Tissington is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt villages not only in Derbyshire but in the whole of the country. The entrance used by most visitors off the main Ashbourne to Buxton road, through large rusticated lodge gates.
An avenue of 200 year old lime trees, immediately creates an air of expectancy. Surprisingly this fine approach does not lead directly to Tissington Hall, but the village itself. Neat well tended gardens and limestone cottages, behind wide grass verges and backed by mature trees, give a feeling of peace and tranquillity. No planner designed it; the beauty of the village is the result of evolution.
Since the reign of Elizabeth I, the FitzHerbert family have managed the village, most of it having been rebuilt between 1830 and 1860 in traditional local style. The home of the FitzHerberts is an elegant Jacobean Manor, which stands just back from the main street behind a walled garden. The wall is broken only by a handsome 17th century gateway with wrought iron gates by the famous Derbyshire blacksmith, Robert Bakewell. The gateway was taken down and rebuilt in the 1950s because it was ten inches out of plumb!
Built in 1609 by Francis FitzHerbert, the house has been much extended by his descendants. It replaced an earlier hall, which stood on the opposite side of the road within the confines of an ancient Derbyshire Hill fort.
It has not always been peaceful in Tissington, as during the Civil War it was the site of a skirmish between royalists and parliamentarians. The FitzHerberts supported the Royalist cause and the family were lucky to escape the destruction of their home, the punishment meted out to many royalists by the supporters of Oliver Cromwell.
St Mary’s Church rises steeply above the main road through the village with a sparkling stream flowing close to the entrance to the churchyard. Built early in the 12th century, but heavily restored 700 years later, it has a massive Norman tower, with four foot thick walls and a well preserved Norman doorway. Inside there is a baroque style 17th century memorial to the FitzHerbert family, a finely carved communion rail and an early Norman font, which bears crude symbolic carvings.
The pillars of the doorway are worth close inspection, the grooves having been worn by archers sharpening their arrows in readiness for archery practice. This skill was much encouraged after the Black Death, which had left the country short of experienced bowmen.
Tissington is known as the mother place of well dressing and visitors come from all over the world to witness the annual well dressing ceremony. This takes place on Ascension Day, when five attractive wells are dressed together with a children’s well.
Dressing consists of erecting boards covered in clay, into which thousands of flower petals are pressed to create an elaborate tableaux of some biblical or topographical scene. It is probable that well dressing took place in 1350, in thanksgiving for the village’s escape from the Black Death, which was attributed to the purity of its water. Wells have been dressed ever since but not in unbroken succession. The precise origins of well dressing are unknown but may date from before the Romans.
When the railway came to the village in 1900 Sir Richard insisted that the line should be placed in a cutting. The Railway Company, it is said, built the cottages adjacent to the station in red brick in retaliation for the inconvenience. Following the closure of the line in 1963 the track was converted into the Tissington Trail and ever since has been very popular with walkers and cyclists.
In the heart of the village close by the green is the pond where the ducks still swim serenely. Tucked in the corner by the pond are the Old Kitchen Gardens where shrubs and other perennial garden plants are grown.
The Old School House, no longer a village school, is now used as a Kindergarten to educate the very young. Further along the road a surprise awaits at Yew Tree Cottage where part of the building has been turned into a small candle workshop. Formerly a Blacksmith’s house, which is decorated with motifs of the trade - the Wright family were blacksmiths in the village for 90 years. In front of the cottage is Yew Tree Well.
The Old Coach House to the hall has been sympathetically restored and offers morning coffee, lunches and teas in delightful surroundings. There is a gift shop in the village, a butcher and even a shop selling curtains and covers close to the A515 on the Buxton side of the village.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Tissington Hall (Tel. 01335 352200) a fine Jacobean Manor House in the heart of the village. Open to the public for guided tours (see the Tissington Feature).
Ilam Village with its alpine style cottages and close proximity to Dovedale makes it a very popular attraction. The National Trust grounds and country park of Ilam Hall are open to the public.
Ashbourne is one of Derbyshire’s finest towns, with a wealth of Georgian architecture. The triangular cobbled Market Place holds markets twice per week on Thursday and Saturday.
The Coach and Horses, Fenny Bentley (Tel. 01335 350246) charming 16th century pub, with beamed ceiling, stone flagged floors and a coal fire in winter. Meals served at lunchtimes and in the evenings during the week and all day at the weekend.
Bassett Wood Farm (Tel. 01335 350254) situated in a lovely countryside setting, morning coffee and afternoon teas are served daily in the summer. Please telephone for details or visit website. The Pets Paddock is an added bonus.
The Old Coach House (Tel. 01335 350501) Award winning tea rooms in the beautifully renovated Coach House to Tissington Hall. Please telephone for details or visit website.
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.
From the former railway station the route follows the Tissington Trail along what once was the railway trackbed. After crossing the bridge over the A515 it enters a cutting where a nature reserve has been established.
On leaving the trail the walk continues across the fields before descending gently to Fenny Bentley.
On the opposite side of the road from the Fenny Bentley Church stands Cherry Orchard Farm originally the home of the Beresford family.
The route then rises steadily through meadowland past Bassett Wood Farm and back to explore the picturesque village of Tissington.
For more information on this lovely walk click the link at the foot of this column.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.