Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

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.


hart said...

Thanks for taking me along on another outing. Like a little, and much needed, vacation.--Jane

uphilldowndale said...

Can I suggest Wirksworth if you've not already been.
And the Magpie Mine,

Kate said...

Did the church in Tideswell lose its stained glass at the time of Henry VIII or under Cromwell?

Thimbleanna said...

Just beautiful -- England in the springtime! You're so lucky to have it all at your fingertips Rowan. Doesn't it just give you chills to stand in the same church that your ancestors did, so many, many years before you? Thanks, once again, for the lovely tour!

Hollace said...

What a beautiful church! I am impressed that it is still in such good condition. The floors, the woodwork, the windows--I would enjoy being there. I can't imagine the beauty of those windows throughout the seasons of the year.

Thank you for taking us on your outing. I am glad for you as well to have found the elderly man who remembers the past.

Rowan said...

Kate, as far as I know the windows have always had clear glass, there is no mention that I have found about the glass having been destroyed in the past. There are actually two stained glass windows, one at the east end and one at the west end in the tower but in both cases the stained glass is recent, one is 1875 the other 1907.
Thimbleanna, yes, it is lovely to stand in the same church where my ancestors were married, and baptized but it's a feeling I'm used to as the church in Prestbury near where I grew up had many connections with my ancestors going back to 1689 when there is an entry in the parish records 'Paid to Judith Millet for candles and oil for the bells and clock £0-09-02' Judith is my 8xgt grandmother:)

~Sheila~ said...

How nice to feel that sense of continuity with your great-greats.
I hope the CD enlightens you even further to their names and dates.
One thing I have noticed doing family projects is how first names were used and reused down through the generations.
The church of St John the Baptist is so bright, possibly because of the clear glass windows?

Lynda (Granny K) said...

It must be fascinating to trace your ancestors so far back, Rowan! I got as far as the mid 1800s on line, but hope to do more one day when I get myself a bit more organised.

Rosie said...

The church at Tideswell is beautiful. No wonder it is called Cathedral of the Peak. Some of my husband's ancestors come from Tideswell. I'm searching in Birmingham at the moment trying to go back from a great-grandmother on my father's side - they lived and worked in the St Paul's and then St Martin's regions of Birmingham - family history is fascinating isn't it?

Paul Oakley said...

I am an American of mostly English descent (some Welsh, Scots, Irish, Dutch, and German sprinkled in, American-style); I happened onto your site via Derrick Armitage's blog.

Just wanted to say how much I love this post about your visit to Tideswell. Great pictures. I particularly loved the picture of the church interior, but all the photos are wonderful.

Thanks for sharing!

Wanda said...

England has such beautiful churches and countrysides. The feeling of living there, being so rich with history, must be such a comfort and joy. I get excited here, when we find money from the 1800's on our property, with a medal detector and the 1800's cemetery by our drive makes me feel connected to the past.

I can trace my line back to Indian Princess Pocahontas and John Rolf from England. That alone makes me happy!

Roy said...

Another one of your really interesting posts Rowan. It is a shame about old farmhouses not being used as such anymore. A lot of history behind them and now they are probably just second/weekend homes.

Penny said...

Thank you for a beautifully done insight into a corner of England.

Morning's Minion said...

I enjoy old buildings, living history museums, learning the history of any particular place. But we are so raw and new in this country by comparison.
I think the cathedrals would make me feel very small indeed.

debbie bailey said...

You're very fortunate to live in such a wonderful place!

Sara said...

Your tour was fascinating...and I can't imagine how interesting it would be to trace one's family like this and be able to visit the actual church in which they were baptized, the village where they lived, and so on. And I enjoyed all the information you gave us about the various places you visited. Thank you!

ChrisJ said...

I came to your blog from Codlins and Cream and visited mainly because I remember Tideswell. Here am I in Southern California,(Left the UK in 1960) yet Derbyshire meant so much to my life. I went to college at Thornbridge Hall, between Ashford-in-the-Water and Great Longstone and my husband attended Cliff College in Calver.

And then in your profile you mention the Little Grey Rabbit books! I haven't seen one since I was about 5 years old. Every Christmas I begged for one of these, but after only two Christmases they disappeared. I didn't think anyone was still alive who remembered and loved them as I did.

Derrick said...

Hello Rowan,

Thanks for a beautiful tour. The church looks magnificent for a small village. The carving of St George is a rather different representation to his usual armour-clad image.

Although I know what you mean about old houses no longer fulfilling their original use, I would rather that than see them decay.

Strange to think you'd never explored Tideswell despite it being so close. So nice for us that you did. Wonderful photographs as ever.

Gracie said...

Considering how much I love the english countryside, your post is very dear to my heart! I'm drooling over my keyboard looking at your photos.....You know, it happens to me all the time, I go on trips abroad, and sometime I just forget that simply exploring my neighbouring I can discover so much beauty!

Tideswellman said...

As a former resident of Tideswell, can I just say, what a great little article you wrote there, and i love the way you have illustrated what you saw with photos. Most excellent work, thankyou!

Mac n' Janet said...

Really enjoyed your Blog today, we always visit small churches when we visit England. Was surprised by how light and bright this one was.
Good luck on your baptismal research, I'm afraid too many of my ancestors must have been heathens and there have been few baptismal records.

A Heron's View said...

A great blog Rowan!

English churches have a unique quality about them, very different to anywhere else in the world.

I know exactly what you say about the old farmhouses, losing their lands and modernity being brought to the building, it is though one way in which these great houses are preserved for future generations.

Diane said...

I remember going to Tideswell with school to do Brass Rubbings. Your photos make me want to return, and I can recomend the Bulls Head - we had a great game of scrabble in their one day last winter by the roaring fire! I have found this website invaluable for visiting the Peak District. You can get information on each town or village, plus a walk. We use it very often. xxxx

Granny Sue said...

What beautiful photos--and beautiful work. The oldtime craftsmen and women were amazing. Rowan, you certainly know how to capture a time and place with your posts.

George said...

I really enjoyed this little tour of Tideswell, Foolow, and the surrounding English countryside. You are very blessed to have such wonderful old churches, manor houses, and charming villages. It's difficult to find such cultural richness in a country like mine that is only 234 years old.

Shirl said...

What a lovely trip around Tideswell. The church is lovely; I love big bright churches like that.

Shirl x

Julie said...

What a wonderful tour, Dorothy! So chock full of interesting things to see. There is just nothing to compare in North Dakota, or even in most of the U.S. I loved those wooden carvings. They really speak to me.

Julie said...

My first comment didn't go through so I guess I will try again. What a wonderful tour, Dorothy! So many things to see and do. There's just nothing comparable in ND - or in most of the U.S. I especially loved the wooden carvings. They spoke to me.

FireLight said...

I have been here for this tour several times....Really, could start a business called Online Tours with the Personal Touch! I am sure I would be a paying customer!
I have set that interior shot of the Cathedral of the Peak with the stunning black and white floor as my desktop ....great photos!

Rowan said...

This is a comment sent to me via email in January 2014.

Hello Rowan
What a wonderful demonstration and wonderful photos on your website.
My name is Mark Hunstone Bagshaw b. Buxton. I lived in Tideswell for 16 years at Velvet Mill.
We ran a family business – Chapmans – so called under our ownership because Chapmans had
previously run the business going back over 100 years.
Brenda lived in Tideswell [Tidza] for two years and always said it had an atmosphere that not many
places have. The depth of history you portray previously unknown to us, little wonder!! Thanks
for your lovely comments and research. I am the great great nephew of Advent Hunstone – his brother
Robert, m. Mary Lyon and one of their daughters, Janet, m. William Bagshaw – my grandparents.

Would love my comments to go on your Blog/website – most enjoyable.

Kind regards

Tideswellman said...

I have just found your blog post after seemingly leaving a comment years ago from my old blog. A pleasure to read again for the second time.