Today, we have had a wonderful time on our school trip learning about the events that led to an outbreak of the plague in the historic village of Eyam. We discovered that the village tailor received a parcel of contaminated material from his supplier in London. When he opened it, he sparked a chain of events that resulted in the deaths of over 250 villagers.
We explored the local museum, where the children learned about the vicar’s three-point plan to prevent the plague from spreading further. This included fourteen months of quarantine where no person was allowed in or out of the village, holding church services outside to avoid the ‘bad plague air’ and asking all families to bury their own dead to stop contamination between people. We even saw artefacts that were used to perform 17th century surgery and dentistry!
Next, we visited the Riley Graves, which belonged to the Hancock family who sadly died from the plague within seven days of each other. We then enjoyed more scenic views of the countryside during our walk to the boundary stone, which acted as a marker separating the residents of Eyam from the non-affected nearby villages. This stone was also used to exchange money for food by placing coins in holes that were filled with vinegar to disinfect them.
Our trip also happened to coincide with a fundraising event! A local villager has baked lots of fruit cakes to recreate the village, and it attracted a fair amount of media attention whilst we were there as reported on the BBC news this morning. Unfortunately, not all children could get up close to the display as the church was so busy, but some did manage to get a sneaky peek.
We’ve had a very busy day, but it has been extremely interesting and seeped in history! Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow – not long until the children can enjoy a hard-earned rest!
Year 4 Team
Link to the report on the fundraising event --> https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-derbyshire-50075302/the-derbyshire-village-recreated-out-of-fruit-cake