History of The Peacock, Chatsworth and The Peak District
The Peacock Inn is a Grade II listed turnpike inn handsomely built of Peak District gritstone, characteristic of the Millstone Grit landscape known as Dark Peak. Constructed in the early 1800’s to serve the growth in coaches and wagons to and from the burgeoning Sheffield industries, The Peacock stands on the crossroads of two important turnpike roads from Chesterfield and Sheffield to Hathersage and beyond. The original Toll House, also Grade II listed, stands next to The Peacock.
Throughout the early 19th century improvements to the turnpike roads reduced the journey time through Glossop to Manchester so that, by 1821, local newspapers enthused that “a traveller by coach, breakfasting late in Sheffield, could reckon on dining early in Manchester.” Sadly for The Peacock, this thriving traffic was not to last as, within 10 years, the turnpike road was surpassed by the newly opened railway lines.
The land around The Peacock Inn has been inhabited since ancient times, and Bronze Age cairns and stone circles abound. In the Anglo-Saxon period the area stood on the border between the kingdoms of Wessex and Northumbria and a plaque in nearby Dore village commemorates the point where the army of King Egbert of Wessex, raiding north, met the Northumbrians and received their submission in 829 AD.
By far the most influential landowners in the area in the last 450 years have been the Dukes of Devonshire, whose family home, Chatsworth House, has often been voted the nation’s favourite country house. Lying just 8 miles south of The Peacock Inn on the banks of the River Derwent, this splendid example of English Baroque architecture took shape in the late 17th century, on the site of Bess of Hardwick’s original Tudor mansion. Several features in the extensive grounds date from Elizabethan times, including the Hunting Tower and Queen Mary’s Bower. Today Chatsworth’s spectacular house and gardens are a thriving visitor attraction, boasting one of Europe’s most significant art collections and annual food fairs and Christmas markets.
Chatsworth is thought to be the inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and the magnificent landscape of the Peak District National Park has inspired writers for centuries. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is based on nearby Hathersage, where she stayed in 1845. Hathersage is just one of the delightful Peak District villages in the scenic Derwent Valley, and the 55 mile long Derwent Valley Heritage Way is an attractive trail passing close to The Peacock Inn at nearby Grindleford.
The pretty market town of Bakewell, with its 13th century five arched bridge over the River Wye, lies just 20 minutes south of The Peacock. Famous for its delicious Bakewell Pudding, the town is one of dozens in the Peak District National Park to celebrate the arrival of summer with the ancient practice of ‘well-dressing’, when local wells and springs are decorated with elaborate designs made of natural materials such as flower petals and moss. Nearby Hathersage, Dore, Holmesfield and Eyam all participate in the custom, thought to be associated with pagan fertility rites.
A gateway to the lovely villages and trails of the Peak District , The Peacock Inn at Owler Bar offers a warm welcome, stunning views and a delicious pub menu with seasonal specials and a fine selection of wines and ales. Enjoying a relaxing Sunday lunch in the Derbyshire countryside is especially popular at The Peacock.
Directions to The Peacock Inn
You can find The Peacock Inn at Owler Bar close to the village of Holmesfield, just 8 miles south of Sheffield on the A621 to Chatsworth and Bakewell. Key S17 3BQ into your satnav to find us.