Marple Local History Society Trips
Each year members of the Society have a choice of trips to various historical locations to choose from, the cost of which varies dependent on the destination.
Some times we leave Marple early in the morning to visit factories and mills many miles away before returning in the evening. We've been to Blackpool to climb the tower, eating fish and chips to fortify us for a trip on a tram to see the lights. We've also had an afternoon trip along the Peak Forest Canal before a buffet at the Ring o' Bells.
By chance I met MLHS member Pat Butler one summer’s day in Market Street. She went into raptures about the beautiful Arts and Crafts church of St Wilfrid, Halton, Leeds which she discovered when she came on the Society visit in May, and she suggested we carry on the Arts and Crafts theme with an autumn visit to Leek. Leek had a market in medieval times, but it began to flourish in the late 18th Century as a centre for the production of silk textiles. In the late 19th century the notable designer, William Morris, worked with Sir Thomas Wardle, the leading silk manufacturer of the day, in developing natural silk dyeing techniques. Morris’s architect and designer friends were attracted to the town and it became a focus for Arts and Crafts Movement architecture. The Society last visited Leek in 2002, so it was about time for a return. We started at Richard Norman Shaw’s All Saints Church of 1885.
From the outside All Saints is a rather austere but imposing building. It is Grade 1 listed, and the architect Richard Norman Shaw declared it to be his best church.
The final walk of the season took us to the opposite side of the valley from our first; our three summer walks comprise a trio of locations that demonstrate the importance of rivers and streams in the history of Mill Brow, New Mills and our final destination, Mellor Hilltop.
On what was for the remarkable summer of ’18, a grey evening, we gathered by dribs and drabs, around Ann resting on the wall of the Vicarage. The party of 32 was brought to order, shortly after seven o’clock, the 18,664th episode of the Archers would just have to be missed!
On a glorious summer day I was pleased to be one of 22 members of the Society who boarded the coach for the drive to Ashbourne. I have driven through the town on a number of occasions and thought of it as a pretty market town that I should visit and find out more about. The elevated position of seating in the coach allowed for wonderful views of the Peak District with its miles of dry stone walls as we drove along the A515 from Buxton to Ashbourne. On arrival the party was met by Geoff Cole, a local guide who first took us into St Oswald’s church to see the tribute to the local football game. This game has been played on Shrove Tuesday since medieval times and the whole town can take part in a game that lasts all day. Local people had made hundreds of terracotta figures and these were displayed in the chancel to depict the way the game is played with everyone joining in.
St Oswald’s church in mentioned in the Doomsday book and is well worth a visit which must include seeing the Boothby chapel and tombs.
In view of the current prominence of Samuel Oldknow and all his works shown up by ‘Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy’ in Marple, the main focus of our visit was to see the original portrait of Samuel Oldknow as a young man in his yellow trousers, by Joseph Wright of Derby, which is part of the art collection of Leeds City Council and hangs in Temple Newsam House. But having discovered one of the most beautiful churches anywhere with St Wilfrid’s in the nearby Leeds suburb of Halton, we started our day there. We were warmly welcomed by members of the congregation who provided much appreciated morning refreshments and then guided us round the wonderful church.
A small crowd of 27 forgo the chance of catching the 18,615th episode of the Archers, to hear of and explore the everyday story of other country folk, who experienced the first rumblings of the Industrial Revolution, and whose descendants lived through its high point and beyond.
Before the gathering broke into two groups, Anne O’Mara, the Blue Badge Guide for the evening, gave an outline of the history of the area that lay in the view before us. The 10,000 year old hilltop site of a Mesolithic Age fort on the opposite side of the valley; the 13th century Corn Mill that gave the area its name, in the depths of the valley; how the area was part of the Royal Hunting Grounds of Peak Forest, during the Medieval era; Ludworth Corn Mill serving the needs of the scattered farms in the area.