Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Two Derbyshire Villages
My gt-gt grandfather, George Robinson, was born in the Derbyshire village of Tideswell. I've never been there in spite of the fact that it's only half an hour's drive from my house so the other weekend I decided to go and have a look round. The 14th century parish church of St John the Baptist is known as ' The Cathedral of the Peak'. The building of the church began in 1346 but was interrupted in 1349/50 when the Black Death devastated England killing a third of the population. Eventually the building began again though and the Tower and the chancel were added. Since then the exterior has remained unaltered and looks today exactly as it did when it was completed in 1400. It wasn't the first church on this site though, there was a church in Tideswell from at least 1193 when 'Henry, clericus de Tideswelle' was appointed as priest.
Inside the church is huge and there is a wonderful feeling of light and space thanks to the enormous traceried windows filled with clear glass. This photo is taken from the end of the nave looking up towards the chancel.
This is the 14th century font in which George, his parents and his grandparents and almost certainly many previous generations were christened. So far I only know George's parents, Joseph Robinson(bap 10 Dec 1789) and Ellen Hall(bap 14 Feb 1790), and their parents, John Robinson and Hannah Fletcher and Robert Hall and Sarah Wyatt. More is going to be discovered later today I hope as this morning's post brought me the CD containing all the baptisms, marriages and burials for Tideswell going back to 1635!!
This is one of several pew end carvings done by a local man with the marvellous name of Advent Hunstone. The carvings portray the sacraments - this one is baptism. The Hunstones of Tideswell were a well known family of woodcarvers.
The Lady Chapel contains thes two stone gravestones of women, dating from 1300 and 1375. It isn't a very good photo as they were the other side of the altar rail and I had to perform all sorts of contortions to get it at all.
This is the tomb of Sir Sampson Meverill in the centre of the Chancel. Sir Sampson was born on the 29th September 1388 and was a famous local Knight and landowner. He fought at Agincourt and against Joan of Arc surviving both those and many other battles and eventually dying peacefully at home at the ripe old age(in those days) of 74.
If you crouch down and peer through the stone tracery of the tomb you see this rather unsettling sight - a cadaver wrapped in a winding sheet! I've never seen anything quite like this before. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and there was too much light streaming through the windows to get a good photograph unfortunately.
More carving, this time done by Suffolk craftsmen in 1800. Here we have St George slaying the Dragon which rather ties in with my previous post.
Tideswell was granted a market charter in 1250 and was an important centre for both wool and lead. The area was famous for lead mining and this is the source of the wealth which enabled the building of such a fine church. The Tideswell lead miners were well known for their strength and were greatly prized by the military authorities. George III is reported to have remarked when a platoon of Tideswell miners were paraded before him in London-
“I don’t know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by God they frighten me!”
Next door to the church is The George Inn (above) which was built in 1730. It was known originally as The New George Inn and was a busy coaching inn serving routes to Sheffield, Derby and Buxton. These days the road through Tideswell is surpringly quiet and it's a pleasant place to wander round. At some point I shall go again and explore some of the medieval lanes and alleys that apparently lie behind the main street.
I decided to go home via the little village of Foolow which must be one of the most delightful villages in the Peak District. The Bull's Head is the village pub,a pleasant place to spend some time on a warm summer's evening.
A solitary duck on the village pond! Three more appeared a few minutes later but this was really the place where the four farms in the village watered their cattle and horses. Sadly there isn't a single one left now, all are private houses.
A medieval cross stands on the village green.
Just to one side of the pond stands this marvellous stone well. An elderly gentleman who was passing told me that there are two wells in Foolow and this one on the Green was water for animals and I would guess also that water for washing clothes and other domestic tasks would come from here.
I imagine that Foolow had many fewer people suffering from water borne diseases than most places as it has a second well which I wouldn't have found if my elderly gentleman hadn't told me about it. This one stands a good few hundred yards outside the village and is the one that was used for drinking water. Being so far from the houses and fed by a spring it wouldn't have been tainted by water from the local privies and other unpleasant sources as so many water supplies were. It would have been hard work hauling buckets of water up and down the lane though especially on a freezing winter's day.
This is the view from the drinking water well with the lane to the neighbouring hamlet of Bretton snaking away over the moor.
The tiny church of St Hugh of Lincoln was originally the village smithy and only seats about 80 people. It was converted to a church in 1888.
I haven't come across a St Hugh's Church before so I did a little research and discovered that Hugh was born in Avalon,France in 1135. He came to England in 1179 and eventually became Bishop of Lincoln. He died in November 1200 at his London residence but was brought back to Lincoln cathedral for burial. There is a lovely story about the white swan which is St Hugh's emblem. The Manor of Stow was held by the Bishops of Lincoln and a particularly fierce swan which lived there formed a great attachment to Hugh and would follow him about, and was his constant companion whilst he was at Lincoln. In case you are wondering Stow is about 10 miles from the city.
Foolow is full of attractive buildings, this is the 18th century Manor House.
According to my elderly gentleman Old Hall Farm dates back to 1630 and inside it still has cruck beams and two stone staircases. It's now divided into two separate homes, it always makes me feel so sad when the old farmhouses are turned into upmarket homes and all the land is sold off.
A final little touch of history, just along from the modern postbox is the original Victorian one set into a wall. You don't often see these now and this one is only a decorative feature these days but at least it's still there.
This is a lovely area, one I've only driven through on the main road on my way to somewhere else in the past but I've decided that this summer I shall go and explore some more of the villages and lanes of the White Peak.