Bakewell is a small market town and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England, known for a local confection, Bakewell pudding. It lies on the River Wye, about 13 miles (21 km) south-west of Sheffield. In the 2011 census the civil parish of Bakewell had a population of 3,949. The town is close to the tourist attractions of Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall.
Bakewell town centre
Bakewell parish highlighted within Derbyshire
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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. The name Bakewell means a spring or stream of a man named Badeca (or Beadeca) and derives from this personal name plus the Old English wella. In 949 it was Badecanwelle and in the 11th century Domesday Book it was Badequelle. 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–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) are mentioned in the Domesday Book and a motte and bailey castle was built in the 12th century. In the early 14th-century, the vicar was terrorised by the Coterel gang, who evicted him and confiscated the church's money at the instigation of the canons of Lichfield Cathedral.
A market was established in 1254 and Bakewell developed as a trading centre. The Grade I-listed five-arched bridge over the River Wye was constructed in the 13th century and is one of the few surviving remnants of that period. Another Grade I-listed bridge, Holme Bridge, was built in 1664 and crosses the Wye on the north-eastern outskirts of the town. 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. Construction of Lumford Mill by Richard Arkwright in 1777 was followed by the rebuilding of much of the town in the 19th century.
Bakewell is in the valley of the River Wye in central Derbyshire. Its centre is near the river at about 410 feet (120 m) above sea level, with the highest parts of the town at about 607 feet (185 m) on the valley sides. The town is in the Derbyshire Dales district and about 13 miles (21 km) south-west of Sheffield, 31 miles (50 km) south-east of Manchester, and 21 miles (34 km) north of Derby. Nearby towns include Matlock to the south-east, Chesterfield to the east and Buxton to the west north-west. Villages near Bakewell include Ashford-in-the-Water, Elton, Great Longstone, Monyash, Over Haddon, Sheldon, Rowsley, Pilsley, Youlgreave and Baslow.
Bakewell attracts many domestic and foreign tourists. Monday is popular with visitors as the town's traditional market day. The cattle market is held 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.
A major employer is the Peak District National Park Authority at Aldern House on Baslow Road. Its task is conserve, enhance and promote understanding and enjoyment of the local area. Opposite Aldern House is another major employer, Newholme Hospital, an NHS cottage hospital providing outpatient services to the local community. Establishment of a branch of Costa Coffee in the town caused a protest among some local businesses.
All Saints' Church is a Grade I-listed church founded in 920, in Saxon times. The churchyard has two Saxon crosses. One is the Beeley Cross unearthed 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 is the Bakewell Cross, eight feet high and almost complete. It was carved in the 7th–8th century and shows scenes that include Annunciation. This may originally have stood at Hassop Cross Roads. During restoration work, in the 1840s, many carved fragments of Saxon stonework were found in and around the porch of the church, along with some ancient stone coffins.
The church contains a selection of medieval and Anglo-Saxon cross fragments and carved stones collected by Thomas Bateman and donated to Weston Park Museum in Sheffield, before being moved to Bakewell in 1899. There is a notable alabaster memorial to Sir Godfrey de Foljambe, who acquired the manor of Bakewell about 1350, and to his wife Avena.
The Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway, which opened Bakewell railway station in 1862, became part of the Midland Railway and later the LMS main line from London to Manchester. John Ruskin objected to what he saw as desecration of the Derbyshire countryside, also to the fact that "a Buxton fool may be able to find himself in Bakewell in twelve minutes, and vice versa." In return for the Duke of Rutland's permission for the line to pass through his estate at Haddon Hall, Bakewell station buildings on the hillside overlooking the town are more imposing than expected, and the Duke's coat of arms are carved into the stonework. Such pandering to landowners was common at the time, as their support was needed to obtain the Act of Parliament allowing the line to be built, although the inconvenient altitude of the railway forced Bakewell station to be placed out of town, as the Duke insisted it run out of sight of Haddon Hall. These station buildings are now used by small businesses, as the line between Matlock and Buxton closed in 1968. Most of the track has been designated the Monsal Trail, a motor traffic-free track for walking, cycling and horse riding.
"Normal" trains now run from Derby via Ambergate only as far as Matlock, and from Manchester only as far as Buxton. There have been repeated proposals for reopening the remaining, Wye Valley, portion of the line, which would run through Bakewell and over the magnificent Monsal Dale viaduct.
Peak Rail, a local preserved railway venture, has shown the way by reopening the line from Matlock to Rowsley, a village a few miles to the east of Bakewell, near Haddon Hall. Reaching Bakewell is one of Peak Rail's long-term ambitions, and to keep alive the intention for a future return of the railway (under one auspice or another), Derbyshire County Council currently protects the track bed from development.
Bakewell is known for the Bakewell pudding, a jam pastry with a filling enriched with egg and ground almond. Bakewell tart is a different confection, made with shortcrust pastry, an almond topping and a sponge and jam filling. Mr Kipling also made "Cherry Bakewells", often also known as Bakewell tarts. The origins of these are not clear, but the popular story is that it was first made by accident in 1820, when the landlady of the White Horse Inn (now the Rutland Arms Hotel) left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart with an egg and almond-paste pastry base. The cook, instead of stirring the eggs and almond paste into the pastry, spread it on top of the jam. When cooked the jam rose through the paste. The result was successful enough for it to be a popular confection at the inn. Commercial variations, usually with icing sugar on top, have spread the name.
Three shops in Bakewell offer what they each claim is the original recipe. The Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House sells four variations of the confection: "Bakewell Tart", "Iced Bakewell Tart", "Moist Bakewell Tart" and "Traditional Bakewell Pudding". The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop and Bloomers of Bakewell both sell a "Bakewell Pudding" as well.
In the 2011 census, Bakewell was 99.1% White, 0.2% Asian, and 0.5% Mixed/multiple.
The Peak District traditional well dressing takes place in June; colourful images made of petals embedded in clay appear at several places throughout the town. This is followed by Carnival week, culminating in a procession through the town at the beginning of July. Until 2017 The Bakewell Agricultural Show (the Little Royal) was one of the largest covered agricultural shows in the UK and attracted about 65,000 visitors. It took place on the first Wednesday and Thursday in August at the Bakewell Showground. The Little Royal show was founded by Wootten Burkinshaw Thomas in 1819. In 2018 and 2019 (the bicentennial year), the Bakewell Show was suspended in favour of more lucrative commercial opportunities. August also has the Bakewell Arts Festival, a music and theatre event that began in 1997. The Peak Literary Festival is held in the spring and autumn of each year. The spring festival starts on the last Friday in May and the autumn on the last Friday in October.
Sport and recreationEdit
Bakewell has a recreation park to the east of the town centre, with tennis courts, a children's playground, and football and cricket pitches. In the town itself, near the library, is a municipal swimming pool and gym. The River Wye provides a popular riverside walk.
Stephen Downing caseEdit
The Stephen Downing case involved the conviction and imprisonment in 1974 of a 17-year-old council worker, Stephen Downing, for the murder of a 32-year-old legal secretary in Bakewell Cemetery. After a campaign by a local newspaper, his conviction was overturned in 2002, by which time Downing had served 27 years in prison. This is thought to be the longest miscarriage of justice in British legal history, and attracted worldwide media attention.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bakewell.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bakewell.|
- BakewellOnline.co.uk - Dedicated to Bakewell
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .
- Bakewell in the Domesday Book