Bonsall, Derbyshire

Coordinates: 53°07′16″N 1°35′02″W / 53.121°N 1.584°W / 53.121; -1.584

Bonsall is a village and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the Peak District. The civil parish population, including Brightgate and Horse Dale, was 775 at the 2001 Census, increasing to 803 at the 2011 Census.[2]

Bonsall, Derbyshire.jpg
Bonsall village
Derbyshire UK parish map highlighting Bonsall.svg
Bonsall parish highlighted within Derbyshire
Population775 (2001 census)[1]
OS grid referenceSK279582
Civil parish
  • Bonsall
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMatlock
Postcode districtDE4
Dialling code01629
AmbulanceEast Midlands
UK Parliament
WebsiteBonsall Village
List of places


Bonsall is about 5 miles (8 km) from Matlock and about 18 miles (29 km) from Derby. Bonsall has a long history of lead mining, along with its neighbouring town of Wirksworth, probably going back to Roman times, and is recorded in the Domesday Book.

The approach to the village is via a steep hill leading up from Via Gellia (now the A5012 road) and nearby Cromford. The road is called the Clatterway, or occasionally the Col du Bonsall.[citation needed]

The village lies on the edge of the Peak District National Park, the border of which bisects the 'Uppertown' suburb. The village is on the Limestone Way, at the head of its branch to Matlock, and on the Peak District Boundary Walk.[3]

Parts of St James the Apostle's Church, Bonsall date from the 13th century, including the north side of the chancel and the arcade of the south aisle. The arcade of the north aisle is later and so is the Perpendicular Gothic tower. The outer walls of the church were rebuilt in 1861–62 under the direction of the Gothic Revival architect Ewan Christian.[4]

There is a market cross in the village centre that may date from the Middle Ages. The ball on top was added in 1671.[4] Bonsall applied for a market charter some three hundred years ago,[when?] but was rejected.[5]

The Manor House was built in about 1670 and the Kings Head public house was established in 1677.[4]

Textiles and lead minesEdit

Bonsall inhabitants have been involved in the textile industry, before and after Richard Arkwright. Around 1850 Bonsall was a farming village surrounded by lead mines and busy outworker frame-knitting workshops. A few 18th- and 19th-century frame-knitting workshop buildings survive.[4] Many people also worked in the cotton spinning mills at Cromford and the Via Gellia. In early modern times Bonsall was on an important salters' route, and was a staging post on the road between Derby and Manchester.

Economy and amenitiesEdit

Aerial photo of Bonsall village seen from a helicopter

Bonsall remains a working village that is involved in agriculture, heavy goods transport and a range of forms of information technology. However, most people in the village travel to cities such as Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield for work.[citation needed] The village supports two public houses, the Barley Mow[6] and the Kings Head.

The parish has a Church of England primary school.[7]

Bonsall CampEdit

Bonsall Camp in Uppertown is a Christian youth camp, owned by the Christian Youth Foundation, a charity that runs several residential children's and youth weeks in the summer holidays. Camps have been run here for more than 60 years.[8] The Christian author Selwyn Hughes recalls in his biography the time he was sent home from the camp for bad behaviour.


Attractions include the Annual "World Championship Hen Race" held annually in August at the Barley Mow public house. This event was run for the first time in 1992.

UFO sightingsEdit

For two years from October 2000, there were 19 sightings of UFOs in the area. On 5 October 2000, Sharon Rowlands photographed a circular object. The circular object showed a similarity to a circular object seen on the STS-75 Columbia Space Shuttle mission in early 1996.[9]


  1. ^ "Area selected: Derbyshire Dales (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  3. ^ McCloy, Andrew (2017). Peak District Boundary Walk: 190 Miles Around the Edge of the National Park. Friends of the Peak District. ISBN 978-1909461536.
  4. ^ a b c d Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth (1978) [1953]. Derbyshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 101–102. ISBN 0-14-071008-6.
  5. ^ Sharpe, Neville T (2002). Crosses of the Peak District. Landmark Collectors Library. Ashbourne: Landmark Publishing Ltd. p. not cited. ISBN 1-84306-044-2.
  6. ^ "Barley Mow Bonsall". Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Bonsall CE Primary School". Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  8. ^ "About". Bonsall Camp. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  9. ^ "'UFO video' goes to Hollywood". BBC News. 1 June 2001. Retrieved 28 July 2014.

External linksEdit