Day 42 - Ancestors and Aristocrats
Trip Start May 01, 2010
101Trip End Jul 31, 2010
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Was joined by my Uncle Ashley, who arrived just after breakfast and walked with me, over the strenous Bakewell hill to Chatsworth.
As it turned out, Chatsworth was quite impressive and probably more so, as it has been recently restored in parts. I use the word with a slight edge of caution though. The decor is right on the edge of tasteful, edging a few degrees towards Russian billionaire. In a way, we are fortunate that the splendour fades with age.
The house is still in the private hands of the Devonshire family, and at the head of the clan is the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Not a bad piece of illiteration? The Duchess seems to come from an interesting family, even just amongst her siblings ( she is a Mitford by birth) there is a best selling author and a scandal generating Nazi sympathiser (Nancy and Diana). Diana was married to Oswald Mosley and mother of the formula one head honcho Max Mosley.
Chatsworth done and dusted, I walked up to Baslow and met Ashley there, and we headed to the farm campsite, I would be staying at. Not a bad basic place to pitch and at £3 a night , who could complain. The site was overlooked by the large outcrops of grey sandstone, known as Baslow Edge. The area is replete with outcrops, which attracts climbers, seemingly to every corner and crag.
After setting up, Ashley, who has been researching the Shaw's side of the family for the last couple of years (my Mother is a Shaw), informed me that the area we were in and the valleys I would be walking through tomorrow, held some significance to us. Apparently the Shaw's had arrived in the area from Derbyshire, in the person of one John Shaw, back in 1503. The family had fluorished and by 1903, there were Shaw's across 3-4 valleys. My route the next day, would take me past 2-3 of the villages, were the family had lived. This is a little like the Penkridge scenario, whereby areas being passed through, I had thought were completly unconnected to me, end up being directly part of my history.
Ashley then drove me to the pub called the Yew Tree on the road into Sheffield, that had been run by the family from 1830 to 1903. During the collapse of a dam back in 1860'ish, more than 150 people had been killed, and the back of the pub had been used as a makeshift mortuary. We the headed out to Bradfield (one of the 'Shaw' villages) and popped into the church graveyard. Ashley pointed out a section of the graveyard, which we walked over to. Right below my feet, slumbered my great great great great great great great grandfather. A little bit speechless!
Following a coffee in the local cafe/grocery store (a coop ran by the village residents) we meandered over to the campsite. The gate at the front of the farm, proudly declares 'no teenagers / no radios / no fires'. Clearly I would not be breaking any of those rules. Time for some shut-eye.
There are 2 tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.
Sir George Bernard Shaw