It is hard to find a more attractive, less spoilt village in the whole of the Peak District. It also is surprisingly quiet as it is situated on an unclassified loop road and at weekend’s walkers often out number motorists. The spaciously laid out main street is lined by pretty limestone cottages, mostly re-built in the 1820s by Thomas Bateman.
The village is only a short distance from one of Derbyshire’s loveliest dales and is surrounded by excellent walking country. A track leads from the village down to Bradford Dale with its six pools of crystal clear water, which reflect the shadows of the mature trees along the steep sided dale. A view of which J B Frith described as “for peaceful loveliness and sheer prettiness nothing in Derbyshire excels it”.
At the top of the dale, Sir Christopher Fulwood was shot, later dying from his injuries, after his attempt to hide in a crevice in the cliff, was discovered by Roundhead soldiers. An ardent Royalist, Sir Christopher, had raised an army of lead miners to fight in the Civil War, when he was surprised by the soldiers and fled from his home. His fortified manor house, known as Middleton Castle, was never again occupied. Much of the stone was used in the construction of Castle Farm and other buildings around the village. All that remains is a mound in the field opposite Chapel House.
At the end of the 18th century, Thomas Bateman, whose main family home was at Hartington Hall, acquired Middleton Hall and the accompanying estate. He was a merchant during the American War and attended a meeting in Manchester to discuss the shortage of cotton. He reputedly overheard someone say that four ships laden with cotton were due in the Mersey. Leaving his hat behind to avert suspicion, he left the meeting and hurried to Liverpool and bought the complete cargo, making himself a rich man.
Bateman rebuilt Middleton Hall and the rest of the village, and being a staunch non-conformist had the Congregational Chapel erected in 1826. It is now a private house, past which a footpath leads to the elaborate tomb of his grandson who bears the same name.
Following the early death of his parents, the younger Bateman was brought up by his grandfather at Middleton Hall. He later became a famous archaeologist, who together with his son, William, excavated numerous barrows mainly in Derbyshire and above the Manifold Valley, in Staffordshire.
In total, Bateman excavated over 500 barrows in 20 years, the most prolific year of which was 1845, when 38 barrows were dug. By this time he was living at Lomberdale Hall and had acquired a large collection of artefacts, which were transferred to West Park Museum in Sheffield, on his premature death at the age of 39, in 1861. A fortnight prior to his death, he had published, “Ten Years Digging”, containing detailed notes on some of the excavations.
There used to be both a shop and pub in the village. The shop closed over 50 years ago and Bateman’s Arms, now the Square House, closed nearly a century ago. It only had a six day licence and was seen open one Sunday, apparently by Mrs Waterhouse, returning from the church to the hall. Shortly afterwards it lost its licence. Although you cannot buy food or refreshment in Middleton, you can purchase a landscape painting from Diane Kettle’s Backyard, Working Fine Art Studio, where walkers are welcome to call in to view and enroll for art course if they have time!
The parish church and the village hall are at opposite ends of the village and in middle by the small recreation ground is an unusual war memorial. It takes the form of a bronze plaque, which was erected in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It depicts a Wellington Bomber, which crashed at nearby Smerrill on 21st January 1944, killing six Royal Australian Air Force crew members.
In 1977, Middleton-by-Youlgreave produced its first well dressing in living memory, in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Since then annual well dressings have become established on the last Saturday in May before the Spring Bank Holiday, when other supporting events also take place. The dressings remain on view the following week for the enjoyment of visitors.
Middleton seems a great place to visit if you want to get away from the stresses of modern day life. But beware everything may not be quite as it appears; from the front door of one house sometimes hangs a notice saying “forget the dog, beware of the kids”. This certainly makes a humorous change from the more usual type of Beware of the Dog notices.
www.derbyshire-peakdistrict.co.uk is an independent, not for profit website.
No recommendation of any establishment is implied by inclusion on this website.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Arbor Low Stone Circle is a huge stone circle, which consists of a ring of stones surrounded by a grass bank and a ditch. No one knows for certain if the stones originally stood upright.
Bakewell Old House Museum: (Tel 01629 813642) built in Henry VIII’s reign, this splendid little museum is packed with interesting exhibits. The museum recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary. For full opening details please ring or visit website.
Haddon Hall (Tel 01629 812855) is perhaps the most perfect example of a medieval manor house in the country. The gardens are a delight and believed to be the most romantic in Britain, being the setting for the elopement of Dorothy Vernon and John Manners. Contact for opening details.
Bull’s Head (Tel. 01629 636307) is a large attractive old pub, situated in the centre of Youlgreave. Full range of meals served at lunchtime and in the evenings. There is some outside seating at the front and in the courtyard. Accommodation is available.
The Old Smithy (Tel 01629 810190) at Monyash was formerly a Blacksmith's shop, which has been converted into a very popular cafe. Musical instruments adorn the walls. Bistro evenings take place most Saturdays – telephone for details. The café is now licensed. There is seating outside by the green. Open daily weekdays from 10am, weekends from 9am.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
1. To return to the main site click the link below.
2. To return to the contents page of the main website click the link below.
A special new sub-section has been added to this website, based on the Discover Derby Supplement, published by the Derby Evening Telegraph during March 2005. The most recent additions are:
Click below for details.
Much of this delightful walk is along the banks of the Lathkill and Bradford; both of these rivers flowing entirely through limestone country are famous for the purity of their water.
After leaving Middleton and walking along Bradford Dale for a stretch, the walk soon takes you into the pretty village of Youlgreave. Leaving the village behind, you
soon reach Lathkill Dale, which is well known for its aquatic life. Trout may be seen in the river and the bank sides teem with wildlife.
The walk along Bradford Dale not only provides an opportunity to admire the scenery, but also to note the varying styles of bridges across the river and to gaze into the crystal clear fish pools as you near Middleton.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.