29.9 C
Niagara Falls
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Letter: History repeats with latest pandemic

Dear editor: 

In her recent letter to The Lake Report, Susan Hall made reference to the Plague in England, known to history as the Black Death.

This brought back memories of my visit to the “Plague Village” of Eyam in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales.

Three centuries ago, the inhabitants of Eyam made a heroic decision to sacrifice themselves to their ultimate fate by isolating from surrounding villages and not spreading the disease.

The tragedy was brought about in 1665 by an infected bolt of cloth contaminated by fleas which came from dead rats rampant in the capital.

George Viccars, a tailor's assistant and recipient of the cloth, died within a week. During a six-day period, Elizabeth Hancock buried her husband and six children.

Faced with a mounting death toll, the panicked residents decided to flee but were dissuaded by Rev. William Mompesson who directed them to build a large circle of stones encircling Eyam.

Villagers were forbidden to cross the circle in order to contain the disease and thus protect the rest of the villages.

In recognition villagers from nearby brought food and placed it on the stones.

Most of the residents of Eyam died and today the village is memorialized for its noble sacrifice.

With the advent of COVID-19, the history of pandemics repeats itself.

Jean Baker


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