Tissington

Tissington is a traditional Derbyshire estate village built around a Jacobean country manor.

The centrepiece of the village is Tissington Hall, a sombre Jacobean Manor house belonging to the Fitzherbert family. However, Tissington was first settled many centuries earlier during Saxon times.

Tissington is an estate village that is well known in the Peak District for its well dressings and the cycling/walking trail that bears its name. The Tissington trail offers traffic free cycling and actually begins at Ashbourne. It passes through Tissington where there is a car park and continues north to meet the High Peak trail close to Parsley Hay. It is slightly uphill in the Ashbourne – Tissington-Parsley Hay sense but the trip back is easier as you are helped by gravity! The line opened in 1899 with three trains daily between Ashbourne and Buxton. Local farmers produce was transported to the market by train. Passenger services stopped in the 1950s but the line continued to carry freight until its closure in the days of the Beeching cuts. The station became derelict and was demolished by the Peak Park to create the car park for the trail.

In Tissington itself you will find several visitor amenities. Toilets and a snack kiosk in the Tissington Trail car park, a tea room opposite the church and one of the wells and a candle making workshop. For those of you looking for a postcode to punch into your satnav, the tea room postcode is I believe DE6 1RA.

The recorded history of the village dates back to 1042 when it seems to have comprised a community of Saxon farmsteads. There is a large quantity of deeply cut medieval ridge and furrow hereabouts. For thos of you who are not familiar with that term, it is used to describe the remains of a medieval strip farming method which was largely lost during the various Enclosure Acts. In Nottinghamshire, you can see the strip farming methods still employed (Laxton). Local farmers had strips of land next to one-another. There were no hedges or fences separating these long thin cultivated strips. They were ploughed using animal power and they are curved as that facilitates the turn at the end of the plough run. The earth was turned towards the centre of the strip so that was higher than the edges, giving the characteristic ridge.

It is suggested that Tissington is the place of origin of the custom of well dressing (which gives thanks for a supply of clean water) in the first half of the fourteenth century. Tissington well dressing begins on ascension day. Tissington hall is a fabulous building, darkly foreboding yet impressive. It looks as if it should be the setting of a classic Peter Cushing horror film! It is the home of the FitzHerbert family and has been so since the 17th century.

The Church is in an impressively elevated position, overlooking the heart of the village. At first glance you may think there is a superb Saxon cross in the graveyard – it is much more recent memorial to the FitzHerberts. The masonry of the tower is noticeably different to most of the rest of the church and that is because it is older – Norman I think. The doorway looks old too, and inside you will find a crudely carved Norman tub font. The carvings may come from a Norman Bestiary (religious book containing spiritual allegories based on the actions of beasts and birds). The window next to the pulpit is a fantastically detailed Noah’s Ark depiction.

The newest buildings are probably the railway cottages which date from the start of the 20th century. The village economy relies on tourism with tea rooms and obligatory craft shops plus accommodation.