Locksmith eakring

Carl WarkOn the top of Mam Tor, overlooking Castleton, are 2 bronze age burial mounds, believed to be over 3500 years old. Additionally, the remains of a Celtic hill top fort or settlement on Mam Tor (known to the Celts as Mother Mountain), stretches over 16 acres and is thought to date back to around 1000BC. In 1969 the Mam Tor hill fort was excavated and fragments of an axe were found. These were dated by their general style to between the 11th and 7th Centuries BC and by their detail estimated to be closer to 7th Century.

At the other end of The Hope Valley, above the village of Hathersage, lies Carl Wark. This is an escarpment hill fort dating to perhaps Iron Age, although Bronze Age artifacts have been discovered nearby so the area may have been inhabited for longer. Archaeologists have speculated that its earliest use may have been during the Neolithic. It was possibly abandoned and later fortified by the Romans when they came to the area.

Mining in The Hope Valley
The area has been mined for almost as long as there have been people living here! Odin Mine (right) in Castleton is possibly the oldest mine in Derbyshire. It is thought to have been mined by the Danes and its name - Odin (Oden?) is used as evidence of this.

Lead was one of the first metals discovered by humans. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of its use from as far back as 3000BC. It is reasonable to assume that any settlers in the Hope Valley would have been quick to make use of any lead buried in the area. However, the Romans are credited with most of the early lead mining in the Hope Valley. They prized lead and used it widely. In later times, lead was not only used for water pipes, but for tanks, gutters, roofing, coffins and for all manner of ornamental items. By the 18th Century, there were countless mines in the area, although by the end of the 19th Century, much of the mining had ceased, although the mines, shafts and much equipment can still be seen.

Odin MineThe minerals that the miners gave barely a glance as they threw them aside to mine the lead are now more valued than the lead itself. In this area the most famous of these is Blue John crystal, which continues to be mined and used today. Fluorite is widely used; one of these uses is the fluoride in toothpaste. Much of the fluorite mined in Britain comes from the Peak District. Calcite is used, for example, as a neutraliser of acids while some of the uses of Barite are as a weighting agent in drilling muds and as paint pigments. Its high density means that it is opaque to x-rays and is given to patients before x-ray to aid diagnosis.

Romans In The Valley

The Romans found The Hope Valley to be a place of great importance when they arrived in the area in around 70AD and displaced the Celts. The remains of their fort, Navio, lie at in The Hope Valley in 1665, in a parcel of cloth from London. London was already falling and countless people had died. It was not understood at the time that the plague was carried by fleas that had fed on infected rats.

Artist's impression of NavioThe Eyam tailor, George Viccars, received the cloth and set about his work. Two days later he fell ill and on 7th September, 1665, he died. The symptoms were clear. It was the Plague. Many of the villagers fled, but those who remained made one of the bravest decisions in history. They would cut themselves off from the rest of the valley in order to save the lives of those in other villages. This decision saved countless lives, but cost most of the villagers their own.

In the church at Eyam, a stained glass window tells the story of the plague.

At the top is the Saxon cross that stands in the churchyard. Below that to the left is Mompesson's Well, where goods were left by the people of the surrounding area, and money was immersed in vinegar and left in payment. Many other goods were donated by the Earl of Devonshire.

To the right is the Riley graves. Elizabeth Hancock lost her husband and 6 children within a week. In order to avoid infecting the neighbours, the poor woman buried them herself and their graves remain to this day, half a mile outside the village.

Bottom left is the tailor, George Viccars, opening the cloth. By him is one of the plague's earliest victims, Edward Cooper. Above this scene is Viccars, in his final days, tended to by his neighbours. Between the two is the 'Ring O Roses'

Top right is the meeting that took place between the Rev Mompesson and the Rev. Stanley, where they planned the action that saved the Hope Valley but condemned the village. Catherine Mompesson stands there, representing the love and support she showed in staying. That support cost her her life, she died on 25th August, 1666 and she is buried in the churchyard.

Below this scene is a remembrance of a most tragic love story. Emmott Siddall and Rowland Torre. Emmott was from Eyam and Rowland from one of the nearby villages. They would call to each other from the rocks across Cucklett Delf. Sadly, Emmott became one of the plague's victims.
The window was donated by Mrs C M Creswick in 1985, in memory of her husband. The picture above is a copy of a postcard available in the church, photography inside the church is forbidden.
William Mompesson's letter to Sir George Savile

Honoured and Dear Sir
This is the saddest letter that ever my pen did write, the destroying angell having taken up his quarters within my habitation. My Dearest Dear is gone to her eternall rest, and is invested with the crown of righteousness, having made a most happy end: and had she loved herselfe as well as mee, she had fled from the pit of destruction with her sweet infants, and might have p'longed her dayes. But she was resolved to dye a martyr for my interest. My drooping spirits are much refreshed with her joyes, which I assure myselfe are unutterable. Sir this paper is to bid you a hearty farewell for ever and to bring you my humble thanks for all your noble favours, and I hope you will believe a dying man, that I have as much love as honor for you, and I will bend my feeble knees to the God of heaven, that you, my Dear Lady...

plague_window the_plague_book Little John's Grave North Lees Hall

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