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Hayfield Church

The parish of Hayfield is situated some three miles from New Mills on the banks of the River Sett, a rapid mountain steam which rises on the south western slopes of Kinder Scout.
The district was formerly a forest or open waste reserved by the king for the purpose of sport. At the time of the Domesday survey Eilmer had four bovates of land in Hayfield, Godric had two bovates of land in Kinder, and in Thornsett Ligulf had four bovates of land.
The royal rights were most jealously guarded, especially in the times of John and Henry the Third; the latter monarch indeed watched them so vigilantly that scarcely a bough could be lopped without the sanction of the royal writ. The forest was well stocked with red deer. Giraldus Cambrenisi tells us that in his day (1184) the number of deer was so great in the Peak District that they trampled both dogs and men to death in the impetuosity of their flight. Wolves and foxes abounded in the district. To protect the game from wolves and lawless hands, the king appointed foresters, who obtained payment of their service in grants of land and other privileges. So great was the value set on the skill and experience of the Peak wolf-trappers that Henry the Second in 1167-8 paid ten shillings for the travelling expenses of two to cross the seas to take wolves in Normandy. William de Bradshawe, a parson, charged with killing a doe in Kinder in 1280, appealed to the spiritual court at York.
The church is said to have originally stood near the confluence of the two brooks, the Kinder and the Sett, on a site known as Kirksteads, near Bowden Bridge. The church appears to have been removed in 1386 to its present site. In that year a dispute arose between certain of the inhabitants. Thomas Kinder took the Book, Bell and Chalice and carried them to Portwood, whereupon Ralph Bradbury and his neighbours made suit to the King’s grace, with the help and aid of Sir Roger Leche, Chief Steward of Derbyshire, to obtain a grant of a piece of ground lying between the two waters, to build a church.
On this being granted Ralph Bradbury and his neighbours forced Thomas Kinder to fetch again the Bell, Book and Chalice and made their Priest to say the service in a small house while their Chapel was being built. Thomas Kinder retaliated and complained to the Bishop that the Priest was forced to hold service in an unlawful house which he called a sheep cote. In reply to this charge they wrote explaining their differences to the Bishop who pardoned them.

‘In the reign of Richard II., according to a Lichfield record, there was a cottage for divine service at Hayfield. A violent dispute arising between certain of the congregation and the priest, Edmund Bredbury of Bankhead, and Tomline Kinder of Kinder, called it ‘a sheep-cote,’ and seizing the missal, bell and chalice, took them to Stockport, for which conduct they were excommunicated. They afterwards appealed to Sir Thomas Parker, Sheriff of Derby, who procured them from the king the gift of a piece of land between the two waters, to build them a church upon; and they built the original church of Hayfield in 1386.’

It was not until the year1405 that the church was completed. We learn, from the registers of the Duchy of Lancaster, that in the sixth year of the reign of Henry IV, orders were issued to the custodians of his royal forests of Whitlewood and Thornsett to deliver twelve oaks suitable for building purposes to be used in the erection of a Chapel in Hayfield.
Hayfield was an independent Chapelry in the far reaching Parish of Glossop; the Chapelry consisted of Great Hamlet, Phoside, Thornsett, Kinder, Beard, Ollersett, Chinley, Bugsworth and Brownside.
During the reign of Charles I. Several Romish Priests were at work secretly missioning in the peak.
In 1634, a return of the recusants were presented by the Constable of each Parish to the Quarter Sessions. The names of those presented from the Chapelry of Hayfield are as follows: -
Francis Eyre, Constable of Bowden Middlecale, doth present these popish Recusants for absence from the church and divine service for these two months last past, viz :- Nicholas Wilkenson, of Heafield, cutler, Thomas Mellor, of the same, taylor, Thomas Beard, of Ivehole, husbandman, and Margarett his wife, Katheryn Ridge, wife of Robt. Ridge late of Higate, yeoman, Thomas Bowdon, of heafield, yeoman, and Grace his wife, Margarett Beignton of the same vid., and Hellen the wife of Edmund Bradbury of the same, labourer.
At the Epiphany Sessions for Derbyshire, 1681-2, warrants were issued to the Parish Constables, with a schedule of the names of all the persons indicted for absenting themselves from Church one and twenty Sundays. The Constables were directed to summon those persons named on the schedule to appear at next Quarter Sessions to show cause why they absented themselves from Church. The names for Bowdon Middlecale are as follows :- Ronald Bradbury, Francis Bradbury, Samuel Mellor, Richard Bowdon, Barbara Mellor, Joseph Beard, Katherine Bowdon, John Goddard, Thomas Bowden, Alice Ridgeway, Richard Armstrong, William Rollinson. Bowden Middlecale was the original name of Hayfield and New Mills.
Hayfield is described by the Parliamentary Commissioners of 1650 as ‘a Parochial Chapel fitt to be made a Parish.’
During the ministry of the Rev. Christopher Fisher in 1653, there were a number of Baptists in the village, who were sufficiently strong to make matters unpleasant to the duly appointed minister who petitioned the Derbyshire Justices, that the Baptist opponents, George Hatfield, Edward Hide, John Bennett, George Bennett and Thomas Waterhouse, should be bound over to their good behaviour.
During the incumbency of the Rev. John Badley, John Wesley, who was a particular friend, preached se3veral times in Hayfield Church.
Wesley’s diary records these visits. In the entry for April 8th 1755, he describes how through much hail and wind he got to Mr Baley’s at Hayfield about five in the afternoon. He then gives an account of the death of Mr Badleys favourite daughter, and says how, on the 10th, he came back to Hayfield to bury her. He preached on the occasion to an abundance of people, and adds
‘Who would have looked for such a congregation as this in the Peak of Derbyshire.’ On Sunday the 13th, Wesley returned to Hayfield. He says that ‘Mr Badley read prayers and preached a solemn and affecting sermon relative to the late providence.’ Wesley himself preached in the evening ‘with great liberty.’ May 4th, 1757 - ‘I rode over to Hayfield and preached at one in the Church.’
Surrounded as Hayfield is by hills, it is much subject to great floods. The Rev. John Wesley thus refers to the tremendous flood of 1748 - ‘ on Saturday the 23rd of July last, there fell for about three hours in and about Hayfield in Derbyshire a very heavy rain which caused such a flood as had not been seen by any now living in these parts. The rocks were loosened from the mountains; one field was covered with huge stones from side to side. Several water mills were clean swept away, without any remains. The trees were torn up by the roots and whirled away like stubble. Two women of loose character were swept away from their own door and drowned. One of them was found near the place, the other was carried seven or eight miles.
Hayfield Church was all torn up, and the dead bodies swept out of their graves; when the flood abated they were found in many places. Some were hanging on trees, others left in meadows or grounds, some partly eaten by dogs, or wanting one or more of their numbers.’
In August , 1799 a flood washed away the bridge, and an old village politician, known as Lord North, was drowned; and in 1809 the river suddenly rose, and washed away a bakers shop, bakehouse, oven, and furniture, as well as some buildings.
On the 16th of June, 1858, some exceedingly heavy rain clouds, said to have been accompanied by a water spout, burst over the Scout, and in a very short time the black torrent tore up the mill-weir and washed away the back part of four houses abutting the stream. Great fears were entertained that the graveyard would again be entered and washed away.
The old Church appears to have possessed several interesting features; like the most ancient churches the chancel was separated from the nave by a screen; above the screen was a large cross of rood which was set up in such a position under the chancel arch that it might be seen from all parts of the church. Immediately below the rood was the rod -loft, a narrow gallery extended across the space spanned by the chancel-arch. The brothers Lyson who visited the old Church shortly before its demolition in 1815, tells us that the rood-loft remained entire, though the upper part had been modernised. On the front of it was the picture of the Crucifixion with St. Peter and St. John; said to have been painted in 1775 from an ancient one. This is remarkable, as most rood screens, and particularly rood-lofts and roods were removed and destroyed in most of the English churches at the Reformation.
Hayfield church affords a remarkable instance of the secular use to which churches were formally put to. John Hyde by will, dated 8th September, 1604, gave certain premises to the Merchant Tailors Company, London, on trust; among other thing to pay yearly eighteen pounds yearly to the minister of the gospel at Hayfield, in Derbyshire, keeping a Grammar School within the Chapel for more than a century after John Hyde’s death, when subsequent donations made it possible to be held in a separate building.
The Plot Form of the old Church is given on two large tablets, one of which gives the ground plan, and is dated 1735, and the other the plan of the South and West Galleries and is dated 1741. Below the present Church is a crypt or a cellar, extending under the whole Church body, chancel, and tower. The floor of the crypt was the ground floor of the old Church. When the Church was re-built, the level of its floor was raised several feet higher to prevent the floods, which it had been subject to, from entering the building. The pillars of the old Church being shortened to support the wooden floor of the present Church.

HayfieldIt was in the year 1793 that the tower was rebuilt, and twenty one years later the inhabitants obtained a brief restoration of the Church. The Church was rebuilt in 1818, at a cost of £2458, unassisted by the public grant.
The tower was raised in 1894, so that a clock chamber could be built to admit of a new clock with four dials, and to chime the hour and quarter. The tower and clock cost £658 3s. 5d., Albert Slack, Esq., contributing £550 of this amount, in memory of his father, John Slack, Esq., the remaining portion being made up by other friends, including a gift of the stone by J. T. Bennett, Esq., to the value £17 18s. 6d.

The tower contains a peal of six bells with the following inscriptions:-

I. ‘Peace and good neighbourhood, 1793’
II. ‘These bells were cast by Jno, Rudhall, 1793’
III. ‘Thomas Drinkwater and Jno. Collier, Churchwardens, 1793.’
IV. ‘Fear God, Honour the King, 1793.’
V. ‘Prosperity to this Parish, 1793.’
VI. ‘I, to the church the living call, And to the grave summon all, 1793.’

The Church contains a remarkable monument to Mr Joseph Hague, a self-made rich man of the 18th century, who retired to end his days at Park Hall, and was a liberal benefactor to his native place. The monument with a bust (by Bacon) was originally erected at a cost of £420 in the Glossop Church. During the alterations in Glossop Church the monument was taken down and cast into a lumber room, in the lock up, where it remained for a considerable period. It was rescued from the destruction by Captain John White, of Park Hall, and is now one of the chief ornaments in Hayfield Church. The resident freeholders are patrons. An organ was erected in 1849 in the Church, built by Kirkland and Jardine, of Manchester.

Hayfield Village

The Resurrection of 1745

Hayfield besides being the portal to Kinder Scout is not without some singular events to keep its name in remembrance. Indeed, it seems to have had a resurrection on its own account in 1745. Dr James Clegg, a Presbyterian, who resided at Chapel-en-le-Frith in the middle of the eighteenth century, gives an account of this extraordinary occurrence in a letter to his friend, the Rev. Ebenezer Latham, then principal of the Findern Academy. ‘I know’ he wrote ‘you are pleased with anything curious and uncommon by nature, and if what follows would appear such. I can assure you there are eye witnesses of the truth in every particular. In a church about three miles from us the indecent custom still prevails of burying the dead in the place set apart for the devotion of the living. Still, the parish not being very populous, one could scarcely imagine that the inhabitants of the grave could be straightened for want of room. Yet it would seem so for on the last day of August several hundreds of bodies rose out of the grave, in the open day, in the church, to the great astonishment and terror of several spectators. They deserted their coffins, and arising out of their graves, immediately ascended toward heaven, singing in one concert all along as they mounted through the air. They had no winding sheets about them, yet did not appear quite naked. Their vesture seemed streaked with gold, interlaced with sable, and skirted with white, yet thought to be exceedingly light by the agility of their motions and the swiftness of their ascent. They left a most fragrant and delicious odour about them, and were quickly out of sight. What has become of them, or to what distant regions of this vast system they have since fixed their residence, no mortal can tell. The church is in Hayfield three miles from Chapel-en-le-Frith.’

The Hayfield Witch
In 1760, Hayfield had its very own witch. Suzannah Huggin who made a living selling wooden weaving pins and ‘bewitching charms.’ The story goes that one day an old sailor bought one of these charms and promptly vanished. The sudden disappearance aroused suspicion and Huggin was subsequently found to be in possession of the charm again. The villagers blamed her for the disappearance, and she was dragged to the George pub and pelted with rotten fruit and stones, almost killing her. Somebody from Tom Heys Farm then took the charm but, after a series of disasters, which included milk not churning and animals not feeding, the charm was reluctantly exorcised by Reverend Baddeley.

The Parsonage

‘The freeholders of Hayfield elect their own vicars. John Wesley preached in Hayfield Church in 1755, when a clergyman named Badley was the incumbent, a man so popular with the freeholders that they built him a parsonage and made out the deed of gift not to the vicar of Hayfield but to Badley himself. So when the vicar died, his daughters at once sold the vicarage, which for forty years, from 1764 to 1805, was known as the Shoulder of Mutton Inn. Then the property became merged in the Park Hall estate of Captain Jack White, who took down the sign of the Shoulder of Mutton and again turned it into a parsonage. But soon after the Squire quarrelled with the parson and turned him out, and once more the study became transformed into a bar and so it remains today. Such is the odd story of the Royal Hotel.’

Joseph Hague

Probably the greatest benefactor that this part of Derbyshire has known was the late Joseph Hague Esq. ‘He was born in Chunall in 1695. He commenced life very poor, and sold a few articles from a basket; then bought an ass; after which he went to London and became an opulent merchant. He had ten sons and two daughters, who all died in their minority. After the loss of his children he adopted a family by the name of Doxon, of Padfield, to whom he gave education and fortunes. He passed the latter part of his life in retirement at Park Hall, near Hayfield, where he died on the 12th of March, 1786, and was buried at Glossop, where the beautiful monument now in Hayfield Church was originally erected. During some alterations in Glossop Church the monument was taken down and throw into a lumber-room in the lock up, where it remained for a considerable period; and it appears that neither the exquisite beauty of the workmanship nor the munificent charities of the individual whose memory it was intended to perpetuate were sufficient inducement to the inhabitants of Glossop to replace it to its original position. It was, however rescued from untimely destruction by Captain Jack White of Park Hall, and is now the chief ornament in Hayfield Church. (A story goes that the person who committed this outrage made a pilgrimage to Hayfield in latter years, especially to satisfy himself that the damage had not been serious.)

The memorial reads:-
Sacred to the memory of Joseph Hague Esq. Whose virtues as a man were as distinguished as his character as a merchant. Favoured with the blessings of Providence, he enjoyed the fruits of his industry at an early period, and by the most indefatigable pursuits and extensive connections in trade, acquired an immense fortune, which he distributed amongst his relations with such liberality as to give affluence to all in his own lifetime. He was born at Chunall, in this Parish, year 1695, and in 1716 settled in London, where he married Jane the only Daughter of Edmund Blagge, of Macclesfield, in Cheshire, by whom he had ten sons and two daughters, who all died in their minority.
He built and endowed the charity school at Whitfield in the year 1778, and died at Park Hall in this Parish on the 12th day of March, 1786, aged 90 years.
Leaving the annual interest on 1000 to be laid out in clothing twelve poor men and 12 poor women out of the eight townships of Glossop forever; besides other charitable bequests to Glossop and the Chapelry of Heafield.

There is a curious tradition connected with the Hague family. Bees were much thought of and it is stated that where ever the family settled there the bees were sure to locate also; and this settling of bees was looked upon by them as a ‘good omen.’ it may be observed that on the wall of Whitfield School, which was built and endowed by Mr Hague, there is a tablet with a beehive and a swarm of bees, together with an inscription, stating that it was built by the said Joseph Hague as a ‘thank offering to almighty God for the success granted him in business, whereby he had been enabled to amass a large fortune.’
His house in Manchester was situated in Cheapside, near the Town Hall, King Street, and there is a stone tablet over the door with a beehive on it.

Captain John White

John or Jack White whose mansion was Park Hall was one of the best known sporting celebrities in the English shires during the first half of the nineteenth century.
The son of a Manchester doctor who had made his fortune, Jack White knew no profession but that of sport, from his birth in 1791 to his death in 1886, at the age of seventy-five. His success as a gentleman rider was extraordinary. In 1823, when riding for Mr Lambton, he rode nine out of twelve winners at Stapleford Park and eight out of twelve at Lambton. The Croxton Park and Hinton Park meetings also witnessed his many triumphs, and, even when he was forty three years of age, he trained down ten pounds between the Wednesday night and the following Friday morning. But his greatest feat was one of endurance. He began a certain winter day with two good runs with the hounds, of forty minutes and seventy minutes respectively, the second kill taking place thirty four miles from Melton. White returned, changed, had a chop and a cup of tea, and then rode home from Melton to Hayfield a distance of seventy-five miles, crossing the Derbyshire moors in a blinding snow-storm. He arrived at Park Hall at seven o’clock at night having ridden one hundred and sixty miles since breakfast. Captain White left Melton in 1842 and was master of the Cheshire Hunt for twelve years. His falls were innumerable, but nothing broke his nerve, not even when his horse fell on him in a drain, crushed his chest and three ribs and smashed his collar bone and ankle. His last bad accident was to alight in a green pond and have another rider jump in on top of him.
White was also an enthusiastic cocker. He always thought a main every year with the Earl of Sefton and the Earl of Derby, and in the great match at Melton between Smith Barry and Johnnie Blunt for fifteen hundred guineas, the latter was cocked by White, who won by a single battle. Such a man was naturally the hero of the countryside - at least of the unregenerate countryside - but by a strange irony of fate his mansion Park Hall became the Co-operative Holiday Association in connection with the Home Reading Union.

The mighty Nimrod once wrote of White:- ‘Captain White may be safely placed among the hardest and best riders of England, and taken in the double capacity of a rider of races and a rider to hounds, is decidedly the very best. I consider him indeed the exemplar of horseman, for he has every attribute. In addition to an elegant seat he has fine hands, a quick eye, good temper and undaunted nerve despite the awful falls he has had. With hounds it is said that he has never been out in his life, whether he liked his horse or not, that he did not try to get to them. And it will be remembered that he once played a duet with Mr Assheton Smith when every other man was beaten, viz. on that memorable Belvoir day, when hounds ran nineteen miles point blank, as the song said: -

‘White on the right, sir, midst the first flight, sir,
Is quite out of sight of those in the rear.’

A History of David Grieve

Written by Mrs Humphry Ward whilst staying at Marriott’s Farm or Upper House, which as the name implies is the highest inhabited house on the Hayfield side of Kinder Scout. Opinions may differ as to the merits of David Grieve as a whole, but there is no question as to the power of the opening chapters, and the skill with which the indefinable atmosphere of the moors is transferred to the pages of her book. In this respect Mrs Ward has done for Kinder Scout what the Brontes did for the Haworth and Keighley moors. Using real locations on the moors the book paints a vivid picture of the childhood of orphans David and Louie Grieve working and playing on their uncle Rueben’s farm beneath brooding Kinder Scout.

The foothills of Kinder Scout. Setting of The History of David Grieve.

‘Before the boy’s ranging eye spread the whole western rampart of the Peak - to the right the highest point of Kinder Low, to the left edge behind edge, till the central rocky mass sank and faded to the north into milder forms of green and undulating hills. In the very centre of the great curve a white and surging mass of water cleft the mountain from top to bottom, falling straight over the edge, here some two thousand feet above the sea, and roaring downward along an almost precipitous bed into the stream - the Kinder - which swept round the hill on which the boy was standing, and through the valley behind him. In ordinary times the ‘Downfall,’ as the natives call it, only makes itself visible on the mountain side as a black ravine of tossed and tumbled rocks. But there had been a late snowfall on the high plateau beyond, followed by heavy rain, and the swollen stream was today worthy of its grand setting of cliff and moor. On such occasions it became a landmark for all the country round, for the cotton spinning centres of New Mills and Stockport as well as for the grey and scattered farms which climb the long backs of the moorland lying between the Peak and Cheshire border.’

KINDER SCOUT with the footpaths and Bridle Roads about HAYFIELD. Anon 1880.
THE HISTORY OF DAVID GRIEVE. Mrs Humphry Ward. 1892.

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