Tideswell History

Tideswell is a large, ancient village situated in Derbyshire and the Peak District, 6 miles east of Buxton, off the B6049, in a wide dry valley on a limestone plateau, at an altitude of over 1000ft.

Tideswell dates back earlier than Roman times and at Domesday it was part of the enormous parish of Hope but in 1207 it was granted to Thomas Armiger and in 1251, a market charter. It became a thriving market town selling local produce, and held 5 important fairs a year. The town also became a principal market for wool and lead and rapidly grew in prosperity and population.

The markets are no more, but the towns prosperity at the time is reflected by its magnificent church, dedicated to St John the Baptist and often referred to as the cathedral of the Peak, which was started and completed in the 14th century. It a cruciform building in Decorated style with a Perp, pinnacled tower built later. It stands as a land mark for miles around and has remained relatively unaltered since. The high aisled and clerestoried nave is linked to the tower by a great arch and its beautifully proportioned unaisled chancel has tall traceried windows of clear glass, giving rise to a description of it as ‘ one gallery of light and beauty’.

The builder of the church was probably Sir John Foljambe, of a prominent local landowning family, whose brass is in the sanctuary. Another splendid brass is of the Bishop Robert Pursglove, a Tideswell man and benefactor of the village, who founded the grammer school in 1569. THe school was closed in 1927. Many of the wooden carvings in the church are by the Hunstone family, woodcarvers of repute for 3 generations. Buried here is William Newton, the utilitarian manager of Cressbrook Mill and a poet, known as the Minstrel of the Peak.

The textile industry came into prominance here in the 19th century and was one of the first villages in The Peak District when the nearby mills of Cressbrook and Litton were producing cotton and small factories at Tideswell itself were involved in the hand weaving of silk scarves and handkerchiefs for the Macclesfield silk industry.

Tideswell Dale, which leads down to Litton Mill, is a Derbyshire Wildlife Nature Reserve, noted for some beautiful are flowers. Tideswell makes an ideal base for walking and climbing, with water sports within easy reach. It is well known for its annual Well Dressing, which starts on the Saturday nearest to the 24th June, this being John the Baptist day, and continues for a week with carnivals, parades and fun for the whole family.

The Tideswell community has protected and preserved all aspects of its rural heritage. It won the Derbyshire best kept village award in 1999, and also won the Eat Midlands Region Britain in bloom contest in 1994, 1995 and in 1997.