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All About Eyam

The history that inspired "Song of Eyam"

This track drew inspiration from the stories surrounding the Derbyshire village Eyam, during the plague.

In 1665, the plague arrived in Eyam through a flea infested parcel of cloth sent from London. The plague spread quickly throughout the village, but the two local Reverends, Thomas Stanley and William Mompesson, acted decisively to protect the village and surrounding areas.

A quarantine was quickly established, with a cordon that ran the boundaries of the village. No Eyam resident was allowed to pass it and signs were set up along the perimeter to warn travellers not to enter. This sacrifice prevented the plague from spreading to the surrounding areas but the village of Eyam paid a heavy price. Out of the population of 800, 260 of the residents of Eyam died.

Two of the verses in the track were inspired by the tragic events that befell some of the villagers. One man from a neighbouring village would meet his fiancé in secret, with the couple standing just far enough apart to not risk transmission of the infection. One night, she failed to meet and he later learned that she had succumbed to the illness and died. He lived the rest of his years a bachelor.

The other story is that of Elizabeth Hancock, a mother of six whose husband and six children all perished within the space of eight days. She had to drag her children and husband through the streets to a safe burial spot to protect the other villagers. Remarkably, she survived the plague and fled to nearby Sheffield in an attempt to escape her grief.

Interestingly, we wrote this song just months before the outbreak of Covid-19. Although the lyrics were not influenced by coronavirus, the song certainly takes on a new dimension as it touches on common themes of isolation, sacrifice and anxiety.

Head on over to our bandcamp page to hear the track.

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