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The name Bakewell originates from 'Bad-kwell' meaning 'bath-spring'. Bakewell grew up around twelve mineral-water springs and there is evidence of settlement around these warm springs since at least the Iron Age. Most of these have now run dry but one still delivers warm water at 15°C (59°F). The lack of functioning wells does not prevent Bakewell from organising Well Dressing for five wells from the last Saturday in June. See the comprehensive list of well dressings which includes other villages and towns within the Peak District National Park and many outside the Peak National Park.
Bakewell is the only market town in the National Park. The charter for its Monday market was granted in 1330, the third year of King Edward III's forty year reign. The market consists of both domestic stalls and a cattle market. A Craft and Gift fair is held every weekend in the Brigade Hall from 10:30am to 4:30 pm. There are many shops clustered around Bakewell's marketplace and a very good tourist information centre. Some of the more specialised shops include
For eating in Bakewell, see our Bakewell Restaurant page.
Bakewell has a regular Farmers' Market with a wide variety of goods from beer, cheese, wine, meat, game and vegetables.
Bakewell's Farmers' Markets are held the last Saturday of each month except for December from 9am to 2pm. The Farmers' Markets are under cover at the Agricultural Business Centre less than two minutes walk from the centre of Bakewell. Alternatively, there is ample parking adjacent to the Farmers Market with very easy access for wheelchairs and prams. In 2010 the parking fees were £1 for one hour; £1.50 for two hours; £3.50 for four hours and £4.50 for over four hours with free parking for Disabled Badge Holders. However, be aware that picnicking is not permitted in this car park!
The dates of the 2015 Bakewell Farmer's Markets are:
See also the dates of farmers' markets in Castleton, Matlock, Buxton and Whaley Bridge.
The map below shows the location of the Bakewell Farmer's Market.
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After shopping, the next port of call should be to the Tourist Information Centre and Peak National Park Information Centre, both of which are located in the 17th century Market House on Bridge Street. This building has the heraldic shields of the Manners family on the outside.
There are three bakeries selling the world famous Bakewell Pudding, and will come as no surprise that each claims to have the original, secret recipe. During the summer season, over 12,000 puddings are sold each week. The Bakewell Pudding is quite different from the more familiar Bakewell Tart. Local legend has it that it was eaten as far back as the 1500s at Haddon Hall and that it was the favourite dish of Lady Dorothy Vernon who eloped in 1563. Indeed, Trevor Brighton, President of the Bakewell and District Historical Society in 2005, has written a book Bakewell: The Ancient Capital of the Peak. His book was written to celebrate the society's 50th anniversary. In it, he claims that the Bakewell pudding goes back to the Middle Ages and probably has its origins in France.
Popular belief is that the actual appearance of the Bakewell Pudding was 300 years later in the 19th century.
The Bakewell Pudding was first created in the 1860s when Bakewell's coaching inn was the White Horse. The White Horse was built in 1804 on the site of an earlier inn. It is by the roundabout in the centre of Bakewell and is now called the Rutland Arms. Back in the coaching days it was the landlady of the White Horse, Mrs Greaves, who usually did the cooking but on the monumental day, when entertaining important guests, the task of making a strawberry tart was left to an inexperienced assistant. The egg and sugar were omitted while making the pastry. Then the jam was spread over the unusual pastry base, and the egg and sugar mixture was put on top and an extra (secret) ingredient was added. The customers liked this new sweet, and the rest is history.
What became of the secret recipe? One story is that Mrs Greaves left the recipe, in her will, to a Mr Radford, who in turn passed it on to Mr Bloomer. Mr Bloomer's son still makes (and sells) this 'original' pudding. But, according to the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Mrs Wilson who owned the cottage where the shop now is, acquired the recipe from the assistant cook (rumour is that is was stolen). Mrs Wilson was a candle maker in this cottage and she decided that she would start to make this pudding.
About 500 metres from the centre and to the north east of Bakewell there is access to the Monsal Trail. It is a vigorous walk out of the town, but there is a small car park at the old Bakewell station. From the track side the building is very attractive with its four tall chimneys and buff sandstone stones. Following the old track bed of the Midland railway between Bakewell and Buxton, the Monsal Trail, gives superb views of the Wye valley and Bakewell. The track is not muddy as it has been prepared with a fine hardcore base that makes it good enough to easily ride bicycles along it.
The railway line was opened in 1863 and closed in 1968 as part of the Beeching report. Dr (later Lord) Beeching was appointed by the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples, as the Chairman of British Railways Board in May 1961. Dr Beeching's report, Re-shaping of BR, was published in March 1963 and recommended the closure of many lines throughout the country. Many lines serving rural communities, like the Bakewell to Matlock line, were axed.
The National Park authority now owns this part of the line although Peak Rail, a voluntary society, has long term plans to lay a track bed the whole way between Buxton, via Bakewell, to Matlock and run trains along it.
Bakewell claims that Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice was written while she stayed at the Rutland Arms, although others claim that it was written while Jane Austen stayed at Haddon Hall. No matter where Jane Austen stayed, everyone agrees that Pride and Prejudice is based on the surrounding area with Lambton being the portrayal of Bakewell and Chatsworth House being the model for Pemberley. In the BBC's TV production of Pride and Prejudice, Lyme Park in Cheshire was the setting for the external scenes at Mr Darcy's Pemberley estate and the internal views were shot at Sudbury Hall (11 miles south of Ashbourne).
However, Trevor Brighton, in his book Bakewell: The Ancient Capital of the Peak (published in 2005), claims that Jane Austen didn't eat a pudding and never came to Bakewell. She never went north of Oxford!
A packhorse bridge spans the River Wye. This beautiful bridge now carries the A619 to Chesterfield. Built around 1300, it has five Gothic arches and triangular corner stones over the buttresses. It is a perfect example of its kind and features on many calendars.
The architecture of All Saints' Church is very interesting with its unusual octagonal spire. Most spires in this area are a regular octagon having all sides the same size and at the same angle to each other, but Bakewell's spire is built in the shape of a crucifix. The church was first established during Anglo-Saxon times, but was completely rebuilt by the Normans in the 12th century. In the churchyard there is a wonderfully preserved 8th century Saxon cross and more interesting detail inside the church.
There are around 40 Anglo-Saxon stones in the grounds of All Saints' Church - the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon stones in the world - and local historians believe that they have unlocked some of their secrets. The stones date back to 920AD when King Edward the Elder ruled England and Scotland as far north as the Forth and Clyde.
When Alfred the Great died on 26th October 899, he was succeeded by his son Edward the Elder as King of Wessex. Edward the Elder was crowned King at Kingston upon Thames on 8th June 900. Edward pursued a take-over of the north of England that had previously been under the control of the Danes. Edward the Elder is best known for his reconquest of all of England south of the Humber after the Viking invasions of the previous century. By 917, his elder sister, Æthelflæd had taken Derby which then became the northern frontier of King Edward's kingdom. By 920 King Edward had built a fort at Bakewell and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that, after the building of the fortress at Bakewell, the king of the Scots, and Ręgnald, and all of those who lived in Northumbria, English and Danish and Norse, and also the Welsh of Strathclyde, chose Edward as their father and lord. This was the time when the nation state of England first came about. It was also the time when the major religion of this new nation converted from Paganism to Christianity.
In 2008, local historians hope to preserve these 40 Anglo-Saxon sculptures in order to discover much more about the messages contained within them. The stones, which have pictures carved into them, date back to 920AD when King Edward came to the area to build a fort. Historians have discovered that they explain how the tribes in northern England were called together in Bakewell and agreed to live under single lord with one law and one religion - Christianity. Bakewell Historical Society chairman Jan Stetka, spent five years decoding the sculptures, and believes that the pictures depict what happened in Bakewell to help create the England we know today. The historical society members now plan to apply for funding to have the stones moved inside the church to be preserved and studied further. Information about the stones will also be available at Bakewell Old House Museum (close to All Saints' Church) when it opens at Easter 2008.
Bakewell holds many different types of events throughout the year with one of the major ones being its own annual agricultural show. This show, which is known as the Little Royal, is always staged on the first Wednesday and Thursday in August and brings visitors and exhibitors from all over Britain and also abroad. It is a traditional two day agricultural show that started in the 1830s and is the largest tented agricultural show in the UK attracting around 50,000 visitors. There are traditional attractions, around 250 trade exhibitors, a full two day programme of entertainment in the centre ring, usually incorporating a military band, and a parade of vintage vehicles.
Wednesday's dog show is one of the largest in the North of England. Many of its winners go on to compete in Crufts.
The horticulture section is frequently used as a vehicle for regional heats of specialist competitions.
The stock section exhibits cattle (including specialist breeds), sheep and goats. There are competitions for pigeons, poultry and rabbits.
Show jumping is a very popular feature of the event and competitions staged in the centre ring are often qualifiers for the Horse of the Year Show.
For fothcoming and past events in Bakewell see Bakewell Events.
See the latest news and breaking stories about Bakewell and the surrounding area.
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This information is provided to the best of our knowledge. We have collected and collated it in good faith but we are not responsible for its accuracy and anyone intending to make use of this information is advised to check it out.
Well that's the legal stuff sorted.
Should you decline to comply with this warning, a leather winged demon of the night will soar from the deep malevolent caverns of the white peak into the shadowy moonlit sky and, with a thirst for blood on its salivating fangs, search the very threads of time for the throbbing of your heartbeat. Just thought you'd want to know that.