A large, very well kept, upland village of considerable character, ablaze with colour in the summer with hanging baskets and flower tubs everywhere. In recent years, Tideswell has won both the Derbyshire Best Kept Village Award and the East Midlands section of the Britain in Bloom Contest on several occasions.
It has been said that Tideswell is ‘too big to be a village and too small to be town’. The population of around 2,000 has remained relatively static over the last 200 years. The street scene has little changed, even if the use of some of the buildings is different.
Tideswell was granted a market charter in 1250, and although the market has long since ceased, it still has the air of a busy, small market town. It has a wide main street and a magnificent parish church, often referred to as ‘the Cathedral of the Peak’, that would not be out of place in a much larger town.
The church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, with its superb pinnacled tower, has dominated the village for over 600 years. Rebuilding started in 1346 and it was 50 years later before it was finally completed. The Black Death that swept the country interrupted work for a lengthy period in the early stages. Inside, the church is spacious and lofty, with many fine carvings, brass and stained glass windows. Many of the carvings are the work of Advent Hunstone, who was encouraged by Canon Andrew, the vicar, to switch from the family stone masonry business to woodcarving. This he did to great effect and much of his and his family’s work is seen in churches far beyond Derbyshire.
Songs of Praise, the popular television programme visited Tideswell during October 2002, but it is for the singing exploits of Singer Slack the village is best known. Samuel Slack, born in 1757, was a noted base singer. He was commanded to sing before George III, and as a young man he competed for a place in the College Choir at Cambridge. After he had sung, there was a stunned silence and none of the other contestants took the opportunity to sing after such an awesome performance. Such was the high opinion of Singer Slack that he was invited to lead the choir in Westminster Abbey. He declined, preferring to sing with his friends in the village.
One interesting story of Slack’s exploits tells the tale of how he lay down in a field to recover from a little over indulgence at the pub, only to be aroused by a snorting bull. Restored to sobriety, he jumped up and gave such a loud bellow that the animal took fright!
Tideswell is a very ancient place and evidence of Neolithic settlements has been found in the area. It is thought however to take its name from a Saxon chief called ‘Tidi’ who lived here in the 7th century. Another less likely explanation is that the name came from the ‘tiding well’ on the Manchester Road, which because of a natural siphon in the rock did ‘ebb and flow’. A new drainage system finally put a stop to this unusual feature.
Amongst the village’s maze of alleyways and lanes are many buildings of architectural interest. None more so than Tideswell Grammar School, founded in 1559 by Bishop Pursglove. Eccles Hall and Blake House, both notable Georgian constructions, provided accommodation for staff and pupils. The school closed in 1927, and the library takes up part of the area where students used to live.
Cattle, sheep and pig fairs, once held in the market square, have long since finished. Bagshaw Hall overlooking the old market place, built in 1872 as the Odd Fellows Hall, with its giant pilasters and commanding position, certainly attracts attention. Opposite is the building that for a short period operated as Tideswell College after the closure of the Grammar School. On St. John’s Road is the Bishop Pursglove C.E. (Aided) Primary School and next to it, an immaculate sports centre catering for football, cricket, tennis and bowls.
Tideswell traditionally a home for craftsmen, now provides work for local people on its industrial estate. In addition, M Markovitz Ltd., established shortly after the Second World War, has opened an impressive kitchen, bedroom and bathroom centre now incorporating a stove, tile and cooker section.
At the other end of the village, even more surprisingly, is a piano and musical instrument showroom, established in 1983, that has on display over 50 pianos from all over the world. Add to that, a Fossilist and Petrifactioneer’s shop and it can be readily seen that Tideswell is full of surprises.
The village is renowned for its annual Well Dressings, which start on the Saturday nearest to the 24th June each year and continues for a week, with a carnival, parades and fun for all the family. Upholding the musical tradition of the village, Tideswell Male Voice Choir gives an annual concert in the church during the summer.
www.derbyshire-peakdistrict.co.uk is an independent, not for profit website.
No recommendation of any establishment is implied by inclusion on this website.
PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Freshfields Donkey Village (Tel. 01298 79775) off the A623 close to Peak Forest village The herd of donkeys have their own distinctive colours and range in size from Highland donkeys to Sicilian Miniatures, which when fully grown are only three foot tall. (Souvenir shop, free parking and tea gardens. Open daily from 1 April to 1 November 2005, from 10.30-4.30pm. Winter opening dependent on weather conditions.
Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club (Tel. 01298 871270) at Great Hucklow is a members 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, CD’s, cards and gifts at bargain prices. Refreshments available. Large car park. Open daily 9.30-5.30pm.
The George Hotel (Tel. 01298 871382) an 18th century coaching inn, dating back to 1730, which still provides excellent hospitality for travellers. Accommodation available. Meals available lunchtime and evenings except Sunday evening.
Vanilla Kitchen (Tel. 01298 871519) is a popular longstanding tea room, formerly known as ‘Hills’n’Dales.’ It is situated in what used to be a joiner’s shop. Accommodation is available. A good selection of meals available. Open Wednesday to Sunday 9-6pm.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
1. To return to the main site click the link below.
2. To return to the contents page of the main website click the link below.
This glorious walk takes you along picturesque dales, passed dark satanic mills, through woodland and lovely open countryside.
Soon after leaving Tideswell behind, you walk through peaceful Tideswell Dale with its abundance of wildlife and continue through the tranquil beauties of Miller’s Dale to Cressbrook Mill.
A climb up through woodland leads to an undulating walk through fields with distant views of Litton, returning to the starting point along quiet country lanes.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.