Pictures of Tissington
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There are those to whom the ancient tradition of Well Dressing is a nothing less than a Pagan rite, and those to whom it represents a thanksgiving from the village for a safe deliverance from the nightmare of the Black Death that struck this land during the 14th-century. The good people of Tissington believe they owe their survival to the pure waters that pour from their five, now famous wells.
The five wells are known as - Yewtree Well, Hands Well, Coffin Well, Town Well and Hall Well. For the ancient ceremony in which each Well is blessed, the villagers, using the petals from millions of flowers, dress the Wells in scenes from the Holy Bible. The means used for this are that each well is framed and the petals pressed into clay. The blessing takes place annually on ascension day and provides the village with a colourful event following the mournful tone of the preceeding days.
Not only do the wells get blessed each year but Tissington itself has been especially blest by the continueous patronage of the Fitzherbert family. Fitzherberts, have cared for Tissington since the reign of Elizabeth I . The village is dignified and serene and of all the gracious properties in the village the most handsome is Tissington Hall, built around 1609 by Francis Fitzherbert.
Attractively set out, with buildings of a softish grey limestone interspersed by broad greens and tall old trees, the village presents a very English scene. A few of the properties bear dates showing that they were built in the 19th-century, during a period of redevelopment and improvement undertaken by Sir Henry Fitzhertbert and his sister, Frances. The former village school was built by the Fitzherberts to commerate the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837. It still bears the Fitzherbert coat of arms above the door but sadly, it is no longer a school.
The vicarage to the parish church of St. Mary is a delightful piece of architecture and dates from around 1730. St.Mary's church is of Norman origin but was greatly restored by the Fitzherberts in victorian times. The interior of the church houses many monuments, the most outstanding being an ornate tiered memorial to Francis Fitzherbert who died in 1619, his son and their wives.
If you do not visit Tissington for the Well Dressing ceremony then you should certainly visit for the sheer delight of seeing a village that has been well cared for and little disturbed by the passage of time. Tissington is just on the edge of the Peak District National Park and is but a few short miles from Ashbourne. The countryside all around is very beautiful. Not too many miles away are all the attractions of the Peak District - the Heights of Abraham, the Peak Valley Railway, Haddon Hall and Riber Castle.
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