Sitting on a hilltop high above the village of South Wingfield are the ruins of Wingfield Manor. Built by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, treasurer to Henry VI, on the site of a former castle. Work started in 1439 and continued until Cromwell's death in 1456. The mansion was designed to hold Cromwell's large household and to be sufficiently prestigious for Royal visits.
Two courtyards were built one behind the other and enclosed by buildings. The visitor went through both courtyards before reaching the most impressive part of the building, the great hall and the lord's private apartments. Under the hall is a large vaulted undercroft with carvings of angels, the green man, and decorative motifs. There is a high tower at the courtyard intersection, where fine views reward a climb of one hundred and eleven, uneven steps up a spiral staircase.
Cromwell had no heirs and after his death and Wingfield Manor passed to the Earls of Shrewsbury. The sixth Earl had one very distinguished guest, in that he was charged with guarding Mary, Queen of Scots who stayed at Wingfield several times as she was moved round various places of imprisonment. Her suite of apartments was traditionally on the west side of the north court, which is remembered as the most beautiful part of the building.
During the Civil War, the manor was first in the hands of the Royalists, but it was besieged by the forces of Lord Grey of Groby and Sir John Gell of Hopton and eventually captured on behalf of the Parliamentarians. The marks made by cannon shot can still be seen to this day. The tower was partially destroyed by the Parliamentarians to prevent it possibly being used against them in the future.
Wingfield Manor is now in the hands of English Heritage and is open from April to September for pre-booked guided tours on the first Saturday of each month. For further information contact the Head of Visitor Operations on 01246 857436 during office hours.
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The impressive ruins of a huge country mansion where Mary, Queen of Scots was once imprisoned. It is now in the care of English Heritage. Open from April to September for pre-booked guided tours on the first Saturday of each month.
For further information contact the Head of Visitor Operations on 01246 857436 during office hours. Roadside parking is available, in a lay-by 150 yards from the entrance to the path to Wingfield Manor.
PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Heage Windmill (Tel. 01773 853579 - when mill closed telephone 01773 853136) a Grade II listed building, is the only working, stone-towered, multi-sailed windmill in England. Spectacular views across the Derwent Valley. Visitor Centre and shop. Light refreshments. Normally open every Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday from 31 March to the end of October 2007. See feature.
Crich Tramway Village (Tel. 01773 852565) boasts a large array of vintage trams from all over the world. Unlimited rides through a period street to stunning views of the Derwent Valley. For further information see the special feature.
Crich Stand (Tel. 01773 852350) is open all year, there is a short walk available round the site and seating and a car park are provided. A pilgrimage takes place on the first Sunday of July each year for a memorial service. See feature.
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.
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