Review of ‘Wormhill - The History of a High Peak Village’, by Christopher Drewry

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

WORMHILL - THE HISTORY OF A HIGH PEAK VILLAGE

At first glance, Wormhill seems to have few claims to fame. So the size of this new title was intriguing: over 200 pages with numerous illustrations and a 12-page index - always a good indication of the breadth of research.

Author Christopher Drewry has not disappointed his home village, where he was born and bred and lives still. What began as a personal venture relating to his own property at Wormhill became entwined with not just the entire parish but an impressively wide surrounding area. Snippets garnered over many years have been encompassed into a sustained period of research undertaken in retirement.

This bird's eye view of Wormhill first considers the appearance of a prehistoric landscape and an activity which endures to this day. The story then gradually moves across the centuries towards the village's position on the 9th-century boundary between Anglo-Saxon Mercia and the Danish-controlled Danelaw. Topics from subsequent eras range from the unknown fate of an important personage by the name of Siward Barn to wolf-hunting and even the death of the last wolf in the parish; to wars - one after another; to the Industrial Revolution and a famous son of Tunstead who became one of the world's most skilled canal engineers.

Taking us into modern times, Christopher Drewry has deliberately drawn an historical line at the mid-20th century. Yet he observes that the population of Wormhill today is less than 5% of its peak in the previous century; he acknowledges local moves into diversification and offers a few words on the mixed blessing of certain demi-gods.

Family historians will be interested to learn that 'today's surnames are often the same as those appearing on legal documents in 1300'. Others will find references to their own towns and villages, from Abney to Youlgrave and including Buxton, Bakewell, Peak Forest, Tideswell, Millers Dale, Castleton and Hartington.

Wormhill - The History of a High Peak Village is published by Ashridge Press/Country Books of Little Longstone, priced £14.99. On sale locally or to order quoting ISBN 978-1-901214-82-6

Review by Julie Bunting


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