7 April 2016

Mompesson

Signpost to Mompesson's Well
William Mompesson (1639- 1709)
When I was tootling around Derbyshire the other day, I passed through the village of Eyam which is widely known as "The Plague Village".

Back in 1665/66 when bubonic plague was sweeping through Europe, a bundle of cloth was sent up to Eyam from London. It is believed that this cloth contained plague-bearing fleas. Soon several local people were infected and as death began to strike Eyam, the local vicar, William Mompesson, urged his fellow villagers to accept a self-imposed quarantine which they duly agreed.

Entering Eyam
At least that is how the story goes. The truth about what happened was probably somewhat different.

For fourteen months it is said that Eyam was cut off from the outside world, preventing further spread of the dreaded plague. During that time around 250 villagers died, leaving less than a hundred survivors. 

On the northern side of the village heading up to Eyam Edge there's a natural spring or "well" that had been an important source of water for as long as anyone could remember. It was to this place that outsiders brought precious supplies during the plague months. Coins for payment were left in stony hollows filled with vinegar. 
Mompesson's Well near Eyam
Years later this well was given the name "Mompesson's Well" in honour of the vicar. By the way, though his first wife died, Mompesson survived and towards the end of the century he became the vicar at Eakring parish church in Nottinghamshire - some thirty five miles away. By chance, I visited that church last year and was surprised to see William Mompesson's name on the list of past vicars. Until that moment I had not realised there was a connection between the two places.
Clint -  the new car near Mompesson's Well

37 comments:

  1. Fascinating story about the plague YP. They still teach the plague in junior history here in AUS.
    Glad you posted a pic of Clint. I am in the process of upgrading my car. Yours looks quite nice .. Did you say it was a Hyundai i30?
    Nice looking white colour BTW .. tee hee 😆

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    1. Oi! Clint is sleek silver Carol - not WHITE! And it is a 1.4 i20 - NOT i30. The i30 is considerably bigger but Clint suits me fine. After all, as the bishop said to the actress, size isn't everything.

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  2. So what was the alternative scenario?

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    1. The alternative scenario? That's where the people of Eyam didn't give a damn and the plague spread into surrounding towns and villages and thousands more died.

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    2. Ah. I see. Thanks.

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  3. Hahahahaha! You've made my morning. There I was, all serious, reading your post, thinking to myself it's such an interesting story...and then I came to the caption below your last photo...of your new car!!! lol

    Oh! Dear! Thanks for brightening my morning, Yorkie! You're such a dorkie! lol

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    1. And by the way, I've just told my Clint that he now has a namesake and he puffed out his chest in pride, and. with a glint in his eyes, he told me to thank you, and to pass on his best wishes to your silver Clint. May you both cover many happy, safe miles/kilometres.

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    2. At least my sleek silver Clint is free! And I am like The Lone Ranger riding my trusty steed across the bad lands. Ho Silver! Ho Clint!

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    3. Years ago, back in the late 70s-early 80s I had a manual EH Holden (a wagon)...I called it "Tonto" and I was the "Lone Ranger". I loved that wagon.

      My great old vehicle was as strong as a tank (of the military kind)...its roof was red; body white, with pretend-wooden panelling along the sides like the old American ranch wagons. Whoever owned it before did all that to it. It had a roof rack; windscreen protector; wind visors on the driver's and front passenger's windows, as well as towbars on front and rear.

      Tonto and I had lots of fun together. :)

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    4. And for your information, my Clint is not a ho!!!!

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    5. Your old car Tonto sounds like a bloody tank. Sure it didn't belong to the Australian army before you bought it? Ho! Ho! Ho!

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  4. Nicely done as you tied a number of different topics together.

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    1. I always appreciate a gold star from a former teacher!

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  5. Why does the story about Eyam and the plague sound so familiar to me, I wonder? I've checked your blog, and although you have posted about it before, that was long before I first started reading your blog. Maybe it was on Mike's blog ("A Little Bit About Britain") where I read it before.
    Anyway, it is a touching story and - if it is true - shows remarkable foresight on Mompesson's part.

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    1. I had completely forgotten about that September 2009 post. I berate myself but nobody can remember everything they have said or written. Thank heavens for the Blogger search facility.

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  6. I remember a tv play in the 70s about exactly this called 'The Roses of Eyam'. It was very moving and showed the better side of humanity - sacrifice for the greater good. I have since been to Eyam during a holiday and it is said the plague could still be active in the bones of the interred bodies!

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    1. Thanks for calling by Tim and thanks for the warning about the bones! No treasure digging for me around Eyam from now on!

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    2. I remember the TV play too - and isn't Eyam one of the villages in the traditional "Well Dressing"?

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    3. Yes Eyam's village centre well is certainly dressed each year but I am not sure that Mompesson's Well is.

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  7. Geraldine Brooks' 'Year of Wonders' was our year 11 English Literature novel when I returned to study two years ago and therefore I am very familiar with the Eyam plague story.

    Clint looks very new and shiny and superior - a few drives along muddy lanes will soon sort him out!

    Ms Soup

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    1. Clint will always Glint Alphie!
      I had heard of "The Roses of Eyam" but not "Year of Wonders". I am happy to have transported you back to your schooldays of pigtails and white knee socks. "ALPHIE! STOP LOOKING OUT OF THE WINDOW AND LISTEN!"

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  8. I so envy your ability to go tootling around the countryside investigating all the historic spots. I haven't heard the Eyam "Plague Village" story so maybe I'll have to check out the above-mentioned literary sources! (Not that I don't believe you, Mr. P.)

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    1. I always tell the truth Steve. You should know that by now or (cough, cough)... had you forgotten? Just do some searching around and you will find plenty of online stuff about Eyam.

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  9. Can you really call a car after an antipodean incarcerated chocolate rabbit YP? Is it allowed? Are you sure there aren't some Politically Correct prats somewhere who, even as we speak, have you in their sights and are beaming down on you to tell you that you can't !
    Nice motor, though !

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    1. Remember Nelson Mandela? So many buildings and streets were named after him to put pressure on the apartheid government of South Africa to release him. That was in my thinking when I picked the name Clint for my new chariot.

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    2. Aah, good thinking YP !

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  10. Have been to Eyam a few times as it was not all that far fromLichfield, where I lived at one time.
    Yes, I really do think that car is a Clint.

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    1. Hang on. Maybe I need glasses. The l and i of Clint are joining together and curling at the bottom. No! I do not want to call my new car that unless of course it breaks down!

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    2. Now, now, YP - this is the nice Mrs Weaver you are talking to.

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    3. Mrs Weaver is broad-minded with a mischievous sense of humour CG! (Errr...I hope!)

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  11. Nice motor YP...and lovely post...which makes me want to go tootling about the countryside....there are so many wonderful places to visit aren't there?.

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    1. Yes there are Libby. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country that is rich in history. It's nice to tootle.

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  12. The plague story is an interesting one isn't it? We visited it and walked around reading all the plaques on the houses. Very noble of them to stay, I'd be wanting to run away and live in a cave somewhere. I understand the Duke of Devonshire ensured they were supplied with food etc as he was the local "laird". great part of England.

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    1. You could have lived in the cave with a caveman called Tony but any answering back and you'd get clubbed! I remember you mentioning your visit to Eyam before.

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  13. I loved that tour. Such interesting history. Your car looks like it gets good gas mileage. I drive a 4x4 pickup truck as I have to haul hay and feed and everything under the sun on the farm. All together, we have 6 vehicles to insure and maintain. It gets tiring.

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    1. You must be fabulously rich Donna. Any chance of a loan?

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  14. Mompesson is a unusual name and had me scouring the web. Seems it is French in origin and comes from the town of Montpincon.

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