Bakewell

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Bakewell is a small market town in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England, deriving its name from ‘Beadeca’s Well’. It is the only town included in the Peak District National Park, and is well known for the local confection Bakewell Pudding (often mistaken for the Bakewell Tart). It is located on the River Wye, about thirteen miles (21 km) southwest of Sheffield, 31 miles (50 km) southeast of Manchester, and 30 miles (48 km) north of the county town of Derby; nearby towns include Chesterfield to the east and Buxton to the west northwest. According to the 2001 Census the civil parish of Bakewell had a population of 3,979. The town is close to the tourist attractions of Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall.

Although there is evidence of earlier settlements in the area, Bakewell itself was probably founded in Anglo Saxon times, when Bakewell was in the Anglian kingdom of Mercia. Bakewell Parish Church, a Grade I listed building, was founded in 920 and has a 9th century cross in the churchyard. The present church was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries but was virtually rebuilt in the 1840s by William Flockton. By Norman times Bakewell had gained some importance—the town, and its church (having two priests) being mentioned in the Domesday Book.

A market was established in 1254, and Bakewell developed as a trading centre. The Grade I listed five-arched bridge over the River Wye at Bakewell was constructed in the 13th century, and is one of the few surviving remnants of this earlier period.[3] A chalybeate spring was discovered, and a bath house built in 1697. This led to an 18th century bid to develop Bakewell as a spa town, in the manner of Buxton. The construction of the Lumford Mill by Richard Arkwright in 1777 was followed by the rebuilding of much of the town in the 19th century.

Bakewell attracts many domestic and international tourists. Monday is a particularly popular day for visitors as this is the day that the traditional market is held in the town. The cattle market is housed in a new purpose built agricultural centre, across the river from the main part of the town. A medium sized stall market is held in the town centre. There is a picturesque public park, alongside the River Wye, which has its source in nearby Buxton (illus. below). For a town of its size, it has a very large town centre. This is mainly because of the touristic nature of the town.

A major employer within the town is the Peak District National Park Authority, based at Aldern House on the Baslow Road. The National Park Authority is tasked with conserving and enhancing, as well as promoting understanding and enjoyment, of the local area. Opposite Aldern House is another major employer, Newholme Hospital, an NHS cottage hospital providing outpatient clinic services to the local community.

All Saints Church is a Grade I listed church founded in 920, during Saxon times and the churchyard has two 9th century Saxon crosses. During restoration work, in the 1840s, many carved fragments of Saxon stonework were found in and around the porch, as well as some ancient stone coffins.

One cross is the Beeley Cross, dug up in a field at a disputed location near Beeley and moved for some years to the grounds of Holt House near Darley Bridge. Although only the base and lower part of the shaft survive, it stands over five feet high and is carved on all four faces.

The other cross is the Bakewell Cross, eight feet high and almost complete. It was carved in the seventh or eighth century and shows a number of scenes including one of the Annunciation. This cross may originally have stood at Hassop Cross Roads, although there is no firm evidence as to this.

The church contains a selection of cross fragments and carved stones collected by Thomas Bateman and donated to Weston Park Museum in Sheffield before being moved to Bakewell in 1899.

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