Youlgrave Church | Peak District Towns and Villages | Staffordshire | Derbyshire | England | UK
Peak District Towns and Villages: Youlgrave Church
Villages around Youlgrave Church
Ashford in the Water
|Ashford is an attractive and popular little village lying on the River Wye, just upstream of Bakewell. It has a long history, and from the Iron Age or earlier was one of the major crossing points on the Wye. The river and the bridges across it are major features of Ashford. Sheepwash Bridge dates from the 17th century and has a pen next to it for the purpose of washing the sheep, a practice which continued until quite recently. Downstream, Mill Bridge is dated 1664, but is newer than Sheepwash Bridge.|
An ancient local custom unique to this village was that of hanging funeral garlands from the roof of the church. Four garlands still hang there, the oldest from 1747. They were made of white paper cut to form rosettes and fixed to a wooden frame. They would then be carried before the coffin of a young virgin in the funeral procession, before being hung up.
In the church is the grave of Henry Watson (d. 1786), who was responsible for the commercial exploitation of Ashford Black Marble. Not a true marble, this impure limestone comes up an attractive shiny black colour when polished. It was quarried from Kirk Dale and Rookery Wood just outside Ashford and was used at an early date in both Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House. Watson's invention in 1748 of machinery for cutting and polishing the marble allowed it to be mass-produced and it became very fashionable. Watson's machinery used water power from a mill on the River Wye near the foot of Kirk Dale, which closed in 1905, though the foundations may still be seen. Examples of Ashford Marble are on display in Buxton Museum.
A further 2km upstream, on the River Wye, lies the outlet for Magpie Sough, built in 1873, an impressive 2km long underground 'drain' for the Magpie mine at Sheldon. Lead mining was extremely important in this area until the end of the 19th century.
Ashford has an annual well-dressing which is held during the week of Pentecost - six weeks after Easter (usually late May/early June). There are about 6 wells to dress, and this is one of the largest such festivals.
The village has a shop and a couple of pubs.
Ashford in the Water Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
The town was built on the West bank of the Wye at a spot where it was fordable and the site was probably occupied in Roman times (there is a Roman altar at Haddon Hall, found nearby). The Saxons left their mark here and in 924 Edward the Elder ordered a fortified borough to be built here.
The church was founded in 920 and some Saxon fragments can be seen in the porch. However, although parts are Norman, most of the modern building dates from the 13th century and it was then virtually rebuilt in the 1840s. It contains many interesting monuments and is well worth a visit.
A few yards up the hill from the church is the award-winning Old House Museum, housed in one of the few genuinely medieval buildings of the area. This house serves as a local history museum and is in the care of the Bakewell Historical Society. Other places of historical interest include Bagshaw Hall, a fine 17th century house built by a rich lawyer, and several old buildings down King Street, such as the Old Town Hall, the Red Tudor House and the Hospital of the Knight of St John. Just off the Buxton Road lies Victoria Mill, which ground corn from water power until 1939.
One such building is the Rutland Arms, overlooking the town square and built in 1804. Jane Austen stayed here in 1811 and in Pride and Prejudice she has Elizabeth Bennet stopping here to meet the Darcys and Mr Bingley. However the Rutland Arms' chief claim to fame is as the place where the Bakewell Pudding (Bakewell has never heard of tarts) was invented by a chef of 1859 who made a mistake. You can now buy Bakewell Puddings at several establishments across the town, all claiming to have the original unique recipe.
Bakewell has one of the oldest markets in the area, dating from at least 1300. The first recorded fair was held in 1254. Markets are still held every Monday and, unlike most of the other local centres, there is a thriving livestock market at the recently rebuilt Agricultural Centre, which is well worth a visit. The big event of the year is the annual Bakewell Show, which takes place the first Wednesday and Thursday in August and attracts farmers and many others from all over the Peak District and surrounding area.
Bakewell has a full range of shops, pubs and restaurants. There are numerous options for accommodation and there is also a Youth Hostel.
Bakewell has an annual well dressing and carnival, held in late June and it is the home of the Peak District National Park Authority, who have their main offices at Aldern House, Baslow Road. They also operate the town's information centre which is in the old Market Hall in Bridge street, with a parking area (except on market days) and public toilets next to it. It is open daily 9.30am - 5.30pm in summer and 9.30am - 1pm in winter. Telephone: 01629 813227
Bakewell Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Birchover is larger than first appears, with rows of cottages clustered along a road which heads straight up the hillside to the historically significant Stanton Moor. It is a very good centre for exploring both Stanton Moor and Harthill Moor on the opposite side of the valley.|
At the bottom of the village is the Druid Inn and there is a church hidden in a hollow below it. The church has some unusual paintings which seem more appropriate to the namesakes of the Inn than a church. Behind the Druid Inn is Rowtor Rocks, a small gritstone tor with a fine view similar to the better-known Robin Hood's Stride across the valley from it. It contains several finely balanced rocking stones which can be moved by the application of a shoulder. One of these could once be moved easily by hand, but was shifted from its position as a prank by fourteen young men on Whit Sunday 1799 and although it was replaced it is not now so finely balanced. The steps and seats which are carved out of the rock here were the work of the Reverend Thomas Eyre, the builder of the village church.
At the top of the village there is an active and important stone-cutting works and behind this are quarries where high-quality gritstone is extracted for building purposes.
Birchover Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Elton is a pretty village constructed of a warm-coloured local sandstone. It is situated on the hillside looking down towards Youlgreave and Stanton-in-the-Peak and the views from nearby Blake Low are particularly fine. Robin Hood's Stride and Cratcliff Tor are within easy walking distance.|
The village is situated just off the Iron Age road known as The Portway, and that and the presence of local springs probably accounts for its existence here, placed high on the hillside in an otherwise exposed position. It was a lead-mining centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and the church, which dates from 1812, replaced an earlier building which collapsed in 1805 due to mining subsidence.
At the village centre there is a pub and a cafe, while further along the main street there is a the former Elton Hall which until recently was a Youth Hostel.
Elton Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Middleton by Youlgreave
The most notable feature of the village is the grave of Thomas Bateman (1820-61), an important local archaeologist and excavator of some 500 local barrows. Though he took some care to record and analyse his finds, his methods were unfortunately not nearly as scientific as modern techniques, and he was known to have excavated as many as five barrows in one day. Many of his finds are now in Sheffield Museum, and some in the British Museum. He is buried in a field behind the former Congregational chapel, in a small enclosure surrounded by cast-iron railings. A barrow would perhaps have been more appropriate.
On the village green there is a playground and public toilets, and alongside there is a more recent memorial to the crew of a Lancaster bomber which crashed at nearby Smerrill in 1944.
The walking around Middleton is excellent. Bradford Dale is beautiful and the high, limestone pasturelands around the village harbour much archaeology, both ancient and industrial.
Middleton by Youlgreave Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Monyash is an unspoilt village clustered around the village green, its main preoccupation is now farming and tourism but at it was an important lead-mining centre from medieval times to the end of the 19th century and had its own Barmote Court. The village cross dates from 1340, when Monyash was granted a licence for a weekly market and two annual fairs. Around the village may be seen characteristic narrow fields which were enclosures of medieval strips and, further away, the larger fields which resulted from the 1771 Enclosures Act. |
Monyash and the surrounding area have been settled since Neolithic times, as can be inferred from its proximity to Arbor Low, which dates from 2000BC or earlier. The village has a good water source and sits on a deposit of clay, which means that the water does not sink immediately into underlying limestone, as it usually does in this area. This led to the creation of several ponds or 'meres' and at least one survives until the present day. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Maneis', which is often translated as 'many ash trees' (cf. Oxford Dictionary of British Placenames), but research by Professor Bob Johnston indicates that it is more likely derived from the Old English words mani and eas for many waters.
The Romans built a road which follows the ridge to the south-east of the village, and which probably follows the line of a much earlier trackway. Later, the Saxons overran the area, which became part of the territory of the 'Pecsaete' tribe (some people believe that 'Peak District' is derived from this tribe's name) and a celebrated Saxon burial at Benty Grange just south of Monyash was probably one of their chieftains.
The lead mines for which Monyash was famous also provide a Quaker connection, since they were worked in the 17th and 18th centuries by the London Lead Company, a Quaker firm. Sheldon House was once one of the mining offices and the miners were said to have queued for their pay here.
Evidence of other industries of bygone days may be found in the local names of Shuttle Lane and Chandler House. Monyash's most recent claim to fame is as the burial place of Sir Maurice Oldfield, a local man who became the head of MI6 and was the model for 'M' in the James Bond books.
The village lies at the head of Lathkill Dale and is therefore very busy with walkers and hikers at weekends, since it is a good base for exploring the surrounding area. There is a pub, the Bull's Head, where the Barmote Court still meets twice yearly. Next door to the Bull's Head there is a popular cafe. Monyash has an annual well-dressing at the end of May.
Monyash Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Over Haddon is a picturesque former lead-mining village clinging to the top of the steep side of Lathkill Dale to the south of Bakewell. It is a popular stopping point for weekend walkers in the Lathkill valley and has a useful car park, though using this does involve a steep descent (and thus ascent) into (and out of) Lathkill Dale below. The village has a pub called The Lathkill.|
Lathkill Dale is a beautiful and fascinating place. An alternative perspective can be achieved by following the gorge top access land from the access point to the south of Haddon Grove Farm, one mile to the west of Over Haddon.
Over Haddon Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Pikehall is a small farming hamlet on the A5012 road between Buxton and Cromford, approximately where the modern road is crossed by the line of the old Roman road leading south from Buxton. The hamlet is a useful access point to the High Peak Trail, which passes just to the south of here and is notable for the annual 'trotting' races which are held on a field just outside the hamlet.|
The parking area nearby on the High Peak trail is a useful starting point not only for the trail itself but also for the exploration of Royston Rocks and Royston Grange to the south and Gratton Dale to the north.
Pikehall Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Rowsley lies at the junction of the Wye and Derwent rivers and is bisected by the main road, the A6. The village is in two sections - the original village lies in the 'Y' between the two rivers while to the east is the so-called 'railway village' constructed around the former Midland railway station. The two sections form an interesting contrast - the old part is made of gritstone cottages and farmhouses and has connections with nearby Haddon and Chatsworth, while the newer part is more utilitarian.|
In the old village there is a Victorian church just to the north of the old railway line. Over the bridge across the Derwent there is a second pub and a small 'shopping village' behind it.
Rowsley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Sheldon is a small farming hamlet perched high above the River Wye, South of Ashford. From just outside the village there are fine views of the Wye and the lower part of Monsal Dale.|
Lead mining flourished around here in the 18th and 19th centuries and most of Sheldon dates from this period. One of the most famous and certainly the best-preserved Peak District mine, the Magpie Mine, lies just 1km south of here.
Sheldon has a pub, the Cock and Pullet, popular with hikers.
Sheldon Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Stanton in the Peak
|Stanton-in-the-Peak is an estate village mostly constructed by the Thornhill family during the 18th and 19th centuries. Stanton Hall lies well hidden just to the south of the village, much of which is pleasingly built around stone courtyards and alleyways. The village faces west and catches the afternoon and evening sun all year. It is a fine vantage point from which to view the Wye valley, with Haddon Hall in clear view.|
The church is an imposing building dating from the 1830s. The village pub is called The Flying Childers, named after an otherwise long-forgotten race-horse. The main interest around here lies above the village on Stanton Moor, with its stone circles, standing stones and Bronze Age enclosures plus fine views across the Derwent valley.
Stanton Lees is a small hamlet on the east side of Stanton Moor with a spectacular view across Darley Dale and the Derwent Valley.
Stanton in the Peak Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Wensley is a small village of former lead-miners' cottages which overlooks the Derwent Valley above Darley Dale. It provides good access to the beautiful Clough Wood and Cambridge Wood and from there to Stanton Moor. Deer are frequently seen around this area. There is a pub here.|
Wensley Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
The village still has the feel of a lead-mining centre, with rows of former miners' cottages clinging to the slope of the north side of the hill. There are shops and a pub called the Bowling Green, which bears the date 1473 though the present building is much newer. Outside the village proper to the south is the Miners' Standard, a well-known former miners' pub and just up the hill from this there is an unusual building which was once used for storing lead ore.
Parking in Winster can be a bit tricky if you are planning to use it as a base from which to explore the area and it is best to park in the vicinity of the Miners' Standard rather than the Main Street
Winster Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
|Youlgrave (or Youlgreave as the Ordnance Survey persist in calling it) is a sleepy village. Now mainly devoted to farming it was once one of the centres of the Derbyshire lead-mining industry. Though lead is no longer mined some of the old mines are still used for the extraction of fluorspar and calcite but this is low-level and unobtrusive.|
At the crossroads at the eastern end of the village lie the George Hotel and the church and from here the main road goes westwards past rows of old cottages.
The church is one of the most interesting in the Peak, and the village contains many rows of lovely old cottages. Behind the Market Place is the original Hall, now Old Hall Farm, a grand building dated 1630, and there are some fine buildings along the main street.
Downstream of Youlgreave the hamlet of Alport lies at the junction of the Lathkill and Bradford rivers. It is a pretty spot and a good place to start a circular walk of the two valleys.
Youlgrave Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
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