Chapel Street, Monyash, nr Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1JJ, United Kingdom
Tel: 01629 813067
Email: contactus@sheldoncottages.co.uk

Local History

MONYASH

Monyash in Derbyshire, is a picturesque village situated close to one of Derbyshire's most beautiful dales, Lathkill Dale, pictured below.



Monyash owes much of it's existence to the presence of a bed of impervious clay, able to hold water in 4 original ponds or `meres` as they are known. Only one mere remains.

Monyash was built up as an important lead mining centre and market village, it's market charter having been granted in 1340. The old market cross, which still stands on the village green, had it's base supposedly made from old village stocks. It was also once the site of a Barmote Court, the oldest industrial court in the country, which is now held in nearby Wirksworth.

Little remains of the old lead mining industry that employed so many of the villagers from the surrounding countryside but at Sheldon, closeby, is Magpie Mine, one of the finest lead mining relics in the country. There is a car park and visiting parties are organised by the Peak District Mining Museum at Matlock Bath. Various displays are on view at the mine including examples of horse operated winding systems.

Lead had been here since 1739, but the mine was so deep, 729ft or 150ft below the water level, that drainage was always a problem, preventing the miners from getting at the deeper ores. A sough was completed in 1881, having taken 8 years to build, at great cost, but the cost and the disputes with the miners from the neighbouring Maypitt Mine, (whose vein joined the vein from Magpie Mine, often resulting in violence) finally caused the mine to close.

St Leonards Church was founded in 1198. It has a contemporary chancel arch, unbuttressed tower with lancet windows and battlement, and a spire with 2 tiers of dormer windows which were built at a later date. There are north and south transepts, the former founded as a chantry in 1348, the later rebuilt by Butterfield on the old foundations in 1887 as part of a major restoration work. The screen, pulpit, alter rails and benches, all date back to Butterfield. It contains a 15th century font, with an octagonal bowl on a quatrefoil stem, decorated with animals.

One of the church`s greatest treasures is the parish chest, 10ft long, with bands of wrought iron every few inches. Rather worn now, it possibly dates back to the 13th century when it was used for the alter plate. There is also a plate, used as a chalice, which dates back to 1726, and was made by Jacob Margas.

Grey marble was quarried at Ricklow Quarry. It is a type of limestone which is polished for ornamental use. Candle and rope were also once manufactured in the village.

Well dressing demonstations are held in late May and well dressing actually takes place in late May or early June. Monyash antiques and collectors fair is held in late August.

THE HAWTHORN TREE AT SHELDON HOUSE, contributed by Bill Anderson of ANDERSON TREE CARE

When visiting Derbyshire one might visit champion trees at Chatsworth or even the reputed 2,000 year old Yew in St Helen's churchyard at Darley Dale. You will see very fine trees indeed on these excursions, but don't miss this very special Hawthorn right on the doorstep of Sheldon House.

The Tree Register of the British Isles (TROBI) is, among other things, a list of champion trees of each species in the British Isles, the patron of which is Chatsworth House's very own Duchess of Devonshire. TROBI records 3 large Hawthorn trees on it's internet site. One in Hatfield Forest is over 3.5 metres in diameter and 6.5 metres tall while another in London is nearly a metre in diameter and 15 metres tall. Our Hawthorn, while neither so tall nor so broad, is nonetheless very large; I cannot think of seeing a larger one around here!

This trunk is approximately 8 metres tall and would be a metre through at breast height but the trunk forks in three from the base. At the only point where it is possible to measure the girth I measured it at 1.15 metres diameter. The tree is showing the effects of old age and has decayed in places. I wouldn’t like to guess how old it is but it’s undeniably a tree of great character!

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is a native tree often overlooked; the assumption may be that it’s an overgrown hedgerow tree. It's flowers in May mark the imminent arrival of Summer, while it's Autumn leaf colour can be equally impressive. In Winter it's fruit provides a useful food source for birds and small mammals while it's tangled branches and thorns provide cover for smaller birds. There they can nest and roost where the Sparrowhawk cannot easily reach.

Some once believed it was bad luck to bring Hawthorn into the house and it’s accepted that they were often left as Landmarks. This one at the side of the bridleway may very well have been a useful landmark in the not too distant past. Oliver Rackham, the Landscape Historian, claims Hawthorn is the tree most commonly mentioned as a feature, twice as often as Oak. There are many other associates, some relating to the Virgin Mary, some to the flower’s scent being the ‘smell of death’. This one seems to have gained it's own enclosure so it certainly seems to have been awarded some sort of special status. Deservedly so.


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