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The Village Of Bonsall

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Bonsall is a village and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the Peak District.


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 toRoman times, and is recorded in the Domesday Book.

The village is on the Limestone Way, at the head of its branch to Matlock. The village lies on the edge of the Peak District National Park, the border of which bisects the 'Uppertown' suburb. Approaching the village is done via a 1:5 hill, which leads down to Via Gellia (now the A5012 road) and nearby Cromford. The road is called the Clatterway, or occasionally the Col du Bonsall.

Parts of the Church of England parish church of Saint James the Apostle 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.

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

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

Textiles and lead mines

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. 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 amenities

Aerial photo of Bonsall village seen from a helicopter

Bonsall remains a working village, 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.

The parish has a Church of England primary school.

Bonsall Camp

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. 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.

See for an uptodate list of events

UFO sightings

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.

Since 2002 the landlord of the Barley Mow has conducted UFO walks every Bank Holiday, and this has featured on BBC TV's Countryfile programme.

Popular culture

Bonsall was used as a location in Shane Meadows' 2004 film Dead Man's Shoes.

Original information taken from Wikipedia,_Derbyshire 
Distributed under a Creative Commons licence

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