“ Derbyshire „
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A while back I wrote a review about the quaint Derbyshire tradition of well dressing and Tissington is one of the many villages that take part in well dressing and as they have six wells which is far more than the usual one or two wells it is a very popular village to visit to see this custom. Some say Well Dressing began in Tissington in 1340. Tissington Annual Well Dressing Festival is always for seven days from Ascension Day and is one of the earlier festivals. The tradition is supposed to have begun as a thanksgiving for the supply of pure water to the village. As I said lots of villages in Derbyshire have well dressing ceremonies but Tissington is probably the most famous and I believe the earliest in the year.
Tissington is just off the main Buxton to Ashbourne A515 road about four miles out of Ashbourne not long after the turn to Dovedale and before you get to Alsop en le Dale village and Alsop station where you can park and access the Tissington trail. This trail is the former railway line, long closed between Buxton and Ashbourne which is now a walking, riding cycling track very popular with visitors and indeed many who live in the area too.
As you see the sign to Tissington you go through some iron gates and over a cattle grid along a narrow lane between an avenue of lime trees which leads to the village which was first settled in Saxon times. As you enter the village there are places to park but there are some restrictions so in order to keep the village looking nice so find the pay and display car park is my best advice, it is signed. Once there you will also find a public toilet which is handy to know, as well as a small shop and a cycle hire place in the main tourist season. This was the site of the old railway station in the village now a visitor's information point for the village and the cycle trail.
As you drive alone the lane into the village on either side it is possible to still see evidence of early ridge and furrow farming methods Tissington is in the Domesday survey of 1086 when it was the property of Henry de Ferrers and at that time it had a population of about 100, strangely only slightly fewer than today.
Around 1500 Nicholas FitzHerbert of Somersal married Cecily Franceys whose family owned half of it the village and then Elizabethan times, his grandson Francis FitzHerbert bought the other half the estate from the Cockaynes. So this little village has been the property of the present owners, the Fitzherberts for a good many years now.
The village is beautifully kept and is like a model village with the hall centrally located in the village. The present hall was began in 1609 during the reign of James 1st and this replaced an earlier Elizabethan house which had actually been on the other side of the road next to the church.
During the Civil War Tissington was garrisoned by Colonel FitzHerbert in support of the King. Today the Hall is open to the public at certain times during the summer months and it is was granted a civil license by Derbyshire County Council in February 2003 so make a rather different sort of place for a weding ceremony.
As you approach the hall you are greeted by a wall with an impressive central gateway. The whole roof is hidden by a parapet and on the top and several rather ornate chimneys and the FitzHerbert coat of arms is set above the two-storey porch . It is affine looking building, not overly huge but impressive with attractive gardens. These terraced gardens were created in 1913 and if you turn your back to the hall you see what lovely views they have over the countryside and over the banks of the little brook to the Parish Church of St Mary's.
I have never been inside the hall as they have only recently begun to open it to the public but I understand that it is worth a visit for its carved wooden staircase alone.
St.Mary's church in the village is very like the one in Shirley village with a the square Norman tower . The church does in fact date back to Norman times and is evident inside despite being restored in 1854. It has a double decker pulpit which is pretty unusual, a Norman font and as you might expect many monuments to the Fitzherbert family.
The stream runs the length of the village street, most of the time it is under a culvert but it appears near the Hall Well opposite the hall and runs past the church and on down to the village pond beside the old schoolhouse. On the pond most days you can find many ducks who are more than happy to share your picnic bread scraps
Down near the pond is the present nursery or `Tissington Kindergarten' and above the doorway the carved initials of Frances Fitzherbert can be seen as well.
Behind the village pond the Old Kitchen Gardens are now Tissington Nursery from here you can buy a number of plants including some quite unusual ones.
Since the village does quite well out of the tourists visiting the award winning Old Coach House Tea Rooms have become very popular and sitting here gives a nice view down the village.
Personally I like the lovely Candle Workshop at Yew Tree Cottage selling 'On a wick and a prayer' candles and the little shop that sells a huge variety of gifts and novelties further up the village.
There are local other tea rooms at a local farm, Basset Wood farm where you can also stay if visiting from further afield. For children there are pets in a paddock which my granddaughter enjoys visiting.
If farm fresh meat is something you appreciate then the Old Slaughterhouse on Chapel Lane used to supply local butchers in the villages and towns nearby. Since 1984 it has been a butchers and `White Peak Farm Butchery' who supplies meat not only to high class local establishments throughout the county, but also to a chain of top London restaurants.
One of my favourite tea rooms is next to the village duckpond as we do spend a fair bit of time feeding the ducks it makes a great place to refuel the humans before walking on with the children.
For anyone wanting to visit this year 2013 then Well-Dressing week is Thursday 9th May -Wednesday 15 May at 5pm.
For those wanting to visit the Hall it will be open Monday 13th to !7th May. Then from Mon 22 July to Thursday 22 August between 12-3pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
The Hall will also be open on Monday 26 August between 12-3pm in aid of the National Gardens Scheme Entrance to the Hall is free on that day for HHA Friends on that day but there is a charge for the gardens for the NGS Charity.
If you are anywhere in the area then a visit to this lovely little village will certainly not disappoint you. If you go out of the village through the other direction, not back onto the A515 then you can drive through an old ford which always used to thrill my kids when they were young. We also enjoyed many a family picnic on the banks of the river just beside the ford and the children would paddle in the summer in the river.
Thanks for reading and hope this has been of some interest. This review may be posted on other sites under my same username.