Monument record MDR5448 - Hermitage, Dale Abbey

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

[SK 43883848] The Hermitage [GT] (1) The Hermitage is said to have been made by Cornelius, a baker in Derby who had a vision telling him to go to Depedale to worship in solitude. It is excavated in an elevation of soft sandstone 'and consists at the present time [ie c. 1883] of one apartment, measuring about six yards by three, which is entered by a doorway between two window holes. One of these (the western) has been formed out of a doorway; and there can be no doubt but that originally the cell was divided into two compartments, the one towards the west forming the oratory and the other with the present doorway and adjacent window east of it, the ordinary abode of the hermit.' A niche in the oratory wall may have been for a lamp; other holes here and there in the walls are more recent. In the early 19th century it was actually occupied by one of the inhabitants of Dale Abbey during the rebuilding of his cottage 'and here too he erected his stocking-frame!'. The fireplace was constructed in the north-east corner. (2) The earliest reference to this hermitage was in the 12th century. The cave is about 20 feet long, 9 feet wide and 9 feet high and may have been of two compartments. The walls are defaced but there is a niche to the west. (3) The cave is obviously man-made, see GP A0/66/8/5. Published survey,1/2500,is correct. (4) Scheduled. The monument includes the rock cut and buried remains of a hermitage which is situated approximately 250m south-east of Dale Abbey on the south side of Sow Brook. It survives as a rock cut cave which has internal measurements of approximately 6m east to west and 2.75m north to south. On the eastern wall inside the cave is a carved cross. On the north face are two doorways with rough ogee arches, and two windows, one of which has been partly blocked. All are carved through the local bedrock. Above the doors and windows on the external face are the remains of at least four joist holes and creasing, which suggest that there was a building attached to the rock shelter on the northern side. Further remains of this structure are believed to survive beneath the ground surface on the northern side outside the cave. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Map: OS 1/2500 1060.
  • <2> Article in serial: Kerry, C. 1883-4. 'Depedale, and the Chronicle of Thomas de Musca, canon of Dale Abbey', The Reliquary. Volume 24, pp 133-144.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Clay, R. 1914. Hermitages and Anchorites of England. p39-40, 210-1.
  • <4> Personal Observation: F1 BHS 01-DEC-66.
  • <5> Index: TPAT. 2132. 2132.
  • <6> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Notification: Hermitage 170 m SE of All Saints Church. 29978. Cat. No. 40.



Grid reference Centred SK 4388 3848 (28m by 18m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR708

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Record last edited

Feb 5 2015 3:06PM

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