Derbyshire has long been celebrated for its glorious countryside, historic buildings and thriving towns, cities and villages.
But scratch beneath the surface of England’s most central county and you’ll find a host of oddities and peculiarities lurking – which suddenly transform our seemingly conventional county into something much more intriguing.
So, whether it be head balancing champs, naked races, Derbyshire’s own Gretna Green, or a woman who lived in a bacon box – there’s probably a lot about Derbyshire you don’t know.
But if you’re too busy to launch a historical investigation into the bizarre tales of our county, fear not. Luckily, proud Derbyshire author Andrew Beardmore has dug deep to produce a brand new book: Derbyshire Unusual and Quirky.
While offering key facts and figures from the Stone Age right up to the present day, the book is interspersed with ‘Quirk Alerts’ – as well as a whole chapter dedicated to bizarreness – which promise to reveal a previously untold side of Derbyshire.
Complete with stunning photographs, illustrations, maps, facts boxes and a whole host of anecdotes, the book is delivered in a lateral and humorous format that promises to engage readers. So, if you think you know Derbyshire – think again.
Take for instance the ‘splat-nav’ story where a listed monument fell victim to a driver’s dodgy sat-nav.
The Old Glossop Cross, in Old Glossop, is believed to date from 1920 when the Cistercian monks of Basingwerk Abbey secured the town’s market charter.
Unfortunately, the landmark fell victim to a dodgy sat-nav in 2012 when a driver – having been misled into thinking he could get to Wesley Street from Old Cross (erm, you can’t) – reversed back up the hill and struck the ancient monument.
The crash caused damage to the monument and movement to the base stones.
And from modern day road perils, to road dangers of the early 18th Century. Back then, the most notorious highwayman in Derbyshire was Black Harry. The crook used to rob pack mule trains travelling between Tideswell and Bakewell, as well as targeting travellers on the turnpike roads.
He was eventually arrested by the Castleton Bow Street Runners and was hung, drawn and quartered on Wardlow Mires gibbet.
And did you know the tale of Flagg’s haunted human skull? The Elizabethan manor house, Flagg Hall, houses the spirtual skull on a staircase within the building and legend has it that evil will befall anyone who attempts to remove it.
Several attempts have been made to do so, but all resulted in strange events and thus the skull has stayed put.
One such attempt was made to bury the skull at Chelmorton, but once the funeral cortege neared the village, the horses refused to proceed and stamped so hard that the cortege – and the skull – returned to the hall.
You can find the book Derbyshire Unusual & Quirky, priced £19.99, in local stockists or you can order it by calling 01823 653777 or visiting www.halsgrove.com.