Stories

Wool, fleas, plague

During the bubonic plague epidemic of 1665–6, the residents of Eyam in Derbyshire quarantined themselves within the village boundaries to help prevent the disease spreading further. Simon Norfolk revisits the village to tell the story of this small community’s remarkable sacrifice and the genetic discovery that came from those who survived.

Photography by Simon Norfolk

  • Photo story
Photograph of a rural landscape at dusk. In the background is a dramatic red sky. In the foreground is a spotlit plain stone grave.
Humphrey Merrill's solitary grave in a field behind his house in the village of Eyam. © Simon Norfolk for Wellcome Collection.

About the photographer

Photograph of Simon Norfolk

Simon Norfolk

Simon Norfolk is a photographer who regularly contributes to National Geographic and has shown his work at Tate Modern. He specialises in post-conflict landscapes; in particular he has worked a great deal in Afghanistan. His most recent book was following in the steps of the 19th-century photographer of the Second Afghan War, John Burke. Simon is currently running at a pretty nifty Number 44 on ‘The 55 Best Photographers of all Time. In the History of the World. Ever. Definitely’.