Beeley – Close to Chatsworth, with a History Dating Back to the Bronze Age.
At the southern end of Chatsworth Park and with a Church dating back to the 12th century, Beeley lies at the foot of high, desolate moorland. Beeley Moor contains plenty of evidence that the area has been occupied for thousands of years. Hob Hurst’s House is a Bronze Age tomb and local legend has it that if you listen carefully at dusk, you can hear the voices of it’s long-gone internees. It is a well-preserved square burial mound with a deep ditch and external bank. Also on this moor are at least four stone circles plus other burial mounds. They are generally not well preserved, the best of the bunch being Park Gate circle. This has a continuous bank but only a few of the original 10 – 14 standing stones remain upright. Several sunset alignments have been postulated from here.
From pagan to christian … St. Anne’s church is thought to have been established during Saxon times. In common with many UK churches, the bulk of it dates only to the Victorian era, however, there are a few vestiges of earlier versions. Parts of the main doorway date back to Norman times, as does the lower part of the belfry and walls of the chancel. Inside, there is little visible from the 12 century other than a few stones here and there.
Down in Beeley itself, Dukes Barn is a late 18th century building from which an outdoors activity centre is run. It was used as stabling for the Chatsworth cart horses. Throughout the year, the centre runs outdoor activities for the general public. The centre is an equal opportunities outdoor activity centre – their manifesto states “providing children with special needs including Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, children with hearing or sight impairment and those with physical disabilities including wheelchair users. We also run courses for primary and secondary school children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds or poor inner city areas” . Bravo to Dukes Barn for giving these children such a great opportunity.
Pig lane marks the route of an old Pack Horse route to Chatsworth. See if you can spot the pig pens that give this route its name. The Old Hall was the original manor house until it was supplanted by Hill Top (originally called the Greaves I believe). The Duke of Devonshire pub is a popular location for food.
Beeley has been a Chatsworth Estate village since the 18th century and many of the houses were designed by Joseph Paxton and are painted in the Chatsworth Livery.