Longdendale Historical & Descriptive Sketches, 1863 - Chapelries.


In the reign of Richard II, according to a Litchfield 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 sheepcote," 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. The present church of St. Matthew replaced the old fabric in 1818.

Hayfield is a pretty, prosperous little town. Here is a large print-works of Messrs. Buckley, another at Birch Vale, the paper-works of Mr. Slack, and a cotton-mill of Messrs. Ibbotson and Alcock. Here is Park Hall, the residence of John White, Esq. In a woody dell, off the Glossop road, is Brookhouses, an ancient house with an old yew-tree; said to have been a chapel once.

Near Hayfield is the grand mountain, Kinder's Kout.

Near Hayfield is Long Lee, the beautiful site of the ancient hall of the Hydes. The present antique building bears date 1633. Armour, consisting of a steel hauberke and cap, remained in this old house till very recently. Adjoining, was formerly a chapel. Like many other old , Long Lee has its ghost-stories. Below, is the picturesque village of Rowarth. Above, is Aspenshaw, - picturesque name, recalling the little grove of aspens, with their tremulous leaves! Here, is Aspenshaw Hall, the residence of Henry Lees, Esq.

Chapel-in-le-Frith takes its name from a chapel built on the king's soil by the inhabitants in the reign of Henry III, and consecrated in 1255, by the pious Alexander de Staves, bishop of Chester. 24 The word Frith means a royal forest. The chancel of the present church, with its beautiful traceried windows, dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury, is the remains of this "chapel in the forest." On the churchyard wall is an ancient stone coffin, found in Dane's Yard, below the church. Chapel-in-le-Frith is a nice little market-town. In the marketplace, is an ancient market-cross, in its integrity - a type of the numerous crosses that studded this part of the country in olden time, showing the simple faith of the ancient inhabitants of these hills and dales.25 Here is Bowden Hall, whilom the seat of the gentle family of Bowden.
24. Glover's Derbyshire.
25. This, like the one at Mottram, is a "Preaching Cross" - with round steps for open-air preaching.

The liberty of Chinley is an extensive farming district, with some coal-mines. Mr. Bagshaw, after his ejection from Glossop, founded the independent interest here.

Mellor church is dedicated to St. Thomas. The old low square tower, embossed with trees, is a picturesque object, from Ludworth Moor. The tower is all that remains of the original fabric, which is said to have been built about 1136. Inside, is an ancient font, cylinder-shaped, having on a curious rude carving of a figure on horseback - doubtless Norman. There is, also, an ancient pulpit, solidly carved in a beautiful ecclesiastical design, from the trunk of an oak-tree.

A curious entry in a book at Mellor, of which the late respected incumbent 26 once told me, gives a lively idea of Mellor Church in olden time. It is as follows. "To Roger, for going to seek a priest, Id. Item, for the priest's dinner, 4d."
26. Rev. M. Freeman.

The present incumbent of Mellor, is the Rev. T. M. Freeman.

Below the church is Mellor Hall, which originally belonged to the Staveleghs, and passed by the marriage of the daughter of Simon de Stavelegh to the Mellors of Ideridehey, near Derby, and from them to the Rattcliffes, who possessed it many centuries. The present hall was built by Thomas Cheetham, Esq., about 1699. It is now the property of John Moult, Esq.

From Mellor church-steeple on a clear day, by Cobden-edge is an extensive and picturesque prospect. Before us is Lime Park and cage, the domain of the ancient Leghs, Stockport and Warrington, Alderley Edge, the Pechforten Hills, Rivington Pike near Bolton. and a cloudlike view of the Welsh mountains - conspicuous among which is the romantic Meol Vamau, in Flintshire.

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Last updated: 9 February 2021