Last Thursday we drove south from the more familiar Hope Valley through the different landscape of the White Peaks limestone plateau area of Derbyshire so that we could spend some time in Tideswell, the nearby hamlet of Cressbrook and the village of Litton.
We stopped in Tideswell in the market place area by the church as I wanted to spend some time inside before taking a walk.
Tideswell was in times past an important centre for the wool trade and this is reflected in the buildings. Villagers would have been occupied in agriculture on sheep and dairy farms - it's still an agricultural area today - or they would have worked in the local lead mines, mills and quarries. The 14th century parish church of St. John the Baptist is a beautiful place of worship and known as the Cathedral of the Peak. It has many interesting features and there is an annual festival on the feast day of the nativity of St. John the Baptist (24th June) followed by a week long programme of festivities including well dressing, traditional Morris dancing and a torchlight procession.
The south porch door has Psalm 84.2 carved on it in Latin: "How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord God of Hosts!"
Looking up into the bell tower you can see the round trapdoor through which the bells can be raised and lowered for retuning or repair. All the bells are old dating from the mid 17th century.
|There are many carved details taken from nature.|
|Mary Magdalene with a jar of spikenard, a precious ointment.|
|Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist|
|St. John the Baptist|
|The caring of the young|
|Prayer and Praise|
The Cathedral of the Peak is particularly noted for its wood carving, the oldest being in the Lady Chapel and dating from the medieval period. The organ case and carvings on the choir stalls were crafted by three generations of a local family, the Hudstones, beginning in the 19th century.
Here are a few of the many beautiful examples.
|The Lady Chapel|
|There is a fragment of C16th coloured glass. Initials A M stand for|
'Ave Maria'. Other symbols of the Virgin Mary in the Lady Chapel are the rose and the lily.
|The monument with two female stone figures (dated from before 1300) would have been in the original church that stood on this site.|
|The restored monument to a knight and his lady thought to be Sir Thurston de Bower and his wife, Margaret, in the de Bower Chapel|
|The Lyttons of Litton|
|Bishop Robert Pursglove|
There are several interesting memorial brasses of prominent local family members.
|The C15th tomb of Sir Sampson Meverill in the chancel is made of Purbeck marble from Dorset.|
On the top is a brass with a symbolic representation of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
|On the north side of the church are many old buildings. The St. John's Institute building houses the local library.|
In the main street there are some interesting little shops such as one selling books, second hand, I think, although I didn't go in - very tempting to spend time browsing around when we had plans to go elsewhere!
However, I did go into the baker's and bought a granary loaf and the rose petal shortbread which we've since enjoyed!
It was soon time to drive on to Cressbrook to see some examples of well dressing (the tradition of making pictures with flowers and other natural materials to give thanks for the supply of natural water sources) and then had lunch in Litton.