Peak District Information Website
|Ilam lies at the lower end of the River Manifold and is one of the prettiest villages in this area of the Peak, with one of the longest histories. The current village was moved in the 1820s by Jesse Watts-Russell from its position near Ilam Hall and rebuilt in its current location in what Watts-Russell considered to be 'Alpine style'. This explains both the unusual style of the buildings and the surprising distance between them and the village church. The centre of the village is dominated by a memorial cross similar to Charing Cross, erected by Jesse Watts-Russell in 1840 to commemorate his wife, Mary.|
The village was inhabited in Saxon times and the church incorporates some Saxon stonework as well as the tomb of the Saxon saint, Bertram, who lived as a hermit in this area. In 1004 the village was given to Burton on Trent Abbey and a small monastic settlement was established here - after the dissolution of the monasteries this was purchased by the Port family who owned the estate for the next 300 years and established the first Ilam Hall, which was torn down and rebuilt in grand style by Jesse Watts-Russell in the 1820s. The main part of his hall was demolished in the 1930s, but the remaining section is a Youth Hostel and the whole estate now belongs to the National Trust.
At the hall there are tea rooms and a National Trust Information centre, plus a very well-appointed National Trust caravan site.
Like Castern on the hillside opposite, Throwley was once a small agricultural village but rural depopulation has left just the hall, which is actually a large farm specialising in raising beef cattle.
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