Stoney Middleton

Stoney Middleton is a village and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England. It is in the White Peak area of the Peak District southeast of Eyam and northwest of Calver, on the A623 road at the foot of the limestone valley of Middleton Dale. The population at the 2011 Census was 470.[1]

Stoney Middleton
Middleton Dale from Stoney Middleton
Stoney Middleton is located in Derbyshire
Stoney Middleton
Stoney Middleton
Location within Derbyshire
Population470 (2011)
OS grid referenceSK230754
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtS32
Dialling code01433
AmbulanceEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
53°16′34″N 1°39′22″W / 53.276°N 1.656°W / 53.276; -1.656Coordinates: 53°16′34″N 1°39′22″W / 53.276°N 1.656°W / 53.276; -1.656


The village has been thought to be a Roman settlement, perhaps based on lead mining, but there is currently no archaeological evidence to prove this. A nineteenth-century bath house over a hot spring is known locally as The Roman Baths, but this was built in an unsuccessful attempt to establish a spa resort. (After the Stoney Middleton Youth Club cleared undergrowth in the early 1980s the building was consolidated and made secure by local craftsmen with the aid of a grant by the Peak Park.[2])

A semi-circular earth platform called "Castle Hill" overlooks the village; academic opinion varies as to what this earthwork originally was.[3] It may have been a ringwork castle, or simply the foundations of a summer house.[3] The origins of the name of the village go back to the Saxo-Norman period when it was known as Middletone or Middletune,[4] the name Stoney Middleton literally meaning 'stony middle farm'.

Domesday BookEdit

Stoney Middleton is mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book. The manor is first recorded as being where the King had land:

In Stoney Middleton, Godgyth had four bovates of land to the geld. Land for four oxen. There 6 villans and one bordar have 2 ploughs and four acres of meadow and a little scrubland. TRE[5] as now worth six shillings.[6]

The book then says under the title of "The lands of Ralph fitzHubert":[7]

In Stoney Middleton Leofnoth and his brother had one carucate of land. There is land for one plough. It is waste. This manor is one league long and 4 furlongs broad.[8]

Change in locationEdit

Local archaeologists and historians have speculated (since 1996) that the original location of the village, which was ravaged by the Black Death, may have been immediately to the south of the Old Hall, on a series of terraces (still visible from the public footpath overlooking the meadows between the lower, modern extension of the village and the bottom of the "Town" the hill by the Moon Inn which leads up to Stoney Middleton Junior School). Renewal of the village led to the construction of a stone chapel in the fifteenth century at the crossroads of the roads/tracks going between Eyam and Grindleford, which was dedicated to Saint Martin, perhaps to cater for pilgrims to the spring. The tower survives, attached to an unusual octagonal nave of 1759.

Modern historyEdit

During the Great Plague, the 17th-century villagers left food for those self-quarantined in nearby Eyam.

Atop a cliff above Middleton Dale lies Lovers Leap, from which Hannah Baddeley is said to have jumped in 1762, but miraculously survived. Sadly she died two years later.[9]

A road was blasted through Middleton Dale in 1830, and in 1840 an octagonal toll house was built in the village, now a fish and chip shop which stands opposite the Royal Oak public house.[9] Other notable buildings include Middleton Hall.

A primary school was built in 1835 by public subscription and is the meeting place for the Parish Council, the PTA, WI, Horticultural Society, Tennis Club, and other activities of the village.[10] Despite a massive campaign by Stoney Middleton School governors, parents and friends, Derbyshire County Council voted at the Council Meeting on 12 December 2006 to propose the closure of Stoney Middleton school from 31 August 2007. This decision was, however, eventually over-ruled in May 2007.[11]

A cross by the main road is dated 1846. It was erected to mark the repeal of the Corn Laws.[12]

In the dale were several quarries, once a major source of employment for the village. Footwear became a major industry, with one specialist industrial boot factory (William Lennon) surviving to the present day. Lead mining also continued, with a Barmote Court alternating between Stoney Middleton and Eyam until the early twentieth century.[13] One of the quarries was bombed by two Messerschmitt Bf 110s during World War II,[citation needed] both of which were later shot down.[citation needed] A prisoner-of-war camp was situated at the bottom of the village and housed Italian prisoners (amongst others).[citation needed]

Several electric narrow gauge railways were operated in Stoney Middleton by Laporte Industries Ltd up to 1987 for the mining of fluorite.[14]

In January 2007 some houses in the village were damaged by a wall of mud caused by the failure of a dam near the top of the dale. The dam, which held a lagoon of mud and water from a local mineral quarry, burst following heavy rainfall.[15]

In May 2007 The Times newspaper reported that police had found a crystal meth factory in Stoney Middleton, in a rented industrial unit in the Rock Hill business park; it was the largest such facility discovered in the United Kingdom at the time.[16]


The Dale became a major centre for Peak District rock climbers in the 1960s and 1970s,[citation needed] mainly developed by people like Jack Street, Geoff Birtles and Tom Proctor, who in 1968 established one of the hardest climbs in the world at that time, "Our Father" on Windy Buttress.[citation needed] The Lover's Leap café has for many years been a wet-weather retreat and refuelling stop for cyclists, cavers and climbers.[citation needed] The Moon Inn was a pub much frequented by the climbing fraternity, and maintains the tradition today with a "muddy boots welcome" sign and Bed and Breakfast for walkers and climbers. It was not unknown for climbers to over-indulge at lunchtime and then set off to climb up the dale or as far away as Millstone Edge, resulting in trips to A&E.[citation needed] In the 1980s the dale began to wane in popularity having been largely worked out by climbers as well as the quarrymen.

At the eastern end of the village, running from the warm water spring near the Roman Baths, the path known locally as Jacob's Ladder leads directly in front of the village cemetery, and passes through Plantation Woods up to Eyam New Road. It affords views of Curbar and Froggat Edge, Coombs Dale, and a Bronze Age barrow over towards Deep Rake. In 2003, Derbyshire County Council reviewed the status of the path, classified as a Schedule D road; residents had petitioned for a change in the road's status, and the Trail Riders Fellowship petitioned against any change.[17] The council decided to maintain the status of the road.[17] As of March 2013, the designation of this route as a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic) was being contested by the parish council, who intended to apply for a Traffic Regulation Order to apply to the right-of-way.[18]

A well dressing (a ceremony predating Christianity which now uses plant materials to decorate the well with – usually – Christian symbols) takes place annually in the village, usually spanning the last week in July and the first week in August.[19]

On televisionEdit

The village was featured in the first episode of Most Haunted: Midsummer Murders in which the team investigates the death of a supposedly Scottish peddler and of Hannah Baddeley. Whilst investigating, they also conducted a vigil at the Moon Inn.


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  2. ^ "The Bath House (Renovated), Stoney Middleton". Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Stoney Middleton Castle". Gatehouse. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  4. ^ Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin. 2003. p. 1406. ISBN 0-14-143994-7.
  5. ^ TRE in Latin is Tempore Regis Edwardi. This means in the time of King Edward before the Battle of Hastings.
  6. ^ Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0-14-143994-7 p.743
  7. ^ Ralph fitzHubert held a considerable number of manors including several in Derbyshire given to him by the King. These included obviously Stoney Middleton but also included lands in Eckington, Barlborough, Whitwell, Palterton, Duckmanton, Stretton, Ashover, Newton, Crich, Kirk Langley, Ingleby, Wirksworth and Hathersage.
  8. ^ Domesday Book: A Complete Transliteration. London: Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0-14-143994-7 p.751
  9. ^ a b "Peak District Online: Stoney Middleton". 25 November 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Derbyshire UK: Stoney Middleton". Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Stoney Middleton School saved". Derbyshire Times. 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  12. ^ Sharpe, Neville T. (2002). Crosses of the Peak District. Landmark Collectors Library.
  13. ^ "Lead Mining". Archived from the original on 20 February 2006.
  14. ^ Industrial Locomotives 1979: including preserved and minor railway locomotives. Industrial Railway Society. 1979. ISBN 0-901096-38-5.
  15. ^ "'River of sludge' floods village". BBC News. 22 January 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  16. ^ "Unknown (behind paywall)". The Times.
  17. ^ a b Browne, Moira (26 June 2003). "Residents speak out over village hazard". Matlock Mercury. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Jacob's Ladder and Mill Lane". Stoney Middleton Parish Council. 24 March 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Stoney Middleton Well Dressing". Retrieved 4 April 2012.

External linksEdit