"HATHERSAGE, a village and parish, is 5½ miles E. by S. from Castleton, in the same hundred as Hope, and 4 miles from that village. The branch of wire drawing, and the manufacture of needles, are carried on here extensively; and upon the Derwent, which flows through the parish, are corn mills, and one for the making of paper."
[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]
Hathersage is 10 miles south-west of Sheffield and 160 miles north of London and contains the townships of Hathersage, Bamford, Derwent (chapelry) and Outseats; to which the chapelry of Stoney Middleton is also annexed (as of 1857). White's 1857 continues: This village has long been noted for the manufacture of needles, hackles, gills, pins, cast steel wire, and millstones. Messrs Robert and David COOK first brought the needle business here from Redditch on the 14th July 1811.
The Hamlet of Derwent is now on the north side of the Ladybower Reservoir.
The Midland Railway opened a station here in 1894, 9 miles north of Bakewell.
From "The Derbyshire Village Book" compiled by the Derbyshire Federation of Womens' Institutes, pub: Countryside Books, Newbury, 1991, ISBN 1 85306 133 6:
"Hathersage Situated in the Peak National Park at the entrance to the Hope valley, Hathersage is the first village on the A625 alter leaving Sheffield and marks the division between the Dark and White Peaks. There is some controversy about the origin of the name Hathersage but anyone looking up from the village to the surrounding moorlands in late summer will understand why it is commonly believed to be a corruption of `Heather's edge'.
The village boasts seven old houses or `Halls' said to have been built by a member of the Eyre family during the Middle Ages for his seven sons. People who have lived there claim that at least three of these - Highlow, Northlees and Moorseats, are haunted. Northlees and Moorseats are also well known for their association with Charlotte Bronte who wrote her novel Jane Eyre after a visit to her former school friend Ellen Nussey, the sister of the vicar of Hathersage. She used the two Halls as models for the homes of Mr Rochester and St John Rivers. The building which is now the butcher's shop is said to have been the original of the shop where Jane Eyre tried to barter her gloves for `a cake of bread' and the Bronte link is carried further in that the landlord of the George Hotel at the time of Charlotte's visit was called Morton - the name she gave to the village where Jane sought help.
Traditionally Hathersage was the home of Robin Hood's companion Little John and the cottage in which he is supposed to have lived was standing up to 100 years ago. His grave is in a prominent position in the churchyard. A bow supposedly belonging to him was once kept in the church but seems to have disappeared after being removed, ostensibly for safe-keeping, some 250 years ago.
In the past Hathersage was an industrial village well known for making needles, heckle pins and millstones - large numbers of which can he found abandoned where they were made on the hillside above the village. Other activities carried on in and around the village included lead smelting, paper making, a mill making saws and farming. Today only farming survives. Many residents now travel to work in Sheffield or further down the valley but the growth of tourism provides work for increasing numbers in catering, retailing and craftwork.
Hathersage is one of the biggest villages in the Hope valley and its shops and other amenities make it a focus for people in the surrounding area It is situated on the Sheffield to Manchester railway line, a facility increasingly used by both local people and visitors, There are three active churches and six public houses. In the summer the sports facilities, given to the village in the late 1930s by C. H. Lawrence, a wealthy Sheffield businessman who lived in Hathersage, and now run by the parish council, are popular with local people and visitors.
Older residents still remember the fair which used to be held in the village on 13th October during potato picking week, when the school was closed and stalls were set up all along the main street, but nowadays the highlight of the year is Gala Week, usually the second week in July, when the village is decorated, a gala queen is crowned and the whole village takes part in a week of activities including fell racing, tug of war, treasure hunts and sports competitions. The Blessing of the Crib on Christmas Eve is another event which generates a sense of community and is much loved by the children, when a `stable' with life size figures is erected on the grassy bank of the stream which runs alongside the main street."
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