(All images by Andrew Norman, reproduced with permission)
The Peak District of Northern England is an ancient landscape steeped in history and folklore, from fairies and Robin Hood to stone circles and – more ominously – plague. And it’s to that sinister illness that the five curious stone slabs above trace their origins.
While the village of Eyam famously became known as the ‘plague village’ after an outbreak of the disease in 1665, a lesser known case of the plague had occurred in the nearby village of Curbar 30 years earlier.
The deadly outbreak claimed the lives of a family at Grislowfields Farm in 1632. They were Thomas and Ada Cundy, who perished with their children Olive, Nellie and young Thomas. Their simple graves, located above Curbar, are a poignant reminder of their tragic fate.
It isn’t known who buried the Cundy family. Their graves remained hidden for years until a local woman identified as ‘Mrs H.’, intrigued by a map reference to the burial ground, set about trying the find them.
After searching the rough ground near the footpath, she finally uncovered the first stone, marked O.C. – Olive Cundy. Soon all the graves were visible once more, and Mrs H. continued to look after them until moving to the village of Grindleford in 1938.
The lonely graves of the Cundy family remain visible today. Nearby is a tiny cottage that had once served as the Curbar lock-up, designed to house Civil War prisoners overnight en route to Sheffield gaol. (All photos by Andrew Norman.)