Parwich & District Local History Society

Newsletter number 7 (Dec 2001)

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A local Christmas tradition unmasked!

Copyright © 2001 Rob Francis

Thanks to Ambrose Wilton, Jack Cundy, Maurice and Gordon Warrington for giving up their time to recall their guizing memories.

The whisper of voices and shadows along the railway line cast by the light of the moon. A distant train trundles away. Otherwise silence. Vandals? Saboteurs? No. A group of young lads making their way from Biggin down to Hartington signal box. It is Christmas 1936 and the boys, including Jack Cundy, Ambrose Wilton, Maurice Warrington and Bill Ollerenshaw, are out collecting money by performing their local guizing play…

The Parwich Guizers at the Yew Tree, Cauldon Low in 1992: from right to left  Andrew Sillitoe, Rob Francis, Denis Laycock and Roy Milward

The guizing or mummers play is a custom that goes back at least 400 years. Usually performed around Christmas the play itself is usually fairly brief and involves an archetypal battle of good and evil. A bold knight enters the performance space (often a pub or other public place) says a few words and is immediately challenged by some wicked foe. They fight and the knight errant is slain. A doctor is called for, enters with his bag, utters a nonsense charm and brings to life the dead knight. Rejoicing follows and the play ends with the performers collecting money from the audience.

The origin of this tradition is unknown. Some claim that it has its roots in the pre-Christian times as it displays aspects of regeneration of natural cycles – the death of the old year and the rebirth of the new. Doubts have been expressed about this theory as there are no real references to this type of performance before the late 17th Century when they suddenly make an appearance in chapbooks – the cheap equivalent to paperbacks today.  The play rapidly became popular in all areas of the country. In some versions there were Christmas songs as well as local references (not unlike pantomime). There was also a wide variety of different characters including Beelzibub, Molly Masket (with her basket) Father Christmas, numerous knights from St George to Turkish knights to Bold Slashers. Whilst the text changes from one version to another,  there are lines that crop up in almost every version and these  give some sort of mad sense to the anarchic proceedings. At one time many villages had their own version but during the early part of the 20th Century the tradition faded … but not in Biggin.

There is no certainty about when the Biggin play was first performed. Maurice Warrington remembers that the group of boys from Biggin learnt it from the local Methodist preacher, Mr Bennett Buxton (Bullock for short). It might be that he was continuing an established tradition and thought that by teaching to a group of boys it would be perpetuated. He succeeded - even now Maurice can recite the whole play with ease. The performance starts with Enterer In, who introduces the play. He is followed by King William, who promptly (and for no apparent reason) slays Enterer In. Then the Doctor,who resurrects Enterer In and finally Beelzibub who bursts in at the end with his club and frying pan. Shorter than many mummers plays,  it is unusual in that the brave knight is called King William. Each Christmas these boys from Biggin would venture out to houses and pubs in surrounding villages. Before setting off they would black their faces with soot scraped from the back of the fire. ‘It took some getting off and made the face bloody sore’ Maurice remembers.  Mostly they wore the oldest clothes they could get their hands on, the doctor wearing a torn jacket and a pork pie hat. Armed with a wooden sword, a club made of paper and an old frying pan they would visit local houses. In those days front doors weren’t locked and the Enterer In would throw open the front door without any warning and shout ‘I open the door and I enter in’. The other characters would then enter in one by one as the action unfolded. At the conclusion Beelzibub collected a few coppers that would contribute towards pocket money for Christmas.

The guizers walked to Cold Eaton, Heathcote, Hartington Station and outlying farms as well as the two pubs in Biggin, The Waterloo and High Peak Harriers. Sometimes they went up to the Newhaven and Ambrose remembers that they used to do particularly well with the collection there. The tradition was carried on throughout the late 1930s and was continued during the war by a younger group of boys, including Gordon, the younger brother of Maurice.

In 1985 following the end of the pantomime, thespians from Parwich performed a mummers play from Kirby Lonsdale visiting pubs and collecting for charity.. Their performance jogged the memory of Ambrose Wilton and Jack Cundy who called their attention to the local Biggin version. Now each year at Christmas they perpetuate the tradition though their play has become a mixture of the original Biggin version (see end of this article) and scraps from other half remembered versions. None of the Parwich Guizers remembers how these versions became merged, which itself shows the rather random and haphazard nature of tradition!

There are other guizing groups in Derbyshire. The Winster Guizers have a photograph taken in 1875 though the text is unknown. The photograph shows a group of guizers at the hall and was taken by Llewellin Jewitt, a local historian. There is unfortunately no record of the words they used.  Their version was revived in the 1980s, basing itself on the photograph and using a text collected in Cheshire. Their performance is well worth seeing and contrasts well with the Parwich performances.

The word ‘guizer’ has its origin in the word disguise and the name ‘guizing’ is particular to Derbyshire and adjoining counties.  In most other areas the custom is called ‘Mumming’. The guizer disguised himself so that he cannot be recognised. He usually wore rags and blackened his face to hide his identity (in the way Maurice scraped soot from the fire-back). The custom itself is similar to many medieval traditions that centred upon Christmas and may have some link with these early revels.  Boy Bishops, for example, took the place of real bishops during the festive period; Lords of misrule acted out topsy-turvy antics that somehow echoed the threatened chaos and darkness around the time of the winter solstice. The Biggin tradition transmuted into a Parwich tradition (though only 17 years old) and itself originated elsewhere. Never-the-less the chaotic and bedraggled performers and    performances enliven this darkest part of the year, entertaining and acting as some sort of link to an ancient and unknown past. Again this Christmas it will be performed in Parwich as will similar revivals throughout the country. Should you encounter one of these groups it is hoped their nonsense antics may bring a seasonal smile and encourage you to feel at your ease and perhaps to ‘put your hands in your pockets and pull out what you please!’

The Winster Guizers at Winster Hall  in 1875

The Biggin Guizing play

                           Collected from Maurice Warrington

Enterer In:

I open the door I enter in

 I wish my father a fortune to win,

Whether I stand or whether I fall

I’ll do my duty to please you all.

                          Then enters King William

King William:

In comes King William that valiant knight

Who shed his blood for England’s right,

Englands right and Englands written

That’s why I carry this awful weapon

Ho spice Ho spice don’t be so hot

For in this house you don’t know what we’ve got

Mince pies hot, mince pies cold

Baked in a porridge pot nine days old.

                        King William then stabs Enterer in with sword and he falls to the ground.

                        King William then shouts ‘Doctor’.


Here I am big man for my size

Don’t call me doctor call me quack

For I can cure a man with a broken back.

King William:

Where’s thy cure and doctorship?


In Ritti Titti Titti

Where’s there’s neither land nor city

Where little pigs cry ‘Who’ll eat me?’

My horse took fright and jumped

Nine hedges and nine ditches

And broke every limb I had.

King William:

What else cans’t thou cure?


I can cure the itch the stitch the gurdy gout

The pains within and the pains without

And if there be nineteen devils in that man’s skull

I’ll take twenty out

                             Doctor takes medicines from his bag and gives to Enterer In saying:

Here Jack take a drop of this lip lap

Let it run down thy gip gap

Be a brave man, rise up and fight.

                             Enterer In rises to his feet and Doctor shouts ‘Beelzibub’.


In comes old Beelzibub

Over his shoulders he carries a club

In his hands a dripping pan

He thinks himself a jolly old man.


So ladies and gentleman feel at your ease. Put your hands put your hands in your pockets take out what you please.

Error in Newsletter 5

Report by Peter Trewhitt on Alice Kirwan’s talk on the Land Registry

Copyright © 2001 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.

Error in Newsletter 6

St. Peter’s Church, Parwich: a guide prepared by Brian Foden

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Copyright © 2001 Brian Foden

            Anyone who walks around the village of Parwich cannot fail to notice the bumps and ridges that run down the hillsides in almost every field.  These Ridges and Furrows are part of the system of farming called the Open Field System, and it stretches back to before the time of the Domesday survey commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1085.  The Open Field System consisted of large unfenced fields that could be many hundreds of acres in size, these were divided into individual strips each one owned or tenanted by individuals who would have a number of strips scattered about the field. The day to day running of the fields needed to be very well organised as they needed to lie fallow at certain times to allow them to recover their fertility.  As the strips were unfenced it was necessary to agree on a time to plough, a time to harvest and most importantly a time to allow animals on the land to graze and fertilise the soil.  The system was controlled by the Manor Court, which was probably held once a month in the church and it was compulsory for all those with a holding in the field to attend.  It seems that in Parwich there were at least two fields, the two we know of probably being called the Flatts Field and the Hawkslow Field, bounded on the north and east by Parwich Moor, a large area of scrub and waste used as pasturing for sheep, and containing about two thousand acres.  Parwich moor was the Kings land and was administered by the Duchy of Lancaster until 1629 when it was sold off by Charles I to Edward Ditchfield, who later sold it on to the Levinge family.  The open field, being arable land, would need to be to separated from the animals on the pasture and waste, by bank and ditches, some of these banks can still be traced on the north side of the Alsop road, the Rings and the Flatts.  A survey of the Duchy of Lancaster estates made in 1581, includes Parwich Moor and gives us some idea how the land was used in the 16th century.   

Extracts from a Duchy of Lancaster Survey 

8th day of May 1581

We prepared ourselves into Parwich aforesaid there calling before us  the most part of the inhabitants of the said town and such other persons as were thought could best inform us of the matter ***** first made chose of the most ancient men and sayth as best seemed to know the bounds and use of the said moor and waste and with them did ride the perambulation thereof and diligently viewed ye same upon which view we found the moor to be a large ground to the quantity in a moignment of two thousand acres the most part there of barren and base ground that is adjoining to the said moor and the west side two parcels of ground lately enclosed by ye tenants within a wall thence called Hawkslow and the other the Flatte as they name them and within the said wall hath been a division between the two parcels of ground as it seemeth by an old dyche the both contain in estimate about 400 acres which ye said inhabitants of Parwich call their best pasture and do there keep their beasts and so as they affirm have done time out of memory.

He saith that the said inhabitants by all the time of his remembrance has used to keep upon the said moor and waste ground for every oxgang of their land meadow or pasture in Parwich  4 beasts, 80 sheep, 20 lambs and 1 capull

There is within the Parish of Parwich aforesaid  60 households and above 300 persons men women and children.

The survey tells us that Parwich consisted of a community of 60 houses with 300 inhabitants with an average household of 5 people.  The Arable, Meadow and good pasture lay to the south of the parish consisting of about 800 acres with 2000 acres of rough scrub and moorland to the north that was used to support sheep cattle and horses.  Each holder of land was allowed to pasture animals on the waste according to the amount of land he held in the Open Field.


            Ridge and furrow was formed by the action of ploughing with a ‘heavy’ plough, that is to say, a plough that is capable of turning over a sod.  To do this the plough needed to have a coulter to cut a straight line in front of the share blade, the share did the actual ploughing, and the sod was turned to one side by a mould-board to form a furrow.  Therefore ridge and furrow can be of any date after the introduction of the heavy plough and not necessarily medieval, but by the eleventh century this type of plough was in use over most of England.   To form ridge and furrow a normal furrow is cut across the field, then on the second or return run, another furrow is cut alongside the first and turned in to lean against it.  The third run is made next to the first and turned in against it gradually pushing the soil towards the centre thus starting to form a ridge.  This process is repeated backwards and forwards across the field until the desired width of ridge is obtained.  Obviously one ploughing will not form a ridge it needs repeated ploughing of the same strip over a long period of time to build up to any noticeable height.

Formation of ridge & furrow by ploughing over a period of time

The heavy plough needed to be pulled by oxen, usually six or eight yoked in pairs and managed by a ploughman and a ploughboy.  The most awkward and time consuming part of the ploughing process was turning the plough at the end of the furrow, and because of this the furrow was made as long as possible, about 220 yards, becoming a furlong or long furrow.  Many strips are in the form of a reverse S shape, this is caused by the turning room needed at the end of each furrow to turn the cumbersome plough and oxen.  It is shown in wills and inventories that oxen were still used in Parwich well into the 17th century, they seemed to have been owned in pairs by individual farmers, who probably pooled together to form plough teams.

English swing plough 14th century

The creation of Ridge and Furrow had its advantages, firstly the furrows formed a boundary between the individual strips, and because in almost all cases they followed the slope of the land they also provided drainage.  A third advantage could be that by forming a ridge the surface area of the land was increased.  To us the Open Field system may seem to be a cumbersome and labour intensive method of farming, but the fact that it survived for over seven hundred years shows that it must have suited the social climate of the time.


More Extracts from the 1950s Parish Magazines

(With the agreement of Rev. Christopher Harrison, Vicar of Parwich)

We forgot in the last Newsletter to thank Mrs. Ella Hopkinson who had preserved the extracts reprinted there.  We have since then obtained a further article from Helena Birkentall’s series which is reproduced below.  This was provided by Mrs. Mary Whitechurch who had preserved it with the extracts written by her father, Gerald Lewis.  We have also printed these extracts which we hope with both Ella’s and Mary’s copies is nearly the complete run of Gerald Lewis’s articles.  Gerald Lewis lived at Hallcliffe in the early 1900s, and was responsible for the establishment of the Creamery at Knob Hall and the market garden in Monsdale Lane.  He moved to Guernsey around 1920, and it was there he wrote these articles when he was in his eighties.    Editor


Parwich Customs Old and New.

Copyright ©  H. Birkentall.

            On Whit-Monday the Women's Club had their procession with banner and band, and after a scrumptious tea there was dancing on the Hall lawn to the music of the band.  The third annual procession—the only one of the three to survive—was that of the Odd Fellows at the Wakes. The Wakes was exactly as it is today, except for the dancing on the green in front of Elm Cottage, now the Vicarage. All were welcome, and the folk lined up to the music of the band in such dances as the Country Dance, Sir Roger Coverley. and a-Hunting we will go.

            Marketing the produce of the farm is very different today from the days when there was no motor transport and only limited railway facilities.  Milk was made into butter and cheese and sold in the Town Hall at Ashbourne. Together with live and dressed poultry, green cheese, eggs and other produce, the butter and cheese were displayed in baskets on spotless cloths and were sold to buyers from town and country. This was on market day and the farmers' wives spent the sale-money on the week's necessities before driving home in the horse-drawn milk-float or "trap".        

            Ascension Day or Holy Thursday was the day—and still is—when Tissington people headed by clergy and choir go round to each of the five wells to thank God for the supply of clean drinking water which never failed, even in the great year of country-wide drought in the seventeenth century We walked over to Tissington from Parwich in my early days and joined in the blessing of the wells, and one thought of Parwich cattle driven with others over to drink deep of these crystal waters which ran freely then, as now, in that fateful drought.

        One compares the simple mourning customs of today with those of a century or so ago nodding plumes on hearses heavy "mourning" of crepe which hung in long streamers from the widow's bonnet, and also long hat bands flowing from the men's hats. For each man invited there was a pair of black kid gloves, and the funeral tea which followed was a scrumptious feast. A woman I know wished to be "buried with ham tea", and to be conveyed in a hearse drawn by six black horses with black loin clothes.



Copyright ©  G W Lewis

Situation. The village nestles in a fold of the hills at the extreme south of the Pennine range. It is 605 feet above sea level and the hill immediately behind it rises to 903 feet. Beyond this, the ground rises still further so that part of Hawkslow farm is 1,100 feet above the sea.  There is said to be no higher ground between this and the sea coast of Lancashire. I myself have more than once felt certain I smelt the sea when the wind was north-west. It is a somewhat curious fact that the village seems to be the dividing line.

The parish appears in Domesday Book under the name of Per-e-vic, i.e., the village on the Pe or Par, and was later called Parwich. As to the pronunciation of the name, it seems to me that w are bound to follow that used by the Evans family. They bought the estate in the reign of Elizabeth from Robert Levinge (this is not correct William Evans’ family bought the Estate in 1814), who also sold the estate of Alsop-en-le-dale. Thus the Evans family has held the Parwich estate for about 500 years (it was less than 100 years which seems an odd mistake for Gerald Lewis to make, though their may have been a family connection between the Evans and the Levinges and Berresfords) and, on Sir William's death, the property was left to Mrs. Curtis and Mrs. Lewis.  There is no doubt whatever as to the pronunciation by these folk. It has always been PARWICH, just like the seaport on the Essex coast of Harwich, "H" being replaced by "P". I know the local people have pronounced it otherwise. I have heard it called Parridge and Par-wit but both of these I consider to be on all fours with that of our capital town being called DURBY though known to most of as Darby.

            Sir William Evans. of Allestree Hall, was a partner in the private Bank of Crompton and Evans which in the 1890's had branches all over Derbyshire, and was later bought up by the Westminster Bank.  Arkwright, the inventor of the Spinning Jenny, was a great friend of his and together they built and equipped a factory to develop this invention. In these ways, Sir William became extremely wealthy, owning whole streets of houses and shops in Derby as well as two or three estates elsewhere. He was a great benefactor to the splendid Derby Infirmary, perhaps one of the best equipped hospitals outside the London area. I have always understood that he built a complete section at his own expense. During his lifetime he was approached by Mr. William Allsopp, a Burton brewer, who wanted to buy the Alsop-en-le-dale estate. They soon agreed upon a price for the property and Mr. Allsopp then asked to buy the Manorial Rights. Sir William laughingly replied that he was not sure whether any still existed, but if he would add Five Shillings to his cheque he should have them. Later, this William Allsopp became Lord Hindlip.

            On the north side of the village the subsoil is all limestone, the pasture is short, but sweet, and all boundaries are formed of dry stone walls South the soil is mostly of shale, often of quite an oily nature. Here are found no stone walls, but hedges interspersed with a number of forest trees, such as elm and ash. On the north there is practically nothing here except the large number of plantations, mostly placed in the neighbourhood of the farmhouses to give protection for man and beast.

            One plantation has a special interest for my family. This is that on the top of Parwich hill, planted about 1836 in the form of a cross, by Mrs. Carr, the wife of my grandfather, Mr. Carr, when he was vicar of Parwich It was known in my time as "Mr. Carr's Cross ', and in my own family as "Grandma’s Cross" Mr. Carr had been given the living in the year 1823 and was given the Hall to live in.  He remained there till 1855, and during those years his family was born Edmund, his eldest, son, later became a canon of Carlisle Cathedral and followed his father as Vicar of Holbrook. His other three children were girls, Elizabeth, Frances (Mrs. Curtis) and Susan (Mrs. Lewis) The eldest, Elizabeth, married her cousin, Rev Donald Carr, of whom an interesting story is told.  Not long ago I was in Church Stretton and asked a bookseller in the town if he had ever heard of the Rev Donald Carr.  He replied at once, "Oh yes, we all know about him, the man who was lost in the snow. Here is the book he wrote about it." I bought this, and it was the first occasion that I knew the details, though I had often heard the outline. He was Rector of Wolsbaston, a parish to the west of Church Stretton.  On the east side rises the hill "the Long Mynd", half-a-mile long or more, and beyond it a small hamlet known as Ratlinghope. Here there is a church but it was always a difficulty to provide for the services. The living was worth £10 per annum, and the neighboring clergy were unwilling to take on the work as the place was exceedingly inaccessible.  The bishop prevailed upon this person to accept the work, and for many years he never missed giving those people an afternoon service.  One winter afternoon he set off on horseback as usual, in a snowstorm. accompanied by his groom. When they got about half-way he decided that it was too bad for the horses and so he sent his groom home with both horses and continued on foot. Eventually he reached the hamlet, took the service and started back, much against the wishes of his chief parishioner who tried hard to keep him for the night. Though he knew the way so well he lost his way in the blizzard and wandered about the Long Mynd for hours His wife sent out two search parties, but both returned without having found him. One party reached Ratlinghope, only to be told that the rector had left hours ago. The following morning some school children saw him covered in snow but too weak to speak to them. On arrival at school they told the mistress they had seen a bogey-man She naturally ridiculed this, but when the children persisted, she got them to take her to the place, where they found the rector almost unrecognizable. They got him to a cottage and tried to thaw him out near the fire. As soon as he could move, he insisted on being further from the fire and submitted cheerfully to chafing and hot drinks. He recovered, but his wife says he was never quite the same man after this, though he lived for a number of years they still show you at the museum in Shrewsbury the boots he wore on this occasion.

            It was in 1861 that the new schools and schoolmaster's house were built by Sir William Evans. At the time the buildings were much admired as quite the finest village schools between Ashbourne and Buxton. This freed the rooms of the Hall stables and they were used by Mrs. Carr for sewing parties and other gatherings of the women of the parish. She was a very loving and efficient vicar's wife, and we have always understood she was much beloved.

            The next building to engage our attention is that of the church. In 1874 the people of Parwich persuaded Sir William that a new church was required, partly because the roof leaked and partly because the inhabitants had so increased that it was too small. This church was a thing of beauty and had stood for nearly 900 years. So well built was it that when they came to pull it down they had to use a quantity of blasting powder. Many of you no doubt have seen a photograph of the old church with its outside staircase up to the gallery where the musicians used to sit, generally consisting of a violin, a flute, and 'cello.  It does seem a great pity that they did not put on a new roof and extend the church by means of the addition of a transept or a complete new aisle. Parts of the old building were preserved such as the West door. This has a finely carved tympanum, and a beautiful arch with the characteristic Norman dogtooth ornament, and also two of the capitals on the pillars. While the Rev. Claud Lewis was vicar, an ancient holy water stoup was discerned by him in a farmyard, being used as a trough for pig food. This was rescued, cleaned and restored to the church.

Speaking of church relics there should be mentioned the beautiful chalice. This was sent up to the Victoria and Albert Museum for their opinion. They replied that it was a very interesting piece of plate, they gave its date and said that in their opinion it was of considerable value.

            There is an amusing story told at the time of Sir William's death. A paragraph appeared in the paper Tit Bits saying that "The Revd. Canon Carr (my uncle) of Holbrooke Hall is now the richest clergyman in the Church of England. He has inherited the vast estates of the late Sir William Evans of Allestree Hall." This, of course, was totally untrue.  Practically the whole estate went to his younger brother, Walter Evans, of Darley Abbey, and at his death to his widow, Mrs. Ada Evans. One of my brothers saw this paragraph, wrote to the editor, and told him of the mistake.  The editor replied with an apology, saying the statement would be corrected in the next issue.

            Before we leave the Evans family there are one or two anecdotes which I think are worth preserving. There was a younger brother of these two Evans named John. He was the scapegrace of the family, greatly addicted to practical jokes. On one occasion he went up to

Derby from London by the afternoon express. As soon as the train drew out of Leicester station, John left his 1st Class carriage, climbed on to the roof of the train and went the whole length, putting out all the oil lamps, including, of course, that in his own carriage, but excluding that of the guard's van.  As soon as the train reached Derby, he was the first man out on the platform demanding to see the stationmaster and to know why his light had been put out. This escapade was never traced to him as no one dreamed that a first-class passenger would do so foolish and risky a thing. He was in the army and, having a grudge against his colonel, he managed at the last minute to slip a bit of holly under the tail of his colonel's horse. The horse was, of course, very restive on parade and eventually threw his rider, who luckily was unhurt. They soon discovered the culprit and for this he was cashiered out of the army. He bought a small estate on the Island of Mull where he spent the rest of his life, fishing and shooting. He was a keen sportsman, and I am very sorry never to have met him.

            Canon Carr did inherit a small property from Sir William Evans. This was of a few acres only, on the borders of Staffordshire and Shropshire and was known as "Bosodel". The oak tree in which Charles hid from Cromwell's soldiers is situated some thirty yards from the farm house and used to be visited by a large number of Americans every year.

            T. W. Evans, the father of Sir William, had two daughters besides his three sons, namely Fanny and Elizabeth. The former was a great invalid and the latter gave up her life to nursing her. These two lived at Darley House in Darley Abbey village for many years, until at last the younger one died at the great age of 94.  Many stories are told of this old lady. She was evidently a great character, both much beloved and respected. She was said to be the depositary of most of the secrets of the Derbyshire families of that day. Her advice was often sought by both politicians and others who learnt to place great reliance on her wonderful knowledge of the district and her sound advice. She was also extremely active, and there is a well-attested story of how when once she met a visitor in the hall, seized her small portmanteau and RAN up the stairs to show the good lady her room.

            So far what I have said in these articles has been by way of introduction to my actual subject, that is, what I personally know of Parwich. In the year 1893, when Sir William Evans died, he left the property (in Parwich) to his two cousins, Mrs. Curtis and my mother Mrs. Lewis jointly, and this, of course, meant that later on it had to be divided.  My family was living at the time near Ledbury, in Herefordshire, only a few miles from my aunt's (Mrs. Curtis') house, Coddington Rectory. Hence the two families, living so closely, were extremely intimate, I was "mastering" at that date and when the summer holidays came round, I and two of my elder brothers decided to come up to Parwich and have a look round at the new property. I remember we all three decided to bicycle up, my brothers on high bicycles, known as Penny farthings, and I on a safety machine. These had only lately been invented and I was nicknamed "the worm". We stayed one night on the way, at Father Ignatius monastery, at Lauthory Abbey. I don't remember much about this visit as we got there very late in the evening and left early the day following, but I do know that we were very well treated and given good food, not at all the sort of meal that the monks had, I believe. We reached Ashbourne in time to get lunch at the Green Man. While we were having this in company with two or three "commercials", we were much amused when one of them turned to my eldest brother and said, "excuse me. Sir, but surely you are the original of Sherlock Holmes!" He disclaimed the idea altogether. At that time, we had very little idea who Sherlock Holmes was, as none of us had read Conan Doyle's book, though I soon remedied this state of affairs myself. We left for Parwich by the very steep road out of the market place being quite unaware that the road to the left would have been much easier, joining the main direct road at Low Top.

(We are left with the tantalizing phrase “To be continued”.  If anyone has any more of this series of articles from the Parish Magazine do let us know.)

Edwardian Post Cards of Parwich

Presented by Denis Laycock

Copyright © 2001 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.

A talk on Interpreting Buildings by Malcolm Burrows

Copyright © 2001 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor. 

A walk  looking at some of the buildings in


Led by Peter Trewhitt and Malcolm Burrows

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.


Letters & Emails


Dear Editor,

I have been given your name by Mrs. Sue Peach, at the Local Studies Library at Matlock, in the hope you are able to confirm some information I am after.

Amongst my collection of stoneware cream pots I have one from ‘The High Peak Creamery’, as shown in the enclosed photograph, and am keen to locate the village or town where the creamery was situated.  Mrs Peach has sent me various photocopies and seems to think that the creamery at Parwich was in fact called the ‘High Peak Creamery’, although there is nothing to this effect in the documents.

I have written to Mrs Janet Arthur, who published a book on the history of the dairy industry in Derbyshire 1870-1970, but she had not heard of the H. P.C.  However, she does record the establishment of a Creamery in Parwich.

The pot is of high quality and was originally supplied to the creamery by ‘The Dairy Supply Co.’ of London.  They must have supplied many hundreds of these pots but, so far, mine is the only one to have come to light.  You are welcome to keep the photograph for your archives and if you can help in my quest I would be very grateful.

Yours sincerely

                                                                                                                        Malcolm Andrews

PS A Mrs Kettle, of  the Bakewell History Society, has told me there was a ‘Creamery Lane’ in Parwich.  Is it still there?


Dear Mr. Andrews,

I enclose a copy of a short article on the Parwich Creamery (from Newsletter 5).  The Creamery was in existence from around 1900 to the early 1920s.  The building still stands, and the lane is as you mention in your letter known as Creamery Lane.  I have asked a couple of people if they have ever heard it called the High Peak Creamery, so far the answer is no. If you don’t mind I will put a copy of the photograph of the jug in our Newsletter to see if any one has any information.  Also I am shortly to meet the daughter of Gerald Lewis who established the Parwich Creamery, and will ask her if she has heard of ‘The High Peak Creamery’.

There was apparently a creamery in Gratton Dale near Elton, and it is possible that there was one at Hartington before the current cheese factory.  I don’t have any information on these.

Yours sincerely



Dear Editor,

Many thanks for your letter.  I would be very happy for you to put my photograph of the High Peak Creamery jug in you Newsletter.  … The Creamery you mention in Gratton Dale was financed by Major McCreagh-Thornhill and the one at Hartington by the Duke of Devonshire.  This comes from Janet Arthur’s book, “Say Cheese: Stories of the cheese and milk trade in Derbyshire 1870—1970” (There is a copy of it in the main library in Derbyshire). …

Yours sincerely

                                                                                                                                    Malcolm Andrews


Dear Mr. Andrews,

Thank you for your recent letter.  Since my last letter to you, I have spoken with Mrs Mary Whitechurch whose father established the Parwich Creamery, as well as more people locally.  No one has any recollections or record of it having been called anything other than the Parwich Creamery.

People do remember a further creamery at Reaps Moor between Warslow and Longnor, and one in the Manifold Valley but not what they were called.  The term High Peak is now more usually used to refer to the northern part of the Peak District so it could include the Buxton area and even Glossop.

Yours sincerely


Editors note. .  If you want a full copy of this Newsletter please send £1 plus postage (50p) if necessary to the Website Editor.

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