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The village of Stoney Middleton is situated in the White Peak area of the Peak District southeast of Eyam and straddles the main A623 Chesterfield to Chapel-en-le-Frith road in Middleton Dale.
Stoney Middleton is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Middletune', when it is recorded as being owned by Ralph FitzHubert. 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 which are still visible from the public footpath overlooking the meadows between the lower, modern extension of the village. During the seventeenth century Great Plague, the villagers aided the self-quarantined inhabitants of nearby Eyam, by leaving food for them.
On the western side of the village, the cliffs rise almost vertically, the cliff known as Lovers Leap, is where Hannah Baddeley is said to have jumped from in 1762, after being jilted by her lover, William Barnsley. She miraculously survived, saved by her billowibng petticoat, which acted as a parachute, but died two years later of natural causes, still unmarried. The Lovers Leap Cafe has been frequented by generations of climbers.
The village is claimed to have been a Roman settlement, perhaps based on lead mining, but there is at present no archaeological evidence in proof of this. A nineteenth-century bath house (pictured right) over a hot spring in the Nook is known as The Roman Bath. Soldiers from the Navio Roman Fort, in the Hope Valley are said to have bathed here.
The Dale became a major centre for Peak District rock climbers in the 1960s and 1970s. The Moon Inn in the village was much frequented by the climbing fraternity, and maintains the tradition today with a "muddy boots welcome" for walkers and climbers. The pub provides food and bed and breakfast accommodation. A medieval packhorse track, known locally as Jacobs Ladder, can be walked from the centre of the village. It provides excellent views of Curbar and Froggat Edge in the distance.
Middleton Hall, which is situated behind the village church, dates from the seventeenth century and was built for Robert Ashton who was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1665. It was once the home of the distiquished judge, Lord Denman, a Victorian reformer, who advocated the abolition of slavery and became the first national chairman of the Womens Institute. It was restored to its seventeenth century appearance in the twentieth century.
The unusual octagonal Church of St. Martin stands in a secluded square, it was built in 1759 and contains a unique lantern tower. It occupies the site of a smaller church, erected by Joan Eyre in thanksgiving for the safe return of her husband Robert Eyre from the Battle of Agincourt in the fifteenth century.
A well dressing ceremony is held annually in the village, usually in the last week in July and the first week in August.
Nearby places of interest
The Longshaw Estate, owned by the National Trust, offers scenic Peak District, views, ancient woodland, parkland and heather moorland.
Derby Cathedral- light and elegant white and gold early eighteenth century classical nave, and the tomb of Bess of Hardwick.
Lathkill Dale A Peak District beauty spot in the truest sense of the word, Lathkill Dale is one of Britain's finest limestone valleys
Arbor Low Stone Circle, sometimes referred to as ‘The Stonehenge of the North', a prehistoric site of unique archaeological and cultural interest. The monument is atmospherically set amid high moorland near the town of Bakewell.