Ring a ring of roses

By mrswoolybill
V1 - A little girl playing in the graveyard of St Lawrence’s Church, Eyam, Derbyshire.
V2 - A detail from the gate of Eyam Primary School.
V3 - The grave of Catherine Mompesson.
Please read on...
Ring a ring of roses
A pocket full of posies
Atishoo, atishoo
We all fall down

Most nursery rhymes have grim beginnings, this one is no exception. It tells of the bubonic plague.
The ring of roses is the red rash which was an early symptom. The posies refer to the belief that the scent of fragrant flowers and herbs could ward off infection. The rest is pretty clear.
The plague came to Eyam in September 1665, in a bale of contaminated, flea-infested cloth sent from London to an itinerant tailor, George Vicars. He lodged with a widow who had recently remarried. He was dead within days. His landlady and her family, all soon followed him to the grave.
The villagers, led by their minister the Rev. William Mompesson, came to an extraordinarily brave decision. In order to contain the outbreak and protect the surrounding villages they cut themselves off from the world. Nobody left the village, they lived on food parcels left at the end of the road by well-wishers. Families were responsible for burying their own dead, church services were held in the open air to limit contact.
It was fourteen months before the plague abated, and in that time some 260 villagers died, around 80% of the population. But the infection did not spread and the neighbouring villages were spared.
The Rev. Mompesson survived, but his wife Catherine was one of the last victims. He recorded that they were walking one evening when she commented that the air smelt particularly sweet. He knew that this was a sign.
This is the start of a little series, exploring the story as told by the school gates and by the cemetery.
Thanks for looking,

Tags: Photo journalism General Specialist and abstract

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes


nefaman 16 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 7:58AM
V1 has an eerie feel to it and brings the rhyme to life
imander 14 388 7 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 8:11AM
"exploring the story as told by the school gates and by the cemetery"

oooo sounds like my cup of tea, and a fine start to this series it is, well done
david deveson 17 62 2 Italy
13 Oct 2008 8:14AM
Wonderful images to tell a story little known, I recall reading a novel based on the happenings in Eyam.... it's somewhere in my books. I must did it out since it was an absorbing read.
fentiger 20 920 24 England
13 Oct 2008 8:15AM
Three images which combine to tell a story. Very interesting write up. I believe Eyam became known as "The Plague Village".

mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.1k 2475 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 8:23AM
It still carries that name locally, Albert. Ian - I didn't originally plan to do this, I was viewing the gates and the gravestones as separate stories, but the little girl skipped into my viewfinder and it seemed such a poignant image.
Thanks everyone, and have a great week.
jdenman 13 19 5 Spain
13 Oct 2008 8:37AM
Very interesting write up !
Cracking images.
DolphinLady 15 54 1 Wales
13 Oct 2008 8:41AM
I still remeber this story vividly from my school days.
Three wonderful images to go with the story Moira.
I prefer V2 for the starkness of the playground.
peugeot406 15 7 1 England
13 Oct 2008 8:50AM
Super images
Hoffy 17 262 16 England
13 Oct 2008 9:05AM
Nice set of images.
jaktis Plus
18 84 Sweden
13 Oct 2008 9:25AM
A strong tale and great pictures

Sahyadri 14 61 2 India
13 Oct 2008 9:39AM
excellent set and very powerful MOira.

been out for a bit and have lots to catch up.... will come back to view large soon.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.1k 2475 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 9:50AM
Thanks again, folks. Hilary - I deliberately went on a Sunday in order to have the schoolyard empty and deserted.
Rende 14 38 4 Netherlands
13 Oct 2008 10:00AM
Beautiful set Moira and a fascinating bit of history. The colour accent in V1 is wonderful. Excellent find, the connection between V2 and V3.
User_Removed 14 485 13 England
13 Oct 2008 10:11AM
you at your very best Moira

pentony 13 3 England
13 Oct 2008 11:43AM
Great set of images.

13 Oct 2008 1:18PM
That V2 in particular is wonderful, would make a great album cover
cheesey 15 2 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 1:28PM
Cracking images, nicely captured.
13 Oct 2008 1:57PM
Super images Moira, excellent use of dof,
mikbee 14 3 8 Scotland
13 Oct 2008 2:08PM
First of all Moira,I do remember the post. You are a bit harsh with you description of Bill and I ''spurning'' it.Just being the perfect gentleman we are,we left it for you !!!!
Next--I had no idea the connection with the nursery rhyme here.
I just thought it refered to a little game children played !!!
I think we are in for a fascinating little series here Moira.
nickyv32 14 135 England
13 Oct 2008 2:13PM
No 1 has a little reminder of Schindler's List for me, I know it was a black and white film but it just struck me, love it. Great set and great infomation. Moira's list......

bliba Plus
16 2 Austria
13 Oct 2008 2:13PM
great description and images.....well dne
love V1......your are very good at this kind of photography

keep them coming


Rock 19 10 2 England
13 Oct 2008 2:21PM
History in depth.

Fine work.

Bob_V 14 1 2 United States
13 Oct 2008 2:43PM
What a fantastic and interesting write-up and superb images to go with it.
ChristineL 16 39 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 4:09PM
a fascinating story Moira, well supported with some great images,
p.s. thanks for the encouraging words. X
Cormy 14 3 England
13 Oct 2008 4:28PM
Nice DOF exercise Moira.The middle one is my favourite.
13 Oct 2008 4:53PM
Three very different shots with quite a felling captured, well done.
Richsr 14 91 223 England
13 Oct 2008 5:12PM
Three good and different images - well seen and captured Moria .
Regards Richard.
tigertimb 14 40 66 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 5:23PM
Not exactly cheery, but an immensesly powerful image particularly when combined with the narrative; I love the use of the shallow DOF and the girl in the distance unaware. And yet in the midst of all this tragedy, a message of courage from the villagers.
And maybe #2 and the nursery rhyme itself aren't so much macabre, but a reminder to not focus on the bad but to celebrate life
lonely_oryx 14 61 55 England
13 Oct 2008 5:47PM
Great use of DOF. I particularly like #3
13 Oct 2008 6:04PM
like V1 VERY much Moira.

John Smile
TyChee 17 275 1 United States
13 Oct 2008 6:28PM
Nice set of shots and interesting story. V3 is my favorite.
taggart Plus
17 47 14 United States
13 Oct 2008 6:34PM
An interesting collection, I like v1 for its unusual viewpoint-- Jennnnn
Roly 14 Wales
13 Oct 2008 7:44PM
Nice set of three which link up to tell a story.Great write up too.

wyatturp 16 2 England
13 Oct 2008 7:48PM
I like your play with dof they work well

paulb20 Plus
15 12 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 8:06PM
All three shots connect well with your write up Moira nicely done.
GalleryGirl 14 4 2 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 8:27PM
Super shots. Love V1 for the light and colours captured. Good depth too.
Marilyn x
Scaramanga 14 60 6 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 8:49PM
Great series, love the light and textures on the gravestones. I have stolen your idea and done something similar.
oppo 15 6 2 Scotland
13 Oct 2008 8:49PM
All the images combine to make a good story. V1 is simply brilliant Moira. Fantastic light and good foreground detail. The figure in the background gives the viewer something to think about.

kinfatric 17 550 9 Scotland
13 Oct 2008 9:08PM
fantastic work and particularly when you read the description that follows, oddly I liked V2 before reading your narrative.
MissPea 15 8 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 9:40PM
We visited this village a couple of years ago and went round the museum - fascinating story and you have commented and recorded the story perfectly ......look forward to the rest.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.1k 2475 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 9:51PM
Many thanks to Tim for his award, and to everyone who has visited and understood.
TelStar 16 116 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2008 10:24PM
Being from South Derbyshire originally, I visited Eyam on a Junior School trip c.1951 and learnt about the plague and Nursery Rhyme connections then. You have provided a very poignant reminder of all that, and more! Thanks.

Leightonhs 15 155 1
13 Oct 2008 10:33PM
Wow, interesting story Moria, fascinating read. It's great to see pictures relating to a story like this; bravo.

dawnmichelle 14 12 United States
13 Oct 2008 10:45PM
moody shot in 1... terrific shots and wonderful write up too
Paree 16 616 3
13 Oct 2008 11:20PM
love these
all three are wonderful
but V2 is a bit special
imagio 15 12 1 England
13 Oct 2008 11:55PM
Excellent trio Moira, no 1 is outstanding..

whiteswan01 13 13 England
14 Oct 2008 12:08AM
3 great sshot of different textures
Joline Plus
15 38 59 United States
14 Oct 2008 12:12AM
v1 is a true work of art. One of your finest, I think.
lostintime 14 13 6 Germany
14 Oct 2008 2:37PM
Wonderful use of light and DOF in no. 1 and 3.
sunshot 17 24 United Kingdom
14 Oct 2008 7:24PM
Do you know Moira, this is a 15 minute ride from me, and i'v never been !!!
your write up followed by these wonderful shots really makes me eager to visit EYAM,,,,, all been well i will soon as poss

brownsilent 14 7 2 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2008 9:15PM
Interesting mini-series with great write up Moira. Did you read "World Without End" by Ken Follett? I not, you should. I am sure you'd like it.
16 Oct 2008 10:46PM
Great shot, great info.
Nigel_95 Plus
15 262 2 United Kingdom
22 Oct 2008 12:20AM
I particularly like the shallow dof on 1, and the lighting angle on 3 Moira.


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