friendly ghost!

Thank you to Andy H, Shaun, Stuart, Neil, Steve and Cheryl for being fantastic company, I look forward to walking with you all gain sometime.
Andy F and Barney, sorry you guys couldn’t make it, hopefully next time you will.
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler
Twitter             @PeakRambler
Photo Album   Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Album
YouTube         Peak Rambler on YouTube

Links to some of the areas I’ve mentioned and written about;
Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles
Stanage Edge on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday
An Autumn Walk on Bamford Moor and Stanage Edge.
Bleaklow, The B29 Superfortress and I got Bleaklowed!
Bleaklow and the Bristol Blenheim Crash Site
Bleaklow and the Defiant, on a hot day in May!
Monsal Head Camping, Bleaklow and the B29 Superfortress return visit
Bleaklow, the B29 and the Lancaster KB993
Castleton’s North Ridges Sunday 19th February 2012
Win Hill and its winning views!
A Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder
Derwent Moor and those funny shaped stones!
Derwent Moor to Highshaw Clough from Cutthroat Bridge
Kinder, Kinder Downfall and the Sabre…..
A Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder
Peak Rambler Photosets; Derwent Edge December 2013Social Hiking

Eyam; a plague village and a walk on Eyam Moor

Most of us know: the Bubonic Plague started life in London, during the summer of 1665. However, what a lot of people don’t realise, this was not the only occurrence. In fact, there were quite a few occurrences of the plague in London spanning over a century!

However, this particular outbreak is the one to which my visit to Eyam in the Peak District National Park relates to.

For it was here, in Eyam often known as the Plague Village, where under the direction of the Reverend William Mompesson, of St Lawrence Church, Eyam, that the village isolated itself from the rest of the world to prevent the spread of the plague.

The bubonic plague took Eyam’s first victim, tailors assistant one George Viccars on 7th September 1665 and its last victim, Abraham Morten on 1st November 1666. In that period of fourteen months, some 260 people died within the village!

I will apologise in advance. Eyam is so full of history; I’ve not covered a lot, but seem to have written a lot. I hope you find what I’ve written as fascinating as I have when undertaking my research before going live with this blog.

I won’t go in to any great detail about the plague days, for there will be too much to cover, but I can strongly recommend reading up on how the village of Eyam coped with the plague.

The story is; a chest of clothing arrives at the house where George Viccars was staying with clothes from London. Upon opening it, he observed an obnoxious odour, which found the clothes to be damp.

This in itself was not the cause of the bubonic plague, but what the clothes harboured was, fleas!

It was the flea that feasted on the blood of the black rat found its way to feast on human in the absence of its host, the black rat.

To help contain the bubonic plague, Rev’d William Mompesson set about a plan to control the plague. That was; to basically quarantine the village by isolating itself from the rest of the country, to close the church to reduce the spread of the plague with in the village and the final but probably the least pleasant, was to bury their own family members on their own land!

Could you imagine having to bury your family members, with plague ravaged bodies, at the bottom of your garden?
Map showing The Delf in relation to Eyam
The church during those days held a very prominent place in everyone’s lives, so to close the church would be cutting off a lifeline for the villagers. So Rev’d William Mompesson arranged an alternative location, The Delf, located to the south west of Eyam, between the village and Middleton Dale.

To briefly continue, as part of this quarantine, the village needed to bring certain items in and also send certain items out, to survive. This had to be done without spreading the plague and this is where Mompesson's Well came in to its own. Here, it provided a drop off and pick up point for Eyam, allowing the exchange of goods without any contact from the villagers to the outside world.

Coins were soaked in vinegar to disinfect them in a bid to stop the spread of the plague….

This story was covered in a play, The Roses Of Eyam, which was televised on BB2 in 1973, which I recall watching as a child.

I would love to see that play again……

Now, some of you may be thinking about the nursery rhythm “Ring a Ring a Roses” for which there are a few variations of.

There is no confirmed relationship between the bubonic plague and the nursery rhythm, but I often wonder?

For these little lines of verse are often born out of some even, be it local or wider spread….

However, I’ve picked this one;
A ring, a ring o' roses,
A pocket full o' posies-
Atishoo atishoo we all fall down.

My thoughts, the ring of roses, the ringed scab as a result of the flea bite,

Atishoo atishoo”, the sneezing associated with the bubonic plague and finally, “We all fall down”, the final curtain.

After a lot of searching on the web, I didn’t manage to find a satisfactory explanation to the line “A pocket full of posies-

Especially with all the variants of the nursery rhythm that are around….

One final thing before I move on to the walk, Eyam Well Dressings, as with many Peak District villages has a dresses three wells and blesses them, which is held at on the last Saturday of August each year.

If you haven’t read my write up on Tissington Well Dressing, might want read Tissington Well Dressing, an ancient custom, today, which will give you an insight in to what Well Dressings are about.

I have never visited Eyam before, but it’s been a long time on my list of places to visit. As a result of my initial research I kept the walk very short, so I could spend some time in the village of Eyam.

I’m pleased I did keep the walk short, though I do need to return to the village and dedicate more time to the history that surrounds it.

Now that brief and exciting history lesson is written, now to the very short, but extremely pleasant walk, from Eyam on to Eyam Moor and back.

Parking in Eyam isn’t too bad; there are three car parks to choose from, there is the one by Eyam Museum, which is Pay and Display, there is one at the back of that, which is free, though there is a donation honesty box, and the third is the National Trust Car Park for Eyam Hall.

Entrance to the free car park

.... "If you use the free car park,
please donate some money towards its upkeep" ....

.... "note the time the gates are locked" ....

If you use the free car park, please donate some money towards its upkeep. The surface is very good and looks fairly freshly laid.

Also, note the time the gates are locked, for you don’t want to return and find your transport home locked in for the night!

Anyway, parked up, suited and booted, I set off on my walk for Eyam Moor. As I leave the car park, turn right on to Hawkeshill Road, follow the road as it bends right on to Edge Road and pass the Youth Hostel on your left.

Edge Lane heading towards the Youth Hostel

The sign for Eyam Youth Hostel

.... "after the Youth Hostel, on your left is a footpath through the wooded" ....

Soon after the Youth Hostel, on your left is a footpath through the wooded area, ascending up toward Eyam Moor. Here you reach an unnamed road, where you turn left then after about thirty metres on your right, you pick up the footpath to continue walking on to Eyam Moor.

Here you are afforded a nice view from the road down to Eyam.

The end of the footpath through the wooded area

Ladywash Mine
As you follow the footpath there is a set of old mine buildings on your right, Ladywash Mine, which was closed around 1979, where fluorite was mined. Fluorite  is a colorful mineral, visible in normal and ultraviolet light. It has many uses, including ornamental and industrial.

One of fluorites uses is a flux for smelting.. Did you know that the purest grades of fluorite are used as a source of fluoride for hydrofluoric acid manufacture?

Looking down on to Eyam

Crossing Sir William Hill Road

On to Eyam Moor

Also over to the east on the horizon is Stanage Edge which dips down to Upper Burbage Bridge and then back up to Higger Tor.

I’ve walked Stanage Edge to Upper Burbage Bridge a few times, twice I’ve written about this year (2013) in Stanage Edge on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday and An Autumn Walk on Bamford Moor and Stanage Edge.

I have walked over to Higger Tor and Carl Walk from Stanage Edge, but that was before my blogging days.

Follow the footpath; you come to another road, Sir William Hill Road, where you cross over to the next style, where you enter Eyam Moor properly.

Follow the footpath northwards and you walk past the radio mast on your left, by which there is a trig point. It’s worth diverting to the trig point, for on a clear day you are given fabulous views around the White and Dark Peaks.

Trig Point on Eyam Moor

Looking north, you have Derwent Moor, Bleaklow, Win Hill and around to the west, Kinder, Mam Tor and the Great Ridge, then Combs Edge and Hob Tor, continuing round along that plateau, Gradbach and Gib Tor before facing south and the White Peak.

Bleaklow has been covered in a number of blogs, along with Kinder, Castleton’s Great Ridge and Win Hill. So not to clutter the blog with links, if you continue to the end, there is a list of references to websites where I’ve obtained information from along with any blogs which have covered topics or areas I’ve mentioned.

Mam Tor and the Great Ridge

Win Hill with Derwent Moor behind

Kinder Plateau

Stanage Edge

Stanage Edge, Upper Burbage Bridge and Higger Tor

White Edge Moor and Big Moor
Oh, you still have that lovely view over to Stanage Edge, Upper Burbage Bridge and Higger Tor.

Further to the south east, you can see White Edge Moor and Big Moor, along with Froggatt Edge, which I covered in Froggatt Edge, Big Moor and some Stone Circles

After taking in the views, head back to the path and continue in a northerly direction reaching the point at which you start to descend.

Soon after returning to the path, you come across some stone ring cairns, which may have been dwellings at some point.

Ring Cairns, that may have been dwellings

As I descended, my original plan was to continue to Stoke Ford. Head east and circumnavigate Eyam Moor and take in Wet Withens Stone Circle.

I had a dilemma at this point, I wanted to take in Eyam Moor in its entirety but knowing what I’m like with sightseeing and photographing just about everything, I had to cut the walk short so I could spend time in Eyam.

However, that would have made for insufficient time in Eyam, so at the gate GR SK 213 788, I took the path that hand railed the stone wall back up towards a point called Stanage (stanage meaning rock edge).
The path leading down to the gate at GR SK 213 788

The gate at GR SK 213 788

The path leading away from the gate, to hand rail the stone wall on the east

Continuing along this path in a southerly direction, I was afforded fabulous views over to Hathersage, Grindleford, Stanage, Big and White Edge Moors, all mentioned earlier and of course, Eyam Moor itself.

Looking over Wet Withens and Hathersage

The end of the path on Eyam Moor

Edge Road in front, Sir William Hill Road to the right

Edge Road back to Eyam

At the junction, you have a road to your right, Sir William Hill Road, which will take you back to the point where you ascended out of Eyam towards the mast and trig point, left takes you to Grindleford and straight one is Edge Road, the road which the Youth Hostel is on, so from here, you can’t get lost.

However, the trail around Eyam starts very soon……

Walk down Edge Road and you pass Ladywash Farm and Ladywash Mine, then as you walk over the brow of the hill, you start to descend in to Eyam.

Before the first right turn, you reach Mompesson’s Well, which is basically a horse drinking trough more than a water source for humans.

White Edge Moor

Big Moor and Froggatt Edge

Ladywash Mine

This well played an important part for Eyam’s trading during its quarantine period. This allowed the village to receive food and goods while leaving money without any contact with outsiders to the village, therefore greatly reducing the spread of the bubonic plague to outlying villages.

Mompesson's Well

Mompesson's Well

Plumb the depths of Mompesson's Well
Walking back up to the road, turn right to continue towards Eyam and about 45 metres from the next junction, there is a footpath amid the trees on your left.

Take this footpath rather than carry straight on, for it gives you a circular tour through Eyam rather than going straight back to the car park past the Youth Hostel.
It is a steep descent in to Eyam, giving you a nice gradual ascent back to the car park through the beauty of Eyam and its history.

Eventually, you reach the village of Eyam. From here you can continue in to the village or take the first left, the B6521, named New Road and seek out Riley’s Graves, seven graves and a sacred memory to the Hancock family.

.... "Walking back up to the road, turn right to continue towards Eyam
and about 45 metres from the next junction,
there is a footpath amid the trees on" ....your left

.... "Eventually, you reach the village of Eyam" ....

Walk up this road, where you will come to a forked junction. Take the left for, Riley Lane and eventually you reach another forked junction. Take the right fork, for the left fork is a private drive to Riley House Farm.

Continue along the lane and soon, you see an opening, in that opening is what appears to be a stone paddock. That paddock is Riley’s Graves, seven graves belonging to the

The sign giving you instructions how to reach Riley's Graves

The start ofRiley's Lane

Heading up Riley's Lane to Riley's Graves

Take the right fork along Riley's Lane

Riley's Lane leading to Riley's Graves

The paddock comes in to view, enclosing Riley's Graves

The paddock wall enclosing Riley's Graves

Riley's Graves, the seven Hancock family graves.

Riley’s Graves, as with the vast majority of graves from the plague, were not in a churchyard on consecrated ground, but on the land of the Hancock family who lived there.

Before I go any further, some references to the Hancock family have an ‘e’ on the end of the surname, making it ‘Hancocke’. However, I’ve opted to use the National Trust signage which doesn’t have the ‘e’ on the end.

If you watch the YouTube video Eyam plague -the story it will give you a little more insight in to where the house would have stood and why the graves are there.

Just a word of caution, you can drive up Riley Lane, but turning round might be extremely difficult, so if you can walk, or cycle, then I would advise that.

Back to the lane and turn right to head back in to Eyam. Here you back track to B6521 and head for the village centre.

Ideally you want to head right, in a south westerly direction, aiming for Church Street. Here you will eventually reach St Lawrence Church, a very ornate church, particularly inside.

St Lawrence Church, Eyam

Looking to the alter inside St Lawrence Church, Eyam

O~ne of the wall drawings inside St Lawrence Church, Eyam

As mentioned earlier, there will not be many graves pertaining to the plague victims, due to Rev’d William Mompesson closing the church and requesting families dig graves on the own land to reduce the spread of the plague.

However, there is one grave and a memorial in the church yard. The grave of Catherine Mompesson, the wife of Rev’d William Mompesson who died of the plague August 25th 1665 and a memorial to Rev’d Thomas Stanley, who supported Rev’d William Mompesson during the plague isolation times of Eyam.

Catherine Mompesson's Tomb, St Lawrence Church, Eyam

The memorial to Rev'd Thomas Stanley, St Lawrence Church, Eyam

Walk out of the churchyard through the gate on the right and you immediately reach the Plague Cottages.

Here saw the first victim of the plague, tailors assistant George Viccars, who died on 7th September 1665, mentioned at the start of this blog.

Continue along Church Street and you teach Eyam Hall (National Trust), built after the plague as a wedding present for John Wright in 1671.

Follow the road round and you arrive at the village green.

Plague Cottages, Eyam

Eyam Hall

Eyam Village Green with stocks
Once you’ve spent some time at the village green, continue along the road up towards Eyam Museum.

I can strongly recommend visiting the museum, for it not only covers the plague era, but post plague mining boom for lead, galena, fluorite and much more.

One bizarre item by today’s standards was the Beak Mask worn by physicians of the day!

Plague Doctor with Beak Mask
However, they were none the wiser, in a God fearing period, often many sought repentance and saw the bubonic plague as a sign that they had sinned!

What I will say is, hard it will have been, but how much their efforts at isolation saved many of the surrounding villages and the hardship it will have created. Not just the isolation, but burying their own family members.

Its hard enough when we have to say good bye to our loved ones, but to bury them on your own land, must have taken great courage.

I can only apologise if I’ve rambled on, but Eyam is so full of history, it just had to be shared with you. I hope you’ve found it as interesting as I have. There is much more to be found, both in print and on the web.

Below are a few of the links I’ve referred to, with many more, being too numerous, not listed.

I am going to return to Eyam and also one day, walk the full walk originally intended.

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler

Twitter           @PeakRambler
YouTube         Peak Rambler on YouTube


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