History of the Village of Stoney Middleton

By Thomas E. Cowen (1910)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2003

History of the Village of Stoney MiddletonCASTLE HILL

CASTLE HILL, KESTER DALE, and KESTER BANK.

CASTLE HILL, an elevated oval-shaped eminence on the bank at Stoney Middleton, is supposed to be situated on an ancient earthwork, and was formerly called a Castle, similar to the Castle Hill, Bakewell. Roman coins have been found in the vicinity at varous times, but they were in some degree current with the Saxons. From an examination of the remaining wall and ditch, it would appear that a Watch Tower once stood here. Whether it was really a castle or the name of the residence of some great man in the county is still doubtful. About the year 1806, in the vicinity of Castle Hill, an old barn belonging to the Raggs, of Stoney Middleton Bank, was being demolished. An iron battle axe about 4ft. long was found in one of the side walls between the incised stones. The head of the axe was a barb made of iron. The shaft was 3ft. long, and to this was attached a horn handle 7 inches long.

The first Lord Denman, writing from Stoney Middleton about a visit to Derbyshire in 1798, says:- “The morning we walked towards the extremity of my uncle's estate, near which is a small eminence surrounded by much higher hills, supposed to have been artificially thrown up for the purpose of defence. It is related that on this spot some persons headed by a woman resisted the attack of an enemy, but who was attacked or who defended is a profound mystery, but that the

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bank was used for some military purposes seems probable from its name.”

KESTER DALE is derived from the Lat. Castra, a camp, Kester is another form of Cester (a softened form of Castra). In 1880, whilst workmen were cutting a sough, some warlike weapons, including spear head, halberd, etc., were found in the vicinity.

Kester Dale lies S. by S.W. of the village, in a field belonging to Lord Denman. The letter of Lord Denman continues: “At about a miles distance behind the village of Stoney Middleton is a small hill called Kester Bank, and between these two places some connection has been fancied which I could not perceive.”

The site is behind Nook House, occupied by Mrs W. Mason. It occurs as “Castra Bank”, and is numbered 178 on the plan accompanying the lease executed in 1892.

End of Chapter VIII: => THE SCHOOLS

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in February 2003.

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