The Hancock farmhouse no longer stands, but those seven graves still do.
You can just discern a patch of darker ground where the house should be. The walled graveyard would have been practically on the doorstep. The agreement that the people of Eyam made in 1666 was that they would not flee, and they would bury their own dead in land made hallowed by their sacrifice.
Elizabeth Hancock did just that. She cared for her family, then single-handedly dug their graves.
It's difficult to imagine what she went through. Her children must have started with the fever and open sores by August 1st.
On August 3rd 1666, she buried seven year old Elizabeth and five year old John. It can hardly be expected that she had help from her husband, as he would have already been sickening himself by then.
John Hancock died on August 7th 1666. His wife, stupefied with mourning her earlier losses, had to contend with both that and the death of two more children. Sixteen year old William and three year old Oner went with their father into the Riley graves.
Still there was no respite, because by now the two remaining daughters had begun showing symptoms of plague.
Fourteen year old Alice died on August 9th. Her nine year old sister Anne followed the next day.
The Riley Field was so high up and exposed, that the villagers in Stoney Middleton would have been able to observe Elizabeth's desperate plight. But they couldn't help her. To do so would be to undo all the sacrifices that the people of Eyam had made. The plague would simply have spread.
No doubt Elizabeth Hancock was in some degree of shock by now. The Black Death is not an easy nor pretty way to die. She had tended those she loved dearest through it all, then consigned them to the ground.
But she didn't stop there. Back over on the Talbot farm, seventy-eight year old Bridget fell to the plague too. The baby was alone, so Elizabeth brought her back to her home. The ad hoc adoption didn't last long. Within days, the Black Death had taken the infant too.