Old Bridge, Baslow

Recent Photograph of Old Bridge (Baslow)

This old Bridge across the Derwent in Baslow is used infrequently following the building of a new bridge a few hundred yards downstream. The north-eastern end (opposite end to where this photograph is taken) of the Bridge has a small hut built into the wall of the bridge, which has been variously described as a toll booth and chapel, but in fact was built to provide shelter for the village “watchman”, and probably dates back to the time the bridge was built, 1609. Every able bodied man in the village had to take a turn at watch, from nine oclock at night until six oclock the next morning, ready to prevent intruders entering the village.

The hut later became known as “Mary Brady's House”. The lady in question was a beggar who would often sleep there after visiting one of her benefactors, Mr Edmund Hodgkinson of Baslow, who owned the flour mill.

Note: some sources say the bridge may have been built as early as 1603, to replace an earlier wooden bridge destroyed by floods. It is also said to be the only pre-20th century bridge across the Derwent which hasn't been destroyed by floods since then - perhaps this is not surprising, with archways rising so high above the river bed! Baslow New Bridge (called the “Devonshire Bridge”) was built in 1924-5, and now carries the main A619 between Chesterfield and Bakewell.

Reference:
Sheldon, John - A Short History of Baslow and Bubnell.  Published by S.M. Evans, 1986. ISBN 0 9511311 0 9
Probably out of print, but may be available on Inter-Library Loan (ILL).

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)


Image contributed by Peter & Janet Kirk on 8th September 2001.
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