Thursday, July 20, 2017

The village of Bonsall in Derbyshire

The pretty village of Bonsall lies on and around a hill just off the Via Gellia (the A5012) which runs from Cromford until it meets the A515 Buxton to Ashbourne road. Various sources say that the Via Gellia was probably named for or by Phillip Eyre Gell who had the road built through the valley around 1790 so that he could move lead from his lead mines down to a new smelting works at Cromford.  Other sources say that the road was there much earlier in the 1720s and was used as a route for transporting stone from the Gell family's quarries at nearby Hopton.  The area was noted for its cotton mills and the name of Viyella fabric (a mixture of wool and cotton) is said to come from from the Via Gellia valley.

Anyway, back to the historic former lead mining village of Bonsall.   We parked near the Cascades Gardens and wandered through the recreation ground to our first port of call.


Priorities right and first things first - lunch! 

At the Fountain Tea Rooms which is
opposite the village fountain.  The Fountain also provides B&B accommodation.

  The fountain is Victorian Gothic in design  and was restored by the Parish Council in 1993.

After lunch we took a steep climb up the public footpath to the parish church which sits high on its hill overlooking the village.

The Parish Church of St James was built in the 13th century in a
prominent position over looking the village. Much of the exterior  was rebuilt in 1862.  Inside it has what is thought to be the highest chancel in the country as there are seven steps up to the chancel from the nave.  Hiding in the church is also what is known as the 'Bonsall Imp'.  We'll explore inside in a later post.


The Market Cross is a Grade II listed building and is thought to date from the 17th century although some parts could be earlier.  It apparently has 13 steps, I didn't count them.  The ball on top was added in 1671 about the time the village asked to be allowed a market charter but their application was never granted.

One of the village wells.  The village holds a 'well dressing' festival and carnival at the end of July.

A framework knitters cottage at the start of the Limestone Way.

The 'T'owd Man of Bonsall' is thought to depict a lead miner and it is also probably one of the earliest ever illustrations of a miner.  The original carving was in the village church but it is now found embedded in the wall at St Mary's Wirkswirth  (link to my post on St Mary's Church - here)
Another view of the Market Cross with the 17th century King's Head pub behind it.

We had come to the village to visit the Cascades gardens and nursery.  This a a four acre garden in the centre of the village which takes advantage of the natural landscape. Like The Fountain it also has B&B accommodation.

I'll share more about the garden in a later post.



34 comments:


  1. What a delightful village! I love the history of this blog post!

    I'm glad that you are still blogging! I used to enjoy reading your blog...then life got in the way and I couldn't keep up with doing the daily rounds of the blogs!

    Hopefully, now that I'm cutting down a little with my work, I'll be able to join in again.

    Have a happy summer!! :-)

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    1. Lovely to see you here Sal, I will pop and visit you over the weekend. I'm glad you are still around in blog land it seems a long time since we both first started blogging doesn't it?:)

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  2. You always find such interesting places to visit. I'm looking forward to the imp.

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    1. Imp will be along later next week:)

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  3. What a lovely place, interesting things to see and read about. I do like the church and the garden looking forward to your next post.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks, Amanda, it is a fascinating place and so full of history:)

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  4. What a wonderful village - so picturesque and such an interesting read. Love the carving of the miner. I've heard about the well dressings in Derbyshire - something I have also thought about going to see.

    Really look forward to further posts on this delightful village.

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    1. The carving is wonderful. As a child we always used to have a school trip from my village school to the Well Dressings at Tissington, I think most towns and vllages have them during the Spring and Summer so earlier some later, the are worth seeing if you get the chance:)

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  5. ps Thanks so much Rosie for the link to your post on St Mary's Church, Wirksworth - what a fascinating church and and a super post. I may be checking how far it is from us!! :)) Not been to see bee-eaters yet by the way. Cancelled last weekend due to poor weather! But they were still there yesterday.

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    1. St Mary's is fascinating, in fact the whole village/town? is wonderful there is a heritage centre too and in the park a Star Disc which is amazing:)

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  6. So beautiful with all the greenery around it plus it's always good to climb a hill and look down. 😊

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    1. It is a lovely village I guess it gets very isolated in a bad winter:)

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  7. Sorry for another comment Rosie but thought you might like to know that it looks as though hopefully bee-eaters will be at the site for a few weeks yet. Just seen at tweet on twitter suggesting the young have hatched :) Met someone today who had been to see them twice - you can get good views :)

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    1. Thanks for the update, so glad they are still there, as you know problems here re garden and Severn Trent also yesterday I fell down the stairs and am feeling fragile at the moment so I may have to pass on visiting them, I hope you get to see them soon if the weather clears:)

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  8. A wonderful and lovely looking historic village indeed. Great photos, and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, glad you enjoyedthe photos:)

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  9. I really should make more trips to Derbyshire; this is simply wonderful.

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    1. It is a lovely county and there are some great little places to discover too:)

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  10. Hi Rosie, this is a pretty village and, as a dressmaker, I was interested to learn the origins of Viyella. I look forward to seeing the gardens. Enjoy your weekend, Marie x

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    1. I remember my Mum being keen on Viyella, she told me once she waited for little dresses or fabric to be in the sale for me when I was a child:)

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  11. I love this village! The perfect setting for a horrible murder.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Oooh - the body near the fountain or foul play at the Market Cross, would have to be in winter and the village cut off in the snow:)

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  12. That sounds a lovely place to visit. I've only been to Derbyshire once (well, apart from one day where I was singing to dep for the Cathedral choir at the Cathedral but all I saw was the city centre!) but it was truly one of my happiest holidays I've had-so many pretty places!

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    1. It is a lovely and fascinating place there are so many of those in Derbyshire, it's a lovely county. I like Derby too and the Cathedral is wonderful I bet you enjoyed singing there:)

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  13. I like Bonsall but have never yet visited the gardens! Lovely collection of photos.

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    1. It's a fascinating village isn't it?:)

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  14. Such a wonderful looking village. I wonder why it was never granted a marker charter? I would love to visit Derbyshire one day. x

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    1. I hope you do visit one day, Simone it is a beautiful county with so much history and beautiful vistas:)

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  15. So beautiful pictures.. it reminds me my visit to Salisbury, Bibury village... I went to UK for seven days in last last.. I was completely blown away by the beauty...

    Please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

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    1. You were in a very beautiful part of the country, thanks for visiting:)

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  16. You took us on a wonderful tour, such a beautiful place to visit with so much history.

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    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the tour:)

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  17. This looks like a grand day out, thanks Rosie. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the gardens. x

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    1. Thanks, Mrs T, I'll get around to the gardens eventually:)

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