The stocks in Eyam date back to the late seventeenth century, so are from around the period when the plague struck the village. The stones at either end are made from gritstone, with the wooden bars resting in holes in the stone. It’s thought that they were placed here by the Barmcote Court, a local system of justice used in lead mining areas of Derbyshire.
The stocks were restored in 1951 to mark the Festival of Britain, which seems a cheery way to mark what was supposed to be such a positive event. Thanks to the Statute of Labourers law of 1351, every village in the country once had stocks, although they were used more rarely after the eighteenth century. The last recorded use of stocks was much later in the UK, coming in 1872 in Newbury, Berkshire.
And here’s a photo of what the village stocks looked like in 1919, when it wasn’t quite as obvious what they were.