The Derbyshire Dales, the 1660s Plague town and another drive through two counties
17.05.2012 - 24.05.2012 9 °C
After meeting the Australian man in the Fish and Chip shop last night, we got talking about the Church across the road from the shop. It was magnificent for a tiny village so remote from any major town. Before I went to Eyam, I drove back into Tideswell to explore inside the Church .... only 4 miles drive .....and did not use the GPS!!! The village is quite small and is very quaint. Typical village shoppes and the church is certainly the cente of the village.
Just about everywhere I have visited in both France and the UK, there has been renovation or restoration works in progress .... some of the photographs will have scaffolding, etc tho I have done my best to avoid capturing this in the photos but often it has been unavoidable ..... and the Tideswell Church was no exception. It's amazing that I have discovered memorials to WWI servicemen in all of the UK villages I have visited. From the smallest ....... North Stoke in the grounds of the Catholic Church there was a sundial dedicated to the nine serviceman who did not return to this smallest of farming villages on the edge of the Thames in rural Oxfordshire. Talking to a man who lived in North Stoke (the population of which would not have been more than 20 now); he told me that by the loss of these men, the village never recovered as the servicemen were farm labourers and farmers. Then, in the remote Derbyshire Dales village of Tideswell, inside the Church of England (also known as The Cathedral of the Dales) there was a large brass plaque with the names of 73 WWI servicemen from the village inscribed in beautiful old fashioned calligraphy "To the glory of God and in loving memory if the Officers NCO's and men of this Parish who died in the Great War 1914-1919. Their name liveth for evermore". There were the names of four men from one family, the names of two from another and the name Siddons. It is likely that this serviceman was a descendant of the family who lost members in the Plague of 1660 in Eyam, which was my next stop ...... only 5 miles away (10 minutes in the car). The name Siddons (Syddons) was a family from Eyam and descendants still live in Eyam!
Eyam is "famous" for being the village in 1660 in which most of the villagers died from the Plague. Reportedly, cloth delivered from London contained fleas from the rats in the ship which carried the cloth from Europe to Lndon. When the cloth arrived in Eyam, it was wet and the tailor who had ordered it unfolded it an hung it inside in front of a fire thereby releasing the fleas which then progressively infected the villagers with the disease. There is 11 miles between each market village; because the maximum distance villagers could travel with animals and goods to market walking was five and a half miles to the next village and the same distance back. So, there is a large stone called the Boundary Stone on the outskirts of Eyam where the villagers from the neighboring village would leave food for the folk of Eyam who, in turn, would leave coins in holes in the stone, covered the coins with vinegar supposedly to disinfect the coins in payment for the food. The history of how the villagers coped and what they believed would help cure the plague is well documented.
Whole families perished. The town has memorial plaques on many of the buildings detailing which families lived in which house and how many members perished. However, Eyam is a lively town .... larger than Tideswell but acknowledging it's tragic past. There is a Museum, Eyam Hall, a grand residence which is occupied by a couple who open their home from July to September to visitors. I was three months too early to view inside!
That was a really interesting day as I have wanted to go to Eyam since reading about it two years ago.
In the Derbyshire Dales, dry stone walls are everywhere .... Up hills and down the dales. keeping sheep in, sheep out or for no reason other than the stone had been quarried and walls built with it. Fields were all random shapes and sizes. The roads in the dales are very narrow and the grass verges soft from the unseasonal rains. Don't try to pull over onto the grass to let another car past otherwise you get bogged.
I had wanted to get to Chatsworth House too but decided to see Eyam properly (a bus load of tourists drove through but did not get out) .... what a
waste of time to come that far and not get out to see the museum at least. Pride and Prejudice the movie was filmed at Chatsworth House but I thought I should head off to Burnley in Lancashire to arrive before dark. It was extremely busy in this hotel when I arrived. It's a most beautiful hotel ..... One of the nicest English Hotels I have stayed in EVER. I thought I must have made a mistake with my booking as my budget is no more than $AU60 per night and just walking in I thought it must be expensive. I had to double check my reservation before I could relax!!!!
Well, was I in for a treat in Burnley. I am still here ...... in the Rose Hill Hotel, leaving tomorrow to go to York to the Quilt museum there. A big day of driving tomorrow over to York in the morning, visit the Museum until it closes at 4pm, then 3 hours to Malvern for two nights with John and Margaret in the Blue Room at Cleveland's where I stayed 8 years ago. The GPS girl and I have our work cut out tomorrow. Hope she takes me the quickest route. The options do not make sense in the GPS .... they are fastest route and shortest route. Am I missing something? Wouldn't the shortest route BE the fastest?
More on my two days adventure here tomorrow.
Thank,you for reading this installment.
Love Lyn xxx