Mappleton - Okeover, Derbyshire
(where I live!)

(Also visit our own Mappleton Village Web Site)

Mappleton (or Mapleton - the road signs show two spellings) is situated 2 miles from Ashbourne. It is a village that has existed in some form or other since before 1086 - when it gets a mention in the Doomsday Book. Mappleton's claim to fame is its annual New Years Day charity bridge jump, and its unusual mini-doomed church - St Mary's. Although the village is perhaps not as picturesque as Ilam, Osmaston or Parwich, Mappleton does have its charms. It is a popular point for walkers and cyclists during the Spring and Summer. Mappleton is on many a route in various walker's guide books.

Mappleton is best reached from Ashbourne past the Tissington Trail cycle hire and Callow Hall .

Just across from the river Dove in Mappleton lies the Okeover Estate.

St Mary's Parish Church
The village church, St Mary's, is quite small, 50 people can easily fill it. Its unusual in that it has a dome rather then a tower or a steeple. The church is first mentioned in records in the reign of Edward I. It was then made into a Rectory, to be held invariably by the Vicor of Ashbourne. This was by way of compensating the latter, as his tithes from Ashbourne had been allocatted to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. He was instead entitled to the greater tithes from the small parish of Mappleton.
Nothing more is heard until 1547, when a survey in the reign of Edward VI showed Mappleton to possess 13 bells - presumably hand-bells - and property worth £ 5 .14. 4d .

By the time of the Commonwealth, in 1650, the Parliamentary Commissioners declared that Mapleton Church was 'fit to be disused', but it appears to have been some one hundred years later before that decaying structure was replaced with the present edifice. To date the eighteenth century building with any precision is very difficult in the absence of definite records. Some evidence for the early 1700's comes from a Terrier (a book recording the site, boundaries, etc., of property) of 1887, which says that the new church was built in 1710. This is supported by the date of 1717 on the Communion Table. A date nearer 1750 is suggested by the Nottinghamshire Archives, which say that the church was ruinous in 1718. The communion plate and oak box, the gifts of Thomas Austin are dated 1752. J.C.Cox in "Churches of Derbyshire", comes down in favour of the later date. The architect, James Gibbs, who also designed the nave of Derby Cathedral, was a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren. Of the present furnishings, the pulpit came from Ashbourne in 1906. The east window was a memorial installed in the 1920's. The organ was a gift in 1976. In 1974 Mappleton was brought into a United Benefice with Ashbourne, and the title of Rector disappeared.


White’s 1857 Directory of Derbyshire

MAPPLETON or MAPLETON, one and a half miles N.W. from Ashbourn, a town­ship and pleasant village, on the eastern bank of the river Dove, which is here crossed by a stone bridge having a remarkably flat arch; its span being 70 feet, and its semidiameter only 11; it contains 795A. 0R. 20P. of fertile land, principally dairy farms, and in 1851 had 46 houses, and 200 inhabitants, of whom 80 were males, and 120 females; rateable value, £1857 14s. 3d. Haughton Charles Okeover, Esq., is lord of the manor and principal owner. John G. Johnson, Esq., Rev. H. J. Goodwin, and Sir Matthew Blakiston, Bart., are also owners. The Church, dedi­cated to St. Mary, is a small oblong building, having a dome surmounted by an urn; it was repewed and thoroughly repaired in 1842, at a cost of £250, raised by subscriptions, aided by a grant of £40 from the Incorporated society. The Communion service was given by T. Austin, Esq. The living is a rectory, consolidated with the vicarage of Ashbourn, value £72. In the church is a neat marble tablet to Francis Goodwin, Esq., formerly a captain in the Derbyshire militia, who died Augt. 26th, 1836, aged 68; also, one to his wife, the eldest daughter of Major-General Goodwin, who died Oct. 26th, 1841, aged 70 years.

At the “Okeover Arms,” is an excellent Bowling-green, which has been established upwards of a century, and the proprietor Mr. Richd. Utting, can furnish visitors with tickets who wish to enjoy the sport of angling in the Dove. This village claims the honour of having been the birth place of Sir Francis Chantrey, the eminent sculptor. The Manor House, a little S. of the village, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Dove, is the property of H. C. Okeover, Esq., and the residence of Mr. Geo. Gough, whose family leave resided here upwards of 100 years. The Callow, a large handsome stone mansion in the Elizabethan style, situ­ated on an eminence, on time north side of the road from the bridge to the village, is the seat and property of J. Goodwin Johnson, Esq. At the Domesday survey,


Derbyshire transcripts of Kelly's Directory from:
Kelly's Directory of the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester and Rutland
pub. London (May, 1891) - pp.250-251

MAPLETON is a village and parish, on the borders of Staffordshire, 1¾ miles north-west from Ashborne station, on the Chumet Valley section of the North Staffordshire railway, and 148 from London, in the Western division of the county, Wirksworth hundred, Ashborne union, petty sessional division and county court district, rural deanery of Ashborne, archdeaconry of Derby and diocese or Southwell. The church of St. Mary, erected about the beginning of the last century, on the site of the ancient church, is a small oblong building of stone, consisting of nave, western porch, and a dome, surmounted by a small campanile, containing one bell, dated 1842 ; there are a few fragments of stained glass and on the north side of the church is a marble monument with a brass tablet, to Henry John Goodwin B A. d. 23 May, 1863: the church was restored in 1876, and will seat 120 persons. The register dates from the year 1704, and is kept at Ashborne. The living is a rectory, consolidated with the vicarage of Ashborne, average tithe rent-charge £79, with 14 acres of glebe, gross income £340, joint net yearly value £80, in the gift of the Bishop of Southwell, and held since 1878 by the Rev. Francis Jourdain M.A. of Pembroke College, Oxford, and chaplain of Ashborne union, who resides at Ashborne. Rowland Okeover, by will dated 24th October, 1727, left the residue of certain lands and premises to be applied in building a convenient house arranged as a residence for three widows of clergymen of the Church of England, assigning to each the sum of £30 annually. The river Dove furnishes excellent sport for the angler, and good quarters will be found at the Okeover Arms, Temperance Hotel, in this village. Mapleton Cottage, the residence of Lady Waterpark, and Hinchley Wood House, the residence of Mrs. Goodwin, are pleasantly situated in the village. The Rev. Henry Buckston M.A. vicar of Hope, is lord of the manor; H. C. Okeover esq. J.P. of Okeover Hall, is chief landowner. The soil is clay; subsoil, gravel, clay and limestone. The land is chiefly kept in pasture for dairy produce. The acreage is 778; rateable value, £2,045 ; the population in 1881 was 196.

Parish Clerk, John Twigg.

POST OFFICE.-Mrs. Fanny Grindey, sub-postmistress. Letters arrive from Ashborne at 7 a.m. ; dispatched at 5.40 p.m. ; there is no Sunday delivery. Ashborne is the nearest money order & telegraph office

National School (mixed), erected in 1876, for 50 children; average attendance, 30; Miss Amelia Hooper, mistress

Capper Col. Harcourt (1st Herefordshire Volunteers), Callow hall
Foster Philip, Rose cottage
Goodwin-Gladwin Capt. Richard Henry J.P. Hinchley wood
Goodwin Mrs. Hinchley Wood house
Heather Mrs
Hurd Miss
Murray Mrs
Waterpark Lady, Mapleton cottage
Wheen Richard

Barnes Joseph Charles, grocer tea dealer & provision merchant farmer & miller (water)
Bassett Arthur, joiner &c
Bassett John, farmer
Bentley Samuel, blacksmith
Dale George, farmer, Manor house
Grindey Fanny (Mrs.), Okeover Arms Temperance hotel ; within a few yards of the river Dove; first-class accommodation for anglers &c. Post office. See advertisement
Harrison Julia (Miss), dress maker
Hollis James, farmer, Callow
Hooper Georgina (Miss), dress maker
Mapleton Fishing Station (Joseph Cooper, river keeper), Okeover Arms Temperance hotel
Maskery Thomas, farmer, Butlers hole
Murphy John, farmer
Swindell Robert, farmer, Callow
Thompson William, farmer, Gate farm
Twigg John, shoe maker
Waterfall Thomas, farmer, Red house
Watson Francis, farmer
Webster William, farmer & cattle dealer
Whilock Francis, farmer, Haywood farm


Annual Bridge Jump

This consists of 10 teams of 3 people who paddle down 1/2 a mile of the river Dove and then jump off a bridge. It doesn't sound much - but the Dove is one of the coldest rivers in the UK - especially on New Years Day ! Also the river is not exactly navigable in all parts of the course - lastly the bridge is 30 feet high and after the swim the contestants still have to run 500 yards to the pub. Hundreds come to watch - what better way to spend the day sobering up!
Click here to see 2006 photos!

Click here to see 2008 on UTube

Okeover Arms
The only village pub, the Okeover, has had a checkered history. It was originally a farm, then became a pub and then in 1923, due - allegedly - to its "popularity" with one of the sons of the local estate who owned it, closed and re-opened as a Temperance hotel. Now thankfully it is again a pub, and has been since 1962.
However for the last few years it has again had a checkered history with a variety of landlords passing through - some good, some bad, some indifferent.
The pub is again "under new management" and is now open for business - (except closed on Mondays)
(I again have an excellent local! - Good beer, excellent food, good company - well done Robert & Julie - keep it up! what more can one ask - Alan Fagg)

The Post Office
The village shop is alas no more as is the post office, also closed.

The Okeover Estate
This is a private estate with a grand hall, gardens and its own church - non of which are open to the public - however a public road and some public footpaths do cut through the estate. As you approach the estate from Mappleton, on the right there is a splendid old mill. This used to be the saw mill for the estate.

A Visitaion of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen Of Great Britain and Ireland – Sir Bernard Burke 1856 -

"OKEOVER, near Ashbourne, in the соunty of Stafford, the seat of Charles Okeover, Esq. This is a fine specimen of the mansion of an old English squire, surrounded by venerable trees, adorned with extensive and ancient gardens and shrubberies, and enjoying all the advantages which the immediate neighbourhood, the most picturesque scenery of Derbyshire, can bestow. Dovedale is close at hand, and all around, fertile and well-wooded vales, beautiful country seats, smiling villages, and venerable churches, contribute to make this spot one of the most highly-favoured iu England.

Okeover Hall is a spacious old mansion, which, though it possesses no architectural beauty, wears the thorough stamp of the old English country' aristocracy. It is not without some artistic treasures. Among other paintings, there is a Holy Family of great beauty, which has generally been attributed to Raphael, and, at any rate, is a very fine specimen of his school. The present Mr. Okeover inherits his estates from a very remote and distinguished ancestry, from whom they have descended to him in direct succession, though not invariably in the male line. But the heirs of line have assumed the ancient name of Okeover, and thus the family has been kept up. Besides Okeover, he possesses a considerable estate in Warwickshire, near Atherstone, on which are situated the ruins of a very extensive and important old castle, and also the well-preserved remains of a Roman camp.

Mr. Okeover's mother was daughter of General Sir George Anson, and cousin of the Earl of Lichfleld. Her second husband was the late distinguished Robert Plumer Ward, Esq., the author of " The Law of Nations," "Tremaine," "De Veré," etc., etc.

We cannot better illustrate the subject of Okeover than by adding quotations from his life and correspondence, as lately published by the Hon. Edmund Phipps :—

“Among the most pleasing passages in “De Vere” is the description of the man of content, the ‘master of Okeover Hall’. By one of the coincidences which are stranger than fiction, Mr Ward, while searching for an appropriate name for the abode of this, one of his favourite characters, had fixed on Okeover Hall. Years after this, and by events subsequent to his marriage, he saw himself, in right of his wife, as the guardian of her only son, ‘the master of Okeover Hall’ and, most assuredly in the peaceful life and social circle there established, he realised, in the best sense, the ‘man of content’.”

In a letter dated 28th October, 1838, Mr. Plumer Ward thus describes Okeover Hall :

"I feel more comfortably off in this delightful, as well as respectable old abode, than ever I was in my life ; and far happier than at Gilston. One thing quite surprises me as well as pleases. There is really a corner in England left, in which the old-fashioned feeling of attachment from well-used tenants to an old landlord's family, is still preserved. I never saw it so exemplified as among all the tenants of this beautiful estate upon our arrival, and, indeed, ever since. Had our boy been a prince of the blood, they could not have shown more regard than for Okeover of Okeover. As his mother, my wife comes in for her share, and as her husband, I come in for mine. The family is far more ancient than I thought ; the pedigree deriving them from Ormus, one of William the Conqueror's soldiers, who being endowed with this place, his descendants styled themselves De Okeover, and have continued its representatives ever since. There are tombs in the church with Saxon inscriptions, which I don't understand ; but they are of the characters of the oldest Henries, and have the Okeover arms upon them."

Okeover Park
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Manor Farm
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Callow Hall
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Arial View of village
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Arial View of North end of village
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Arial View of South End of Village
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St Mary's
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St Mary's
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St Mary's
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St Mary's
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Millenium Tree Planting
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Night in The Okeover Arms 2000
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Okeover Hall
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Raft Race
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Bridge Jump
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Accommodation is available in the village at the following places (click on links for details):-

Mappleton Village Social Club - Village Social Club website
St Mary's Church Yard
- Memorial Inscriptions of all grave stones in the churchyard up until July 2003.
Walk - Circular 2 hour walk starting and finishing in Mappleton.
Walk - Another circular walk , this time about 3 1/2 hours

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