Hassop is a small hamlet about 3 miles from Bakewell , dominated by Hassop Hall which is now a luxurious country house hotel. The Estate of Hassop has the most fascinating and interesting history, having passed through only six families in its 900 year history. On occasion though there have been disputes as to its true ownership. In one dispute legend has it that a talking beech tree supposedly pronounced that it would not be quiet until the authentic heir took over the Hassop Estate! In the early 1880’s Gladwin Cloves Cave travelled from Australia and took forcible possession of Hassop Hall, his claim was based on the validity of a will written by Dorothy Leslie, nee Eyre on her deathbed. The Courts went against him though and he was evicted.
In the Civil War Hassop Hall was a garrison for the Royalist troops when Colonel Thomas Eyre, the then owner, raised an army of soldiers and fought hand-in-hand with Cromwell at Edgehill. He was distinguished in battle at Welbeck and the siege at Newark before going on to fight at Naseby. He was taken prisoner near Derby
and died in 1645 of his wounds and neglect whilst being held prisoner at Derby gaol.
The Hassop Estate was first recorded as belonging to the Foljambes. In 1399 in the reign of Richard II, an infant heiress of the Hassop Estate became a ward of the King and was sold to Sir John Leake before being sold again for a profit to Sir William Plumpton. When only a year old her future marriage was arranged with his son! In 1498 the Estate was bought by a member of the Eyre family of Padley, their memorials can be seen in nearby Great Longstone church. In 1580 the house itself was greatly enlarged and a tax assessment of 1670 rated the house on 20 hearths. Some of this early building remains, but the majority of the Hall was rebuilt in 1774 using profits from the local lead mines owned by the Eyre family. It was altered again in 1827. In 1852 Hassop passed to the aforementioned Dorothy Leslie but she died a year later and it then came into the ownership of her husband Colonel Charles Leslie. In 1919 Hassop Hall was bought by Colonel H. K. Stephenson but then sold again in 1975 to Thomas H Chapman who converted it into the country house hotel that it remains to this day.
Impressive wrought iron gates mark the entrance of the drive to Hassop Hall which were designed by John Gardom of Baslow. Opposite these is the classical Roman Catholic Church of All Saints which was built in 1816 by Joseph Ireland. It is said to be modelled on St Paul’s at Covent Garden which was designed by Inigo Jones. Stone from a quarry at Baslow was brought to construct the church using the 1765 turnpike road, when toll charges amounted to £10. A secret passageway is said to exist which links the Church with the Hall.
On a bend in the road below the entrance gates to Hassop Hall is the Dower House of 1580, part of which once served as the village post office, but the building was separated and sold in 1988 as prestige dwellings. This road eventually leads to Hassop Station which is over a mile from the village. The Midland Railway line was closed in 1968, and the station building and goods yard are now occupied by the Country Book Store with the former railway line being the popular Monsal Trail.
Also within the hamlet of Hassop is the Eyre Arms public house. Interestingly the Eyre family arms have a single leg as a feature. It is reputed that whilst in battle, William the Conqueror fell from his horse and was winded. A man called Truelove removed the King’s helmet to help him to breath. The King asked his name and when told he replied “True love thou hast shown me but henceforth thy name shall be Eyre for thou hast given me air”. Later in the battle Truelove/Eyre lost a leg and his single remaining leg was then adopted as the family crest.
The land around Hassop has been exploited for centuries for its valuable minerals, being mainly lead and fluorspar, although chert was extremely important with vast quantities being transported by packhorse trains over the hills to Staffordshire where it was used in the pottery making industry.
Deep Rake on Longstone edge, just a short distance from Hassop was originally mined for lead but later provided fluorspar used as flux for steel making among its many uses. Over to the north is Sallet Hole mine which in its heyday produced some 200,000 tons of fluorspar a year for Laporte Industries. It is situated at the top of Coombs Dale which contains an 18th century drainage level or sough. Many of the disused lead mines around Hassop have strange or unusual names including the Strawberry Lees Vein, Old Ralph Vein, Harry Bruce Mine, Brandy Bottle Vein and Cackle Mackle Mine.