The Village of Carsington
Carsington is a small village lying between Wirksworth and Ashbourne, its stone
built houses and cottages clustered to the west of the church. Farms are
scattered in the outlying areas. Open grazing land rises steeply above the
village to a height of over 1000 feet above sea level. The ground is scarred
with traces of old lead mines, the main source of income for the village for
hundreds of years, and worked first by the Romans. Several of the old cottages
were originally built around mine shafts and at least one still has tunnelling
below the kitchen floor.
In the 7th century a preaching-cross was set up by a monk named Betti. It
still stands on the village green. The church of St Margaret was founded in the
12th century but was largely rebuilt in 1648, or re-edified as it says on the
sundial. It has no spire or tower. The vicarage was built and the yew tree
planted in the churchyard a few years before that date.
An interesting entry in the parish register for 29th September 1668 reads:
"Sarah Tissington died. Born without hands or arms. She learned to knit, dig in
the garden and do other things with her feet."
Hopton Hall, on the edge of the village, was the home of the Gell family for
several centuries until it was sold in 1989.
In the 1960s there was a need for extra water storage capacity in the East
Midlands to meet growing demands. The valley to the south of Carsington, an
agricultural area of chequered fields and hedges, was chosen as the site for a
new reservoir. It was considered ideal as there would be little disruption to
the local community and stone from local quarries was readily available for dam
building and shoreline protection. Only two farms had to be demolished.
Work was begun in 1979. Part of the dam collapsed in 1984
and rebuilding began to a new design. Carsington Reservoir was opened by the
Queen in 1992, the ninth largest in England. It has a Visitor Centre with
exhibition and shops and outdoor activities.
The reservoir has brought some changes to the village. A bypass was built to
take construction traffic. New houses sprang up and barns converted into
desirable residences, the first developments for many years. There are now no
working farms in the village, and the post office has closed.
The Miner's Arms public house is near the church on the opposite side of the