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It is a remote and isolated village of pretty, stone cottages. But it also has a sad an poignant past, reminders of which glare down from every cottage or lie scattered about the gardens and surrounding fields.
Next to the Parish Church stand a line of houses which share the collective name "Plague Cottages." In one of these in 1665 there lodged with Mary Cooper, a tailor named George Viccars.
At the end of a dirt track on the outskirts of the village, a dry-stone wall circles the seven graves of the Riley Family, whilst in the middle of a field behind Hollins Farm stands the tomb of Humphrey Merrill.
I can think of nowhere else in England where the tragedy of the past is so manifest in the present and, although the village does not dwell morbidly on those long ago events, a strange and eerie stillness certainly hangs over it.
Such a place is Haddon Hall, a fairy tale Manor House, built by Richard Vernon in 1170.The first victim was Viccars himself, who died of a "strange fever" on 7th September 1665.Within two weeks his landlady’s young son Edward Cooper had also died and the villagers braced themselves for the horror which they knew lay ahead.By early October the plague was raging and, under the leadership of their Vicar, William Mompesson, the villagers made the brave and, for many fatal, decision, to cut themselves off from the outside world in order to prevent the pestilence from spreading throughout the district. Families buried their dead in their own back gardens or fields.Supplies were left at a well outside the village, now called Mompesson’s Well, and which is clearly sign-posted from the church.
There are Deep Mountain pools steeped in legend and even a phantom aircraft that constantly sparks a full scale emergency alert!!