DERBYSHIRE VILLAGES – CURBAR
Curbar was originally part of the Duke of Rutland’s Estate until 1921. It is located about 5 miles north of Bakewell and situated on the eastern side of the river Derwent, spreading from beside the river up the steep hillside beneath the dramatic gritstone escarpment of Curbar Edge.
Curbar has many quaint little cottages and select houses which are positioned around the old Roman Road that climbs up through the rocks at a point known as Curbar Gap. Here there is a pay and display car park which provides access to the paths along the top of Curbar Edge, Froggatt Edge and Baslow Edge from where there are fabulous far reaching views over the Derwent Valley below and northwards toward The Dark Peak, with a glimpse of Kinder on a clear day.
The dramatic chain of Edges which flank the eastern boundary of the Peak District National Park were formed by glacial action in the last Ice Age some 20,000 years ago.
The old Roman Road through Curbar Gap later became an important packhorse route and provided a safe and accessible pathway through the Edges to Chesterfield. In 1759 the road was turnpiked and there is an old guide stoop by the side of the car park which dates from that time, although the lettering is now badly eroded having been exposed to the harsh winds and weather conditions which have whipped across the moors in the last 250 years.
Between Curbar Gap and Curbar village there are some interesting carved stones to be found close to the roadside, which have biblical references on them. This was done in the 19th century by Edwin Gregory who was a mole catcher for the Duke of Devonshire. He was a devout Wesleyan and evidently so grateful to recover from a serious illness that he carved on the stones as a form of thanksgiving.
Just above Curbar is a footpath across the fields to Baslow. About 300 yards along this path are the Cundy Graves. The Great Plague came to Curbar in the 17th century, although 30 years prior to the more famous Eyam Plague. The Cundy family were from nearby Grislowfield Farm and perished in 1632. It is not known who buried the family but Thomas and Ada Cundy together with their children Olive, Nellie and young Thomas each have a slab carved with their initials. Other Curbar plaque tombs can be found below the Wesleyan Reform Chapel further down the village.
A curiosity of Curbar is the tiny 17th century former lock-up which stands in a corner of the field not far from the Cundy Graves. Now converted into a little cottage or summer house, this little honey pot building has a conical roof and was used as a safe stronghold to keep prisoners securely overnight on route to distant gaols. In the Civil War prisoners were held in the Curbar lockup prior to being taken to Sheffield gaol. The property acquired a chimney in later years when it was converted into a dwelling and is said to have been inhabited until just prior to the Second World War.
In the centre of Curbar is an unusual covered well with round troughs surrounding it together with sunken millstones. This was Curbar’s main water supply until about 90 years ago.
Another feature of interest in Curbar is the village pinfold where stray stock would have been impounded, whilst awaiting collection by their owners.
Curbar has a church which is located down by the river at the side of the school which also serves Froggatt and Calver. All Saints was built in the 19th century.