Parwich & District Local History Society

Newsletter number 9  (May 2002)

Free to members (£1 to non-members)

Production of this Newsletter Sponsored by Tarmac (Central) Ltd


200 years of celebrations in Parwich

Copyright © 2002  Peter Trewhitt

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee is to be celebrated by the Parish Council with entertainments in the Memorial Hall and by the History Society with an exhibition in the Church, where there will also be a joint service for all the five parishes in the Vicar’s cure.  The Parish Council will also be giving the children of the village a memento of the event, and sponsoring the creation of a wild life bog area at Nether Green to commemorate the event.  I thought it would be interesting to reflect on earlier celebrations in the Village.

The earliest record of a street-party in the village I have found is described in a letter reproduced in ‘The Reliquary’ in 1874/75.  Although it appeared again in the Peak Advertiser in 1987 and in 1992, I think it is worth reprinting it in full here:

"Parwich 16 July 1814

Dear George,

Perhaps it may be a treat for you to hear A little of our proceedings in Parwich since your absence.  You know we were going to rejoice and show some Loyal tricks when you left us?  Our Subscription raised A purse of a little more than £45 which enabled us to purchase 3 cwt weight of Beef & 10 stone of Flour, with Eggs Fruit &cc Which was made into Plumb pudding, the puddings were made at different Farm Houses, and when collected together were Drawn down the Street in a Large Waggon with Musick Men riding in the waggon & playing God Save the King – about 100 lbs of Beef and as much of the pudding was Distributed to poor Families with each Head one penny rool of Bread – this was a very fine treat to the poor children and the Inhabitants and was on the evening before the rejoicing day.

The morning being favourable we began to Arrange Tables seats &c to the length of about 60 yards in front of the Hall and a most Excellent Dinner was set out: of the Old English Fare, Roast Beef & plumb pudding with Sauce, & Bread, &c.  But being a little detained as usual with the parson before we could go into the church; and a little when we was in, that our Dinner was wet & starving on the Table before we could get back – this was a hurrying time, indeed we were obliged to carry our victuals into the Hall & Tables &c and I suppose there sat as many as 200 people at different times at a very plentiful Dinner – This being over Tea was then ordered for the Ladies and A great provision of hot cake and Butter with cold Bread and Butter, cream strong Tea & well Suggared, and A little Rum to their Tea, the old Ladies swill’d in this Novelty till they were satisfyed – and about 100 women young and old were rais’d from the Tea Table by the help of these and other pours.

The evening approached and the parties assembled to a Dance the first was led down by J G Johnson Esq of Bradburn and Miss Edensor of Manchester, and about 60 cupple Danced that evening: After the Dance Mr Johnson & Mr Edensor gave many Loyal Toasts which were drank with three times three: and evening was spent with singing and Dancing, and to finish the week the two following Evenings were held up by the Young Ladies and Gentlemen of the village with Music & Dancing.

You will burn this letter when you have read it.

                        I remain Dear Geo

                                                Your Truly

                                                                John Alsop"

This letter was sent to ‘The Reliquary’ by the ‘late Mr. S Swindell’, perhaps the one who farmed from Flaxdale for much of the nineteenth century.  The only John Alsop in the 1841 census is a 30-year-old farmer living on the site of Green Gate Cottage, so perhaps it was his father that wrote the letter.  Julie Bunting in the 1992 Peak Advertiser article, suggests the celebrations were part of nationwide rejoicings at the exile of Napoleon to the island of Elba in 1814.  (I found it reassuring to come across someone whose spelling and grammar was as erratic as mine).

The parson mentioned would have been the Rev. Carr, whose wife is thought to be responsible for planting the cross-shaped wood on Parwich Hill.  Gerald Lewis his grandson wrote that it was planted in 1837, and it may have been to celebrate the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne (see article on Parwich Hill in this issue of the Newsletter).

In Newsletter number 2 (June 2000), Brian Foden told us a bit about the celebration of the opening of the new church in 1873, quoting from the Derby Mercury: “The day was observed as a general holiday, and the weather being fine, a large crowd of people flocked into the picturesque village, which was appropriately decorated for the occasion.  At the west gate of the churchyard was a triumphal arch of evergreens with the motto, Glory to God.  Other triumphal arches spanned the streets, all bearing mottoes expressing the good wishes of the inhabitants and tenantry towards their excellent landlord and his good lady.  …….  Between the afternoon and evening services a public tea was provided in the very picturesque schoolroom, also built by Mr Evans.”  This accentuates the contrast between the robust Georgian society, and the rather more proper Victorians.

The School Logbook tells us a little more about the village’s responses to national events, including Queen Victoria’s birthday in 1899, the coronation of Edward VII in 1901 and his death in 1909 (see report on Denis Laycock’s presentation of Edwardian post cards in  Newsletter number 7).  Hopefully we will have extracts of the School Logbook in future Newsletters.  After Edward VII came George V.  The celebrations of his coronation triggered an argument with the then vicar and land lord the Rev. Claud Lewis.  The coronation committee wished to hold celebrations in the school, which was still the property of the Estate at that time, but the Rev Lewis refused permission.  Celebrations were held in a marquee on Parson’s Croft, but the arguments with the vicar ran on, culminating in the burning of an effigy of him on The Green as he came out of church.

The Parish magazine in 1953 contained the following:

“THE CORONATION.  By the time this magazine comes out, we, in this parish, like many more, everywhere, are going forward to celebrate the Coronation of our Queen on the 2nd of June. There will be a public tea (free of charge) in the institute, Parwich, when it is hoped everyone will have got their ticket to notify the time they wish to go, either 4.30, 5 30, or 6.30 p.m. All are cordially invited. It has already been announced that there will be a special Coronation Service in St. Peter's Church, Parwich, on Trinity Sunday, May 31st, with Holy Communion at 9.15 a.m., when our thoughts and prayers will be surrounding Her Majesty as she gives herself to the service of God and her people. In that solemn service, for her it will be an unforgettable hour, not only of Coronation, but of consecration. We feel sure that for her the spiritual and religious aspect of the service will be the deepest. There is a short passage in the book of Ecclesiastes which is full of suggestive thought concerning this matter of the vows we make to God. You will find them in the fifth chapter and the first seven verses "It is better never to make a vow, if it cannot be fulfilled."  You will notice the remarks at the end of the calendar. It is hoped to welcome our new vicar, the Rev. W. Hull, early in June, when he will take over the parish magazine. We are looking forward to him coming and having once more the friendly vicar's letter.

Parwich Coronation Programme—2nd June, 1953. 3.30 p.m. Children's Tea, and       presentation of Coronation mugs kindly given by Lt.-Col. and Mrs. Crompton-Inglefield. 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. Parish Teas. 7 p.m. Children's Sports. 10.30 p.m. (approx ) Bonfire and Firework Display on the Hill Wednesday, June 3rd. 8 p.m. Fancy Dress Dance in the Institute.”

To celebrate the Queen’s coronation there was a flurry of tree planting in the village with the W I giving each member a flowering cherry, the avenue of horse chestnut trees at Nether Green was planted, along with the copper beech on the Green.  The beech and chestnuts have flourished, but only three of the cherry trees remain: one in the garden of Nether Green House, one behind Walnut Cottage, and one on the Green in front of Hallcliffe House.  Also there were four other events in 1952 that will be remembered by villagers.  There were four weddings: Eric Allsopp to Kathleen Brownlee, Abel Shipley to Elizabeth, Ambrose Wilton to Irene Lees and Don Ellis to Eileen Steeples.  Sadly Eric is no longer with us, but not with standing we wish them all, every happiness on their fiftieth wedding anniversaries.  My parents also married in 1952, but with no Parwich links at that time.

The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated in the village with a street-party and the planting of trees by the Dam, but there are many more people better qualified than me to tell that tale.  It is perhaps noting one difference between now and then is the increase in regulations that make street-parties much less common events.


Introducing The Parwich History Festival

‘The past is a different country: they do things differently there’.    L.P.Hartley 


Copyright © 2002 Rob Francis

In Parwich, standing in certain places, it is possible to see the following: an important Neolithic burial site; a burial mound with a stone platform on which the dead of the Early Bonze Age were exposed to circling carrion birds; a church, itself with possible Saxon origins, standing on what may be a embankment enclosing a space that could be pre-Christian; a well that has provided water for inhabitants for many centuries, a road that climbs an edge to the east of the parish that was possibly  trodden by hunter gatherers and fields with ridge and furrow patterns created before the Black Death.  Over the hill (hidden from view) there is a Roman encampment and a coin hoard discovered over a hundred years ago seems to indicate the place might have been of some importance.

The evidence of the past is undeniable and more abundant due to the fact that agricultural advances and intensive farming have not erased this presence as it has in many lowland areas. Interest in Parwich’s unique past is not new however. The barrow digger Thomas Bateman excavated Saints Low on 9th August 1848 (and no doubt picnicked at the top of the hill).   Numerous articles appeared in the parish magazine 50 years ago (and which were recently reprinted in these newsletters) describing elements of past lives in the village. When I first came to the village 27 years ago Brian Bradbury showed me his collection of flints picked up from fields over the years from what he described as the ‘local battlefield’. Twenty years ago an exhibition in the Memorial Hall caused considerable interest by presenting objects and memorabilia. Just over two years ago The Parwich and District Local History Society was founded to research this history and to promote and celebrate it. The rich past of Parwich has continued to captivate the imagination.

The Parwich Local History festival, funded through Millennium Awards, aims to give a glimpse of this rich and varied past. The central feature is an exhibition presented by various groups in the village including the Oddfellows, children from the primary school, the church, the Women’s Institute, the Horticultural Society and the British Legion. These displays will be in St Peter’s Church from 9th May until 7th July. During the weekend of the Jubilee—Saturday 1st June to Tuesday 4th June - the exhibition will be extended to feature ‘Treasures of Parwich’ which will include displays of objects and memorabilia as well as a special stall of local history books. During the last year two booklets have been written about the village, one focussing on the history of the church and the other looking at the buildings and development of the village. These will be launched during the festival and on sale locally. There are also a number of talks and two concerts taking place in the church.

By promoting and extending natural interest in the lives of people and in the development of the village we hope to celebrate this past and also prompt local memories so that yet more might be uncovered and recorded.  The activity of history, of reading about and investigating the past, was once described as an attempt to put a mirror up the lives of our ancestors so that we can know ourselves now more fully. If this is so  then perhaps the festival is a way of  polishing the  mirror so that we have an even sharper knowledge, understanding and feeling for the past of Pevrewic, which in 1085 Coln held for the King with 6 villagers, 2 smallholders and meadow of 12 acres.. It is not a nostalgic journey  back to some half remembered idyll  but a way of re-engaging and negotiating with the what happened between then and now! Wander up the Neolithic track, settle down to have your picnic by Saints Low or have a drink from the well that has slaked the thirst of generations but we also hope you will visit and enjoy the festival.  The past may be a foreign country, but we hope the festival provides the opportunity to take a fleeting glance back into the strange country that has in some way shaped this village and our lives.

Rob Francis

Chairman:  Parwich and District Local History Society

Growing up at Dam Farm

Val Kirkham talks to Gill Radcliffe


Copyright © 2002 Valerie Kirkham and Gill Radcliffe

A cutting from the Daily Express shows that cows were still munching happily on the green open spaces of Parwich in October 1975, and no doubt some of them belonged to Dam Farm. Val Kirkham was born at Church Gates and moved to Dam Farm in 1947 when she was one year old. Val's father, an electrician by trade, was brought up there, and helped his father with the farm work in the evenings.
"There were five of us in the house, my granny and grandad Flower, my mum and dad and me, three generations," says Val.

During the day Val's mother and grandmother helped with the milking and, when she was a little girl, Val remembers her mum used to sit her on a stool and milk the cows by hand while she waited.
"We had tying up for fourteen, ten in the front and four in the back. Then when we had the milking machines installed, we milked the ones in the cow sheds (now part of Dam farmhouse) by machine, and the ones in the back shed were milked by hand. Grandad did those and granny did the ones with the milking machine."

Parwich did not get running water until the fifties, so before there was water in the cow sheds, the animals were taken to drink out of the dam.
"We'd let them out two at a time, take them down for a drink, and clean out the stalls."

They were then walked to pasture on the Alsop road and down Pitts Lane.
"When I was little I used always to go with grandad to fetch the cows, and as I got older, grandad let me fetch them myself. We had two collies and if you took them, they'd fetch the cows for you. We sometimes had calves in Miss Graham's croft (when she was at the Post Office) and I'd go and feed them sometimes."  

Milk was sold, unpasteurised, from the farm door.
"In the kitchen we had a bucket with milk in it; it had a ladle, and someone would come with a jug and say, 'Can I have a pint or a quart?' and you'd pour it out. You wouldn't be allowed to do that now. I think sometimes we were healthier then. These days we are too hygienic and have got no immunity."

In spite of suffering from asthma, Val remembers the fun of haymaking, which provided the animals with winter fodder. Before the days of machinery, they collected loose hay and made two big haystacks in the croft at Dam Farm, putting the rest in the barns or out in the buildings in the fields where the young stock were kept during the winter.
"Grandad worked with the horse to collect the hay while my dad was at work because he couldn't drive the tractor; he hadn't got a license, which sounds silly really if you're a farmer, doesn't it? When I was home with my granny and grandad, we'd move the hay by hand; you'd have a rake and you'd turn it over, or a fork, and throw it around to get it dry; and in the evening dad would go with the machinery and put it into rows, and someone would come and bail it for us. We had this great big sledge which we used to collect hay on with the horse and I remember my aunt and my grandmother had what you call a bonny rake, a great big wooden rake that two people would pull. The rake part was oval, with shafts on it and you would pull it across the field to collect loose hay after haymaking so that you didn't waste anything. It was quite heavy. It was the same with manure spreading; you didn't have a muck spreader, you just put it in a cart, took a horse to the field and told him to stop every so often so you could drop a pile out. Then grandad would go another day and throw it about with a fork, and that's how you spread it. It was heavy work.  But when my dad came home he used to let me drive the tractor with him, and I can remember him saying, 'Now keep in line with that tree when you drive the tractor, watch that tree and we'll have a straight line!' Great fun, great fun!"

A post card showing Dam Farm on the left and Church Gates in the middle. Dam Farm in this picture looks much as it did up to the extension of the house in 2000.

For women, life on the farm was tough but rewarding.
"I never remembered my mum saying, we did this, or we did that when we were little; it was always, I did this for grandad, or I did this for grandma, and in their younger days they were always busy. They weren't ever like children; they did grown up things because they'd always got chores to do. Girls were expected to look after their grandparents when they got old, as my mother looked after her grandma. The eldest seemed to be the one who did it. My aunt, my mother's middle sister, went into service, and my mum's younger sister went out to work, but my mum never did while she was young. Later on, she cycled to Ballidon, Hippley and Gorse Hill to deliver the post, as well as doing half of Parwich."

There were chickens in the croft at Dam Farm and at one time Val thinks her uncle sold the eggs to Thornhills, from Great Longstone, who would collect them and take them to their egg packing company.
"They'd come once a week with all their packers; they'd have a big case and they'd pay you so much per dozen."

The women also made butter every week, in a little churn that fitted on the table.
"We had cream, butter, milk, and grandma used to make what they call 'beastings pie' with the first milk after the cow has calved, a bit like egg custard, with a pastry base. I didn't like it but my grandad loved it. The milk was like when you first have a baby, sweet, ugh!"

Val was very young when they had pigs at Dam Farm but she remembers a gentleman called Mr. Webb who lived at Knob Hall when it was the Creamery, who would come and kill the pig for you.
"We had these wooden benches and thrawls in what was the milk place at the back, and he used to cut the pig up there and hang it, because we had these big cellars at Dam Farm. You didn't need a fridge. We never had sheep; grandad thought they were stupid things which they are because if they get their head through a hedge they're gone and you can't really keep them in. So we just had cows and a horse."

It was a great life, especially for a child, with a freedom undreamed of today. As Val says:
"It was a matter of being there, and helping, and enjoying being on the farm, and I never wanted to leave. Those times were so good."

Thank you Val for giving us this information. With all the changes at Dam Farm, most recently to the croft, it is good to record what it was like in its heyday.

Gill Radcliffe


[64] Dam Farm

House built of stone rubble in the late 17th century. It was probably originally of two cells and of one storey and an attic.  A straight joint in the lower part of the wall and a room to the right shows both the length and the height of the original building. Entry was by a door, now blocked, at the end of the hall against the heck of a former firehood of which the window survives on the opposite wall.  The inner room was unheated and retains an original raised-cruck truss in the gable wall.  Later a third bay was built at the far side of the hall.  In c.1800 the whole house was heightened and altered, the door was moved to the far end of the hall with a staircase opposite, all the ground-floor rooms were heated, and a dairy was built in an outshut at the back.  A range of farm buildings has been added to the lower end of the house.”

Copyright © 1975 Eric Mercer  “English Vernacular Houses” Royal Commission on Historical Monuments.  P. 147

Since the above was written, the dairy at the back has been enlarged to make a new main entrance, and the range of farm buildings have been incorporated into the living accommodation.


More than meets the eye’

Copyright © 2002 W.D.  your intrepid newsletter investigator.

Some thoughts about what is now known as Parwich Hill:

Once named Saints Hill after Isaac Saint who farmed the land on and around the hill in the late 18th and early 19th century.

It is an obvious site for a Bronze Age Barrow and if you scramble about the wood at the top you can find the remnants of one.  Thomas Bateman records excavating it and writes:

On the 9th August we made an examination of the remains of a tumulus in a plantation on the summit of Saints Hill, near Parwich which had been destroyed by getting stone for the walls enclosing the plantation, when about 80 small brass coins of the late Roman Emperors were found scattered about the barrow.

Owing to the double destruction caused by stone getters, and persons tempted to search by the discovery of the coins, we were unable to find a single inch of undisturbed ground, and the sole evidence of former internments was afforded by two human teeth and some rats’ bones.’

Bateman’s insights were limited but his notes highlight some interesting points. Writing as he was in 1848 about the plantation of trees it was well established by then and the Roman coin hoard had just recently been found. Trouble there it seems; this resulted in treasure hunters scratting about looking for their fortunes.

And the plantation itself. Why there? And when planted up? One line of investigation has thrown up the theory that it was planted for the coronation of Queen Victoria by the vicar, the Rev. Carr.  He left Parwich in 1830, 9 years before Victoria became Queen. The ages of the trees seem to indicate they were planted around the time of Victoria’s accession but this is not hard evidence. And the cross shape, which has to be seen from the air to be appreciated, was planted 60 or so years before the Wright brothers first flew. It seems most likely that there is no hidden Christian iconography here. Plantations such as this were designed to act as a shelter so cattle could huddle from inclement weather in the corners of the cross.

At one time the hill also was busy with lead miners, or rather farmers who cast about for some extra cash in the winter months. One miner found a Roman bracelet whilst digging for lead. A few of the deep shafts seem to indicate that they had better luck than the treasure hunters a few yards away. The age of these mines may cover many centuries; the monastic settlement at Roystone Grange in the 13th Century may well have traded in lead dug up on Parwich Hill.

Another mystery:  running round the side of the hill, through from Bells Yard round the west side of the hill to meet up with the top road, runs a very distinctive trackway.  This track actually seems to cross Kiln Lane and follow a Holloway down into the village. It is the wrong side of the hill to be a track to cart off the lead. It is certainly not of recent origin. I have heard it suggested (or rather I suggest it myself) that this could have been the road winding its way up to the Roman encampment at Lombard’s Green from the rude settlement that became Parwich hundreds of years later.

Finally: the plan to conquer Britain by using the same said hill. I have it on good authority that German bombers targeting Derby during the darkest days of 1941 used the cross to get their run in mark on the city. As they wheeled round (with the moon full for light) they would have seen the hill on which Bateman unsuccessfully dug and where a Roman legionnaire dropped his coins; with Derby in their sights they were able to note precisely where they were and the direction to take in the run in to drop their bombs.

After many years living in Parwich, I myself saw the cross for the first time last summer as my Monarch airliner prepared to land at Manchester. ‘Look’ cried my partner ‘there’s the Wings, there’s Ballidon quarry and …and … and there’s the cross on the hill’ - and they were right.

This extract is from the 1879 ordinance survey map. Note particularly the clarity of the trackway that sweeps around the west side of the hill. Did this lead up to the Roman camp at Lombard’s Green?


The Parwich and District Local History Society


with sponsorship from Natural Choice (Ashbourne)

and Landmark Publishing

Derbyshire  Sacred and Profane

A Celebration of traditional music and ritual dance and drama

Tuesday 21st May 2002

Parwich: St Peters Church, the Village Green and the Memorial Hall




Winster Morris Dancers

Parwich Guisers

There are times when English traditional music, dance and drama appear is if seen down the wrong end of a telescope – distant and irrelevant. It has been observed that whereas Scottish and Irish music have maintained a revered place within their cultures the rich English regional musical traditions were the first victims of 19th century English imperialism.  Research over the last 100 years has shown however that this rich vein of traditional music was and is alive, though often invisible or largely ignored.

As part of the Parwich History Festival we are presenting a concert that aims to celebrate this rich range of traditions, from Derbyshire and beyond.  Taking part will be Keith Kendrick who has been making a living from performing music and songs for the last twenty or more years; Rolling Stock, a folk choir from Chesterfield who have appeared locally and nationally (including Radio 4) with a wide repertoire of traditional songs; Winster Morris Dancers, the last traditional side of morris dancers performing  a form of morris dance unique to Derbyshire and  reaching back to at least the century before last. Finally the Parwich Guisers, who perform local guising plays at Christmas and  basing their play on one that was trailed around local pubs and houses in Biggin-by-Hartington in the 1930s.

Called Derbyshire Sacred & Profane the first part of the evening will consist mainly of music and song of faith and hope and will take place in St Peter’s Church. The second part will be in Parwich Memorial Hall and consist largely of more earthy secular music! During the interval, on the village green, guising plays and morris dancing will link the two parts.  Strangest of all, at the start of the second half there will be a recording, recently made, of the original 1936 Biggin Guizers – a scoop!

This should be an enjoyable and unusual evening’s entertainment.

Tickets will cost £4.50 and are obtainable from Natural Choice in Ashbourne, at The Sycamore in Parwich or from Rob Francis on 01335 390373 (You can reserve seats telephoning him)



Extracts from The South Peak Archaeological Survey. Part 1

Between 1986 and 1988 and extensive archaeological survey of the area was conducted with sponsorship from The Rural Community Council and Manpower Services Commission Community Programme Scheme. Its main aim was to provide a field by field topographical record of earthworks and other features. Recruiting from Derby-based unemployed and supervised by five qualified archaeologists the survey took two years to complete.  The parishes of Ballidon, Tissington, Fenny Bently, Newton Grange, Eaton and Alsop, Parwich and Lea Hall were extensively surveyed.

Over the next few issues of this newsletter we are going to reprint extracts of interest. We start with

The Miclan Ditch.

The survey notes the name of the path running north out of the village, just above Townhead up to Parwich Moor as being called the Ringweye around which cluster a number of fields with the names ‘ring’ in them. Dissecting this track are two possible ditches which it tries to identify as what was known as The Miclan Ditch:

The linear banks north of le Ringes are one of the most interesting features in the survey area. James Pi1kington, writing in 1789, records them thus:

“Near this place (Lombard’s Green, SK 187 555), and at the summit of the hill is a bank of considerable length. It is about two feet high and three broad, and extends in a strait line two miles to the west, and half a mile to the east. Westward it may be traced as far as the road leading from Ashbourne to Buxton, and in the other direction to a large meer of water.

About four hundred yards below, another bank runs along the side of the hill nearly’ parallel with that, which I have mentioned. It extends about half a mile towards the west.

I have not been able to meet with any circumstance, from which the  original design and use of these banks can be determined. Whether they were formed at the time with the encampment (i.e. at Lombard’s Green), or were intended as some sort of boundary is very uncertain.”

Hayman-Rooke, writing ten years later, stated that much of Pilkingtons bank was destroyed by recent enclosure. In this respect, it is probable that he was referring to the northernmost bank, the longer of the two, which would, according to Pilkington’s description, have extended through the dale to the west and onto Hawkslow, which was the subject of the 1788 Enclosure Award. Note here the remains of the short bank possibly associated with the Hawkslow ‘standing stonewhich we have already postulated may have been robbed for its Stone.

In addition, James reported in 1956 a low, flat bank and ditch which he thought might be a track linking several limekilns to the roads running up the dale to the west and up the parish boundary to the east. This appears to have been the southern bank which is still readily traceable and does at one point run through a very narrow enclosure marked as “road from limekiln” on the Tithe Award. The Peak National Park’s limekiln survey did record the site of a limekiln in this enclosure and there are many others dotted around the area. However, any limekilns in the region would most likely have been in use in Pilkington’s time, therefore it is unlikely he would not have known if this was the original purpose of the bank. Add to this the ring-name evidence for its existence in the Middle Ages and we are forced to conclude that the two banks are old, medieval at the latest and probably earlier. Possibly one of them is the miclan dic recorded in the 963 charter, for this describes the western boundary of the Ballidon donation as running from “the Parwich Brook to the great ditch or dyke and from there to Friden. Its use of the phrase to the ditch and not along it suggests that the feature being described ran at right angles to the proposed boundary, that is, east to west, which both of Pilkington’s banks would have done.

Which of these banks, is the miclan dic, is open to question. In Pilkington's day the northernmost could still be shown to run for two and half miles across the summit of the hill above his vantage point on Lombard’s Green, and its length and course then would have brought it at its eastern extreme down to the current parish boundary around SK194563. The southernmost bank, just above Lombard’s Green and considerably shorter, is not recorded by Pilkington as running to the east at all. However, James’s description of it running between the two roads is corroborated by the survey’s work and apparently by fieldwork carried out for Nicholas Brooks et al in the course of their work on the charter. The sheer size of Pilkington's northern bank makes one inclined to believe this is the miclan dic, though there is nothing to say the southernmost was not once longer than it appears today. The existence of the Hawkslow ‘standing stone” upon what may be an extension of it to the west gives further food for thought in that the presence of isolated “marker stones” has already been noted for Newton Grange and Tissington in possible connection with Anglian territories. It is well-known that Bronze Age barrows in this region were reused in the seventh century AD, probably for territorial reasons. Possibly, therefore, the northernmost bank at least is a Bronze Age linear boundary of the type known in other upland areas such as the North York Moors and Dartmoor.

In fact, boundary banks are notoriously difficult to date without a frame of reference to work within. The fact that one bank and ditch is referred to in 963 does not necessarily imply that it was constructed much before that date; and conversely the fact that the second bank is not mentioned does not have to mean that it did not already exist. However, the authors have noted that the southernmost bank lies at the head of the earliest Parwich enclosures. Abutting it on its south side immediately north of le Ringes is a series of fields sharing a common name, Long Rakes , that for the most part respect the ridge and furrow and clearly mark the extent of the open-field arable at the time of its enclosure some time before 1788. To the north the ridge and furrow is fainter and underlies the Parliamentary-type enclosures of the 1788 Award. Clearly this was the area of the open-field that had gone out of use as arable at the time of the earlier enclosures and so was not then included in that process.. It has not been  determined whether or not it was ploughing that created this bank at the head of the contracted open-field, and this must be investigated before strong claims for the antiquity of this earthwork can be made. It should, however, be noted that a series of narrow lyncheted, possibly Romano-British fields have been noted immediately north of the bank and may be related. As the possible foot or head of a Romano-British field-system, the bank does then bear a marked similarity to a similar earthwork in the known network of “celtic” and Roman upland fields near Grassington, Yorkshire and also to other sites in the White Peak. Moreover, where the bank runs eastward it approaches the site of Lombard’s Green which was long ago assigned the status of Roman station. The survey believes this status is undeserved …. But Pilkington did note a series of enclosures near the site, and in more recent years L.H. Butcher and more lately Martin Wildgoose have concluded that these represent a Romano-British site based on the lead deposits there.


You may wish to try and find one of these banks. It is possible to trace the lower bank as marked in the sketch below. Could it be the final traces of a boundary that once encircled the whole village? If this is so then there must be traces of it at the south of the village.


Recently I went to take some photographs to illustrate this extract from The Peak Archaeological Survey. At no point does the bank stand out in a way that would evoke an immediate ‘Oh yes, there is it!’. Once the photographs have been converted to black and white and then photocopied to the newsletter you now hold the detail will be even less clear. The photograph on page 13 is taken from the point on the map below, looking east, where the ‘n’, of Pilkington’s Southern Bank is written. On page 14 the photograph is taken looking east as the bank falls away into Parwich Dale.

The bank is clearest as you approach it from The Ringway in the Long Rakes field. At this point if you look up to your right you see a wall that clearly delineates the skyline. This wall appears to have been built on the bank and whilst other neighbouring walls have the straightness of enclosure walls this wall meanders along the line the Miclan Ditch.

Further thoughts and ideas about the Miclan Ditch and any sightings or observations would be welcome.



Copyright © 2002 Rob Francis

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