23 Apr 2015

Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire

Lately we've been making the most of the good weather. Although we've been happy to stay home and get on with the gardening it has also been good to go out for days and explore more places that we can get to in under an hour.  Derbyshire continues to draw us and the area around the famous 'plague village' of Eyam has been on a wish list for some time. It proved to be a good day, especially as we had a daughter and a grandson with us. I'll be writing about Eyam another time as just the two of us returned there yesterday to see those things we missed on the first visit.

Stoney Middleton is in the White Peak area of the Peak District in the limestone valley of Middleton Dale. Eyam is close by. Drivers pass through quite quickly because it's diffult to park on the main road due to parking restrictions. On the outskirts there's a towering cliff on one side and on the other there are woods and a brook which runs alongside the road. Remembering this from last week's drive we parked in a side street before we got to that point. From there we were able to walk around this very picturesque and interesting village which has close links with Eyam as I found out from reading the moving stories about the people who lived there. The Eyam villagers were in self-quarantine to stop the bubonic plague spreading to the surrounding villages. It had been brought in through some flea-infested cloth that had been transported up from London to the local tailor. As a consequence, from the outbreak in 1665 and for about fourteen months, whole households were stricken with the infection with the loss of over 200 lives. During this time the villagers of Stoney Middleton would leave food at certain spots on the border between the two villages.  



The outskirts of Stoney Middleton - travelling towards Eyam (yesterday) and below travelling in the opposite direction back from Eyam (last Thursday).



I think the men are working to secure the possible fall of loose rocks by attaching nets in some places to the rock face.
In the dale were several quarries and this was once a major source of employment for the village.


A road was blasted through Stoney Middleton in 1830 and in 1840 an octagonal toll house was built.
It's now a fish and chip shop.




The Moon Inn was and probably still is a popular place for walkers, cyclists and rock climbers to take a break. We had spent quite a lot of time in the tea room and a local inn during our visit to Eyam last Thursday so this time I was eager to spend more time walking as we'd started out early in the morning and weren't in need of refreshments.



The buildings towered above my head and I noticed this arch set in one of them and just had to take a peek inside. There was a shrine with icons hanging on the wall and it's at this point I would have loved to have had a villager as guide to explain more. I'm so glad I was curious enough to take a look though.
I believe the bottom icon depicts the resurrection of Jesus and his triumph over Death.  I have a similar one which I bought in Jerusalem many years ago in the 1980s.






A brook runs through the village - you can just see a wooden footbridge over it in the above photo. Wandering at will I missed out on walking on the path near it, but there was more to see as I climbed up the narrow lane to the buildings on a higher level. The fold which must have once been for sheep is now a little garden where anyone can sit and rest particularly walkers following the public footpath out into the countryside beyond the village.  Next to it is the Weslyan Reform Chapel which dates from the early 19th century and is still a place of worship.



Bootmaking was also a major industry in the village. There were buildings that looked as if they had been used for that purpose and interesting cottages and houses, large and small.






I couldn't get a full shot of this house (above) as the lane was narrow and my back was pressed up against the stone wall. Perhaps it was the residence of the owner of the footwear company?
Following the path by the brook I got another shot at a different angle. Here, in an area of the village called The Nook the shadows made it difficult to get good photos.  I have two digital pocket cameras and I find the Samsung takes better photos than the Panasonic, but the Panasonic has more zoom capacity. At least I can swap over if the battery gives out on one of them.




In The Nook are the entrance gates of Middleton Hall with the Parish Church next to it. The church is dedicated to St. Martin as is the nearby spring, which is located up a nearby lane. This needs a post of its own so sit for a while - if only you could hear that babbling brook as I did - and I'll be back soon to continue with the walk around Stoney Middleton.


Looking through the gates of Middleton Hall I caught a glimpse of masses of daffodils and the water of the brook must meander through the gardens.





25 comments:

  1. It looks beautiful. Especially that penultimate shot with the village set against the backdrop of hills and the wonderful blue sky.

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    1. Yesterday was a lovely sunny day. The weather was changeable and dull by the time we started for home last week as you can see from the first photos in the set.

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  2. What a wonderful post, Linda. So many beautiful photos which give a very clear picture of this interesting village. Looking at that towering cliff it's easy to see why the village got its name. :-)

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    1. I certainly came away from Stoney Middleton believing that I understood a little more about the history of the village and feeling uplifted by the few hours we spent there.

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  3. so beautiful, all of these photos are wonderful. i am a big fan of stone and most of Stoney Middleton is stone. i love the look of the houses under that big cliff of stones but would not want to live in them because all that rock might come crashing down... absolutely a gorgeous village

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    1. I'm sure those few houses at the bottom of the cliff are solidly built. Most of the buildings in the village are further along the road
      situated on terraces where the settlement originated.

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  4. What an interesting village. I think many places get overlooked in favour of more famous nearby places but Stoney Middleton has lots to offer. It's funny but this is the third post I've read which mentions Eyam in the past week, somewhere I visited with school many years ago. I've put it on my list of places to visit as I'd like to return and I shall look out for Stoney Middleton when I do.

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    1. Eyam was one of those places that caught the imagination when it was included in a history lesson about the bubonic plague and I'm glad that I've now taken the opportunity to visit. I would like to go back again as even with two visits there's more to see such as Eyam Hall and there are several trails to walk beyond the village. Do stop and have a look around Stoney Middleton. You could take a walk from there over to Eyam.

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  5. Linda, this is such a fascinating post, and your photos are gorgeous! I love the views and buildings here! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Hello Linda. Thanks for visiting and commenting and glad you enjoyed the post.

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  6. Your photos are wonderful. This is another village we've visited a few times seeking out some of my husband's ancestors. I love the way the village was built up on different levels with rooflines in all directions. It's very quaint isn't it?:)

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    1. Thank you Rosie. It must be very interesting to have connections with Stoney Middleton. There were so many references to the history of the place in the buildings and the way it has developed over time. I really enjoyed visiting this unspoilt village.

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  7. What a wonderful village, Personally I have never visited this area even though it isn't so far away from me. I always wonder why people are often so eager to rush abroad and yet never bother to explore the raw beauty of our home country at all. Thank you so much for sharing not just the photos but the history of the village.

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    1. I do agree. There are so many places that I would be happy to visit in the British Isles if I had the chance.

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  8. A really interesting village! I loved the sheer stone and that little grotto is very special. You just can't beat a sunny day when exploring! I will be interested to hear more about the plaque, how sad so many died, it really was an awful death.xxx

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    1. The visit to Eyam was an emotional experience. Seeing the plaques on so many of the cottages in the village giving the list of those in the household who had died powerfully demonstrated the sacrifice made by the villagers so that the infection was contained. A sunny day was perfect for our day out when we returned to the area.

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  9. Linda, your posts are like a breath of fresh air to my soul! Thank you so much for taking us on your visits and tours with you. I enjoy it so much. Blessings, Bess

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    1. Hello Bess. I'm pleased to hear from you, I'm happy to know that you enjoy what I share on my blog posts.

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  10. So many lovely places in the world and this is most definitely one of them. Marvelous photos Linda and very interesting to read about. I am going to go through it again before I leave. Thank you so much and have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thank you Denise. Glad you enjoyed the first part of the walk around beautiful Stoney Middleton. There's more to come so hope you can return. Have a good weekend, meanwhile.

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  11. You do take such lovely pictures, Linda. I enjoyed my traipsing through Stoney Middleton today with my Google Maps on another tab, as always. I wouldn't like to live in those homes dug into the stone. People who live in little villages and small towns take such pride and care with their homes and trails and creeks, don't they?

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    1. Using Google Maps like that is something I've never thought of doing. I must say I would rather live at the top of a hill, as we do, rather than at the bottom or in the shadow of towering rocks. Learning about why a house has been built in a certain location is interesting.

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  12. Although I have known Eyam all of my life, when I returned to visit a couple of years ago I discovered so much more about the village. Taking the little footpath over the meadows to find the hollowed out stone where the money was left by the villages to pay for goods and also discovering the little tombs hidden around the village because it was necessary to bury those who had died quickly, and try to prevent the disease spreading further.

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    1. We stayed within the village and didn't get to the outskirts to find the stone, the Riley graves or Mompesson's well. My focus both times was on the church and the area around the churchyard after reading your recent post. Hopefully we shall return. The 350 years anniversary is this year and there are extra events to commemorate this as well as the annual church service in August.

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  13. What an interesting village. Always hard for me to imagine people living in places this old.

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