The Great Plague in Eyam
Whilst most of the world is in lockdown, researchers have been looking to see if we can learn lessons from the sacrifices made by the people of the Derbyshire village of Eyam during the Great Plague of 1665.
There have been many outbreaks of plague across the world but the Great Plague of 1665 was the last major outbreak in England. It is said to have come to London from Dutch trading ships and it spread at an alarming rate through the city. It is thought that it was spread by fleas that lived on the blood of black rats.
It arrived in the village of Eyam in September 1665, in a box of cloth that had been ordered from London. It soon had a stronghold in the village, but at that time no one understood why or how the disease was spreading. Some people came to the conclusion that it was God’s wrath on sinful people and so it had to be endured whatever the cost. The people of Eyam were very frightened and some families decided to leave the village and go and stay with friends or family elsewhere. Soon though the entire village decided to put itself into quarantine to stop the spread, much like we are all doing at the moment. Read the worksheet to find out about the quarantine that the village imposed upon themselves and discover what happened to some of the families.