Tuesday, 7 February 2017

In Bakewell

An upstream view of the 13th century packhorse bridge in Bakewell

On one of the hottest days in July ever recorded in England, when taking a break from my investigation of the mediaeval churches of Rotherham and surrounding areas, I visited Haddon Hall in Derbyshire for the first time and – deferring my bus journey back to Sheffield for an hour to make the most of this glorious day – I also had a quick look at All Saints church in Bakewell.

A detail of a Victorian drinking fountain

I once lived in this bustling market town for 3 years, which attracts tourists from all over the world, and I know its surrounding geography and geology reasonably well, having surveyed very many of the established RIGS (Regionally Important Geological Sites) that are found within its boundaries – to assess their scientific, historic, aesthetic and educational value.

A geological map of the area around Bakewell

Set on the eastern edge of the White Peak, although part of the town is underlain by the Monsal Dale Limestone Formation of Lower Carboniferous age, most of Bakewell lies on the floodplain of the River Wye and is underlain by the softer siltstones and mudstones of the Upper Carboniferous Bowland Shale Formation - with the Ashover Grit forming high ground to the east.

A view along Matlock Street

The historic architecture in the old town centre, particularly the public and larger commercial buildings and town houses, is generally built out of the Ashover Grit – a medium to coarse grained sandstone – but the smaller commercial buildings, and most of the smaller houses, use roughly squared and coursed limestone for the walling and gritstone for the dressings.

Houses on North Church Street

Although it has Saxon origins and the church, with two priests, is mentioned in Domesday Book, apart from the remains of the 12th century motte and bailey castle on the east side of town and the 13th century Bakewell Bridge – and some buildings of Tudor and Stuart age - most of its historic buildings reflect the growth of the town after Lumford Mill was built by Richard Arkwright in 1777, which continued into the 19th century with the Ashford Black Marble industry.

A sundial by White Watson at All Saints church

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