Thursday, 9 June 2011


My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

H is for Hognaston.


The village of Hognaston has been around since the times of the Domesday Book (1086), at which point it was known as Ockenavstun.

The settlement began as a small cluster of houses, built by people attracted to the water supply here. There is a series of wells along the road through the village; supplied by fresh spring water. Over the years, the village has grown and changed. Aerial photography shows evidence of medieval field structures and of once existing houses, now demolished.

Part of the reason for the growth of the village is that the main street was once the Manchester to London road and would have been busy during the time of stage coach travel!

I used to come through here fairly regularly, but since the opening of the reservoir at Carsington, the village has been by-passed, meaning that it has returned to being much quieter and relatively free of traffic. However, if you look carefully, you can see that the village has a bus service. (In the top photo, there is a bus stop; the small stone structure in the top corner of the first sundial shot - two below - is the bus shelter.) 

The vast majority of the buildings are built of local stone (limestone) and many properties are bounded by dry stone walls. This farm is on the main street, just below the church.

The current population of the village is around 300. In the year 2000, a Millennium sundial was placed in the village. Around the edge, are names of the villagers and inside, is a time capsule.

This is just one of the lists on the band circling the sundial.

Below, is the view looking south, down the road from the sundial.

In 1982, a new Village Hall was opened. It was constructed almost entirely by the villagers. The previous village hall was a tin roofed structure erected during the second world war. This hall began life as a stone building belonging to Severn Trent Water Company. The building was purchased by the villagers and demolished stone by stone. A new hall was then erected on the site, making use of stone from the original building.

Notice the polyethylene oil tank in the side garden of this house. This is not unusual in villages without a gas supply. Deliveries of oil provide the fuel for central heating systems.

The church of St Bartholomew stands raised above the main street.

The church dates back to the 12th century and two of the bells were cast at the beginning of the 13th century. The other three bells and the clock were given to the church by John Smith & Sons, the famous clock-makers who still work out of Derby. The original John Smith lived in the village.

The doorway of the church is early Norman!

The village no longer has a school or shop, but it is still served by a local pub; The Red Lion, which dates back to the seventeenth century when the village was on the main coaching and pack horse route.

Pint, anyone?


  1. Yes Please - I'd really like something to eat too!

  2. What a pretty unspoilt village - so glad a by pass has been built so that the village can slumber away in the sunlight.

  3. We often drive along the road from Ashbourne to Cromford on our way to Chesterfield and I always look at the road sign just before the turn to Carsington Water which says 'Hognaston only' and wonder what the village is like - now I know and it looks wonderful - we may just take that little road one day to take a look:)

  4. I love it. What a cute little village...I want to live there! :)

  5. I love these little villages or towns on the countryside, that's why I always watch "Escape to the country" not for a house but for the landscapes ! But I think I repeat myself, lol !

  6. I'm still loving this Alphabe-Thursday exercise of yours. So cool!


  7. I'd love to join you for a pint! What a charming village! As you know, I so adore reading your historic narrative and seeing history itself through your talented lens. I especially love that they used the old stone to rebuild. Repurposed is another passion of mine. Way to go, H!
    Tina @ Life is Good

  8. I love to come here and see all the wonderful photos of the towns! You are so lucky! Oh, and about that pint--I'll drink to that!!

  9. Oh, I need to visit here more often! My great great gandpa came from the UK so this really interests me. I could walk my way around this quaint little place to see every little thing..twice:) Thanks for sharing...

  10. I love the stone buildings and stone walls! So lovely! The oil tank is so interesting, like nothing I’ve seen before.
    So who needs a school as long as there's a pub!

  11. This looks like a great preserved place with beautiful view, and interesting history!

  12. You always post the most gorgeous photos. Thank you!

  13. Oh! I am in love. Each week I think that's where I want to live...and this week is no exception! This is such a gorgeous place. Love the stone walls and the winding roads and the little white gates and the sundial.

    This is one of my favorite Alphabe-Thursday 'series' this round!

    You were brilliant to think of it...

    And we are so lucky to get to read along.

    Thank you! Thank you!