The town of Eyam was only a small community which consisted of mainly lead miners, shepherds and cobblers had to face the biggest problem of their time (1665) ‘The plague’ and unlike many towns & cities across Europe they did not flee it, they stayed and quarantined themselves, as they were under the belief that this epidemic was of god’s decision to eliminate the bad crops as where the words of Michael Monpellion the towns Rector (priest).
Monpellion who rallied the villages in the first instance gave the villages faith or something to believe in , in these troubled times and he remains faithful to his charge and-whatever the difficulties that assail him, he remains a source of hope to his parishioners.
Also Anna Firth the main character in the novel who becomes an ever stronger woman throughout the ordeal is guided by Monpellion faiths and she helps the village sustain by become the town Nurse/Doctor as the normal towns physician flees upon hearing the news that the plague has reached Eyam ,so under both Elinor & Michael Monpellion guidance she supports the townspeople and takes care of them as they all band together.
Therefore Michael, Elinor and Anna sharing of his faith throughout all the community sustain them through the crisis of the plague. Michael Monpellion is the fundamental reason why the village of Eyam becomes isolated at the time of the plague. When the villagers are faced with the onslaught of the plague, Monpellion rallies the villages and proposes the quarantine solution and promises the villages a sense of protection as he promises that no one in the village “will face death alone“ (p. 106. The community responds to speech given by Michael and they believe that he is doing the right thing and they all rally together apart from some of the higher members in the social hierarchy like the Bradford’s who are the wealthiest family in the town and even with all the endeavours by Michael to convince them to stay they decide to flee the town. As they believe in the wealth and not God (faith) which in the end they survive and return to the village but the towns social hierarchy has changed and the townspeople no longer see them as they used to.
This is because the townspeople faith had sustained them throughout the ordeal and even some of them have become stronger because of what Monpellion gifted to them. Elinor Monpellion forges her role during the crisis as she becomes the towns as a Mother figure because she assists the town’s people by being a healer, mentor, counsellor and guide. In the novel, it is Elinor who spent hours identifying plants and herbs that can be made into potions and remedies for the sick.
She is also responsible for encouraging Anna Firth to take on the role of a midwife, when there is no one else available. When Elinor sees a need in the community she aims to meet it she is also crucial in offering comfort to the sick and dying as the plague ravages the village. These actions/Decision that she has made are fuelled by her faith in sustaining the community in regards to the safety and wellbeing of the townspeople. In the novel Anna is not known as a “child, to quail at terrors” (p. 33). Even though she has had a hard life previous to the plague with the death of her husband she is still an established care-giver and quite capable at nurturing her children. After the plague takes the lives of her two boys she falls into becoming an opium addict, but when she realises that the town needs her skills to sustain the township, she rises to the occasion and under the guidance of the Monpellion she becomes the towns Midwife .
Even though before the plague she was only known as a servant, this is quite circumscribed and she does not believe in social hierarchies and raises her own social perception as she is one of the standouts during the township’s isolations and she earns the respect of the few people who are left alive by the end of the plague. Even though she has no religion her faith in herself drives her, to help sustain the town during the crisis. In conclusion the township banded together and supported one another in helping fight the plague face first unlike many at that time who fled their homes and communities.
This was only capable after Monpellion had the courage to lead the town and restore faith to the villagers as that was the main factor in the township not completely dying out. In the end the township had many casualties and the majority of them died they towns name still lives in and the people who survived the ordeal are much stronger in many ways and this was all a benefactor from the faith that was received by the villagers from Michael Monpellion inspiring sermons that fuelled the villagers to keep pushing on and survive the plague.