A Guide to Tideswell and Its Church

By Rev J.M.J. Fletcher

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013


The air of Tideswell is famed. Although the winters are long, the summers are lovely, and the apartments to be let are in great request.

The geologist (see Appendix) and botanist can find much to repay their exertions, and the searcher after the picturesque will be amply rewarded.

The best spots for Wild Flowers are Bramwell Dale, Chee Dale, Ravensdale, Cressbrook, Monsal Dale, Millers Dale, Middleton Dale, and the neighbourhood of Great Hucklow.

Amongst Walks recommended to the tourist, are:

To the hamlet of Wheston, which lies about a mile from Tideswell. A short distance past Wheston Hall, in a plantation on the left-hand side of the road, will be found a most interesting old fourteenth century Cross. On one side is figured the Crucifixion, on the other the Blessed Virgin and Child.

Wheston Cross
Wheston Cross (The Nativity)
WHESTON CROSS “The Nativity”.
Wheston Cross (The Passion)
WHESTON CROSS “The Passion”.

The walk past Wheston to Dale Head which is picturesque, and then to the left along a sheep track (we

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are not sure, however, if this is a public path) leads to the bottom of Bramwell Dale, whence the road may be taken to the left, past Summer Cross, back to Tideswell.

The Wishing Well

Before reaching Wheston, however, is to be seen on the right hand side of the road, going from Tideswell, the old base of one of some number of Wayside Crosses, portions of which are still extant in the neighbourhood. It lies about 100 yards past Cross Gates Farm, and is popularly known as the “Wishing Well”. This cross was doubtless “le Neyer cros”, or “the lower cross”, of ancient documents, where it is described as being near “le Kirkegate” at Wheston. By its designation it is distinguished from the upper, or more distant, cross at Wheston, which still exists.- (See page 55 and illustrations). Another of these bases, or sockets, may be found on the right hand side of the old road leading from Tideswell to Wormhill, at the entrance to Bramwell Dale, beyond Summer Cross from which it has evidently been carried. It will be found,

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as has been said, on the right hand side, nearly at the bottom of the hill, close to the second gateway, after passing a solitary farm house. It bears a much more modern date (1761) inverted. There are the remains of another on the village Green at Litton, the old steps being now surmounted by a modern Obelisk. And yet another is built into the wall on the right hand side of the old road leading to Millers Dale, at the spot where the last glimpse of Tideswell Church can be seen. The position of another is shown by the name Poynton Cross, though no traces now remain. And in old documents we read of a “stone cross” which once stood between Litton and Tideswell. The Crosses were, in all probability, originally resting places for the bearers and friends of the departed, as they carried their dead from the distant parts of the Parish to the Church.

In the garden, at Tideswell Vicarage, lies a stone, which is affirmed by tradition to be a portion of the shaft of the old Market Cross, which formerly stood near the Church. About a quarter of a century ago it had been removed from Tideswell to an adjacent village (Peak Forest); but it was recovered and brought back to Tideswell in 1905.

There is a picturesque walk to Litton Mill. The high road to Millers Dale should be taken, until an avenue of trees, (many of which have, alas, been ruthlessly felled), which goes by the name of the Plantation, or the “Planting”, is reached on the left hand side of the road. The road, starting through this avenue, passes through Tideswell Dale until the streamlet which runs by the side of the road, crossing it at intervals, joins the river Wye. The turn to the right by the river leads through Millers Dale to the Hamlet of that name. (Distance about 3 miles).

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A very pretty peep is the view into Bramwell Dale, on the left hand side of the road as the hill is descended from Summer Cross, but if the pedestrian seeks to continue his walk through the Dale, and Monks Dale, (popularly designated “Muckster”) to Millers Dale, he will be disappointed with the scenery, and the walk will be anything but pleasant.

There is a charming walk by the side of the River Wye through Chee Dale, (the entrance to which is close to Millers Dale Station), and then on through Ashwood Dale to Buxton (9 miles). Back by train. For this walk a pair of strong boots are advisable. Moreover, a short distance has usually to be traversed on stepping stones.

Another interesting walk is through the hamlet of Millers Dale, across the bridge, and up Blackwell Dale to the village of Taddington, then down Taddington Dale to Ashford and Bakewell (9½ miles), where a train may be caught back to Millers Dale; or, if time permits, a visit may be paid to Bakewell Church, which is most interesting in its monuments,- or to the far-famed Haddon Hall,- or to Chatsworth, the noble seat of the Duke of Devonshire.

Castleton, known to lovers of Sir Walter Scott, through “Peveril of the Peak”, is about 6 miles distant. The Peak Cavern, the Blue John Mine, &c., as well as the old Castle, are worthy of a visit. The situation of the village, lying as it does in a plain, almost encircled by hills, is very picturesque. Indeed, the whole of the Hope Valley is delightful. At Brough, which is situated on the River Noe, between Hope and Bradwell, are the remains of what was at one time an important Roman fort.

A pleasant walk may be taken, through the prettily situated village of Litton, nestling amongst the hills, and Cressbrook, into Monsal Dale. A steep pull up the

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Headstones leads to a point, about 100 yards from the top, from which one of the most charming views in England may be obtained, as the pedestrian looks back along the fertile dale, studded with farm houses, which he has passed through, and at the same time catches a glimpse through the railway arches of the river winding along, with the verdant pasture land on its bank, (3½ miles). A pleasant extension is the walk through Monsal Dale, under the railway arches and by the side of the river until the road is reached which leads from Taddington to Ashford (1½ miles further).

Through Litton, a short distance down Hall lane, a field path on the left leads to the top of Ravensdale. A path through the woods drops down to Ravensdale Cottages, (2½ miles), from whence a road leads either to Monsal Dale, or up hill to Litton and back to Tideswell. Or, instead of descending the hill to the Cottages, the path may be continued to the top of Cressbrook village, where, turning to the right, the road may be taken past the little Church at Cressbrook (built in 1903), through Litton village, to Tideswell.

A walk through Great Hucklow leads to Bretton (3½ miles), from whence one of the most extensive views in the Peak of Derbyshire may be obtained. A short mile further on Abney Moor will be found the remains of a Druidical Circle; or from Bretton a pretty walk of 1½ miles leads to Eyam.

When at Bretton, the pedestrian is recommended to go some little distance down the lane in the direction of Hathersage, where a most delightful view may be obtained. We would, however, strongly advise him not to prolong his journey in that direction without carefully enquiring the way.

Although the first two miles are uninteresting, a walk through (Stony) Middleton Dale, and then to Eyam, the

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Plague village, will be well worth taking. (6 miles). The return journey might be made through Foolow; about a quarter of a mile before reaching this village, a small farm house will be seen, on the left hand side of the road. Immediately opposite is a little lane. A gate is to be found on the left hand side of the lane. Passing through this and descending by means of a rough path, the visitor will find himself before a picturesque cascade, locally known as “the Waterfall”. The water loses itself in the ground and re-appearing again in Eyam Dale, the stream finds its way through a portion of Middleton Dale into the River Derwent near Calver.

To the lover of nature, a most interesting ramble will be that through Litton to Wardlow Mires, where a turn should be taken to the left, past “Peter's Stone”, to Ravensdale Cottages. By the tourist who does not object to a scramble, the bed of the stream may be followed to the “Lumb Hole”, and thence to Cressbrook Dale and on to Monsal Dale. In the Woods to the left, at Cressbrook, the lily of the valley, in the spring time, grows in great profusion.

A glance at the Ordnance Map will show that the district is studded with Tumuli. In May, 1906, there was an interesting “find” in Ravenscliffe Cave in Cressbrook Dale. At the bottom of a natural trench at the back of the cave, under a bed of stalagmite, were discovered a number of bones, those of man, ox, sheep, deer, and pig being jumbled together. In addition to these were some flint and bone implements and two gold bands. These bands are assigned by the Keeper of British Antiquities at the British Museum to the Bronze age, and are stated by him to be exceedingly rare.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in March 2013.

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