Ashford in the Water


ASHFORD, a township and chapelry in the parish of Bakewell, hundred of High Peak, in the county of Derby, 2 miles to the N.W. of Bakewell. It is situated in a district of great beauty in the valley of the Wye and was anciently part of the demesnes of the crown. Marble of very fine quality, of black and grey colour, is found in the neighbourhood. It lies in beds of from 3 to 9 inches in thickness, at a depth of about 40 feet below the surface. It is sawn and polished at the works which were established here in 1748, and which were the first of the kind in England. The stocking manufacture is also carried on here, and employs about a hundred frames.

The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Lichfield, value £102, in the patronage of the vicar of Bakewell. The Church has been rebuilt, but an ancient porch is preserved, on which are some curious sculptures, supposed to represent the animals which dwelt in the Peak forest. A castle formerly stood here, in which the earls of Kent, and afterwards the earls of Westmoreland, resided; nothing remains of it but the moat. At Finnhead are remains of a Saxon encampment, or Roman station, and two barrows. There are chapels belonging to the Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. Also a Unitarian chapel, erected by William Bagshaw, called "the Apostle of the Peak".

Ashford Hall, a fine seat on the banks of the Wye, belonging to the dukes of Devonshire, is at present the seat of the Hon. G. H. Cavendish, M.P. The other residences are Church Dale, a mansion of recent construction; Thornbridge, and the Rookery, situated on the banks of the Wye, in which trout and grayling abound. The Duke of Devonshire is lord of the manor.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868



  • The parish was in the Bakewell sub-district of the Bakewell Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1851 H.O. 107 / 2149
1861 R.G. 9 / 2539
1891 R.G. 12 / 2773

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
  • A Cahntry was founded in this church in 1257.
  • Portions of the church have been dated to the 12th century.
  • The church tower dates from the 13th century.
  • The church seats 300.
  • Garth NEWTON has a photograph of Holy Trinity Church on Geo-graph, taken in October, 1999.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1688.
  • We have a pop-up window of Parish Register burials in a text file for your review. Your additions are welcomed.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Bakewell.
  • Here is a list of Ashford Parish Registers available on Microfilm from LDS Family History Libraries. Film Numbers are reproduced on GENUKI by kind permission of the Genealogical Society of Utah.


    Parish registers, 1687-1959. Microfilm Number
    Baptisms, 1687-1880
    Marriages, 1692-1803, 1818-1881
    Burials, 1688-1812
    Banns, 1875-1881
    Burials, 1813-1881
    Baptisms, 1879-1901
    Marriages, 1880-1902
    Banns, 1880-1900
    Baptisms, 1899-1958
    Marriages, 1899-1959
    Bishop's transcripts, 1669-1864. Microfilm Number
    Baptisms, marriages, and burials, 1669-1812 0422180
    Baptisms, marriages, and burials, 1813-1864 0497375
    Marriages, 1669-1767 / copied by the Society of Genealogists. 0823616

  • The Baptists built a chapel in Ashford Lane prior to 1857, but it stood unused for several years.
  • The Congregationalists built a chapel in 1700, later used by the Unitarians. This building was rebuilt in 1841, but disused by 1900.
  • A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built here in 1830 and was still in use in 1891.
  • Mike SMITH has a photograph of the new (1899) Wesleyan Chapel on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2011.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Bakewell sub-district of the Bakewell Registration District.

Description & Travel

"ASHFORD, or Ashford-in-the-Water, from being seated on the Wye, is a small village, and chapelry to Bakewell, about one mile from that town, on the road to Buxton. There are many lead mines in the neighbourhood, several of which are now working; and at the entrance of the village from Buxton are the marble-mills and show-rooms of Messrs. Oldfield & Co. established near a century ago, where the sawing of marble, by improved machinery is carried on in all its various branches, for chimney-pieces, monuments, tables, &c., from quarries on the estate of the Duke of Devonshire."

[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]

The parish covers just over 2,500 acres. The village is now bypassed by the A6 road. There is more about the village and parish at the Peak District site.

You can see pictures of Ashford in the Water which are provided by:






Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Ashford in the Water has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • Ashford is well-known for the black marble quarried here over the centuries.
  • Sheepwash Bridge over the River Wye is a former 17th century packhorse bridge.
  • Philip HALLING has a photograph of The Sheepwash Bridge on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2005.
  • Transcription of section of Lysons' Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire, 1817, for Ashford by Barbarann AYARS.
  • In the 1800s most of the parish land was given over to pasturage.
  • The village held a traditional village feast on Trinity Sunday each year.
  • The Ashford Female Friendly Society was founded here in June, 1788, at the house of William COCKAYNE, an innkeeper. Its aim was to help members who contributed money regularly to the club out of difficulties when sick or when a husband or wife died. It had various rules and regulations and it was possible to be excluded for not paying dues or having illegitimate children.
  • The Ashford Mens Friendly Society also existed. This was similar to other "sick clubs" that were established in communities to aid residents who were sick or injured. I have no sources that tell me the dates that they were established or operated, but Mike SPENCER has supplied these undated lists of members.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK194697 (Lat/Lon: 53.223997, -1.710884), Ashford in the Water which are provided by:


Military History

  • At the end of Fennel Street is a pump site, usually referred to as the Top Pump, covered by a shelter. This shelter was added in 1881 and the seat was installed after the First World War as a celebration of Peace.
  • Terry ROBINSON has a photograph of the WWI Memorial Cross in the churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2012.
  • Terry ROBINSON also has a photograph of the WW2 Memorial Plaque in the churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2012.

Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient Chapelry in Bakewell parish in Derbyshire and became a separate modern Civil Parish in December, 1866.
  • This parish was in the ancient High Peak Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • You may contact the Ashford-in-the-Water Parish Council regarding civic or political issues, but they are NOT staffed to assist with family history searches.
  • District governance is provided by the Peak District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Bakewell petty session hearings.
  • There is a list of about ten Ashford Bastardy Papers held at the DRO on the Yesterdays Journey website. Select "Bastardy Papers" on the left side, then "Ashford in the Water" from the list displayed.
  • As a result of the Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a member of the Bakewell Poorlaw Union.