The Village of Grindleford - Derbyshire

This is a copy of an article published in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper on 27th January 1997, reproduced by kind permission of its author, Julie Bunting.

Grindleford seems an uncomplicated if rambling settlement but its boundaries take a little unravelling since it is not one parish or even one village, but consists of Stoke, Eyam Woodlands and Padley (Upper and Nether).

(The manor of Stoke lay within Hope manor, held for the Crown at the time of the Norman Conquest. Eyam Woodlands was also Crown estate whilst Padley was first recorded in 1230).

Stoke is approached from Calver, the handsome 1757 Stoke Hall to the right. One of its former residents, a statue named Fair Flora, once also graced Chatsworth House but now stands down a popular woodland path off the Eyam road.

Busy Grindleford Model Laundry, once a tannery, lies to the right of the main road before the hill leads into Eyam Woodlands and a left turn up Sir William Hill into the early heart of Grindleford. Here the fine cross of the War Memorial stands on what was once a proper village green and the Methodist Chapel of 1905 looks down on the road.

The Sir William Hotel is now the only hostlery in Eyam Woodlands; as 'The Commercial' it received its licence when 'The Old Red Lion' closed down. Turning back down the hill, the road passes the primary school which was built in 1876 for eighty children and today has fifty-two pupils.

AROUND THE BRIDGE

Almost opposite the junction with the main road is Lane End Cottage, home of Mr and Mrs S. Baggaley whose granddaughter is the seventh generation of Mrs Baggaley's family to sleep here, one of the oldest buildings in Grindleford. In the mid-nineteenth century, great-great-grand father Thomas Green ran it as 'The Bell Inn, Beerhouse and Hostelry' and some years later it became Kenyon's filling station selling petrol from some of Derbyshire's first multi-storage tanks. (During the 1920's and 1930's the family still operated motor buses, which they had introduced to the Hope Valley when their horsedrawn buses lost their power after the animals were appropiated for the French battlegrounds during World War One). When Kenyon's eventually closed their pumps, the then owners of Mount Pleasant Garage were freed from a long-honoured agreement and installed their own.

(The three-arch Derwent Bridge spans a river crossing used since men first settled here; Grindleford Bridge was recorded in the 1300's - the name Grindleford first appeared in 1248).

Over the bridge and still in Eyam Woodlands administered within the parish of Eyam is St. Helen's Church, built of stone from Stoke Hall quarry and dedicated in 1910. A much older building to the other side of the road is Toll Bar Cottage where travellers paid to use the Sheffield/ Buxton turnpike road.

UPPER AND NETHER PADLEY

Nether Padley straddles the climbing road whilst many of its most desirable residences enjoy glorious views high on the hillside along unlikely rough roads. Nether Padley Farm, a former eighteenth-century coaching inn, once more offers bed and breakfast but long ago its licence was transferred to The Maynard Arms, the imposing hotel built in 1908 along the road. In 1901 only the 'Grouse Inn' served the fourty-four strong population.

Upper Padley is actually down in the wooded gorge where Grindleford railway station has welcomed so many thousands of hikers into Derbyshire (a journey made possible by the 3 mile 950 yard long Totley tunnel which was complete in 1893 and is still the longest underland rail tunnel in England).

Only a few stones now remain of the fifteenth century Padley Hall which passed by marriage to the staunchly Roman Catholic Fitzherberts, who in the sixteenth century were suffering for their faith under Queen Elizabeth I.

On 12th July 1588 Padley Hall was raided and two priests hauled from their hiding place in the chimney. Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam were arrested, tried and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in Derby following which their heads and butchered bodies were fixed to poles on St. Mary's Bridge.

Padley hall was demolished in 1650 but its chapel survived as a farm building throughout the centuries until in 1933 it was restored and consecrated as a Roman Catholic chapel, each July welcoming hundreds of Catholic pilgrims to a special commemoration service to the Martyrs.

Nearby Brunts Barn adjoins the Peak Park wildflower nursery, a project which won a European Conservation award. Padley Mill, a sawmill until some sixty years ago, is now a private house. At the turn of the eighteenth century Padley Wood Quarry fed three grindstone mills and England's first wire drawing mill is believed to have existed in Upper Padley too.

© Julie Bunting
From "The Peak Advertiser", 27th January 1997.

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