Mayfield, Staffordshire

Link to Multimap - Arial Photo of Mayfield

Mayfield is a large village situated on the outskirts of Ashbourne, dividend into what is know as Upper Mayfield and Middle Mayfield. Mayfield is just "over the border" from Derbyshire and lies in Staffordshire.

The village predates the Doomsday book, where it gets a mention. There it is called Mavreveldt. The first church was built in the village in the reign of Henry I - around 1125. The present church, St John's is a combination of styles brought about by the way the church has been added to and repaired over the centuries. The 12th Century church has a 14th C. chancel and a 16th C. tower. In the churchyard can be found an original Saxon cross dating to those earlier times.

Mayfield was originally a Saxon village, dating back over a thousand years and listed in the Domesday Book as Mavreveldt.

The first Norman church was probably built about 1125 during the reign of Henry I, and the present parish church, dedicated to St John the Baptist, illustrates the progressive styles of architecture since that date.

The fabric and nave arcade are twelfth century, the chancel fourteenth and the tower sixteenth century. The stone cross in the churchyard is Saxon and once stood, together with the village stocks, on the boundary between Upper and Middle Mayfield.

It was a village, too, known to that great ballad writer, Thomas Moore. He lived at the cottage, formerly Stancliffe Farm, which now bears his name. Here he composed such well-known works as "Lalla Rookh" and "Those Evening Bells", the latter being inspired by the sound of the pealing bells of Ashbourne Church just across the river.
It was here, too, that he suffered tragedy with the death of his young daughter, Olivia. She is buried in the local churchyard, her slate tombstone reading "Olivia Byron Moore, died March 18, 1815".
It was Moore's friend- ship with Lord Byron, which led to the child bearing his name. Moore's journal records the visit of Lord Byron and other notables to his country cottage, and his affection for it is reflected in the fact that he twice revisited Mayfield after leaving for London.

Mayfield can also rightly claim a small niche in history, for it was here, on 7 December 1745 that the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie passed on its retreat from Derby and terrorised the local population.
Some of the Young Pretender's troops shot the innkeeper at Hanging Bridge as well as a certain Mr Humphrey Brown who refused to hand over his horse to them. Many of the villagers took refuge in the church, locking themselves in behind the west door. The Scottish soldiers contented themselves by firing shots through the door and their bullet holes can still be seen in the woodwork.

In those days there was an old packhorse bridge over the River Dove and although the original structure was widened and eventually rebuilt in 1937, the 500-year-old grey stone arches of the original bridge can still be seen. Legend has it that many of the Scottish rebels were caught, tried for their misdeeds and hung from gibbets erected on the old bridge.

There is however a road out of the village, leading to the main Leek highway marked on the Ordnance Survey map as "Gallowstree Lane", suggesting that those to be hung went their way via the bridge and Gallowstree Lane to Gallowstree Hill.
Today it is a pleasant walk rewarded by a lovely view down the Dove Valley.

The Mayfield Mill site has the fairly rare distinction of a history of almost 200 years of textile production. The first mention of any sort of mill occurs in a property valuation of 1291: most of Mayfield then belonged to the Priory of Tutbury and it included a cornmill. By 1793 there had been various owners of the site which has developed to include two cornmills, two fulling mills and a leather mill. Textiles first appeared in 1795 when the cotton mill was completed. Unfortunately in 1806 the interior of the building, together with most of the machinery, was destroyed in a fire. When the mill was eventually rebuilt it was with a cast iron framework and brick vaulted ceilings, as can still be seen in the oldest of the buildings, to prevent a repetition of the fire.

The spinning of cotton continued in Mayfield with various degrees of economic success until 1934 when it was sold to William Tatton and Company who used the mill to process silk. Since then it has seen changes of ownership and production but the mill remains.

(Based on the East Staffordshire Borough Council Guide to Staffordshire with thanks to ESBC and Mayfield Heritage Group).


"Mayfield or Mathfield, a scattered village with several good houses, is in three divisions, called Church, Middle and Upper Mayfield, delightfully seated on the western side of Dovedale, two and a half miles SW of Ashbourn, and nine miles N by E of Uttoxeter. Its parish comprises about 4000 acres, and 1048 inhabitants, including the townships of Butterton, Mayfield and Woodhouses, and also part of Calton chapelry.
Mayfield township has 847 souls and 1815 acres of land. Hanging Bridge, an ancient stone structure of five arches, crosses the romantic vale of the Dove, about half a mile N of the church, near Daisy Bank and Wall Ash. Mayfield cottage is noted as the place where Thomas Moore, Esq, wrote 'The Woodpecker' and other poems. Mayfield Hall is the handsome modern mansion of Joseph Tunnicliffe, Esq, the lord of the manor, and near it is Hermitage, the seat of William Greaves, Esq, and Bird's Grove, the seat of Mrs Sarah Greaves. These, and John Bill, Esq, and HC Okeover, Esq, own the greater part of Mayfield. There is a cotton mill here, and another on the opposite side of the Dove.
Woodhouses is a small tithe free township of only about 55 souls, and 200 acres, with three farmhouses and a cottage, two miles NW of Ashbourn. HC Okeover, Esq, owns the whole.
Butterton village and township, was a chapelry to Mayfield.
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

The population of Mayfield parish was as follows;
1801 -- 1018
1831 -- 1366
1841 -- 1048

Sights and Scenes Of Mayfield

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St John's Church
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St John's Church
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Henry Prince Primary School
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Holmeback Detail
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Gallowstree Lane
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Rock House
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Hanging Bridge
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Hanging Bridge
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Hanging Bridge
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St John's Church
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