Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

WordPress’s weekly photo challenge this week is “Forward”. There were two ways I thought about illustrating this word, three if you consider I could have just posted photos of roads leading off into the distance but that would be too easy. One of the ideas I had was a bit more political than the other and I think I’ll take the safer route and take you back into the past.

But that’s not “forward”, you say! Stay with me… We’re going back to England, 1665. Another bout of the Plague was sweeping through the country. A bundle of cloth was delivered to a tailor by the name of George Viccars.  The cloth was infested with fleas and as we know now, they were the beasties that carried the infection. Viccars died in days. In the coming months a lot of people died but by the spring, the local ministers started to think what was, for the time, very outside of the box and forward thinking. They decided they ought to isolate the village from the rest of the countryside.

They arranged to have supplies brought to the edge of the village where they kept a pool of vinegar in order to disinfect the money changing hands. They kept church worship separated from the general population to try to keep people from gathering and spreading the disease.  Only about 25 or 30% of the village survived by the time the plague had played itself out, over a year later. The forward thinking of the village authorities kept the plague from spreading through the immediate district and county.

Today the lovely stone village is accessed via a small road through a wooded area and surrounded by open hills and countryside making the village feel just as isolated. There’s a little museum there that is of interest and tells the story and the old church has graves of many of the victims buried in the churchyard.

One of the “Plague Cottages”, Eyam, Derbyshire

The cottage where the first victim of the plague died, Eyam, Derbyshire