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Bakewell in 1835

BAKEWELL, a parish and market-town in the hundred of High Peak, and county of Derby. The parish comprehends fifteen townships, and contains a population of 9503.

The town of Bakewell is of great antiquity. It is first mentioned in the reign of Edward the Elder, who, according to the Saxon Chronicle, in the year 924, marched with his army from Nottingham to Badecanwillan, which was the original name of Bakewell. Edward, in the same year, ordered a ‘castle’ to be built in the neighbourhood, which has generally been translated a burgh or town (see Lysons’s Magna Britannia, vol. v., p. 24.) The Castle Hill is a knoll on the east bank of the river Wye, opposite the bridge : it retains traces of the keep, &c.

Bakewell stands on the west bank of the Wye, about two miles above its influx into the Derwent. According to Camden, it derives its name from a mineral spring and an ancient bath in the place, which are supposed to have been known to the Romans. ‘The latter spring,’ says the same authority, ‘bubbles up warm water, which is found by experience to be good for the stomach, nerves, and the whole body.’ In the Domesday Survey, the name of the place is written Badequella, and was soon afterwards corrupted to that of Bauquelle, whence the change to its present name was very easy and natural. There is no evidence to prove that Bakewell was a Roman station. A Roman altar was discovered in the meadows about a mile south of Bakewell, near Haddon : it is at present. on the porch of the old dining-room at Haddon.

William the Conqueror gave Bakewell to his natural son William Peverell. The son of the latter having forfeited all his heritable property in the reign of Henry II, King John, soon after his accession to the throne, granted the manor of Bakewell to Ralph Gernon, in whose family it remained for some time. From the Gernons, it came by marriage ultimately to Sir Roger Wentworth, who sold it, in the reign of Henry VII, to the Vernon family, who afterwards disposed of it to the Duke of Rutland in which family it still remains. Bakewell had a bailiff and burgesses in the time of Elizabeth, but it never sent members to parliament.

In the town there is a cotton manufactory, established by the late Sir R. Arkwright, which carries on business to a considerable extent. A number of the inhabitants are employed in the lead mines and stone quarries which are found in the neighbourhood.

The parish church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is an ancient and handsome structure, situated on an eminence. The workmanship exhibits specimens of the style of three different periods. It is built in the form of a cross, and had once an octagonal tower in the centre, from which a lofty spire rose; but the tower and spire have been taken down. The western part of the nave is of plain Saxon architecture ; but the external arch of the west door-way is enriched with Saxon ornaments. The rest of the building is in the Gothic style.

The west part of the present church is probably as old as the eleventh century. Part of it was built in the thirteenth, part in the fourteenth, but the greatest part in the fifteenth century. In the interior of the church, against an arch on the south side of the nave, is a very curious monument to the memory of Sir Godfrey Foljambe and his lady. The former died in 1376, and the latter in 1383. They were the founders of a chantry in Bakewell in the reign of Henry III, which was destroyed at the Reformation. The monument though somewhat defaced by time, is still remarkably beautiful. The arms upon it are evidently those of Foljambe and Darley. The figures are half-length, and rather smaller than life. They are carved in alabaster in alto-rilieivo, under a canopy. (See Lysons’s Magna Britannia.)

In the vestry, within the south transept of the church, is a monument, with the effigies in alabaster, of a knight in plate armour, mail gorget, and pointed helmet, with a richly-ornamented bandeau, his pillow supported by angels. According to tradition, and the almost unanimous opinion of antiquarians, this monument is that of Sir Thomas Wendesley, generally called Wensley, who lost his life in the reign of Henry IV., at the battle of Shrewsbury. In the middle of the chancel are the tombs of several individuals of distinction.

In the parish of Bakewell, which is the most extensive in the county, being more than twenty miles in length and upwards of eight in breadth, there are nine parochial chapelries, besides several places of worship for Dissenters.

It is stated in the Domesday Survey to have had two priests. In the first year of his reign, King John granted the church of Bakewell, then collegiate, with its prebends and other appurtenances, to the canons of Lichfield, to whom it was afterwards appropriated. At that time there were three priests who constantly officiated in the church, and for whom a sufficient maintenance was provided. In consequence of the above grant, one of the prebendaries of Lichfield engaged to say mass for the souls of the king and his ancestors, in the cathedral of that city.

In the year 1280 a complaint was made to the then Archbishop of Canterbury, that the deacon and sub-deacon of the church of Bakewell, then celebrated for its riches, were so indifferently provided for, that they were obliged to beg their bread, in consequence of which that prelate ordained, in the same year, that they should eat at the vicar’s table, in consideration of which he was allowed ten marks per annum out of the rectory, in addition to the twenty marks which he previously received yearly for the performance of his clerical duties. The annual allowance to the deacon for clothes was a mark, and ten shillings were given to the sub-deacon for the same purpose. The patronage of the vicarage of Bakewell still belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield

The weekly market of Bakewell was formerly held on Monday ; but for the last thirty years it has been held on Friday. Very little business of any kind is done in it. Bakewell has a free-school of ancient date, which is now kept in the town-hall.

Chatsworth House, the residence of the Duke of Devonshire, is about three miles from Bakewell. This splendid mansion was built by William, first duke who bore that name. It was erected on the site of the mansion built by Sir William Cavendish about the middle of the sixteenth century, and in which Mary of Scotland was imprisoned for thirteen years. The present edifice was begun in 1687 and completed in 1706 ; but great additions have been recently made to it.

It stands on a gentle acclivity near the bottom of a high hill, which is richly covered with wood. The situation is extremely beautiful. The river Derwent runs before the principal front. There is a handsome stone bridge over the Derwent immediately in front of Chatsworth House. The house is decorated with Ionic columns, and has a flat roof, surrounded by a neat balustrade. Its form is nearly a square of 190 feet, enclosing a spacious quadrangular court. In the centre of the court is a fountain, with a statue of Orpheus. The grand entrance is on the west, by a grand flight of steps to a terrace which extends the length of the whole building. Verrio painted the ceilings, &c., and Cibber executed the statues. The water-works are not equalled by any in Europe, except those of Versailles. One fountain throws up water to the height of ninety feet.

About two miles south of Bakewell is Haddon Hall, the property of the Duke of Rutland. It stands on a bold eminence on the east side of the river Wye, and overlooks the beautiful vale of Haddon. Haddon Hall is the most complete of our ancient baronial residences now remaining. Though not now inhabited, it is in a state of excellent repair. It was erected at different periods. The most ancient part was erected about the time of Edward III : part is of Henry VI’s time ; and the most modern part was erected in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It was acquired by the Rutland family in the reign of that queen by the marriage of Sir John Manners with one of the co-heiresses of Sir George Vernon, to whose family it then belonged.

Bakewell is 145 miles N.N.W. of London, and 22 N.N.W. of Derby. The population in 1831 was 1,898.