Review of ‘A History of Old Whittington’, by Tom Bates

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.

by Tom Bates
Published by New Age Poetry Press
ISBN 09522108 6 X (2008)

Writer Tom Bates was born in Old Whittington and brings many personal reminiscences to the first part of this story. Old Whittington, however, holds a hugely important place in the history of the Peak and beyond. It was here, in the parlour of a village inn (now the Revolution House), that four plotters cooked up the Glorious Revolution which dethroned the unpopular James II and brought William and Mary to the throne. One of the plotters, William Cavendish, was created First Duke of Devonshire and Marquis of Hartington in gratitude for his role.

Subsequent Dukes of Devonshire were to have another interest in this corner of Derbyshire - a racecourse. To this day the Devonshires have been keen followers of the turf and their forebears actively patronised the racecourse at Whittington Moor. The races became a major event on the social calendar and Tom Bates describes how in 1829, the Duke of Devonshire 'arrived at Chesterfield in his state coach pulled by six horses, with an entourage of two coaches and four and a consignment of servant outriders. He promptly gave a £50 donation for the building of a grandstand ... '

In 1854, moreover, the Stewards of the racecourse were William Pole Thornhill of Stanton Hall near Bakewell and Sir Joseph Paxton, the famous head gardener at Chatsworth.

Thus A History of Old Whittington has very extensive roots of its own! Published by New Age Poetry Press including colour and sepia illustrations.

Review by Julie Bunting

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