There are two Pilsleys in Derbyshire, the former mining village near to Clay Cross in North East Derbyshire and the Chatsworth Estate Village which this feature covers.
Pilsley is a pretty, unspoilt village with magnificent views over the Derwent Valley. It lies about one mile east of Chatsworth House, and with Edensor and Beeley makes up the three Chatsworth Estate villages. They tend to share facilities; Pilsley has the school and a pub, Edensor a church and institute and Beeley a church and a pub. Both pubs are called the Devonshire Arms, which can cause confusion at times.
The village is in a sheltered position and the limestone cottages are enriched by gardens full of colour, many of the occupiers having learned the craft in the gardens at Chatsworth House. Some describe it has a sleepy little village, but fail to take into account that the popular Chatsworth Farm Shop is located in Pilsley. It has been so successful further expansion of the Farm Shop has taken place, including an enlargement of the catering facilities.
The Stud Farm was built in 1910 by the ninth Duke of Devonshire to house the stallions for breeding the Shire Horses that worked on the estate. However, by the 1940s, tractors had replaced horses and the Stud farm lost its residents. A herd of Pedigree Jersey cattle was moved in and a milking parlour set up. A further change took place in 1977, when the Duchess of Devonshire opened The Farm Shop in the former Tack Room, selling beef and lamb from the estate. As the shop has become more successful, it has expanded to include a whole range of products and other shops and a café have been created in the courtyard.
In 1839, Paxton built the village school and some of the other houses in the village, but not the group near to the Devonshire Arms that were built more than a century earlier. Many of the houses round the green were constructed during the period when the sixth Duke of Devonshire was knocking down and rebuilding Edensor, out of sight of Chatsworth House. The inhabitants were found temporary accommodation at Pilsley and Beeley.
At the time the Trustees of the Chatsworth Estate were looking for accommodation for eight employees of the estate, they choose a piece of land on the west side of Pilsley containing derelict buildings. The position of the site enabled the compactness of the village to be maintained and additionally provided an opportunity to improve and enhance the appearance of green by closing in the end. In order that the cottages would harmonise with the rest of the village they were built in two blocks of four.
The widish High Street suddenly and surprisingly comes to an end and turns into a rough cart track by the accurately named Top House. Further on it divides into three pathways; the one going straight on is of the most historical significance, as this was the route used by packhorses carrying lead from Monyash bound for the North Sea. Pilsley was a stopping point, where fresh animals were substituted for the next section of the journey.
Almost all Pilsley’s population either works on, or used to work on the Chatsworth Estate - or holds a connection with the estate through a partner. The inhabitants have a wide range of skills as they have had the task of maintaining Chatsworth House and Gardens over the last 400 years. One craftsmen, an upholsterer, set up business in the village and when he outgrew his premises, the estate knocked down an old barn and built a new one, calling it Broome’s Barn after the tenant farmer who had farmed the land. The business still exists and under the name of Penrose Sofa Company and although the manufacturing now takes place in Sheffield, the excellently presented showrooms remain in the village.
The Devonshire Arms, a long narrow pub of pleasing appearance, is set in the old part of the village. It is a traditional country pub built about 300 years ago, popular with local people and visitors alike. Further up the street is the village post office and shop, the income from which is supplemented by the running of a bed and breakfast business, with the full approval of the Duke of Devonshire. The old chapel has been put to a variety of uses since services were discontinued, including acting as a village hall and school canteen.
Although it shares many social events with its neighbours, in mid July, Pilsley holds its own carnival and well dressings. Originally, well dressings were first started in the village in 1849, but were suspended by the Duke of Devonshire after a fight broke out between the men of the village and a gang of youths from Baslow. After a gap of about 50 years, the village’s well dressings were revived in 1968.
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 SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
Chatsworth House and gardens (Tel 01246 582204) stands in a deer park designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century with hills and woods. Visitors are free to wander in the magnificent parklands. Shop and restaurant facilities available. For full details of Chatsworth House, click here.
Edensor, a delightful estate village where the houses have been built in a variety of architectural styles that add to the appeal of what must be one of the most beautiful villages in England. Members of the Cavendish Family lie buried in the churchyard, as does Kathleen Kennedy, sister of the former President of the USA.
Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop (Tel. 01246 582204) situated at Pilsley one and a half miles from Chatsworth House, at what used to be the Stud Farm and later became a milking parlour. Then in 1977, the Duchess of Devonshire opened The Farm Shop in the former Tack Room, selling beef and lamb from the estate. As the shop has become more successful, it has expanded to include a whole range of products. Further expansion will take place during 2004. Open daily.
Devonshire Arms (Tel 01246 583258) built in about 1700, incorporating an oak beamed ceiling, thick stone walls and open fires it personifies the image of the traditional country pub. Home cooked food is served every lunchtime. From Thursday to Saturday, carvery meals are served in the evening. Accommodation.
Stud Farm Pantry (Tel 01246 582204) this smart little café at the Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop, will be relocated to larger premises within the same block of buildings in 2004, to try to help meet demand. Open daily, providing a good range of hot and cold food.
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.
An outstanding walk with excellent views and with Edensor, Chatsworth House and Baslow all on the route, this walk could take a considerable time to complete with so many fascinating places to explore.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.