There is a sense of spaciousness about Litton; a wide grass verge runs down the side of the street of this attractive upland village, situated almost 1,000 feet above sea level. An old world village pub and a small triangular green complete with ancient wooden stocks makes up the idyllic picture.
The houses are of good quality, mainly built in the 18th century, although the oldest, Holborn House, dates back to 1639. Hammerton House (1768) and the Clergy House (1723), which face one another across the road are particularly good examples of the quality of workmanship, along with Sterndale House hidden away behind the Red Lion.
A combined school, church and library was built in 1865, on a rather grand scale in the centre of the village by Canon Andrew, Vicar of Tideswell. Sixty-four years later a new church was built on the outskirts of the village, and now only the school remains in the premises.
For its 125th anniversary, the school revived the local tradition of Maypole Dancing during Wakes Week. The tradition has been continued and in 1997, undaunted by a torrential downpour, a Victorian Music Hall singalong was held in the school instead. The children also dress one of the two wells on display during Wakes Week. Well Dressings take place in Tideswell simultaneously, with the Tuesday of Wakes Week being given over to Litton, when there is a fair in the village and various other events and attractions.
Following the closure of Littonís only shop, the post office was re-housed in the Village Hall, but the villagers were not keen on the new arrangements. After some market research they found there was sufficient demand to sustain a shop. Next, they formed a friendly society, each villager buying a ten-pound share, found some derelict premises in what had once been the village smithy, obtained additional funding to that already raised by their own efforts and converted the premises into a shop, post office and meeting place for the community.
The Litton Community Shop opened for business on 26 September 1999, and was the first village owned and run shop in Derbyshire. During that year, the shop project won a Peak Achievement Award from the National Park Authority. The shop is mainly run by volunteers. It has been such a success that in 2003 it was expanded. A wide range of goods are sold at Supermarket prices and where possible locally produced products are stocked. A newspaper delivery service is operated and visitors can sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a piece of homemade cake.
William Bagshawe, the non-conformist minister who later became known as the Apostle of the Peak, was born in Litton. Early in 1652, he was appointed as Vicar of Glossop, where he happily went about his work for the next ten years. Then the Act of Uniformity resulted in the ejection of 1.700 of the clergy from the Church of England. Bagshawe refused to conform and went from house to house and village to village, preaching the gospel. To make matters worse, his family partially disinherited him because of his beliefs.
In the reign of Charles II alone, it is estimated that 8,000 non-conformists died in prison. In constant fear of fines and imprisonment, Bagshawe had to act with caution. Every Sunday morning and afternoon he attended the parish church at Chapel-en-le-Frith, but in the evening he took services at his own home, or at someone elseís. He visited Glossop once a month and established other congregations at several villages scattered round the area, travelling mainly on horseback. The Act of Toleration was introduced in 1689; he signed it and spent the rest of his life at Ford Hall, publishing several volumes of practical divinity.
The village hall faces The Green. It was given to Litton in 1907 and originally designated as a Working Menís Club. The school and a variety of organisations now use it, including two doctorís, who run surgeries there once a week. During the Well Dressings, it is used to serve refreshments to visitors. Further along the street, the 19th century Methodist Chapel started life two centuries earlier as a farmhouse.
The Red Lion, a 17th century free house, is an absolute gem made up of three cottages. It has a cosy and relaxing feel. Log fires burn merrily away in the winter, beneath beamed ceilings, the walls and shelves adorned with a miscellany of interesting items. When you walk in through the front door, your first greeting as likely as not will be from one of the friendly dogs who live at the pub.
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PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Freshfields Donkey Village (Tel. 01298 79775) is off the A623 close to Peak Forest village. Donkeys in the herd have their own distinctive colours and range in size from Highland donkeys to Sicilian Miniatures which, when fully grown, are only three foot tall. Turn off A623 in Peak Forest village, towards Smalldale and Wormhill. Approximately 800 yards along the road is the Trust sign. Follow the lane (narrow with passing places) to the very top (about 1 mile) where the lane turns right to the farm. Souvenir shop, free parking and tea gardens. Open daily 10.30-4.30pm. Winter opening dependent on weather.
Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club (Tel 01298 871270) at Great Hucklow is a membersí club, but also offers trial flights for visitors. There is a large car park where visitors can sit, picnic and watch the gliders taking off and landing. Open all year (closed Mondays September to April). Call for further details.
Bookstore Trading Post (Tel. 01298 71017) at Brierlow Bar, three miles south-east of Buxton on the A515. Massive bookstore selling a wide range of books, CDís, cards and gifts at bargain prices. Refreshments available. Large car park. Open daily 9.30-5.30.
The Red Lion (Tel. 01298 871458) is a 17th century pub with a cosy and relaxing feel. Log fires burn merrily away in the winter beneath beamed ceilings. Open Monday to Thursday lunchtimes and evenings; Friday to Sunday open all day. A good selection of meals served lunchtimes and evenings (not Sunday evenings).
Litton Village Shop and Post Office (Tel. 01298 872881) serves hot drinks, homemade cake and snacks all at very reasonable prices. There is limited seating inside. Customers can sit outside and enjoy the view across the Green. The shop is open seven days a week 8.30am-11.30am, and 2pm-6pm Monday to Friday. Weekends 10am-4pm.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features on towns and villages with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
The site is expanding to include many other features of interest to the local person and visitor alike. Why not bookmark this site for future reference.
1. To return to the main site click the link below.
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A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:
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This glorious walk takes you along picturesque dales, through woodland and lovely open countryside. The infamous Litton Mill and Cressbrook Mill, both now converted for residential purposes, are passed in the riverside stretch of the walk.
Water-cum-Jolly Dale that links Millers Dale and Monsal Dale is one of the most attractive short dales in the country. Here the river begins to widen to form a large millpond, which the path skirts round under impressive overhanging cliffs.
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