Alexander Hadfield was an Eyam man with a bright future. He had recently married the widowed Mary Cooper and become step-father to her two young boys.
As a tailor, his trade was so brisk, that he'd been able to take on an assistant. George Viccars lodged with the family in their Church Street home.
It was he who took possession of the parcel from London. It had been carried on the back of an open cart for the final leg of its journey. In typical British summer fashion, it was raining. The cloth within arrived damp, so George's first job was to stretch it all out in front of the hearth to dry it off.
That was on September 3rd 1665. Four days later, he was dead.
The cloth had been infested with fleas. Half-starved from their incarceration in the package, they had feasted upon George Viccars. The fleas were carrying the same bubonic plague, which was currently devastating London.
By the time it had finished its rampage through Eyam, only Mary would be left standing in that house. She would have lost not only her two boys, her husband and lodger, but another ten relatives besides.
Next door, Jane Hawkworth would bury her husband and baby son, alongside twenty-three more relations. On the other side of the Hadfield house, the entire Thorpe family were wiped out. All nine members of them.
They weren't alone.
Throughout Eyam people were dying, as the pestilence spread. From September 7th 1665 until November 1st 1666, the tiny population would be decimated. But most of them did not run.