Thursday, 10 May 2012

A bit about Bugsworth and a murderous boatman.

Sitting here at Bugsworth today it is difficult to imagine the intense industrial activity that dominated this place for over one hundred years. Not that it is a quiet mooring now, next to the lower basin you have the Black Brook

roaring through a narrow gorge and after the recent rain it's well up. The other side of the basin is the A6 with its ample traffic but don't let me put you off, it's one of our favourite spots.
Around Dove Holes in the White Peak is found some of the best limestone, ideal for burning to make quick lime, an essential in many industries. In the late 18thC. the problem was shifting it to where the demand was; so a plan was hatched for a tramway from Dove Holes to Bugsworth and a canal down to the north west industrial area.
The outcome was the Peak Forest Tramway,the Peak Forest Canal and joining them, Bugsworth Basin. The first basin was opened in 1796 and at it's peak the complex was handling 600 tons of lime and limestone per day and was the busiest port on the inland waterways.
What remains now is a reminder of how the canals and industry relied on each other.
There are three basins,

the lower,

the middle and

the upper.

Lime kilns, there were nineteen here at one time

and these are some of the gritstone setts that supported the rails of the tramway.

Like all places Bugsworth has it's stories and the most shocking occoured on Wednesday, 26th October 1898. John Cotton, a boatman, well known for his temper and violent nature, and his much younger wife Elizabeth were drinking in the Rose and Crown when a quarrel started, Mr Hayes the landlord later accompanied them back to their boat, apparently acting as a peace maker.
It seems that the quarrel flared up again and Cotton took up a poker and beat his wife around the head with it, the assault led to her death. His actions were seen by three schoolgirls and a local farmer and he was shortly after arrested. There was never any doubt as to his guilt and at his subsequent trial he was found guilty and the judge, Sir J.C. Mathew, sentenced him to death. The sentence was carried out at Derby Prison on the morning of Wednesday 21st December 1898, the last execution carried out at Derby Gaol and, if you're still interested, the hangmans name was Billington.
The Rose and Crown was demolished in 1984 to make way for the new A5 and it is believed that some of the stone was used in the restoration of the basins.

Watch this space............

1 comment:

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Both
Sorry we missed you; it must have been Wednesday when we were "oop norf". We'll be leaving Marple for Manchester Monday AM, so, unless you don't spend long in the basin, I guess we'll miss you again. Another time.
Sorry to hear about Marmite, by the way.