|Hathersage is one of the more interesting villages in the area, with historical associations to Robin Hood and the Eyre family. The village centres around a road junction above the River Derwent, where the road to Sheffield branches off the route which follows the Derwent downstream. The ancient centre of the village was just above the church, which itself stands above and to the north of the modern village centre. On a knoll next to it there is an earthwork called Camp Green, which is probably Danish in origin. |
Hathersage is a popular centre for walkers and rock-climbers, for on its east side the village is overlooked by moorland and a line of gritstone edges of which Stanage Edge is the largest. There are also spectacular tors, such as Higgar Tor, and the enigmatic hillfort at Carl Wark, which has so far defied archaeologists' attempts to date it. Several of the edges were quarried and the area was a major source of millstones for grinding corn and metals.
Until the late 18th century Hathersage was a small agricultural village with cottage industries making brass buttons and wire, but in 1750 a Henry Cocker started the Atlas Works, a mill for making wire. By the early 19th century there were several such mills in operation and activities had spread to the manufacture of needles and pins, for which Hathersage became famous.
Millstones on the moor above Hathersage
A paper mill was also in operation near North Lees, making wrapping paper for the pins and needles produced. Though water power was used initially for the mills, this was superseded by steam in the mid 19th century and the result was that the village was usually enveloped in a pall of smoke. Conditions for the workers were bad too. To make their points the needles had to be ground on a rotating gritstone wheel, a process which gave off fragments of dust and steel. Occasionally millstones would shatter while grinding, injuring the grinder. The lungs of the grinders gradually filled up with dust and their average life expectancy was 30 years. This prompted the interest of a Royal Commission in 1867 which led to one of the first Factory Acts, laying down working hours, requiring machinery to be protected and making it illegal for children to be employed on some types of work.
Wire and needle making moved to Sheffield at the end of the 19th century and the last mill here closed in 1902, but several of the mills are still standing - Dale Mill lies along the road to Ringinglow, Darvell's mill is at the top of the main street, and down near the stream at the bottom of the village are Atlas Works and Barnfield Works.
Charlotte Bronte visited Hathersage in 1845 and used it as the 'Norton' of the story 'Jane Eyre' - taking the heroine's surname from the local family. She also used North Lees Hall, an Elizabethan manor house 2km north of Hathersage as the house where Mrs Rochester jumped from the roof to her death. North Lees is one seven halls built by Robert Eyre of Highlow (there were many local Robert Eyres) for his seven sons and is one of the finest Elizabethan buildings in the region - a tall square tower with a long wing adjoining.
North Lees Hall
The modern village has a range of pubs, hotels and shops including banks, cycle hire shops and Outside, the outdoor equipment suppliers, with a cafe above. Behind the main street there is a public car park and the surprising luxury of an outdoor swimming pool (open only in summer). The railway station, on the Manchester-Sheffield line, lies on the southern edge of the village, while at the western end of the village there is a Youth Hostel.
At a hamlet called Leadmill on the Grindleford road there is an interesting modern cutlery factory, the David Mellor roundhouse.
Hathersage Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
0 - Hathersage Church
1 - Hathersage Church - Eyre family brass rubbing
2 - Hathersage Moor
3 - Stanage Edge - Air ambulance taking off
4 - Stanage Edge
5 - Hathersage - North Lees Hall
6 - Stanage Edge - Climbing on the popular end
7 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
8 - Bole Hill - abandoned millstones
9 - Stanage Edge - South end
10 - Padley Chapel
11 - Stanage Edge in snow
12 - Eyam Moor barrow and view to Hathersage
13 - Stanage Edge - Robin Hoods Cave
Local places of interest
Bagshaw Cavern, a cave system in Bradwell, Hope Valley, Derbyshire. A largely natural cave system discovered by lead miners in 1806. Open to the public on summer weekends as a show cave and for Adventure Caving.
The hill known as Carl Wark lies close to Higgar Tor between Stanage and Burbage Edges on the moors above Hathersage. It rises high above Burbage Brook and is a fine natural defensive position, so it was used as a fort long ago, especially in the Iron Age and the Romano-British period.
The Derwent Dams provide water for Sheffield, Derby, Nottingham and Leicester and are situated near the Hope Valley, in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Eyam Hall is a fine 17th Century Hall in the Plague village of Eyam, Hope Valley, which is still in the hands of its original builders, the Wright Family.
Eyam Museum and Plague Village
Eyam Museum and the Plague Village, Eyam, give a history of the tragic 1665-6 visit of the Bubonic Plague to this village in the Derbyshire Peak District.
The Church at Hathersage, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, stands close to an ancient Danish settlement and is linked to the Eyre family. Little John - of Robin Hood fame - is said to be buried here.
Longshaw Estate and Country Park
The Longshaw Estate covers Grindleford, Millstone and Bole Hill, Hope Valley, Derbyshire. Once the shooting estate of the Dukes of Rutland, now owned by the National Trust.
Stanage Edge, Hathersage, Derbyshire. Stanage is the largest and most impressive of the gritstone edges. It is a famous location for rock-climbing and a popular spot for walkers