Stanton By Dale - Part 1 - Starting At St Michael's Church
w/e 13 April 2003
For the information about
Stanton By Dale I am indebted to my wife Sandra who conducted
much of the research, the staff at Ilkeston Library for help
with archived material and the Erewash Groundwork Trust who provided
an excellent leaflet packed with information.
A swathe of green that is home to a golf course
along the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border forms a protective
barrier between the fast moving 21st century traffic on the London
to Leeds Motorway and a village with a history that stretches
back many hundreds of years.
Stanton By Dale stands on a hillside but the geography and flora
of the area for the most part, shield the inhabitants from the
industrial development that lies in the Erewash Valley below.
Motorists using the road through the village as a shortcut between
the M1 and Ilkeston could well be familiar with some of the architecture
of the village but it is only on foot and with an inquisitive
eye that more treasures come to light. This is the first in a
series looking at some of the interesting features in the village
that is only a few minutes drive from Ilkeston. Picturesque views
over the Erewash Valley Golf Course (above) are one of the more
obvious delights but our look around Stanton By Dale will begin
at the opposite end of the village at St Michael's Church.
The tower of the church is just visible among the trees (immediately
above the lorry in the centre of this picture) from the industrial
site below but is much more picturesque from close quarters.
St Michael's has witnessed unbroken divine worship on this site
that has continued for over seven centuries. Much of the church
dates from the early 1300s when it was either rebuilt or restored
but there are several carved stones from even earlier although
the tower was not added until the late 15th century.
A War Memorial stands in the churchyard commemorating those from
village who lost their lives during the two World Wars. It is
also dedicated to the memory of the seven man crew of a British
Stirling bomber that crashed nearby on a training flight in 1944.
My wife Sandra tells a story from about this time. As a child
in her pram, she was taken by her uncle, 14 years her senior,
and some of his friends on a souvenir hunt when a plane came
down near Stanton. It could well have been this bomber. Police
were stopping all the local youngsters and confiscating the scraps
of metal gleaned from the wreck but Sandra and Co. managed to
conceal their pickings in the false bottom of her pram and passed
the checkpoint looking the picture of innocence. Grandma, to
say the least, was not amused and butter wouldn't melt.......
But to return to our look at the village today, the approach
to the church and the memorial is by means of a gated drive.
Notice the old fashioned style of lamp on the left of the daffodil
lined path and the bird box on the tree on the right in this
picture - providing comfort for man and beast alike.
A glance over the hedge to the right reveals a row of almshouses
that the motorist passing through the village would surely miss.
Built in phases between 1711 and 1904 the Middlemore Almshouses
all appear to have been built at the same time and only closer
scrutiny reveals otherwise. Each gable end bears a plaque showing
the names of the benefactors.
At the opposite end of the drive to the church is another interesting
item from a bygone age. A large rectangular grooved stone was
once part of a cheese press. It was the upper stone which was
screwed down onto another stone thus forcing liquid out of the
cheese placed between them.