A ‘Virtual’ Tour
Welcome to our circular tour of Hollinsclough – and now the sun has risen………………………
we will walk around the parish looking at some of the beautiful views, chat about some of the people who lived here in bygone days and some of the things that happened here.
We are standing on a little green in the centre of Hollinsclough village facing northwards. Looking up to our right there is a chain of hills, they are coral reef knolls. First there is Hollins Hill, the beautiful big one is Chrome (Kroom) Hill, moving south is Parkhouse and then Hitter Hill. Strange to think that if we were standing here some 350 million years ago we would be somewhere south of the equator swimming in a warm crystal clear sea teeming with life!
Although people have always farmed here, they have had to supplement their income in different ways. Hollinsclough men used to mine calamine from Chrome, it was found quite close to the surface and if you look carefully you can still see some of the old diggings. The lumps of ore were taken down to Cheadle and used to make brass.
Just in front of us is Hollinsclough Rake, or the Big Rake, as it is sometimes called. Just to the right is the Chapel, dedicated to John and Sarah Lomas.
John Lomas was born at Colshaw in 1747; he was the son of a pedlar. As a small child he travelled with his father and, when he became 16, his father entrusted him with a pack of goods and bought him his first licence. He married Sarah in 1768 and in 1783 both became committed Christians after listening to one of John Wesley’s preachers. In 1797 John started to build a Chapel in his garden. On Easter Day 1801 the Chapel was opened; it had cost £355. John and Sarah Lomas are buried in the vault at the head of the aisle and there is a Memorial Tablet on the wall.
St Agnes Church
In 1840 Sir George Crewe, prompted by the curate of Longnor, William Buckwell, rebuilt a barn in Hollinsclough village as a chapel of ease to Quarnford Church and a school; he also converted a farmhouse, probably the present Vicarage Farm, into a house for a curate. The church was licensed in 1841 and named St. Agnes in 1906. The first curate, who was paid £50 a year by Sir George, was Henry Smith, of whom Sir George remarked that:
'no one but a man in every sense of the word of a missionary spirit could possibly live there'
He had left by 1846!.
The lane to our right is called Carr Lane. It is the old road leading to Longnor and a track branches off to the left which leads down to an area called the Stannery where there is the old crossing of the River Dove.
Why Stannery? Usually that is a name related to tin but to date no evidence has been found relating to tin. All we know is that it was definitely called the Stannery or Stanneries in the early 1600’s.
If you walk down Carr Lane the old school is on the left and the new primary school is just a little way past.
Further on, the area on the right is called Town Fields – a name that has been retained for several hundred years. On the left, when the sun is low in the sky, you can see the remains of the old strip farming fields (long and narrow).
Back on the Green the houses you see around you are mellowed stone, strong and sturdy, typical of their period. Listen to the silence: feel the peace and simply wallow in the gentle ambiance of a very English village.
Immediately to our left, at the side of the Chapel Hall, is another rake. A few hundred yards up it splits into two. The left hand one is called Limer Rake and the right hand is called Swan Rake. These were old packhorse routes but, sadly, the damage from 4x4’s and bikers has made them really hard going to walk so we won’t go up there. Ah well! One man’s pleasure is another man’s misery. (No, they’re not steps, that is vehicle damage.)
Limer & Swan
Limer and Swan - sounds like a double act – the first is because a family called Limer have lived near to the top of the Rake for some 200 years or so. As for Swan, well that could be for one of several reasons. It was thought that it was because the Rake bends just like a swan’s neck but recent research places a family called Swan in the area in the late 1700s, a much more likely reason. Local oral tradition places a brewhouse near the top called “Swan House.” In the 1830’s it was referred to as Swan House & Bank. Swan Rake goes through Coatestown and then joins Redfern Lane. I know Coatestown sounds large but it was called that because so many Coates lived there – all next door to each other. I think the first Coates was David in around 1760 and the first mention we have come across for Coatestown was in 1808. There is also a round Barrow up there too, not far from the old brewhouse.
The remains of the weaving ‘shed’ of Emma Limer, the last local silk weaver, are just up there on Limer Rake.
And, not far from the weaving shed, on the other side of Limer Rake is The New - one of around a dozen houses in the Parish to be mentioned in the 1500s. The first recorded birth was in 1565. It was called The New because it was built on ‘newly cleared’ land.
Leaving the Village
It’s time to leave the village now and go up the long steep Big Rake. If you look on the left you’ll see our post box.
Also the water trough – it used to supply the village with all the drinking water until the mains came in 1984.
On the left is the area that used to be called Hollinsclough Bank. Some of the earliest houses in the village centre were built there, although they have long gone. There was a bit of a rumpus there in 1738. In the evening quiet on March 26th, voices were raised, a heated argument ensued and personal insults were hurled. This culminated in Rachel Brindley saying to Grace Chapman “thou art Tom of the Towns Ends whore and Arthur S****'s whore” with other scandalous and defamatory words with an intent to defame her. There was a suitable riposte. The matter was eventually resolved in a court case.
Rachel, a widow, made buttons and ‘hankerchiefs’ and had done so for several decades. Sometimes she had accompanied her husband, a pedlar, selling her wares. Grace’s husband Francis had a butchers shop on Hollinsclough Bank and he often got into trouble; he (and presumably his partner, John Beswick) were warned in 1740 not to “dump waste garbage and entrails” and “not to let blood from the slaughterhouse run into the brook.” They were later fined 3s 2d each for “permitting blood and Gerbige from out of their house at Holesclough to the constant annoyance of all passing along the road.”
The Big Rake
As we go slowly up the long steep rake, if you look down to the valley there are old stone pits. This was where the stone probably came from to build many of the old houses here. It is amazing but, immediately the stone was taken out of the ground, it could be sawn to rough shapes.
Alstonfield – the old parish
Hollinsclough was a township in the parish of Alstonfield, which, by the end of the 16th century, had been acquired by the Harpur family of Swarkestone, later of Calke. For more than 350 years most of the estate stayed in the ownership of one family – the Harpurs (later Crewe, ultimately Harpur-Crewe) Lord of the Manor, until it was sold in the 1950s. The family held little regard for the parish and their tenants;
Sir Henry Harpur c1806 said of the district: it 'holds out as few natural temptations perhaps as any part of England'.
Sir George Crewe 1819/20, found the tenants:
'100 years behind the rest of the world, well disposed but ignorant and simple-minded'
As we reach the top of the Rake, looking to the right, you can see the area called Winterside. There was a house called Winterside recorded in 1400 and the site was still occupied in the late 19th century.
We are now going down into the area known as the Gollin. The name comes from “golden” which used to be the common description of marsh marigolds. This area was particularly noted for silk weaving. In the 1851 census there were 19 silk weavers listed in only 13 houses, suggesting the late survival of a tight community of hand weavers.
Looking down the steeply falling rake, at the bottom is a fast flowing stream which runs through two delightfully named fields – Breeches and Waistcoat and the area called Tenterhill. In these fields there are the remains of an interesting ‘structure’, could this be the site of the fulling mill? There was one recorded in Hollinsclough in 1564 but its actual site remains a mystery. Fulling was a vital process in the production of cloth, converting a relatively loosely-woven fabric into a close-knit one, by soaking it in fresh clean water and fuller’s earth, and then pounding it by foot (rather like treading grapes). Fulling stocks, heavy wooden hammers driven by water wheels, achieved the same result with less labour and greater efficiency. Heavy hammers were raised and allowed to fall on the cloth bundled in a large trough below. The heavy oak hammers pounded and softened the cloth; they were so shaped that each time the cloth was pounded it rotated a little to ensure uniform action and to prevent damage.
After fulling the cloth was dried on tenter-frames so… Tenter Hill. This was where the large tenting frames used for stretching and drying cloth were sited. The tenting frames consisted of upright wooden posts with a fixed upper rail and a lower rail whose position was adjusted by pegs or wedges. Both rails were fitted every two or three inches with tenter-hooks, L-shaped double-pointed nails. The hooks in the top rail pointed upwards and those in the bottom rail downwards. The wet cloth was hooked by its edges to both rails and the lower rail adjusted to draw the cloth tight and of even width.
There is a track leading down to Washgate, a crossing of the River Dove and probably where the sheep or fleeces were washed.
Leaving the Gollin and climbing up the lane we will join the road which was built in the early 1800s and goes from Longnor to Flash. Carrying on up the hill towards Flash, on our right is a house called Summerhill, dated 1757, built for John Gaunt a button merchant. He was known locally in 1772 as 'the king of the Flash', a reference to the village of that name which was the centre of the area's button trade. Many years ago, Summerhill was probably used for summer grazing.
We are standing at around 1513 feet above sea level having started in the village at 883 feet.
Turning right off the road and going down a lane we arrive at the north-west corner of parish called Gamballs Green. A house was first mentioned here in 1501. It has been referred to variously as Gamon green in 1564, Gambushe green in 1600, and Gambles green in 1720. The word gemaene meant ‘common’.
In the 1750s Dinah Lomas (d. 1761) of Gamballs Green ran a dame school and in 1759 the inhabitants of Hollinsclough nominated John Lomas as the master of a school in the township.
Looking across towards Quarnford the remains of a very old walled track leading to Axe Edge can be seen quite clearly. Dove Head is about half a mile away looking towards Buxton.
Walking back to Hollinsclough
Walking back towards Hollinsclough on the Longnor - Flash road, it’s downhill now, on the right is the head of the River Manifold, if you look at a large scale map you can see how ‘many folded’ it is. There is one house, Daffodil Farm, on the other side of the A52 Leek to Buxton road. Presumably the road was built after the parish boundary had been established.
A lane leads down on the left to the area called Colshaw. (Col means hill and sceaga – small wood). It has been spelt in various ways, Coldshaw, Couldshaw and even Collyshaw.
On the right there is Black Bank, Wickenlow and Neild; these three houses are on the farthest reaches of the parish and can just be seen from the road. There was a house called the Neelde in 1456 which almost certainly stood on the site of Nield Bank and there are references to Needles Eye or Nields Eye. No one knows for certain why it is called Needles/Nields although there may have been a person called Nield or Neeld who lived there. Wickie, or wicken, is a local name for a rowan tree.
Where the road dips, by a cottage, is a tiny patch called Eye Bottom, possibly on or close to the remains of an old Roman Road. If you look to the left you can see how the old track bends sharply up the hill. (We are reliably informed that the OS map showing extended remains of the Roman Road is incorrect – only a very small section has been found and excavated.)
Dun Cow's Grove
Dun Cow's Grove was recorded as Duncote Greave in 1504 and other references include Dunkers Greave and Dunkworth Grove. It lies close to the River Manifold approximately 1.5 miles from its source near to the Travellers Rest public house.
Down on the right there is Burn Booth which has been recorded as Brendbooth and Brendeboth; this means a cattle farm cleared by burning. In the local dialect people still often say brunt instead of burnt.
Looking to the left is Wilshaw Hill, tucked in the shelter of the hill is Wilshaw Farm, the home of John & Jane Naden in 1754. It would appear that John Naden was not overly fond of his son Zephaniah – or maybe it was a Father/Son thing. However, in his will (1754) he said:
Likewise I give and bequeath Unto My Eldest Son Zephaniah Naden the sum of Five Pounds If he be contented therewith, if not I Leave Him nothing.
Included in the inventory, John Naden had £8 15s 6d in cash, 1 clock - £4, 1 little tablecloth + 3 napkins @ 3s and 29 lbs pewter valued at 19s 0d. The total value of his estate was almost £200.
Wilshaw, also called Wylshawe in 1600, means small willow wood from willa - willow and sceaga – small wood.
Further on, on the left, is Edge Top Farm dated 1787 built for Micah Mellor, a hawker. It is the last house on this road in Hollinsclough parish. Continuing downhill we come to School House Hollow. The road dips down slightly by Hill Top Farm and you can see the remains of a building which was a school.
The moorland on the left is called Catty Moor, the Harpur family used to bring their friends to shoot pheasants and grouse here, especially on August 12th. There is a trig point TP 3972 at a height of 424m.
In the summer the moor is alive with the sounds of bees making wonderful honey and the sweet, almost narcotic perfume of gorse scents the air.
Sometimes people come and dump their rubbish too.
At the bottom of the road we turn left at Dun Brook and walk along a very straight road. The New Road was built in 1833/34 and on our way back into Hollinsclough village we pass Mosscarr, probably the site of a house called Moscure which was recorded in Alstonefield manor in 1402. The name comes from the Old Norse, mos – bog and kjarr – brushwood.
The Carrs are still boggy and are now a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this area was probably a site providing reeds for roofing and other items.
Back in Hollinsclough
Thank you for coming on our tour, we hope you have enjoyed it and that you will come back.