In the plague-hit village of the damned that cut itself off from ...

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In the plague-hit village of the damned that cut itself off from the world

Eyam’s 17th-century residents made the ultimate sacrifice so surrounding villages would be spared

Joe Shute

A few weeks ago, during the Sunday service in the UK’s Peak District village of Eyam, a group of Chinese students shuffled into the pews at St Lawrence’s Church. The students had arrived unexpectedly in a rented car from nearby Sheffield, having read online about the heroic decision taken by Eyam villagers in the 17th century to quarantine themselves during an outbreak of bubonic plague.

With the coronavirus engulfing the students’ homeland, and now spreading across the globe, they wanted to join the village in prayers.

Between 1665 and 1666, Eyam was the village of the damned. During 14 terrible months of self-imposed isolation, 260 villagers died out of a population of around 700. But the plague remained contained and the surrounding villages were spared...

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