About Our Parish

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The Hermit’s Cave

Dale Abbey is roughly mid-way between Derby and Nottingham, some four miles south-east of Ilkeston.

The historic importance of Dale began around 1130 when a Derby baker had a vision of the Virgin Mary, telling him to go to Depedale (the old name, meaning deep valley) to worship God.

The Hermitage (pictured above) is a scheduled ancient monument located within Hermit’s Wood.  This wood is a relic of the ancient forest that used to cover much of this part of Derbyshire and is itself on the County Register of Biologically Important Sites.

Although Augustinian Canons came to Depedale in the 1150’s it was not until about 1200 that the Abbey of St Mary was founded. The abbey flourished and owned 24,000 acres of land until the disolution of the monasteries in 1536.

Today however all that remains of this splendid building are the 13th century east window and the abbey gatehouse which is behind the former Methodist Chapel, now the Gateway Christian Centre.  The former gatehouse was used as a jail in the 18th and 19 centuries.

Walls and stone from the abbey are incorporated in a number of local buildings.  Excavations in the 1870’s, 1880's and 1930’s exposed parts of the abbey including the Presbytery.

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The unique semi-detached Church of All Saints, part of which was built by the hermit, became the chapel for the abbey infirmary.  The stonework by the hymn board is believed to be part of the original building.

The Church is in regular use and has hardly changed since 1634, retaining it box pews.  Attached to the Church is the  Verger’s farmhouse, a former public house which was demolished and rebuilt around 1883.  This eventually became a private dwelling, which it remains to this day.

To the east of the abbey window are the earth banks which dammed the Sow Brook to make a monastic fishpond.  To the north is the former village school.

The village and its surroundings were made a Conservation Area in 1972 to safeguard the beauty, peace and historic interest of the area.

On the hill north of the village is the Cat and Fiddle windmill, one of the last in Derbyshire to retain its machinery.  It was built in the 18th century and is one of the oldest types of mill.

The area many footpaths enable visitors to enjoy the village and the surrounding countryside.







Original material © Park Hall Designs 2019