Sparrowpit Methodist Church, Peak Forest

Recent Photograph of Sparrowpit Methodist Church (Peak Forest)

Sparrowpit is a settlement of a few scattered farmsteads, partly in Peak Forest, and partly in Chapel en le Frith parishes. The name is said to derive from the fluorspar mines in the vicinity - ‘spar row pit’,[1] though The Place Names of Derbyshire quotes only Sparrowe pit house (1617), Sparrowe pitt hole (c.1620) and the Sparrowpitt yatte (1640 Map: ‘geat’ = ‘gate’).

However this bleak and isolated spot is also a major crossroads. The road from the Hope Valley through ‘The Winnatts’ joins the A623 from Chesterfield to Chapel en le Frith at this point, meeting it on a sharp left hand bend, where the main road detours from its old saltway route, which passed over the high points of the Pennines at Pleasows and Eccles Pike. A ‘new’ turnpike route via Barmoor Clough, was built in 1764, but even later that century, when Samuel Coleridge was staying in Sheffield, and the next day was due in Manchester via this route - the journey was not without hardship. He is reputed to have said, of his forthcoming journey:

Tomorrow morning I set off to Manchester at 6 o'clock - it is only 48 miles distant, but the coach will not arrive until 10 o'clock at night. By Heavens - a tortoise would outgallop us![2]

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

[1] Sparrowpit (Wikipedia).
[2] Dodd, A.E. & E.M. - Peakland Roads and Trackways, 1990, p.149.

Image contributed by Alf Beard on 7th September 2004.
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