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A Baslow Brace.

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

Back to Derbyshire and, with the damaged foot from my previous post still in need of rest and raising, it was off a solo spin. Through Winster and Wensley, down to the A6, through Rowsley and then across the Duke of Devonshire's front garden on my way to Baslow. The owner of the Chatsworth Estate, along with his fellow Duke, the Duke of Rutland, used to own much of the village – and possibly still do. Two hostelries in the place nod at this even though neither were on ducal lands The Devonshire Arms was built in 1861 on the site of the former Barrel Inn and is still going strong. The Rutland Arms hasn't faired as well.

The former Rutland Arms.

Originally called the Green Man, Glover's Directory of 1829 has Benjamin Ashton as a victualler here. Census records show that he's still there in 1841 and 1851. He was buried in Baslow churchyard in May 1856 and the running of the inn was taken over by his daughter Hannah. The 1861 census gives her sisters Elizabeth and Millicent as assisting and ten years later Elizabeth is given as a partner. Hannah and Her Sisters. Sounds like a good title for a film.

By 1881 Hannah is now a Lodging House Keeper and the inn has been taken over by Simon Stevenson. Another decade on, another change of innkeeper and with it may well have come a change of name, for the Green Man is no more. It's now the Rutland Arms. And so it remained, apart from a spell as the Rutland Hotel, until it closed around 2015, I believe. At one point it was made an Asset of Community Value, but was removed from the list in 2016. It now serves the community as a local Coop store.

The Rutland Arms used to suggest that Jane Austen stayed there whilst penning part of Pride and Prejudice. Whilst some historians are of the belief that she stayed at a Rutland Arms it's unlikely to have been this one as she died in 1817 which is quite a bit before the Green Man changed its name. It's far more likely that she stayed at the Rutland Arms in Bakewell. Another of Baslow's bygone boozers is the Alma.

The former Alma Inn.

Tucked away on School Lane, it doesn't take much to work out that the building was erected in 1854.

When might this have been built?

Unsurprisingly the first mention of it that I can find is in the 1861 census when Ralph Geeson is shown there as a beerhouse keeper. However, ten years earlier Ralph was an innkeeper in Tupton and a Richard Geeson is given as an ale and porter dealer in Baslow He is also shown as a beerhouse keeper and agent to Bradley & Co's brewery in the 1849 PO Directory. Richard also owned land between School Lane and Church Lane. Perhaps the Alma was built here, or on the site of a previous building. I am assuming that Richard was Ralph's father.

Ralph died in the autumn of 1871 and the census a decade later shows his brother Arthur in charge, but the era of the Geesons will come to an end. In 1901 Charles Fowler is running the place and after his death his widow, Ellen, takes over the reins. The last trace of it that I can find is with Ellen as a beer retailer in the 1912 edition of Kelly's Directory.

The Alma is now a private house.

Time for a shot or two from the old bridge next to the Rutland and then it's time to head back home past the former Station Inn at Hassop and through the throng of tourists in Bakewell.

Rear of the former Rutland Arms from the old bridge.

River Derwent from the old river crossing in Baslow.

After writing most of this I stumbled across David Dalrymple-Smith's page on Rosmary Lockie's website. It's always nice to find that one's directory diggings have been confirmed by somebody else and I have to confess to pinching an extra snippet or two from his research.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Like me, you must have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. If you haven't done so already you can subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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