News & Views - December 1981 - Issue 25


This year’s cover picture shows Joseph and Mary arriving at Bethlehem, where Jesus is to be born. St. Matthew saw this event as the fulfilment of an Old. Testament prophecy. Commenting on the latter part of the text, “Emmanuel… .^d with us”, Dr. Stanley Jones wrote, “The early Christians did not say in dismay, ’Look what the world has come to! ’, but in delight, ’Look what has come into the world!’. They saw, not merely that sin did abound, but that ‘grace did much mere abound'”. Such a comment is worth thinking about, especially the next time that one is tempted to say, “I don’t know what the world is coming to”,

God willing, a group of us will be spending part of the afternoon of Monday, 29th March in Bethlehem. We shall be visiting present day caves in the Shepherd’s fields, similar to the one where it is believed that Jesus was born. We shall be entering through the tiny door into the Church of the Nativity, the traditional spot where our Saviour came into the world. But, of course, it is not necessary to go to the Holy Land in order to experience the presence of Jesus Christ, John bright Follette expresses this so clearly in his poem, “How Far is Bethlehem?”

Once again, the Christmas season Finds our hearts in eager quest Tired of all the world may offer, we would find a deeper rest, Bethlehem the prophets tell us, Is the birthplace of God’s Son, if we find him and receive him, then eternal rest is won.

We would seek his lowly manger There our choicest gifts to bring.

We would worship in the stable Now the throne room of a king. Must we climb the hills of Judah? Must we cross the desert sand?

Ere we find the Holy Christ Child, Or beside his manger stand?

Bethlehem is very near us, And the manger is not far away. Do not wait the angelic singing nor the guidance of a star.

Open wide your heart in giving to the soul whose light is dim, spend your heart and life for others, Giving gladly as to Him.

Distant journeys are not needed, Bethlehem is everywhere.

Do the poor and needy call you?

Lo! the Christ is waiting them.

Hidden ‘neath dull pain and sorrow, Lives are bound by sin and fear – Where the nearest one is calling, Bethlehem is just so near.

Those wishing to use Christmas as a time for special giving to the hungry, the homeless and the needy will find envelopes available in church. Betty joins me in. wishing you and your household a very Happy Christmas and God’s richest blessing in

Douglas Gibson


The freak snow storms during the weekend after Easter, which made many of our roads impassable, reminded me of an incident in “Peakland Roads and Trackways” by A.E. & E.M. Dodd of Ellastone. The packhorse route from Hartington to Warks— -worth is being described. This started 200 yards, past Hartington Hall, went over Highfield Lane to Dale End, Biggin. From the crossing of the Buxton road, the way ahead would be. along the remarkable series of lanes – Cardlemere Lane, Cobblersnook Lane, Minninglow Lane, Gallowlow Lane. – which link to form a straight line aimed in the general direction of Wirksworth.

Dr Dodd continues, “Several people living near this old packhorse way have told us of a train of pack mules becoming snowbound somewhere between Pike Hall and Biggin, their car— -cases and panniers not being recovered until the following spring. ‘Starving to death’, the local phrase for freezing to death’, was not uncommon on these exposed hills. In 1692 John Webster of Hognaston, and his six packhorses travelling from Derby starved to death in the snow between Pike Hall and Hurdlow….           Another starving to death is recorded in the

Monyash parish register for 1772, when John Allcock and Richard Boham died on Middleton Moor in a snowstorm, as they were returning from Winster market”.                                   Louise Tongue


I’d like a train for Christmas

And a lot of other things;

My stocking full of presents, and a music hex that sings. And a pair of cowboy pistols, and a belt with holster too and one thing I didn’t think up; But I hardly think, do you, That Santa’d ever bring one boy All that? I’ll have to wait and see, when it’s really Christmas morning, what he brings to me.


The Radio Times describes. “Home Base”, a 15-minute programme broadcast each Thursday at 4 p.m. on Radio 4, as “a weekly look at some of the people and places around the United Kingdom that don’t always make the national headlines”. Our part of the country certainly qualifies for such a description, so maybe it was appropriate that on November 12th our churches and the Backpackers Club were featured. The recordings had been made as long ago as May 1980 by Er. Eric Gurney, National Organiser and the Vicar, honorary chaplain of the Backpackers Club. Apparently, they sounded very authentic, especially the wind which was blowing wildly across Harold Ball’s field behind the Waterloo Inn.

To keep us in the news, on the following evening, Dora Oliver

and her sheepdog Sampy appeared with Phil Drabble on BBC1’s “In the Country”. Later that night, “Day Out”, on the same- channel – but only in the Midlands – featured Bakewell and Haddon Hall. On the Saturday, Sheen Farmers’ Tug o’ War team appeared on Larry Grayson’s Generation Game, with Irene Critchlow of Elkstones and her son winning the competitions, the latter going home with the “loot”. On the Sunday, “Day One”, the fortnightly programme about people, issues and places making religious news, featured a Matlock football team which plays as Christians United. Five “mentions” in less than 72 hoars!! Three cheers for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Congratulations to Paul Riley who was chosen to play for the Derbyshire Under 16 soccer squad.


The Vicar is prepared to organise parish parties for Raymond Cook Holidays to Tenby, Wales from May 29th to June 12th and to the Scottish Highlands and Skye from August 28th to ’September 4th. Brochures available at the Vicarage,


A Bishop turned to his congregation to say, “Peace be with you” only to find that the sound system was not working, “There’s something wrong with the microphone”, he announced and the congregation, seeing his lips move but not hearing him, dutifully intoned, “and also with you”.

The Wine and Pastry Evening at Biggin proved to be most enjoyable. Mrs Ireland’s talk and demonstration on paperweights was very interesting. Helped by the Bring and Buy Stall, church • funds benefited by £80.42.

The Whist Drive in aid of Cancer Research was well supported. Proceeds, including a raffle and donations, amounted to £338.

The Poppy Appeal raised £18C, an increase of £37 on 1980’s total.

Hartington School Coffee Evening raised £293 for school funds.

The Biggin School Disco raised £167.11 for P. T.A. funds.

Royal Wedding Celebration Fund balances amounted to £115.11 at Hartington and £136.13 at Biggin. £50 has been donated to Hartington School towards the purchase of stage blocks for concerts/drama etc., whilst £65.11 has been deposited in a Village Celebration fund for use at a future event — possibly the birth of the royal baby. Biggin’s balance has been returned to the Parish Council, who have invested it in a separate deposit account for the parish.

Dale and Rita Lidstrom flew back to the U.S.A, on December 14th, but they have recorded some gospel selections, which are available on cassettes at £1 each from Maurice Lowe, The Holmes, Reapsmoor, Longnor.

Congratulations…… to John Mellor, local heavy goods vehicle driver who came a worthy runner-up in BBC1’s Mastermind semi-final …the members of the Backpackers Club who endured one of the coldest nights on record in their tents behind the Waterloo Inn, when they attended the Backpacker ’s annual Christmas party and Family Carol Service at St, Thomas’ Church, Biggin,


The article on the village of Biggin by Roy Christian in the November issue of Derbyshire Life and Countryside has given a great deal of pleasure to many people. Apart from a few minor errors, such as siting Polly Webster’s shop at Dalehead instead of Drury Lane and giving priority to Mr and Mrs Moffatt over John and Mary Stubbs as pioneers in helping to put Biggin on the tourist map, it is an admirable account of the village. Unfortunately, Mr. Christian visited the village during the school holidays and whilst the Vicar was away. Hence only a passing reference to the church and no mention of the school.

Those interested in the early history of Biggin School may like to know that it was opened in July 1849. It had been agreed in 1845 to build a church in the village and this was completed in 1848 at an estimated cost of £1323. The church was consecrated on 25th April by the Bishop of Lichfield and dedicated to St. Thomas. The land for the building of the church had been given by His Grace the Duke of Devonshire and originally it was intended to build a parsonage .and school on the same plot. However, on 11th November 1848 the Duke conveyed the present site “unto the Minister and Chapelwardens of the Chapelry of Biggin….”

William Evans of Ellastone, who had built the church (he considered it worth £1500) was entrusted with the erection of the school and school house. Work commenced on November 25th and the project was completed on 9th June 1849 at a cost of £384.18.5 3/4. As with the church and parsonage, Miss Anne Shaw of Biggin Hall and Ivy House seems to have been chiefly responsible for raising the money and settling the bills. Among the subscribers to the school and parsonage was The Queen Dowager, Adelaide of Saxe Coberg of Meingen, widow of king William IV, who gave £20. (She gave the same amount for the building of Christ Church, King Sterndale). The school was united to the National Society which granted £30 towards the erection of the premises.

Before the school opened, the Committee of Council on Education, Privy Council Office, Downing Street, London made a grant towards the initial supply of books and maps. This amounted to one third of the total cost which was £11.6.9 During 1858, £4.1.0 was spent on books and stationery and £3.10 on coals. The price of coal had been 8d per cwt in 1854 and 11d the following year.

According to Government requirements., the school building, was capable of accommodating 150 children. The accommodation was described as “a Master’s House adjoining the Schools, one for boys and one for girls, and these could be thrown together by a moveable partition”. In 1850 there were 60 pupils on the books, but “they could not all attend because the parents were unable to pay the school pence”. 20 children paid from 3d to 6d each, whilst about 10 children came free, the parents being too poor to pay. The Master’s salary was £40 per year and “a distress was much wanted but there were no funds available”. By I858 there were 31 boys and 26 girls on the books with an average attendance of 45. During that year, the Duke of Devonshire contributed £10. the Duke of Rutland £1, J. Sleigh Esq. £2,2.0., Betton’s Charity £5 and the children s pence amounted to £18.10 6., but the school account showed a deficit of £15,16,2.

A new block was built in 1956 consisting of a dining room/ classroom and school kitchen. Both old and new buildings were provided with inside toilets and washing facilities in 198O, Today the school is still going strong, and has some of the best playing facilities in the district. The 35 children on the roll, supported by a happy staff, enjoy a wide variety of studies and out of school activities.

                                BIGGIN CHURCH

In the account of Biggin School, I was careful to state that the estimated cost of erecting St Thomas’ Church was £1323. This was because in a note dated June 10th 1845, William Evans, the. builder, deducted from his former estimate the sum of £120, leaving the church with a bill for £1203. This deduction was made for “quarrying of limestone, carriage of same, and gritstone, slates, lime and sand”.

Jesse Prince has told me that her mother ‘s great uncle , John Wagstaffe, was working for Peter Pichott Fidler of Biggin Grange at that time. After work each day, he borrowed a horse and cart from the Grange in order to cart stone from The Liffs for the building of the church. John lived to be 94 years, of a

age and died on 23rd June 1919. His grave stone is just inside

the main churchyard gate, to the right of the path.


The complementary Hot Punch and Buffet at Biggin Hall Farm Guest House to celebrate the grant of a table licence for non-residents was much appreciated by those who were able to attend.




All Anglican services are according to the Book of Common Prayer, except where indicated.








Hartington Carol Service with School taking part



Carols by Candlelight at Biggin Parish Church





Carol singers meet Stone’s Shop, Hartington


7. 00


Carol singers meet Church View, Biggin




Midnight Communion (Series 3), Hartington



a. m.

Christmas Day Communion (BCP), Biggin




Family Communion (BCP), Hartington



A Buffet and Dance will be held on Saturday, 2nd January at

8 p.m. in Biggin Village Hall. Tickets from PCC members £1.50.


Coffee Evening will be held in Hartington School on Friday, 26‘th February at 7.30 p.m. Proceeds for church funds.