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Chapel-en-le-Frith
Geograph-2043001-by-Peter-Barr View of Chapel en le Frith.jpg
View of the town from Cowlow Lane
Derbyshire UK parish map highlighting Chapel-en-le-Frith.svg
Chapel-en-le-Frith parish highlighted within Derbyshire
Population 8,635 (Parish, 2011)
OS grid reference SK055806
Civil parish
  • Chapel-en-le-Frith
District
  • High Peak
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HIGH PEAK
Postcode district SK23
Dialling code 01298
Police Derbyshire
Fire Derbyshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • High Peak
List of places
UK
England
Derbyshire

Chapel-en-le-Frith is a town and civil parish in Derbyshire, England.

Dubbed the "Capital of the Peak", as it was the first settlement of the Peak District. The Peak District is a historic term for the upperland areas which sat between the Saxon lands (below the River Trent) and the Vikings lands (which came as far south as Dore, Sheffield). It is thought that the word 'peak' does not relate to the hill shape but to the people who lived there and were derived from old English tribes (peaks or picts). The geography of the 'Peak District' is not synonymous with Peak District National Park boundary, which was established excluding town, quarry and industrial areas.

The town was established by the Normans in the 12th century, originally as a hunting lodge within the Forest of High Peak. This led to the French-derived name Chapel-en-le-Frith ("chapel in the forest"). (It appears in an English form in a Latin record as 'Chapell in the ffryth', in 1401.) The population at the 2011 census was 8,635.

Church of St Thomas Becket

The first chapel in the town (now the Church of St. Thomas Becket) was originally built by the Normans but was replaced with a larger building a hundred years later. It stands at the highest point in the town proper. The current building is now almost entirely of 18th century construction above a crypt of 1225 AD. Buried in the churchyard are soldiers of the Scottish army of the Duke of Hamilton who marched south in support of Charles I in 1648. After their defeat at Preston, they were marched to Chapel and imprisoned in the church for sixteen days in such squalid conditions that forty died; a further ten died when they were marched towards Cheshire. The Eccles Pike Cross stands in the churchyard, having been moved here from Ollerenshaw Farm in 1925. It is believed to be Anglo-Saxon and is covered in very worn carvings.

Church Brow - geograph.org.uk - 901985
Church Brow in the town centre
Church Tower - geograph.org.uk - 901964
Church of Thomas Becket

Transport

Chapel-en-le-Frith railway station is located 1.5 km (ca. 1 mile) from the town centre, on the commuter line from Buxton to Manchester Piccadilly. The other railway line passing through the town, (Chapel-en-le-Frith Central railway station) has a more central disused station built by the Midland Railway, was once one of the main lines from London to Manchester. While it no longer carries passenger traffic, it now carries a constant stream of roadstone from the quarries around Buxton. It terminates at its junction with the Manchester–Sheffield trans-Pennine line by way of two viaducts, diverging east and west, above the Black Brook valley at Chapel Milton near Chinley signalbox.

Chapel-en-le-Frith Central Station geograph-2147803
Locomotive approaching the former Chapel-en-le-Frith (Central) in 1957
Chapel-en-le-Frith (South) station geograph-3300512-by-Ben-Brooksbank
Station on the railway between Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton

Moorlands

To the north lie the Dark Peak highlands, which are made up of millstone grit and are heather-covered, rugged and bleak. Here are Chinley Churn and South Head with, a little further off, Kinder Scout, which looms above the whole area. To the south is the gentler and more pastoral White Peak, consisting largely of limestone grasslands, nevertheless with spectacular bluffs and the occasional gorge. Combs Moss, a gritstone 'edge', dominates the valley in which Chapel lies from the south and Eccles Pike rises sharply above the town to its west and provides a commanding 360° viewpoint.

Landmarks of the parish

Ford Hall - geograph.org.uk - 900335
Ford Hall and surrounding buildings
South Head in the background

Ford Hall in the east of the parish, northeast of Slacke Hall and Bowden Hall, was the home of the Reverend William Bagshaw, the 'Apostle of the Peak', after he was ejected from the vicarage of Chinley on the Act of Uniformity in 1662.

Also in the east of the parish, next to a lake alongside the A623 and not nationally listed for its architecture, is the modest Bennetston Hall, which is being renovated as a hotel. Nearby are the site of Peaslow's Cross, and Rushup Hall, a modest but ornate 19th-century private house.

Stodhart Lodge, a care home, is north of the town centre on the Hayfield Road, the old road to Chapel Milton and the rest of the neighbouring parish of Chinley. It has a later 19th-century extension in the neo-gothic architectural style with a datestone inscribed "JB 1869".

Along the B5470 road west of the town are the linear settlements of Bridgefields, Cockyard and Tunstead Milton. Ollerenshaw Hall dates from c.1800 and stands below Eccles Pike.

Combs

The village of Combs, west of the town, gives its name to the adjacent Combs Reservoir. The Old Brook House (and its barn), close to the Beehive Inn in the centre of Combs, are listed buildings; parts of the house's grand layout clearly date from the 17th and 18th centuries and, as such, it is similar to Marsh Hall closer to Chapel.

In the rolling hills between Combs and Chapel is Bank Hall, extensively altered in 1872–74 for Henry Renshaw of Manchester on an ornate aerial plan with an elaborate stone balcony over the door, a bay window with fine botanical painted glass and canvas panels to the doors, formerly with painted panels by Armstrong and Caldecott. The south elevation of the house has a central Venetian doorway with columns either side of double-glazed doors—here too are voussoirs decorated with floral motifs, set in an imposing ashlar surround. Its nearby lodge, by W.E.Nesfield, is also listed, as is nearby Chapel railway station.

Dove Holes

Dove Holes, in the southeast of the parish, has its own station. Within the village lie the earthworks of a Neolithic henge known as the Bull Ring; the site also includes an oval and bowl barrow.

Neighbouring settlements and landmarks

Education

There are two schools in the town: Chapel-en-le-Frith High School and Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary School.

Sport

The town's football team is Chapel Town F.C., playing in Division One of the Manchester Football League. There is a golf course on the western edge of the town.

There is also a leisure centre, with tennis courts co-located with High School which provides a range of fitness classes and sports facilities.

Notable people

  • Neville Buswell (1943 in Chapel-en-le-Frith – 2019), British actor known for his role as Ray Langton in Coronation Street
  • Lloyd Cole (born 1961 in Buxton), English singer and songwriter, lead singer of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions from 1984 to 1989, grew up in Chapel-en-le-Frith
  • John Hartle (1933 in Chapel-en-le-Frith – 1968), English professional road racer who competed in national, international and Grand Prix motorcycle racing events
  • Ross Hockenhull (born 1961 in Chapel-en-le-Frith), British former racing driver in the 1989 International Formula 3000 season
  • Peter Kirk (1860 in Townend, Chapel-en-le-Frith – 1916), British-born American businessman, founded Kirkland, Washington, USA
  • Sam Longson (died 1989), businessman and chairman of Derby County F.C.
  • Philip Marchington (1736 in Chapel-en-le-Frith – 1808), merchant and political figure in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in Canada from 1786 to 1793
  • Hubert Selwyn Pink (1878 in Chapel-en-le-Frith – 1946), English cricketer who played for Derbyshire during the 1900 season
  • Judge Gerald Sparrow (1903 in Chapel-en-le-Frith – 1988)
  • Major Richard John Wrottesley, 5th Baron Wrottesley MC (1918 in Chapel-en-le-Frith – 1977), British peer and army officer

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