The Church at Hathersage, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, UK
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.
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|Hathersage church stands on a knoll above the present village, close to the remains of an ancient Danish settlement. The structure of the current Hathersage church was begun in 1381 but there had been churches on this site since at least 200 years before that and the list of vicars of Hathersage goes back to 1281. Traces of an Early English building can be seen at the pillars on the North side of the nave. Most of the present structure dates from the 15th century, when the church was extended by the local squires, the Eyre family of Padley.|
In the sanctuary of the church are several notable brasses on the tombs of members of the Eyre family. The best known is the altar tomb of Robert Eyre (died 1459), who fought at Agincourt and built much of the present church, with brasses of him and his wife Joan and of their fourteen children. Above this are brasses of his eldest surviving son (also Robert Eyre, died c. 1500), his wife Elizabeth and four of their sons.
On the other side of the sanctuary there are fine brasses of Ralph Eyre of Offerton Hall (the sixth son of the first Robert Eyre, died 1493) and his wife Elizabeth and of Sir Arthur Eyre of Padley (a grandson of the second Robert Eyre) and his first wife Margaret (died about 1560). Though it is not possible to enter the sanctuary, copies of the brasses are held in the vestry, with rubbing materials, and it is possible to take rubbings of them for a small fee.
However, the main attraction of Hathersage church is undoubtedly the grave of Little John which lies under a yew tree to the south of the church. Tradition has it that Little John was a Hathersage man and that he died in a small cottage near the church, pulled down in the 19th century.
What is certain is that a very tall man is buried here, for the grave was opened in 1782 and the skeleton of a man about 7 feet tall was discovered. For many years an ancient longbow and cap hung in the church, but these were removed in the early 19th century. The current grave enclosure is impressive for its length, but there is little of substance to see.
Hathersage Church Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
How to get there
take the A625 road from Sheffield to Fox House, then follow the A6013 to Hathersage. As you enter the village, take the narrow road on the right which leads to Stanage Edge, pass the primary school and then fork left. Parking near the church is rather problematic.
By Bus: the 272 bus from Sheffield goes to the centre of Hathersage. From here it is a 400m walk to the church.
By Train: Hathersage station lies on the southern edge of the village, almost 1km walk from the church. Regular trains go from here to Sheffield and Manchester.
When is it open?
Normally open in daytime.
What does it cost?
Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.
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