Flagg is a linear upland village, surrounded by typical White Peak Scenery, set amid a patchwork of rich pasture enclosed by mile upon mile of drystone walls created from fossil enriched Limestone
The Peak Dry Stone Walling Contest was held every three years at Flagg. In August 1938 a dilapidated old wall close to Back o’ th’ Hill Farm was pulled down, and was the setting for the competition. Using both old and some new stone, competitors had to erect four and a half yards of wall to a height of fifty seven inches between the hours of 10am and 5pm. It is estimated that a skilled waller can build seven yards of wall in a day. A special section was held for wallers under 18 years of age, and to judge the walls, marks were awarded and a distinguished visitor was invited to present the prizes. On this occasion a remark was made in the speech: ‘If the walls of Jericho had been built by these competitions, they would not have fallen at the sound of the trumpet!’
It is reputed that Flagg is situated on the site of a Viking settlement, probably established due to the rich veins of lead ore in the area, the scars of which can still be seen. Turf cutting was another form of occupation, and it is thought that the name Flagg derives from a flag or sod or earth. In the Domesday Book the village was named Flagun.
Flagg Hall is situated at the top of an avenue of fabulous mature trees. It is thought to date back to the 16th century and had associations with the Dales and Fynnes, who were old Derbyshire families. The most noted resident of Flagg Hall however is the ‘haunted skull’ which is still said to be contained within. Legend has it that should this skull be removed or buried, great misfortune will befall the owners of the Hall. An attempt was made to bury the skull at Chelmorton many years ago, but when the funeral cortege neared the village, the horses refused to proceed and despite any encouragement by the coachman, they reared and stamped so much that he was forced to return the vehicle to the Hall, and the skull was replaced. The true identity of the skull is a mystery, although one theory is that a surgeon, who at one time lived at the Hall and practiced locally, obtained the skull from ‘resurrectionists’ for experimental reasons.
Flagg is surrounded by many wonderful paths and tracks, little wonder then that the Limestone Way walk passes straight through the village
Flagg Moor rises to 1,000 feet above sea level. This is the settling for Flagg races on Easter Tuesday. On a gentle rise which provides a natural grandstand, the cross country point to point is Derbyshire?s equivalent to the Grand National. It is said that King Edward VIII when Prince of Wales actually rode at Flagg Races!
Close by is the main A515 road which leads from Buxton to Ashbourne, a stretch of which was a former Roman Road. Here you will find the Bull i’ th’ Thorn public house which reputedly dates back to 1472 and was at one time an old coaching inn. Above the door is a carved oak sign depicting a bull caught in a thorn bush. It is said that in the 13th century many coaching inns and hostelries were being established and in order to keep a check on them, the law insisted that a pole be projected from an alehouse. Over the years these poles were transformed into signs. To distinguish and identify themselves, public houses gave themselves names, some of which are quite common such as the Red Lion or The Wheatsheaf, but occasionally more unusual names have cropped up, such as the Bull i’ th’ Thorn.
In one way Flagg is a ‘dry village’ as there is no longer a public house in the village, the Plough having closed its doors a few years ago.
Flagg remains traditional with several working farms. Sheep and cattle graze in meadows, and in summer farmers can be seen working well into the evening to harvest hay and silage. Twice daily the milk herds of Flagg farms can be seen trudging backwards and forwards to be milked. Driving along country lanes splattered with cow pats might be annoying, but it is acceptable in true rural villages such as Flagg ? it is the end of a farming community when fields become devoid of cows.
With a chapel, nursery school, village hall and tea rooms, Flagg has a community spirit that is hard to rival amongst other hill villages in the Peak District .