It’s a fascinating story. I remember first learning about it in a fantastic BBC play (must be the 1970s). The museum is an interesting place too
When Catherine Mompesson remarked one summer evening, “How sweet the air smells”, her husband realised she would be dead within days.
In August 1666, that sweet-smelling sensation was the first step towards a rapid and certain death from bubonic plague. George Mompesson recognised only too well the hallmarks of the virulent disease which had devastated Eyam, the remote English village of which he was rector and, effectively, leader. For months he and Catherine had devoted themselves to caring for the afflicted – and burying them, for no cure was known.
For perhaps three hundred years Black Death, plague epidemics, had broken out sporadically across England. Some communities were wiped off the map but alone amongst them Eyam’s devastating losses – and the village’s quiet heroism – have passed into history.
Eyam is one of a cluster of ancient villages on the slopes above the River Derwent, seven miles north of…
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