A to Z of Derbyshire: Letter ‘E’

Elvaston Castle

Elvaston Castle - Credit: Archant

Errwood, Elvaston, Etwall, Eyam... Gary Wallis explores elegant buildings, enchanting villages and eye-catching countryside

Eagle Stone

Eagle Stone - Credit: Archant

Eagle Stone, Baslow Edge

Earl Grey Tower

Earl Grey Tower - Credit: Archant

Tradition has it that in order to prove they were worthy of marriage the local men of Baslow had to demonstrate they could climb this 20ft (6m) gritstone boulder. The ‘eagle’ of Eagle Stone is thought to derive from Aigle, the name of figures in both Celtic and Greek mythology – in Greek it means ‘radiance, splendour’. The rock is a favourite venue for modern day climbers who enjoy the sport of ‘bouldering’ (climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses on relatively low rocks). Climbing routes often have colourful names and Eagle Stone is no exception with many of the routes sharing a common theme – beagles! Out of a total of 13 routes, nine have a beagle theme including ‘A Fist Full of Beagles’, ‘Like a Beagle over Troubled Water’, ‘The Beagle has Landed’ and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Beagle’.

Earl Sterndale

Earl Sterndale - Credit: Archant


Edensor - Credit: Archant

Earl Grey Tower, Stanton Moor

Rising to a height of some 35ft (10.6m), this column stands on the edge of Stanton Moor just east of the Nine Ladies stone circle and overlooking Darley Dale. The structure was built by William Pole Thornhill to commemorate the Reform Bill of 1832.

Earl Sterndale

At an elevation of 1,100ft (340m) the village of Earl Sterndale is located about five miles south of Buxton in the Upper Dove Valley. In medieval times the farms around the hamlet were monastic granges owned by Basingwerk Abbey, near Holywell in Wales. The Church of St Michael and All Angels, built in 1828 on the site of an ancient chapel, was almost destroyed during the Second World War. The house of worship has the dubious claim of being the only church in Derbyshire to be hit, albeit mistakenly, during the conflict. Opposite the church the local pub is also somewhat unusual. Named the ‘Quiet Woman’ the inn sign displays the headless figure of a woman!

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Forming part of the Chatsworth Estate, the majority of the village is and always has been owned by the Dukes of Devonshire. The village was relocated from its original site close to the River Derwent to its current position by the 6th Duke of Devonshire between 1838 and 1842. Apparently the Duke decided that it should be moved over the hill and out of sight of Chatsworth House. It was rebuilt as a model village mainly for Chatsworth estate workers with houses designed in a variety of styles by Derby architect John Robertson. The church was replaced some 30 years later with one designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. In the churchyard later members of the Devonshire family are buried, including the 6th Duke and Sir Joseph Paxton. Kathleen Kennedy, sister of President John F Kennedy and widow of the 10th Duke’s elder son, the Marquess of Hartington, is also buried here.

Elvaston Castle

Now a popular recreation area, the house and park of 200 acres was purchased by Derbyshire County Council in 1969 and opened to the public a year later. An original house was built here in 1633 for the then High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Sir John Stanhope. The current Grade II listed house, a ‘gothic revival masterpiece’, was designed in the early 19th century by James Wyatt for the third Earl of Harrington and further renovated in 1836. When the teacher training college in Derby was evacuated during the Second World War, the staff and students relocated to Elvaston Castle to continue their studies. The house has been on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register for some years, although Derbyshire County Council has announced a 10-year plan to save it and bring it back into public use. William Barron’s gardens, designed for the 4th Earl in the 1830s, have been restored and include delights such as the golden gates, ha-ha, walled garden and topiary garden. It was used in 1969 as the location for Ken Russell’s classic film ‘Women in Love’ and the park earned the Green Flag Award for its quality green-space provision in July 2013.


The village nestles in the shadow of the southern slopes of Kinder Scout and is the starting point for the Pennine Way. Walkers leaving the comfort of this well-loved hamlet must face an arduous crossing of Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Black Hill on the first stage of the long distance footpath.

Settlements date back to at least 1086 with the village known by many names through the centuries. The current name, Edale, was first recorded in 1732 but the village has been known as Edall, Eydal, Eydale, Heydale and Aidele over the past thousand years.

The Old Nag’s Head pub, a favourite with walkers who have spent the day tramping the peat groughs of Kinder, dates back to 1577 when it was a smithy. The village was also the site of a cotton mill built by Nicholas Cresswell in 1795. Some of the workers made the daily return journey to the mill from their homes in Castleton over Hollins Cross on the Great Ridge.

Errwood Reservoir

Encompassing some 80 acres and with a maximum capacity of 4,215 million litres of water, Errwood Reservoir in the Goyt Valley supplies drinking water to Stockport and the surrounding area. The Errwood Sailing Club, on the east bank, was founded in 1968, one year after the completion of the reservoir.

Errwood Hall

Demolished in the 1930s as part of the construction of Fernilee Reservoir in the Goyt Valley, near Buxton, the foundations and small sections of wall are all that remain of Errwood Hall. Built in the 1830s it was the home of Samuel Grimshawe, a wealthy Manchester businessman. The estate covered some 2,000 acres and was planted with a large number of azaleas and rhododendrons. These are mainly centred around the ruins and are a magnificent sight when they bloom in late spring and early summer.

Etherow River, Longdendale

Flowing below Bleaklow along Longdendale and into the Woodhead Reservoir, this river historically formed the boundary between Cheshire and Derbyshire. Following the redefinition of modern boundaries, the river now flows through South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester. From its source at Redhole Spring and the White Head area of Pikenaze Moor in Derbyshire, the river is fed along its course by water cascading down several cloughs from the vast watershed of the Bleaklow moors.


Six miles south-west of Derby, Etwall was the home of Sir John Port who founded Repton School in the 16th century. The large John Port School stands in the grounds of what was once Etwall Hall. On Church Hill, the Church of St Helen was largely rebuilt by Sir John Port in 1545, while nearby the famous Almshouses lie behind the ornamental iron gates designed by Robert Bakewell of Derby (1682-1753) which originally belonged to Etwall Hall.


The village of Eyam will forever be associated with the catastrophe which befell it during the summer of 1665 when the small population was devastated by the plague. It is believed that the plague was introduced to the village in a bundle of cloth sent from London to Eyam’s tailor, George Viccars, who was one of the first to succumb to the disease. Demonstrating great courage and in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease, the village decided to isolate itself from the outside world. Experts differ on the exact number of people who died from the disease but estimates range from 350 to 430, representing between 55% and 75% of the total population of the village. The church records list 273 victims.

Eyam Hall, a Jacobean manor house built in 1671 and home of the Wright family for 11 generations, was opened to the public last year by the National Trust. A Craft Centre in the Hall’s stableyard contains locally run craft units, a café and a National Trust shop. A fascinating village to explore.

For more of Gary’s images of the Peak District and around the country visit www.insightphotographic.com

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