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The Village Beneath The Dam

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Time to jump into the Time Machine and travel back over the decades. This brings me to the late-1950's. There was a bad drought that caused the reservoirs and dams to drop their water level considerably. Unbelievably, the Derwent Dam became a mere puddle and fully exposed the village church that normally lay beneath its surface. I actually set foot in that ruined church while the dam was at an all-time low. It was such an eerie experience.

 

Can anyone shed any light at all on the village and the church prior to the dam being built?

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I think there are some pictures of the village on picture sheffield.

Was it called derwent village? my grandmother before she sadly passed on had some amazing photo's taken in her friends garden and around the village as she lived there. she even had a rose pressed and dried from her friend, it was one of the last ones she picked before they were all re-homed, my grandmother told me that her friend was hartbroken about leaving her little cottage . Not sure where the photos are now I will ask my father if he knows next time I see him.

Roughly about 8 years ago the water levels were low enough to enable me to walk down to some of the ruins allthough they were no more than foundations and prehaps a few layers of brick. I remember peering down into what I think was the cellar of a large building with a large wall round it and seeing that it was full of water. I could just picture the little bits and bobs left behind in there to be forever under the water that was lapping at the top few steps . I found it to be quite spooky walking round the ruins of the submrged village where so many people must have been very happy

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There is a fair bit of info at the museum in the dam tower at Ladybower - lots of old photos.

 

There are actually two villages under the water, Derwent village which is down towards the fairhomes car park and Ashopton which was close to where the Yorkshire Bridge pub is today.

 

It is probably Derwent you remember, as the church was not far from the present water line, however the tower was demolished in the early 60's (I think) and no longer sticks above the water line when the water is low - which is a shame as that would have been a fitting memorial to the village.

 

There are a couple of books on the subject in circulation, I bnought one called The Silent Valley from waterstones a couple of years ago.

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My nan tells me she and my grandad used to go into the country and visit Derwent and that area regularly before it was flooded.

 

 

There are a few pics on picturesheffield of the village as it was.

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There was a brilliant programme (was it the show "Time-Fliers" ?) in the last 18 months, or so , on BBC 2 which showed the village under the water...

 

They showed old photographs of the village when it was flourishing, and the demolition of he church tower, and maps of the layout of the village.

 

The filming was done when the water levels were particularly low, so you could see, clearly the ruins of the farms, and cottages etc.

 

Even the lord of the manor's hall was lost. (although I'm sure he got fine recompense!)

 

One very poignant shot, was that they showed a photo of the bridge, over the river that was dammed, when the village was occupied, contrasted with a modern-day film of the bridge almost obscured by the silt of the reservoir.

 

Legend has it, that, even though the church and tower are no more, on still, moonlit nights, you can still hear the church bell toll..

 

(what a wonderful legend, eh?)

 

PT

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Originally posted by rocketman

It is probably Derwent you remember, as the church was not far from the present water line, however the tower was demolished in the early 60's (I think) and no longer sticks above the water line when the water is low - which is a shame as that would have been a fitting memorial to the village.

 

 

the church tower was blown up in the late forties, (1947/8 ? iirc)during a time where the waters were exceptionally low. The church itself had only been consecrated, (In use) for sixty or seventy years before the flooding of the valley.

 

The tower was supposedly classed as constituting a danger, as it was attracting people to go out to it, whether on the water, or on the land when the waters were low.

 

The "powers that be" wanted to discourage that practice.

 

Isn't that sad and stupid? What an amazing thing was lost when that happened.

 

PT

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I used to go out there with my parents when I was a kid and remember seeing the village in the bottom of the Ladybower.

A friend of mine, her dad worked on the building of the Ladybower and told me of a light railway that was brought and used to transport the stone into place across the top of the dam. He said it came from somewhere in Wales.

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I love this subject.. got books and vids on the villages and dams:)

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Look at this

 

As you'll see, the village of Ashopton was directly beneath where the present day Ashopton Viaduct (7 arches) stands.

 

I've walked down to the ruins of Derwent (near Fairholmes) a number of times. They were exposed in 1976 and again in 1989. I think they were visible again around 1995.

 

It is a fascinating story.

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Yes thats the last time I went 95.. gosh was it really that long ago.. I remember now because my eldest was still in his pram, and it got stuck in the sludge. I wonder if the big building I saw was the manor house, it did have a huge boundry wall and you could still see the outlines of the paths..

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