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Logo: Tom Bates, Derbyshire Local Histrory writer  
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Baslow

Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007

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Baslow:

Baslow is a picturesque place of many parts and whilst the main complaint of some residents is that the constant procession of traffic through their pretty village is endless, Baslow certainly isn’t - for amongst its many parts you will find Over End, Nether End, Bridge End, West End, Far End - and no end of interest!

The location of the village makes it ideally situated as a centre for visitors to the Peak District for it stands where the limestone country of the `White Peak’ meets the millstone grit of the `Dark Peak’ in the heart of the Peak National Park, and with excellent access from all directions. The A619 Chesterfield to Bakewell road provides excellent access from the South and East and the A623 runs into Baslow from Chapel-en-le-Frith in the west. The A621 brings regular visitors to Baslow and the Peak Park over the hills from Sheffield in the north, and on warm summer weekends Goose Green, at Nether End, is thronged - and sometimes choked – by an influx of traffic and tourists who come to taste the many delights and attractions that Baslow, and its near neighbour Chatsworth have to offer.

There has been a settlement here on the east bank of the Derwent since Anglo-Saxon times. The oldest part of the village surrounds the church which stands close to the riverbank at Bridge End - so named for the magnificent triple-arched bridge of 1603 which carries the old road across the river to West End and the quaint little hamlet of Bubnell with it’s three-storeyed 17th century Hall on the other side.

This old stone bridge, which is the only bridge across the Derwent never to be destroyed by floods, replaced an earlier wooden one that marked the place where an ancient track and early trade route had forded the river. Early carters and jaggers with pack-horse trains had to comply with an order of 1500 which stated “no one shall henceforth lead or carry any millstones over the bridge at Basselowe under pain of 6s 8d to the lord for every pair of millstones so carried”. Even after the stone bridge was built carriers had to pay to cross and the tiny stone-slabbed toll-house, big enough for one person and manned in turn by the villagers, still stands as evidence of a bygone age at the eastern end of the bridge opposite Toll Bar Cottage and close by the Rutland Arms. It is known locally as `Mary Brady’s House’ after a local beggar who slept rough in it many years ago. Traces of the old ford can still be seen at the water’s edge downstream beside the old bridge.

A short distance upstream beside the remains of the Old Corn Mill, the Derwent tumbles over a broad and scenic weir – and an equal distance downstream it is crossed by the A619 via the Devonshire Bridge built in 1924-5.

The Parish Church of St. Anne with it’s distinctive 13th century broach spire sits piously amidst the tombstones of it’s well kept riverside graveyard. It was extensively restored by the sixth Duke of Devonshire in 1852-53, although the chancel dates from 1911 and has a beautifully carved altar table, the work of Tideswell’s renowned wood-craftsman Advent Hunstone.

Built into the inside wall of the church porch is a Saxon coffin-lid interesting carved with two keys, - and a dog-whip once used for “whipping ye dogs from ye church” which is now housed in a glass case. But perhaps the most unusual feature is the Victoria clock on the east face of the church tower, for when the little hand is on nine and the big hand is on one it may be five past nine everywhere else –but in Baslow it’s 25 minutes to five! This is because instead of numerals the dial has letters spelling out the name `Victoria’ and the date `1897’– celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and the year of the clock’s installation.

The clock was a gift of the late Surgeon Lt. Col. Edward Mason Wrench who served in the Crimea and with the 12th Lancers in the Indian Mutiny before taking over a medical practice here in 1862. He became District Medical Officer for Baslow & Bakewell, held numerous official posts, and was a frequent visitor to Chatsworth House where on one occasion King Edward V11 made him a Member of the Royal Victorian Order.

Dr. Wrench was also responsible for erecting the 10ft. high gritstone cross known as `Wellington’s Monument’ at 1000ft on Baslow Edge in 1866.

High on the opposite Birchen Edge stands `Nelson’s Pole’, erected in 1810 by John Brightman, another Baslow man.

Baslow Hall stands in landscaped grounds just off the A623 north of the village. Built in 1907 for Rev. Jeremiah Stockdale who was vicar of Baslow for 48 years, it became the home of electrical pioneer Sebastian de Ferranti in 1913 until his death in 1930, and is now a Fischer’s Hotel and Restaurant.

Rev. Stockdale was also responsible for the Stockdale Institute built at Goose Green in 1905, which is now the Village Hall. Another Baslow clergyman, Frederic Barker, born in the vicarage next door to St.Anne’s church, went to Australia and became Archbishop of Sydney – a post he held for 27 years.

The Rutland Arms is a reminder that the Duke of Rutland owned much land here. At Over End he provided a new school and master’s house in 1876, the school being enlarged a century later in the 1970’s and catering for around 100 pupils. Opposite the Rutland Arms stands the Old Forge of 1696; tools of the blacksmith’s trade can be seen nearby.

The building of new roads in the 19th and 20th centuries brought prosperity to Baslow. The Hydropathic Hotel was built at Over End in 1881 and flourished for fifty years until it was damaged by fire and eventually demolished in 1936.

The Cavendish Hotel is the oldest of Baslow’s hostelrys, formerly called the Peacock and owned by the Duke of Rutland, it was transferred to the Duke of Devonshire and renamed in 1975.

Nether End was also transferred from Rutland to Devonshire ownership and has developed since the erection of the `Golden Gates’ – at one time the main entrance to Chatsworth Park.

The Devonshire Arms and The Wheatsheaf Hotel near Goose Green complete Baslow’s complement of hostelries and for visitors who prefer temperence the award-winning Goose Green Tea-Rooms offers a warm welcome to travellers along the `Tea-Pot Trail’.

Tucked away in the eastern corner of Goose Green is a narrow lane leading over the Bar Brook Bridge and on to Chatsworth Park. Here you will find the Malt House of 1782 and the pretty Bar Brook Cottage.

A walk around the entire village brings rich rewards, for though it seems somewhat reluctant to reveal it’s quaint charms and hidden secrets - one of which is that it is the home of England cricket Captain Michael Vaughan - and despite much modern development - Baslow remains a picturesque village of many parts.

 
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