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Hope Historical Society


new articleHope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

MAY 2017

Our May meeting was really ' home grown ' dealing with the history of Hope Methodist Chapel, a fascinating story told by our joint secretary, Martin Chapman whose family have been involved with the development of the Chapel for generations.

Martin's father, Edwin, wrote a history of the Methodists in Hope and the development of the Chapel.

In the 17th Century non conformists were known as Dissenters and would meet secretly for worship in private houses.

In the early 1800s with the start of the Methodists, a plot of land off Edale Road was purchased for £15 and an early Chapel was built with stone from Hope quarry. There were initially six trustees and this led to further enlargement of the building to accommodate the increasingly large Sunday school and primary school.

Later, more land was bought at the back of the Chapel, by now furnished with pitch pine pews and a further building was added at the back known as the tin roofed Sunday school. In successive years the Chapel was enlarged with a new porch and later still extended backwards to include the new Sunday school which is now used as the church hall with an intercommunicating door. There were classrooms around the hall- now the kitchen and chair store.


With the development of the Ladybower Dam, Ashopton Church donated a beautiful stained glass window which was incorporated into the rear wall of the hall in Hope, mostly hidden nowadays by the stage curtains.

Martin showed several photos of his family members and of other local families who had contributed to the development and function of the chapel, there being over 60 children at one point attending the Sunday school, he being one of them.

The lecture was illustrated by the organist who demonstrated the pipe organ bought for £200 from Birchfield where it had been installed as part of the music room by Mark Firth, in his country residence. Formerly pumped by hand, the instrument is now electrified.


A most interesting evening acknowledging the work and dedication of local families, descendants of which are still in the village and their enthusiasm in establishing a non conformist tradition in Hope. Many thanks to Martin and to Edwin, his late father, a member of this Society.


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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

APRIL 2017


Member’s night is always an interesting evening and this year we had two speakers with very different subjects. Hazel Watson showed a wealth of photographs taking us from the frozen wastes of Alaska to the Great Wall of China via Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and the Italian Lakes. On home ground we saw Derbyshire through the travels of the Monday walking group with views of Alport Castles, the Derwent reservoirs and Lathkill Dale amongst other lovely places. Gritstone boulders in weird shapes, wild flower meadows and sweeps of moorland made us realise what a special place we live in. Coffee stops featured regularly and the candid camera had caught walkers struggling through streams and falling over stiles and their dogs taking baths in village water troughs.

These same dogs were the subject of Rosemary Lake’s talk. She has a great love for the Briard dog and has owned several of the breed. We were introduced to a very well-behaved Freddy and learned the history of his forebears. They originally came from the Brie region of France in the C8th and were herding dogs. They are large dogs, either black or fawn in colour and they came to particular prominence in the First World War where they acted as messengers, first aid and rescue dogs in the trenches in France and Belgium. They were also used at customs posts in France, but after the war it was feared the breed would become extinct as there were so few left. Fortunately the American soldiers had taken a shine to them and took them back home where they flourished and eventually spread to Ireland and Britain. In spite of their size they are gentle with children, but eager and playful, as those who have walked with Freddy can verify.

We are most grateful to Hazel, Rosemary (and Freddy) for giving us such an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 9th May when we will meet in Hope Methodist Chapel for a talk on the building and its history by Martin Chapman. Two summer meetings are planned, and we are preparing for our Wakes Week exhibition in St Peter’s church.


Ann Price.

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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

MARCH 2017

Our March meeting gave us a fascinating insight to Scribbles, Scorches, Graffiti and Scratches to be found in ancient buildings and this is obviously a gripping hobby for our speaker, Andy Bentham.

In a large collection of photographs we looked at marks on woodwork, stonework and rafters in and on old houses, churches and also those found on moorland rocks.

Masons' marks were quite understandable; where the mason cutting stone in a work yard would mark size and indicate where the stone had to be placed and later when in place, the stone would be marked with the personal mark of the Mason, which could then be added to his other marked stone to show how much he had worked and, to the Master Mason, how much he should be paid.

On rafters of houses and in churches, lines cut into the wood at joins and in purlings would indicate where the separately prepared pieces should be jointed. These marks were usually two or three parallel lines on each piece.

More strange still were the numerous photographs of graffiti, particularly those found in churches. Many designs on the backs of pews were dated and named by the 'artist' and it was clearly quite acceptable for such carving to take place on the woodwork. Maybe they were drawn during a lengthy sermon or at a commemoration. Some from the time of WW1 were poignant. in their message. One could see the outline of a preacher in clerical dress in one particularly complicated sketch ( ? a boring, long sermon ! ).

The very common mark, made on both wood and stone, was a series of circles with concentric arcs which, with no known explanation, gave the impression of a flower. These were found by our speaker widely spread over the huge area of the country which he has examined and photographed. They were obviously communicated from generations of masons to their successors. An explanation for these marks may be that they were to discourage witches and diseases from entering the area of the buildings and thus protect both them and the people. A common mark was a double M ( ? Maria ) or VV, often overlapping – again of uncertain significance.

Scorch marks on woodwork were also common, usually vertical there was evidence of scraping after the burning of the wood which would have been done by a heated iron most probably. Other artefacts were found hidden in buildings with similar probable intentions.

There is a door in Hope Church which has been scorched and similar marks are to be found in Bakewell Museum.

I wonder whether this was a forerunner of the 'makers mark' which one sees on old furniture as in the case of ' Mousey Thompson' whose mark of carved mice is still used and examples of which may also be seen in Hope Church.


Our grateful thanks to Andy Bentham for a super presentation of a most unusual and unique history.


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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

February 2017

The title of our February meeting ' The Rise and Fall of Snuff ' was not meant to convey the effect of the inhalation of snuff and its subsequent effect ! Expertly given by Dr Steve Brennan, a respiratory physician with long experience of tobacco and its effects, the capacity audience were given the history of snuff taking and its preparation going back many generations in this country and abroad.

In the 16th Century tobacco leaves were stripped, after drying, until only the ribs remained and these were then ground into a powder with mortar and pestle. The resulting powder could then be inhaled into the nostrils which gave the 'fix' now associated with smoking tobacco. The grinding was first done in Brazil in rosewood bowls which imparted an aroma to the powder.

During this time it was suggested that snuff was a therapeutic substance and could be used to improve several illnesses. Nicot a French physician called it a panacea and Catherine de Medici found it cured her headaches and it thus became popular in French nobility. Around this time snuff became an expensive commodity and was introduced to North America.

Its ' antiseptic' qualities led to its use after the Plague in London ( 1665 ).

Its peak use in England was in the 18th Century when blending was common with additives to alter the aroma. Napoleon, Nelson and Marie Antoinette were snuff users and it distinguished the users from tobacco smokers.

There followed a prolific trade in the production of snuff boxes of all materials, some of which were very expensive and highly decorated. After a decline, snuff is now 'on the up' as folk stop smoking.

Many of the early manufacturers in England have now been taken over by tobacco companies but there are 6 remaining firms, one of which, Wilsons,is still based in Sharrow, Sheffield.

A wonderful and amusing presentation, thanks Steve very............AAAAAATISHOO.

James Burton

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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

November 2016

In these days we may think that we lead busy and complicated lives but they cannot match the complexity of that of Arbella Stuart, as described by David Templeman at our November meeting !

Born in 1575 and baptised in Edensor, she was the only child of Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox and Elizabeth Cavendish ( daughter of Sir Wm Cavendish and Elizabeth Talbot Countess of Shrewsbury – Bess of Hardwick ).

Arbella's father died when she was an infant. Her paternal grandfather's other son was Lord Darnley, who became the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and father of King James I.

Arbella was brought up by her mother who lived with Bess of Hardwick ( her grandmother). The child came under the protection of Queen Elizabeth I on the death of her mother in 1572 and was made a ward of her grandmother, Bess of Hardwick.. The latter had married for the 4th time, to the Earl of Shrewsbury, George Talbot.

The child was brought up believing that she would become the next Queen of England, she was addressed as 'your highness' and treated like royalty. Her aunt was Mary , Queen of Scots and they grew fond of each other until the Queen discovered Bess's plans for her inheritance.

Relationships between Bess, Arbella and Queen Elizabeth deteriorated and Arbella refused to eat and was thought to be insane ( ? Porphyria ).

In 1603 James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth. There followed a turbulent time with imprisonment in the Tower of London, release and a secret marriage to Wm Seymour. She dressed as a man and escaped to France, followed by Seymour in the next boat. They never met and she was returned to the Tower where she died of starvation in 1615, never seeing her husband again.

She was buried in Westminster Abbey, her lead coffin placed on top of that of Mary Queen of Scots !

A complicated tale of a complex life played out in our neighbourhood by such ambitious, rich and unhappy people, but most ably described by our speaker, for which , our thanks.






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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.


It is not often that Hope Historical Society bursts into song but this was certainly the case at our last meeting when Ann Featherstone gave us a lively account of Victorian and Edwardian music halls together with the stars and the songs they sang.

She described how it all first started in local pubs as landlords realised that people drank more after an entertainment was provided. As singing became more popular it became necessary to move to larger premises and eventually to purpose built theatres. This was entertainment for the working classes and the acts and songs were derived from their concerns and expectations and their way of life.

The stars of the music hall were not always working class. They came from different backgrounds but most of them had a signature song by which they became famous. Billy Ross was one of the earliest stars and in his act he portrayed a criminal about to be hung and in the many verses of his song vented his spleen on the public in general. George Leybourne sang of quaffing champagne in his character as Champagne Charlie. At the other end of the scale was “Burlington Bertie from Bow”, both singing of the aspirations of their hearers to improve their lives and join the monied classes. Marie Lloyd sang of a moonlight flit because “the rent they could not pay” – a situation familiar to many of her listeners.

Another popular music hall act was provided by women such as Vesta Tilley who dressed impeccably as a male and sang songs purporting to be from a young man – such as “Following the dear old Dad”. She did not deepen her voice to that of a man but even so she had a big following amongst young women.

Many of the songs were full of innuendo, and the cockney slang and meanings would have been fully understood and enjoyed by the listeners of the time. We joined in more sedately and sang of “the boy we loved up in the gallery”, and “dillied and dallied” behind the van, though we all managed to find our way home! Ann Featherstone provided us with a very enjoyable evening.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th November when David Templeman will be telling us the tragic story of Arbella of Hardwick


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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.


Outlaws in the Royal Forest of the Peak;

Our initial meeting of the new session had a later start than usual due to a tremendous thunder storm but eventually was attended by a large number of members.

Stephen Cliffe demonstrated a bow and arrow such as would have been used in medieval times, the bow being usually made of yew wood and as long as the height of the hunter.  The detachable arrow heads were of two types, one with a barb, the other pointed like a cone.  They were used to kill animals like boar and deer which roamed the forest and enabled the arrow to be retrieved but left the arrow head in situ.

The area of the Peak Forest actually included large areas of grassland without trees, the whole area belonging to the King.  The son of William the Conqueror was a Peveril and built Peveril castle at Castleton in the 1100's  for the protection of the area.  He also built the castle at Nottingham.

Outlaws and hunters roaming the forest were many and our speaker named several names of local families who names persist in the area today including Eyre, Woodroffe and Burton to name but three.
We moved on to hear about Robin Hood and the seven foot bow that hung in Hathersage Church which was thought to have belonged to Little John, who is buried in the churchyard.  The size of the bow supported the view of the height of Little John and there was apparently an examination of a thigh bone from that grave which would agree with an overall height of about seven feet for the deceased.

A good start to our new season, albeit a wet one.


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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

APRIL 2016

Our members' evening, as always, gave fascinating insights to personal experiences or interests.

Janet Herridge spoke of her Rite of Passage, when as a teenager in the 1950s, she and a friend borrowed a skiff and sailed along a canal in Berkshire for a week, sleeping under a canvass cover to the boat having moored overnight on the canal. They negotiated locks and rowed their way without adult accompaniment. They returned home after a week, having achieved their Rite of Passage in a somewhat different era to that of today!

Sue Hargreaves during WW2, at the age of 3 yrs was sent from North London to family in Norfolk in order to avoid enemy action. She arrived at a family farm and described a relaxed and enjoyable childhood especially helping with harvest which was mainly carried out by Land Girls whilst the labourers were away serving in the forces. We saw pictures of her on hay ricks and tractors without any expression of Health and Safety! Sue explained the method of harvesting and cutting the corn to enable the hidden rabbits to line alongside a remaining edge of corn whereupon men would appear with guns to enable the local population to have a supply of meat for a rabbit stew, such a luxury in war-time.

Tricia Brennan spoke of her research into bygone days at Fulwood and Carbrook Schools in Sheffield. Fulwood School was established in 1870 when Government determined that boys should be taught to read, write and do arithmetic. Girls joined later.

Predominantly children of farmers, they attended sporadically due to family pressures and particularly illness due to infections, or the need for them to help with farming or house keeping and other child care.

School records showed very strict discipline with frequent use of physical punishment. The girls were taught how to sew, darn and make garments. Attendance at school was particularly affected by bad weather and poor road conditions in the area.

A most interesting meeting and our thanks to the three speakers.


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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

MARCH 2016

Listening to a recent Parliamentary debate, it was reassuring to hear of the provision in prisons for mentally ill and physically disabled prisoners nowadays. Such was not always the case in earlier detention institutions.

Richard Papworth, a Prison Officer and later Governor spoke at our March meeting describing the first English prisons dating from the 12th century. They were overcrowded, torturous places where incarceration was the remedy for relatively minor offences. Later developments were slow to improve the plight of inmates , later the deportations must have been some relief, though this was usually accompanied by hard labour and away from family, who were never seen again.

Many Prison Reformers and reformations were described but on questioning, our speaker took the view that still, much needed to be done to improve the life prospects of inmates where drugs, firearms and weapons were still able to be brought into cells. There was still overcrowding and inadequate resources for rehabilitation; prisons still remaining areas for punishment with little prospect of changing the life chances of their inmates for the better.


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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.


At our February meeting John Talbot, whose ”Stories from the Archives” have appeared regularly in the Parish News, gave the Society an intriguing insight into the lives of men and women in Hope between 1540 and the Civil War in 1640, based on his work on the wills and inventories of local people. He pointed out what a turbulent time this was with Protestantism being firmly established in Edward VI’s reign only to be overturned by Mary trying to restore Catholicism and that the reigns of Elizabeth, James and Charles I were full of plots and counter plots culminating in the beheading of Charles I. None of this showed in the wills, inventories and letters of administration of Hope residents.

However, there were clues within the documents which helped to build a picture of life in Hope at this time.

During the hundred years in question it was surprising how few people made wills or for whom inventories were written. There were no large land owners in Hope and no one with much to leave in the way of goods, cattle and chattels. The inventories gave a picture of an agrarian society with most people having at least one cow and possibly a pig and a couple of sheep, though one or two had flocks of sheep grazing on the common land on the local hills. Few crops were grown as the lower slopes were too wet for much husbandry. One or two people had oxen for ploughing and ploughs and harrows were listed. It is possible that both oxen and ploughs would be used communally.

Inventories gave not only a list of the furniture and farm animals and implements, but also lists of debts both owed to and owed by the deceased. One widow, Elizabeth Saunderson had no debts of her own but over forty people were listed as owing money to her. Was this an early form of village banking?

During this time there were several periods of famine often going in four year cycles. Plague and illness was also prevalent – in 1636 there was an outbreak of “hives with blisters” – smallpox - which killed many children and others.

The overall picture given by the contents of these documents suggests that Hope was a poor farming community struggling to survive with little recourse to lead mining or other major sources of wealth.

Our thanks to John for opening up for us this window into the past - part of the endless fascination of researching Hope’s history.

Ann Price.

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Hope Historical Society Chairperson's Report.

November 2015


I suspect most folk in the audience for our November meeting felt they knew something about the removal of criminals from England to Australia by ship, but were surprised to learn of the details given to us by our speaker, John Bennett.

We heard descriptions of the crimes, many by children such as stealing, which nowadays would be regarded as 'petty theft' or women guilty of the same, for which the punishment was 'Transportation'. This meant the prisoners tried by a court were sent to a holding hulk in a ship before its eight month journey to Australia ( Sydney ) or Tasmania ( Hobart and Launceston ). Their sentence could be for seven years or so but for the adults, if they were of good behaviour, they could be assigned to a family to work as an assistant. They may eventually be pardoned, but even then , many were not allowed to return to England, or if they were, they had to pay their own fare home. They were housed in camps and the men spent their time digging roads and farming. Pregnancy was common and a nursery area was created, some gave birth during the voyages. Several individual cases were described and their histories given in detail from newspaper reports.

Many stole because of extreme poverty and subsequently found a better life in Australia, so stayed.

The speaker discovered a family member from Derbyshire who had been Transported and tracked the history from local papers.

Modern photographs showed the remains of prison buildings in Tasmania, now World Heritage Sites and some of the 19th Century elegant government buildings erected by prisoners, many of whom were masons and had obvious building skills.

What stiff and frightening penalties were enforced by our legal system in the 18th and 19th Centuries!


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