In 1665 a tailor from Eyam ordered a bale of cloth from London to make up into clothes for the villagers, unwittingly triggering a chain of events that led to 260 Eyam villagers dying from bubonic plague – more than double the mortality rate suffered by the citizens of London in the Great Plague.
Between the first death and the last, the villagers set an extraordinary and enduring example of self-sacrifice by sealing off the village from the surrounding areas to prevent the disease spreading.
Eyam Museum tells their story.
Less than a century later, Ralph Wain, working in a factory in the village, invented a revolutionary new way of reproducing designs in silk. Together with the miners, spinners, weavers, other skilled craftsmen and women, poets, and writers – he contributed to the rebirth of the village after the plague. The museum tells this story too.
As the village continues to change, and remains a vital and beautiful place, so too the Museum tells the changing story of Eyam and its people. In so doing it sets the scene for a visit to the village, where you can still see where it all started.
(Image credits: Eyam Museum)