Camping – Day 1 (Eyam – Plague Cottage)

I’m not sure that this must be the most delightful place to live, but what is now known as the Plague Cottage was lived in by George Viccars who was the first person to die of the plague in Eyam in 1665. He worked as a tailor and he brought the disease to the village in a box of cloth that had fleas which were infected with the plague. Reports say that when he opened up the box he commented on how damp it smelled, but he hung the cloth up to dry and soon reported that he felt ill. I have to say, this wasn’t an ideal situation for all concerned.

The house looks beautiful today with its floral displays, but there is a real sense of tragedy to it. As the sign notes, George Viccars, the employed hand who brought the cloth in, was the first to die on 7 September 1665. Mary Hadfield, who had children with her previous husband, saw her son, Edward, die on 22 September 1665 and her son, Jonathan, die aged 12 on 2 October 1665. Alexander Hadfield, her new husband, died on 3 August 1666, a surprising gap between the deaths. Mary Hadfield survived the plague, but she lost thirteen of her relatives during the disaster.