Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
December 1, 2011
From journal Weekend in Derbyshire
Derby, United Kingdom
March 24, 2010
October 25, 2004
The earliest reference to the town, then known as Badecan Weillon (Badeca’s Spring), is from the 924 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which records that King of Wessex Edward the Elder established a fortress here at an important crossing point over the River Wye. The town appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as Badequella, a small agricultural settlement gathered on the high land around the church. Bakewell continued to grow throughout the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, a motte-and-bailey castle was constructed on Castle Hill to the northeast of town. In 1270, the river was bridged, and in 1330, the town was granted the right to hold a market. The current appearance of All Saints Parish Church dates back to the 1300s, with the tower and spire added in 1340. The Saxon Cross in the grounds is over 1000 years old and was moved here from the village of Hassop, where legend says that King Arthur rested against it and had a dream that foretold his imminent marriage and death. One of the oldest surviving residences in town is the 1534 wattle-and-daub yeoman’s house on Cunningham Place, now home to the fascinating Old House Museum, which tells the history of the town and surrounding region and is well worth a visit.
Bakewell entered its golden age in the 17th century, when the Duke of Rutland set about converting it into a spa town to rival nearby Buxton. The 1697 Bath House was constructed over the 15°C chalybeate saturated spring, and the Bath Gardens were laid out. Other constructions from this time include the Old Market Hall, now home to the Tourist Information Centre, the 1686 Bakewell Hall, built for local lawyer Thomas Bagshaw, and the 1709 Town Hall & Alms Houses. This golden age was short-lived, as the inclement weather proved unsuitable for taking the cure, and visitors soon dropped off. The 19th century saw the beginnings of a resurgence in tourism in the area as the Romantic Movement took hold. Jane Austen stayed at the Rutland Arms Hotel in 1811, using the town as a basis for Lambton in her famous novel Pride and Prejudice, and tourism has grown ever since. Bakewell’s main income, however, still comes from agriculture, and in 1996 the state-of-the-art Agricultural Business Centre was constructed to house the town’s ancient fortnightly cattle market and its ever-popular annual agricultural show.
The town makes a good base for exploring the Peak District and is a recommended stop-over if you are in the area.
From journal Derbyshire Dales: Tarts & Vicars of the Peak District
West Virginia, West Virginia
July 3, 2004
Bakewell was already a settled community when Rome occupied Britain. It received a royal charter as a market town in 1330 and still has the largest cattle market in Britain. Since the Norman Conquest, Bakewell has served as a political and social center for the lords of nearby Haddon Hall. The 16th-century elopement and marriage between Dorothy Vernon of Haddon and John Manners, the heir of Rutland, is the stuff of local legend and national folklore. For me, the tenuous family connection to the beautiful and strong-willed Dorothy makes exploring Bakewell all the more exciting.
The town itself is simply lovely. Spreading down Derbyshire hills and along the River Wye, most of its buildings maintain an authentic patina of age. The town carpark is located along the Wye, which invites riverside strolls on the banks of one of England’s most pristine rivers. Bakewell's post-Victorian additions are off to the edge of town, thus preserving a sense of integrity in which modern intrusions are limited. The A6, A619 and B5055 (modern roadways that run through the town center) represent unhappy exceptions.
Bakewell's collection of notable buildings and landmarks is really too large to treat justly in so small a space. Highlights include:
~The centuries-old Church of All Saints, hands-down the town's most outstanding feature. It has an unusual octagonal spire and an overall Gothic design, with occasional remnants of Norman and Saxon workmanship.
~The Old Market Hall, a magnificently ugly early 17th-century stone building that easily betrays its original purpose. It now serves as a Tourist Information Centre for Bakewell and the Peak District National Park.
~ The Old House Museum on Cunningham Place, a 16th-century stone structure that was probably superimposed over an earlier wooden building.
~ The Old Bath House (circa 1697), a great place for learning about the peculiar Bakewell practice of "well dressing"—consisting of elaborate displays erected near local wells and resembling floats in a holiday parade.
When we visit, I'm always intrigued by the town's network of narrow streets and closes. Excursions off the beaten path can be rewarded by finding small shops tucked into quiet corners or rows of terraced cottages with flowers bursting from unlikely places.
As befits a market town, Bakewell has a number of shops offering a wide range of merchandise. It lacks a local Marks & Spencer, but otherwise it’s a great alternative to shopping malls and supercenters.
And naturally, a visit just wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, which makes its namesake confection using the original secret recipe.
From journal Root and Branch - Family Ties to Derbyshire