Parwich & District Local History Society

Newsletter number 15 (December 2003)

Free to members (£1 to non-members)

The mystery of the Parwich Rings Solved? – part 2

Copyright © 2003 Rob Francis

The ring banks on Parwich Moor, on the fields past Whitecliffe Farm, are perhaps one of the outstanding unresolved mysteries for archaeology in Derbyshire. In the last edition of the newsletter I gave a summary of two investigations that suggested these were prehistoric.Despite the lack of any real evidence on the ground, apart from the presence of the rings themselves John Lomas and Mackpeace  speculated that these were possibly excarnation platforms from either the Neolithic or Bronze Age; places where the dead were laid out to be picked clean by carrion before burial of the bones.

In 1997 Graham Gilbert and Daryl Garton carried out a further survey of the site and on Sunday 10th October they joined a walk of the society in the morning to look at the rings and later gave a talk to explain their conclusions. (See also reports later in this issue.)  If these conclusions do not finally explain the origin of the rings they do give considerable clarity to the mystery and bring a more balanced, though tentative, set of explanations.

There are well over a 100 of the rings on both sides of the road, however those in the north field have largely been ploughed out over the last 30 years. It is in the south field that the latest excavations were carried out. This is a field that has remained largely uncultivated and is the reason for the continued clarity of the rings. This field itself is crisscrossed by numerous tracks, some of which may have been related to activity connected with the rings, and at least one that appears to be a major through route. The rings themselves vary considerably in size and seem to have been created by the digging of a ditch and throwing the earth aside to make a bank. What appears as a slightly raised platform in the middle, in contrast to the ditch, is in fact the natural height of the surrounding land.

Graham explained that there is no documentary evidence to explain existence of the ring ditches and very little helpful evidence on the ground. The 19th century enclosed walls cross a number of the ditches so at least they predate these. There is also evidence of two lead rakes cutting through the area and the spoil from these overrides the ring ditches which would give them an earlier date. Some of the tracks appear to be an earlier than the ring ditches. As the tracks are mostly narrow and not wide enough for carts they could have been created by sledges.

In their investigation Graham and Daryl looked at the turf that had been buried beneath the banks when the ditches had been dug, and dated it by photoluminescence (this is a technique by which it can be worked out when a soil was last exposed to sunlight). A date of around 1000AD was given. This indicates that the ditches were at least created after this date. This narrows the origin of the ring ditches to the  late medieval period, though a later date is    possible. During this time the area was obviously busy with mining and other activity, of which the ring ditches play their part though their purpose still remains unclear.

Graham noted that similar ditches have been identified in various parts of the country. These are not always circular but are sometimes square or even in a D shape. They were identified in the excavations at Lismore Fields in Buxton and have been noted in north Nottinghamshire, on Bodmin Moor and Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall. What all these areas have in common is the presence of a peaty soil and the consequent digging of peat for fuel. Whilst there is no clear explanation for the Parwich ring ditches Graham concludes by presenting his ‘best guess’. He suggests that they were dug to make drainage ditches for drying out peat that would be stacked to allow water to drain away. The raised banks are only a result of the ditches and have no purpose. It is likely that there was a thin layer of peat on Parwich Moor with resulting rights of turbury to local people. The collection of peat would be dependant upon need and would be dug and partially dried before removal thus considerably reducing its weight. (This is still done today in parts of Scotland and Ireland ). A ditch could speed the process of drying. The variety of sizes and shapes of the ditches further supports the idea that they were created for a practical purpose in a rather random way. The various trackways might well have been the result of the movement of peat and lead on makeshift sledges built for this purpose.  Peat would certainly have been burnt for domestic use and may also have been used in lead smelting. There is plenty of evidence for the stacking and drying of peat both in the past and the present (see the photograph I took in the Shetlands less than three months ago). What we do not have are pictures or photographs that show peat being dried with a circular drainage ditch. This would provide a further corroborative evidence for the ring ditches being used for this purpose.

These peat banks, photographed by Rob on Shetland in 2003, represent a different style of peat cutting  to what would have been possible locally as the peat cover would have been much thinner.

The search for an explanation for the Parwich ring ditches illustrates the problems that face the archaeologist in piecing together the past. Where there is a lack of solid evidence there is often a tendency to reach for explanations that fit some preconception. The conclusions of both Lomas and Makepeace are perhaps an example of their desire to map out a prehistoric purpose based on rather scant evidence. Graham Gilbert and Daryl Garten, through careful observation of the site and some basic scientific techniques, present a more informed speculation as to their use. It may be that there will never be more than a ‘best guess’ for the Parwich ring banks, on the other hand an even more refined research tool may in the future provide the necessary evidence.


John Lomas (1962) ‘A Bronze Age Site in Parwich’  DAJ 82 p.91-99

G. A. Makepeace (1997) ‘A Survey of the Ring Banks on Parwich Moor’  DAJ 117 p.17-25


Crime in the thirteenth Century: Alsop-en-le-Dale and Parwich

In his talk on the Alstonefield Constables’ Accounts (see p. 22) Brian Rich included a section entitled ‘Murder on the Wapentake’.  He referred to a number of court cases from the 1281 Derbyshire Eyre.  At this time more serious cases were tried by the King’s justice who visited each county in turn.  These sessions were known as an ‘Eyre’, and the records (rolls) of the 1281 Derbyshire Eyre survive in full.  Given the Society had recently been given a copy of “The Rolls of the 1281 Derbyshire Eyre” edited by Aileen Hopkinson we felt it would be of interest to quote in full her translations from Medieval Latin for the cases with local connections.  Thought difficult to follow these represent the more serious cases that could not be dealt with at the local courts.  They illustrate the complex system of mutual responsibility and pledges in place at the time, and also perhaps that the legal system was in part income generation for the crown.

Peter Trewhitt

Copyright © 2003 Brian Rich

142 Henry son of Roger de Mapleton claims against John Hendeman of Eyton a messuage (site of a dwelling house and its appurtenances) and a quarter virgate (although it varied from place to place a virgate was usually about 30 acres) of land in Cold Eyton as his by writ of aiel (where a stranger has dispossessed an heir of lands of which his grandfather had died possessed ).  John has come and elsewhere vouched to warranty Roger de Mersington who now comes by summons and warrants him.  He further vouches Henry son of William de Stansop whom he is to have at Lincoln at the quindene of Trinity (22 June 1281) by aid of the court.  He is to be summoned in the county of Stafford.

169 Letitia widow of Alexander le Mercer of Esseburn claims against Richard de Morleye and Joan his wife a messuage, 50 acres of land and an acre of meadow in Alsop as her right and marriage portion by writ of entry. Richard and Joan come and concering one half, vouch Alan de Waldechef and Lucy his wife to warranty.  Concerning the other they vouch John de la Plaunche and Ellen his wife.  They are to have them at  Lincoln at the quindene of Trinity (22 June 1281).  Alan and Lucy are to be summoned in this county and John and Ellen in the county of Lincoln.

240 Edith, widow of Adam son of Warin de Hokenaston, claims against Roger Godale of Peverwy (Parwich) a third of half a bovate (a bovate or oxgang is as much land as one ox could plough in a year, between 10 and 18 acres) of land in Hokenaston as her dower.  Roger comes and vouches to warranty Henry son of Richard de Matton, who comes by summons and warrants him.  He further vouches Isabella, Juliana, Hawise, Isolda and Agnes, daughters and heirs of Warin. Afterwards Edith seeks to leave withdraw from her writ and she has it.

246 Robert son of Robert Dethek appeared  on the fourth day against Robert son of Robert de Stredley and Elizabeth his wife in a plea that they warrant him six messuages, a bovate and a quarter bovate of land in Peverwik (Parwich) which he holds and claims to hold of them and in respect of which he has their charter. They have not come and were summoned.  Judgement: they are to be attached to be at Lincoln at the octave of St. John the Baptist (1 July 1281).  Afterwards Robert and Elizabeth came.  They concorded by licence, Robert  giving half a mark and they have a chirograph.  (At Derby within a month of Easter 1281.  Grant etc. and in consideration of a soar hawk by Robert son of Robert de Stretley and Elizabeth, defendants, to plaintiff and his heirs for ever of named premises in Pverwych.  To hold of the defendants and heirs of Elizabeth at yearly rent of a peppercorn at the Lord’s Nativity for all other services to the chief lords of that fee for the defendants and heirs of Elizabeth. DAJ, xii. 40.)

477 Robert son of Aylward de Alsop wounded Roger Hayward of Alsop in the head with an axe so that he died the third day after.  Robert fled at once and is suspected, so he is to be exacted and outlawed.  His chattels 7s, for which the sheriff is to answer (at this time, although separate counties, the Sheriff of Nottingham was responsible for both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire).  The twelve jurors are in mercy (fined) for concealing part of the chattels in their presentment.  The vil of Knyveton is in mercy for not attending the inquest.

478 Unknown evil-doers by night burgled the sheepfold of Cronkendon and killed William Shepherd whom they found there.  They fled at once.  The first finder died.  No Englishry.  Judgement: murder on the wapentake (This law designed to protect the Norman interest meant that if a murder victim could not be proved to be English, i.e. not Norman, then the Wapentake was also fined for his death.  In this area we are in Wirkeswirth Hundred or Wirkeswirth Wapentake, which is analogous to a contemporary district council).  The jurors later attested that a certain Gotte de Crudecote and Roger son of Adam de Crudecote absconded on account of the death and are suspected, so they are to be exacted and outlawed.  Roger’s chattels 5s, for which the sheriff is to answer.  Gotte had no chattels.  The vils of Ireton, Bondesdale, Alsope and Crudecote are in mercy for valuing the chattels falsely.  (The village of Alsop was fined 13s 4d for not sending representatives to the inquest.)

480 Ralph Bonbel killed Richard, Geoffrey Bunbel’s man in the vill of Peverwych (Parwich), fled at once and is suspected, so he is to be exacted and outlawed.  He had no chattels and was in the frankpledge (member of a tithing or community where the community is collectively responsible for the good conduct of each of its members and so liable for fines relating to their misdeeds) of the vill of Peverwych which does not have him now, so is in mercy (that is fined).  The vills of Tansley, Ybule and Elton are in mercy for not attending the inquest. (The vill of Parwich was fined £1 6s 8d for the flight of Robert Bumboll and the vill of Ibule 3s and 4d for not attending the inquest.)

487 Concerning defaults, they say that Robert Tipetot, William de Audeleye, the prior of Felleye, Henry le Pescur and John le Merchant both of Matlock, John de Hurste, Roger son of Laurence de Matlock, John son of Gilbert de Bedeford in Mapelton, Henry de Tissington, Ralph Swynesco in Thorpe, Thomas de Weston, John de Aldewerk, William son of Cecilia de Peverwyg (Parwich), John de Kestewenn in Peverwy (Parwich), John son of Maud of the same, Geoffrey de Bello Monte (struck through: per Roger Loveday written over), did not come on the first day, so they are in mercy.  (Each was fined 3s 4d.)

586 Concerning those indicted, they say that Robert Trulle, Alan de Elkesdene, William de Waterfal, Roger Aldris of Schyrele Nicholas de Cestreschyre, Robert le Parker of Douvebrigge, Roger de Meysham, William son of Richard Shine, Richard Kriche of Eyton, Richard son of Hoyt and John Dyot absconded on suspicion of larceny and are suspected.  So they are to be exacted and outlawed.  They had no chattels.  Richard de Knyveton in Peverwyc similarly absconded on suspicion of larceny and is not suspected, so he may return if he wishes, but his chattels are to be confiscated for his flight.  He had no chattels.

616 It is presented that Robert Gaderys of Schadesdene, Richard Hasard of Alrewassele, Ralph Byhoke, William Jordan, John son of William Jordan of Sallowe, Ralph son of Juliana of the same, John Ravenis of Hegge, Robert attelawe of Peverwick, Geoffrey Dammessone of Hokenhull, and Gilla wife of William de Arderne in Breidaston absconded on accout of mant larcenies and all are suspected.  So all are to be exacted, the men outlawed and Gilla waived.  They had no chattels.

628 John Hobelay appealed John de Kestewenn  in the county court of wounding, mayhem and breach of the king’s peace.  John de Kestewenn has not come and was not attached because John Hobelay had proceeded against him at only three courts.  So he is to be arrested.  His sureties are in mercy, Roger de la Dale of Peverwyk and Nicholas de la Dale in Peverwyk.  The jurors attest that John Hobelay absconded and is suspected of many larcenies, so he is to be exacted and outlawed.  Neither his frankpledge nor his chattels are known because he was a stranger.  Because the jurors attest that John de Kestewen wounded John Hobelay against the peace, he is in mercy.  (Roger and Nicholas de la Dale were fined 6s 8d for sureties for John Obelay.)


Moot Low, Gag Lane, Bostern Grange and Hanson Grange: A walk

Copyright © 2003 Rob Francis

(This is the route of the walk taken by the Society on 14th September this year.  See the report later in this issue.)

The walk will take you to one of the most prominent burial mounds in Derbyshire and a grange, reputedly haunted by a murderous past. This is a relatively easy walk that will take you between two to three hours.  If you take a White Peak ordinance survey map with you the instructions below will be all the clearer!

Start at the Alsop-en-le-Dale old station car park. Cross over the Ashbourne/Buxton road to a path that runs diagonally across a field that is bordered by Oxclose Lane and Green Lane. As you walk south across this field you will see Moat Low (shown as Moot Low on the OS Map) to your left. Cross the second lane and turn up towards New Hanson grange on a tarmac/concrete trackway. Continue up this for about 400 yards and turn left towards a dry stone wall. You will find a style in the corner of the field – climb this and you will see Moat Low straight ahead – walk about another 400 yards making towards the clump of trees standing on the skyline.

Moot Low walk route

You will arrive at Moat Low and on a clear day will be able to see for many miles in each   direction – down to the River Trent in the south and the Dark Peak to the north. Moat low    itself is a Bronze Age burial mound that was dug by Bateman in 1845. It is still    possible to see the edges of the mound itself. The name, Moat Low is likely to be derived from the word ‘moot’ and would indicate that in Anglo-Saxon times this was used as an important meeting place. Certainly its geographical situation may have been        significant, standing on the borders between two large administrative regions (now Derbyshire and Staffordshire). It might have been that at this point the local government officers of their day were able to discuss matters relevant to both regions.

Hanson Grange: The front of the house represents a late Georgian reconstruction of the house, though Tudor windows can still be seen on the west front (on the left in the picture), and the basement windows may be what is left of the medieval monastic grange.

From Moot Low it is possible to view a number of other significant landmarks – most    prominently to the east there is Minning Low; indeed older residents of Parwich used to refer to Moat Low as Minning Low Facing.

You will now walk down the hill towards Gag Lane. The lane itself runs due south and is little used today. In the past it is likely to have been a main route from Ashbourne and  in the 1760s was a turnpiked road. In earlier times it is likely that it ran north past Moat Low to Alstonfield crossing the River Dove at Viators Bridge and would have been recognised as an important communication route leading north.

You will now walk south down Gag Lane; to the east is Stand Low (though this is hidden by Stand Low Farm). There are numerous other lows in the vicinity ( Bostern Grange, Broadclose, New Inns, Baley Hill, Rose Low, Sharp Low and Crakelow) and this suggests that during the Bronze Age this was as populated or even more so than it is today. These burial mounds are all roughly equidistant and it may be that each one was an assigned territory, each belonging to a family group.

Outbuildings at Hanson Grange

Continue about 400 yards down Gag Lane, passed the track leading up to Bostern Grange.  Shortly after this you will find a footpath going up west – follow this to Bostern Grange. This Grange (together with Hanson Grange) was owned by the Black Monks of Burton Abbey. The number of monastic granges in this area (Newton Grange, a little more than half a mile away, was owned by Combermere Abbey) is a reminder of how important this area was in the production of wool during the 12th and 13th centuries.  You will continue west, following the footpath through the farm, down a hill and then turning north towards Hanson grange. You will see Hanson Grange straight ahead of you.

Hanson Grange was mentioned in the Domesday book as an outlier of Parwich and the name (Hanzedone) suggests it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin. If this is the case then this land has been farmed for over 1000 years, probably without a break. Behind Hanson Grange, to the north, there are the remains of a settlement and the farm itself is an interesting mixture of building styles, certainly dating back to the 17th century and possibly earlier. In the vicinity of the grange there have been reports of strange cries and the sound of shouting. This well-known Derbyshire haunting may have its origin in the murder of 1467, when John Mycock was struck on the side of the head by John de la Pole of Hartington, stabbed by Henry Vigurs of Monyash, hit with a staff by Matthew Bland of Hartington and shot in the back with an arrow by a John Harrison. The reason for this is not clear and the four murderers failed to appear as ordered before the court. It is advisable to pass the spot before the setting of the sun and with your mind set upon reasonable thoughts associated with sensible and solid things!

The footpath runs to the east of Hanson Grange. Follow this and it will take you onto the track that runs down past New Hanson Grange. You now come to the path you took at the first part of the walk – follow this back to the car park at Alsop-en-le-Dale station.


Some notes on Hanson Grange

Our Walk in September  (see p.7 & p. 21) took in Hanson Grange.  What follows is information gleaned from Matlock Local Studies Library on this fascinating farmhouse.  Apart from the first they are direct quotes.

A H Smith Editor (1950-51) “The Place-names of Derbyshire Part II” English Place Name Society XXVIII  This useful volume gives some fifteen different spellings together with their sources for   Hanson Grange from 1086 to 1647 when the present form was first recorded.  The earliest   reference is ‘Hanzedone’ in the Domesday Book when Hanson Grange was an outlier of  Parwich.  It is suggested that the origin of the word is ‘Hynci’s hill’.

Richard K. W. Hill & Angela Shackleton Hill (1988) “South Peak Archaeological Survey 1986-1988”  In the section on Newton Grange p.76-78 “The parish is served by only one major road, the A515: but three minor roads join the A515 in the vicinity of the New Inns.  One of these is Gag Lane, the 1760s turnpike that serves   Bostern Grange, Moatlow and Standlow farms.  Two other routes rise out of Milldale, the southern most of these being known as Green Lane.  At one time, Gag Lane continued through New Inns and down to Alsop en le Dale along a route that is now a footpath.  A ‘New Inn’ is shown here on Burdett’s map, surveyed in the 1760s but the unusual way in which the ‘inn’ is made plural elsewhere suggests that the name may originally have been ‘new ings’ and therefore possibly indicative of pasture associated with Alsop village.  In addition to these routes, a number of unmetalled tracks can still be traced, one of which links Hanson Grange to New Hanson Grange and Green Lane, and is crossed between the two farms by another path from Gag Lane and Standlow Farm.  The latter continues to the north-west and descends by a zigzag holloway into Milldale, crossing the Dove at Viator’s Bridge.  As such it is part of the old Ashbourne-Alstonefield route and is commented on in some detail in the fifth edition of Izaak Walton’s ‘The Compleat Angler’, printed in 1676.  By then it had been worn to the bare rock, which implies it is a very old route, almost certainly medieval if not earlier, since Alstonefield in the Middle Ages was a market town.

The track between Hanson and New Hanson Grange curved south from the former and passed into Tissington along a line clearly visible as a bank in the field immediately south of Bostern Grange.  Various other footpaths crisscross the parish, some being indicated on the Tithe Maps of the area.  Also running through the parish, in its eastern half adjacent to the A515 is the London and North Western railway, from Ashbourne to Buxton now the Tissington Trail.  Just north of New Inns is the site of the station which once served Alsop en le Dale.

It is unfortunate that the archaeological record of the parish as a whole suffers because a substantial part of it could not be surveyed.  Access was refused to Hanson Grange, and the owner of Standlow Farm, whilst amenable to the survey, preferred us to wait until after his grass had been cut.  In fact, long grass hampered much of the survey in the parish, and on Standlow it had not been mown by the time the project ended.  Being unable to fieldwalk Hanson Grange is particularly regrettable as it is the site of a deserted settlement.  The county SMR (Sites & Monuments Record) records extensive earthworks to the north-west and south of the present farm, and as this was one of the two granges belonging to the Black Monks of Burton it is possible these earthworks represent forced depopulation.  No similar settlement earthworks were located on Bostern Grange, the second of Burton’s monastic farms in this region, but of interest is a linear bank which, on the Tithe Award of 1848 for Thorpe, forms a boundary between Hanson Grange and an area marked Newton Grange Township.  This carries a track that seems to join Hanson Grange with the route from Tissington known as the Footway, where this crosses the parish boundary and runs on to Bostern Grange.  Further north, however, the County SMR notes another stretch of linear bank skirting Hanson Grange to the east which may once have joined up with the southern earthwork.  Whether or not either of these was originally part of the grange boundary between Hanson Grange and Bostern Grange is uncertain.  A complicating factor is that there is some slight evidence for a park in the same region in the names of three fields coming south from Hanson Grange west of the bank on Bostern Grange.  The authors have found no documentary evidence for emparking, however.  These listed in the Thorpe Tithe Award, are Park, Park Bank, and The Hurst.  Possibly, if a park did exist, it originated after the dissolution of Burton Abbey in 1538, perhaps in association with the construction of the sixteenth or seventeenth century house built on the site of Hanson Grange.”

After discussion of Newton Grange the account on p.80 runs: “Further it has been noted by the authors that the individual round barrows at Baley Hill, Moat Low, Bostern Grange, Standlow, Broadclose, New Inns, Rose Low, Sharplow, Cromwell’s Low, and Crakelow, and the barrow groups at Newton Grange and Hollington, are all roughly equi-distant from each other and can be each assigned to ‘territories’ of roughly equal dimensions.  If these territories were a reality in the Bronze Age, it would be interesting to know whether the barrows were intended to be central or peripheral since today, in most cases, they ‘pair’ with the central holdings of individual farmsteads.  It would be rash to argue for continuity of occupation from the second millennium BC to the second millennium AD, but another possible scenario is less unlikely.  Evidently Anglian settlers occupied an area of Bronze Age settlement for they re-used certain barrows for burials of their own and may have similarly adopted others, though this has not been demonstrated.  With regard to the territorial links of Anglian burial distribution it is not unfeasible that they marked out their own territories with regard to the prehistoric burial sites, even before they buried their own dead in them.  Neither is it unimaginable that these territories should have made an impression on modern property divisions.  Each single farmstead extant today might represent a last trace of Anglian settlement.”

I H Jeayes (1906) “Derbyshire Charters”

27. Grant from Roger de Huncesdon to Thomas de Bradeford, of Richard and Adam, filii, Walter fil. Galfridi de Huncesdon, his nativi, with all their following, goods and chattels in Huncesdon.  Witn. Robert de Thorp, John de Thorp, Adam de Thorp, Ralph Rufus, Ralph fil. Ranulfi, Richard fil. Nagge, Richard fil. Rad. De Thorp. (Early Henry III)

29. Grant from Richard fil. Petri de Henry fil. Thome de Alsop of three acres of land in Huncedon lying between the land of Burton Abbey and of Roger Cokayn.  Witn. Stephen de Irton, Geoffrey Martel de Peverwiz, Hugh Bonseriant de Thorpe, etc. (? Temp. Henry III)

Rev. Daniel Lysons & Samuel Lysons (1817) “Magna Britannia: Vol. V Derbyshire”

In the section on Thorpe p.275 “Hunsdon or Hanson Grange in this parish, which had been given in the reign of Henry III, by Roger de Huncyndon, to the monastery of Burton-on Trent, was granted by Henry VIII to Sir William Pagett, and conveyed by him, in 1546 to John Flackett, whose descendent sold it, in or about the year 1638, to Robert Boothby, Esq.  Sometime afterwards it was in the family of Borrow of Castelfield near Derby, by whom the house and some of the lands were sold to Mr. William Gould, the present proprietor.  A part of this estate was purchased by Matthew Baillie, M.D., and is now his property.”

N Pevsner (1953, 1979) “The Buildings of England: Derbyshire” Penguin “Hanson Grange. Handsome early C19 front, but the south wall is a patchwork of earlier work with C16 or C17 mullioned and transomed windows.  In the basement apparently earlier windows with arched lights.  There was a grange of Burton Abbey on the site.  Could the earliest work be connected with this?”


Maxwell Craven (1991) “A Derbyshire Armory” Derbyshire Record Society

P. 20 “Borowe (later Borough).  Castlefields (Derby);  Hulland Hall.  Argent on a mount vert in base the trunk of an oak tree sprouting out two branches proper hanging thereon the shield of Pallas or fastened by a belt giles; crest: an eagle proper holding in its talons the shield of Pallas or; motto: ‘Virtute et Robore’ (MI at St. Werburgh, Derby).  Granted 2 Oct. 1702 to John Borowe of Castlefields… …  John Borowe of Hanson Grange and Alvaston Fields assumed the surname and arms of Tempest additionally to his own early C18, and the field of the Borowe arms as born by him was azure.  …”

p. 58 “Every.  Eggington; Newton Solney; Derby.”  (Note. Gives the arms conferred to Sir Henry Every Bt. In 1805, but makes no mention of Hanson Grange, as presumably the family no longer held it by the time they were granted arms.)

p. 64 “Flackett.  Derby; Doveridge; Hanson Grange; Unstone.  Argent on a fesse between three foxes’ heads erased gules as many lions gambs of the field: crest: a foxes head erased gules shot through the neck fesseways with arrow sable feathered argent (Thompson IV 50; D369).  Arms used by John Flackett of Hanson Grange who disclaimed V. 1611: also his     descendant Edmund of Derby.”

p. 72 “Gould.  Hanson Grange;  Pilsbury House (Hartington).  Per saltire azure and or a lion rampant counterchanged; crest: a demi-lion rampant azure bezantee; motto: ‘Love God not Gould’ (Rel. V (1865) 232; XIII (1873) pl.vii).  Used by Edmund Gould of Pilsbury House (1817-59) and his cousin, Thomas of Sheffield. …”

p. 123 “Paget.  Caldwell; Hanson Grange; Stapenhill.  Sable on a cross engrailed between four eagles displayed argent five lions passant guardant of the field; crest: a demi-heraldic tiger sable maned ducally gorged and tufted argent; supporters: on either side an heraldic   tiger as in the crest; motto: ‘Per il suo contrario’ … Arms conferred, crest and supporters granted, by letters patent 1552 to Sir William Paget of Beaudesert (Cannock), summoned that year to Parliament as Lord Paget, of Beaudesert.  …”

William Woolley (1715) “History of Derbyshire” in C Glover & Philip Riden (1981) p. 215 “Hussingdon Grange or alius Hanson Grange lies near Alsop, by Doveside.  It did belong to … Convent and now to Sir Henry Every, who gave it to his second son, Sir John, who now enjoys it.”


Turbutt (1999) “A History of Derbyshire” 

p. 694 on the dissolution of the monasteries “Sir William Paget, one of the principal Secretaries of State (1543-8), later created Lord Paget of Beaudesert, secured for himself  Hanson Grange (formerly belonging to Burton Abbey).”

p. 1023 on Elizabethan Derbyshire  “… the Lathburys of Eggington had ended in co-heiresses, one of who took Eggington to her husband Robert Leigh, from which family Eggington, Newton Solney and Hanson Grange were to pass through a co-heiress to Simon Every.

David Edwards Editor (1982) “Derbyshire Hearth Tax assessments 1662-70” Derbyshire Record Society

p. 198 under Thorpe & Mapleton the list starts:

                        Sir William Boothby                           12 hearths

                        And att Hanson grang                          6 hearths

(Note. At this time Parwich Hall had 6 hearths, Alsop Hall 8 and Tissington 18)

Derbyshire Advertiser: Notes & Queries No. 366 May 28th 1926

‘A Hanson Grange Record’ by their correspondent Horatius  “Few people to-day passing Hanson Grange, which broadly speaking lies about midway between Alsop-en-le-Dale and Alstonefield, would associate it with a scene of strife.  Yet looking up certain authorities for some historical points on the district the other day, I came across an account of a sort of mass attack on a single man which would almost seem to have been more in accordance with the methods adopted by lawless gangs in some cities, which I need not necessarily mention by name, in these present days than those associated, as in this case, with the peaceful countryside in medieval times.  It is recorded that a foul murder was committed at the Grange in 1467, the victim being one John Mycock.  John de la Pole of Hartington struck him on the left side of the head; Henry Vigers of Monyash stabbed him in the breast; John Harrison shot him in the back with a bow and arrow: and Matthew Bland of Hartington hit him on the head with a club staff.  Evidently, says the chronicle, they were determined to make sure!  When the trial was due to take place before the king in 1469 the   accusers failed to appear.  In modern and not over elegant parlance they must have been ‘got at’.  As to John Mycock, poor soul, one is left wondering what he had been ‘up to’ to warrant so condign a punishment.  Deponent sayeth not.”

Derbyshire Advertiser: Notes & Queries No. 372 July 9th 1926

‘Hanson Grange, Nabb Hill’ a letter from F A Holmes of Spring Gardens, Buxton  “Your correspondent ‘Horatius’ recently gave an interesting medieval record of Hanson Grange, one of the best known farm houses in the Dove Dale district.  There are other associations of Hanson Grange of great historical interest and more pleasant than the ones   referred to in your recent issue.  The Rev. E Beresford points out that ‘Hanson’, ‘Huncedona’, ‘Hansyndon’ was known to the Danes when they rushed through Dove Dale a thousand years ago.  There were cottages there 700 years ago held by the Thorpes, who had direct associations with the village of that name quite near.  That Hanson Grange was at one time a Monastery farm under the Abbey of Burton is also chronicled.  Newton Grange also belonged to the Monks – who exercised a good deal of influence in the district.  St. Bertram the Anchorite who lived at Ilam, and whose name is always associated with the famous Beeston Tor cave, brought Christianity into the Dove and Manifold Valleys.  The Gould family have been prominently associated with the later history of this famous old Manor House.  William Gould died there in 1772 at 95 years of age.  His son, Thomas Gould, was born in 1714, died in 1794, and William Gould born in 1755, died in 1845.  Thomas Gould born in 1800 died in 1871.  What great ages the Goulds of Hanson Grange lived to.  The associations with the Gould family do not end here because Nat Gould, the famous Derbyshire novelist, very frequently visited his uncle, Thomas Gould, between 1870 and 1878.  Nat Gould had a passionate love for Dole Dale.  He died a few years ago and was buried in Bradbourne Churchyard.  His novels circulated to the extent of 22,000,000 copies and were much appreciated by the boys at the front during the period of the Great War.  His favourite Derbyshire viewpoint was the ‘Nabbs’, just at the back of Hanson Grange, and away from the beaten track to Dove Dale.  (You have to ask permission from Mr. Heaton Etches if you want to go on the Nabbs).  This also was one of the landscapes that impressed Ruskin, and certainly on this historical ground, rich with the associations of Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton, many famous men have frequently looked over the remarkable scene to be noted from this vantage point.  I need only to refer to Tom Moore, Lord Byron, J J Rousseau and Rogers the Banker poet.

Over a wide stretch of country, with the ‘Princess of Rivers’ winding in and out in silvery beauty at your feet, are towering peaks and outstanding lesser hills with verdant valleys and grassy banks rich with verdure and clothed with flowers, whilst the intervening pasture has a richness and radiance unassociated with any other part of England.  On a clear day can be seen Mootlow, Minninglow, Parwich Hill, Narrow Dale Hill, Gratton, Axe Edge, Morridge Top, Chrome, Parkhouse Hill, High Wheeldon, Flash Bar, Wetton Hill, Chelmorton Low, Sheen Hill, Thorp Cloud, Bunster, Hindlow Top, Caldon Low and many a smaller summit – all of them famous – whilst within a comparatively small area you have valley scenery by the banks of the Dove and Manifold rarely equaled elsewhere.

The one river rises on Axe Edge, the other only just misses it, but in their tortuous and serpentine wanderings, and within the short distances they flow, I question if anywhere simple typical English landscapes can be seen as those associated with the full course of these two Derbyshire and Staffordshire rivers.  If you want a sunset of singular glory, rapidly changing as the moments pass – one which remains a perpetual memory as the days go by – look over the Derbyshire and Staffordshire hills from ‘The Nabbs’.

I often wonder if it was the sunsets from here which proved so fascinating to Tom Moore and Ruskin and which were the inspiration of Moore’s widely famous hymn now to be found in all church hymnals.

But let me quote the words of Nat Gould himself – he never wrote anything finer:

I have travelled in many lands – in Australia, on the Continent, throughout England, Scotland and Wales – but I have never seen a more beautiful view than can be obtained from the old hill at the back of Hanson Grange.  It is small wonder that these memories of country life never left me, no matter where my lot was cast.  The love of nature was bred and born in me: no amount of city life has stamped it out.  When I feel dull, or my brain or my body requires rest, I flee into the solitude of these dear old hills, and my youth comes back to me, a flood of memories pleasantly overwhelms me, and I return to my work invigorated, a new man.  On this dull November day, even as I write these lines, the scenes I love are mapped out before me – enchanting, sublime, with a grand simplicity attained only by the Greatest architect of the universe Who has fashioned and planned it all.  …  I have sat on the Nabbs and watched the shadows creep over hill and dale as the day gently waned.  What colourings, what marvelous tints!  No artist could catch and hold them.  Here are pictures more beautiful than in all the galleries of Rome, Florence, Milan, Paris, Naples, Antwerp, Brussells, Bruges,   London and a hundred other places; and I see them alone, with no guide book in my hand, no description, no one to point out the glorious blending of colours, and I have no need of them.  That is the beauty of nature.  She teaches us as you watch her.  She is marvelously clever.  She is unsparing of her knowledge to those who love her.”

“We have a wonderful county of immeasurable interest to the geologist, archaeologist, naturalist and history lover.  Derbyshire men had need to be proud of it.”


This surprising wealth of information about one farm, Hanson Grange, reinforces the idea that it has been of importance locally from very early times.  With a few assumptions we can piece together an outline history of the last four thousand years of Hanson.  It is possible that the Saxons when they created their settlement here were responding to land divisions dating back some two and a half to three thousand years earlier to the Bronze Age territorial divisions.  The Saxon farmstead linked to a man called Hynci was overseen from the manor at Parwich, which in turn was part of large royal estate in the area belonging at one time to King Canute’s son-in-law.  After the Conquest it was held as part of Parwich by a Saxon called Colne, who may have passed it on to his descendants the de Thorpe family, when it became separated from Parwich.  It then passed into the hands of the monks of Burton Abbey who cleared the settlement, creating a large sheep ranch or grange.

At the dissolution of the monasteries it passed into the hands of the Flackett family, minor gentry who built a relatively grand manor house and may even have created a deer park.  Gradually it seems to have declined in status being subsumed into other estates and occupied by tenants.  It was not until the late eighteenth century that it passed into the hands of the Gould family, who prospered with the general increase in agricultural wealth at that time.  The Goulds are responsible for the appearance of the farm house today.


Competition Winners

At the end of the summer term Rob Francis went into the school to talk about Parwich as it was in the old days, showing the children images of how things used to look in the village, and how the same scene looks today. The children were then invited to write about living in Parwich and submit their efforts for a competition. Older children in the village were also  invited to take part.   The competition was open to all children who lived in village and to children from outside the village that attend Parwich School.  There were three age categories with £10 W H Smith vouchers for the winner of each age group and an additional £10 voucher for the overall winner.  There were a good range of entries, and Gill Radcliffe hopes to include virtually all in the book ‘Voices’ that she is working on for the Society

Thank you to all those who made the effort to enter.  The entries were all good and it was hard to choose one rather than another, but here are the results:

                        over 11                                    Hayley Powell (aged 14)

                        7 to 11                                     Sam Webster (aged 7)

                        under 7                                   Georgia Griffiths (aged 6)

                        overall winner                        Hayley Powell

The prizes for the younger two age groups will be presented in School, and Hayley’s  prize will be presented to her at the Society’s Christmas gathering on Thursday 11th December.  Here are the winning entries reproduced in full:

Hayley Powell (aged 14)

Judges’ Comments: We like the sense she gives us of past and present existing alongside one another in Parwich. The writing is full of exuberance.
Parwich as I see it is a mixture of modern and grey-haired history, these both live along side each other in perfect harmony but soon the modern factors will be forgotten or replaced but the old still stand tall. The bus stop I use so regularly once was used by many others but as a pump house.

Parwich also has some very old traditions, one of these I look forward to all year: wakes week with its colourful bunting and jolly faces. It is surprising how in one week the whole community is brought together to do what some may have done generations ago.

My favourite was the parade the colourful costumes and friendly competition. We were asked for the theme this year to be Glastonbury, after thinking long and hard I came up with the idea of being a knight and horse because of the medieval disputes that happened over the spiritual side of Glastonbury Hill. The day of the parade came and as I was waiting nervously at the shop everyone was excited and happy, Cheers and laughter filled the street. The brass band played and it was like being a knight and just won a battle and now collecting an award for courage and bravery and like I imagined I collected 1st prize for the 11 – 15 pedestrian group and I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement and ready for the entertainments afterwards. Thinking of celebrations I remember the excitement of the millennium. People in the village came together at midnight and held hands in a circle on the green and we all counted down the millennium together. I wonder if they did this last millennium. I also entered the junior hill race and I’m not very good but this year I’ve been training! So when I was on the starting line I had never imagined that I would have done as well as I did and I collected 1st local girl and 2nd girl overall. I was very pleased.

There was a power cut last year and it was so dark I couldn’t see. We all moved around by candle light, this reminded me of how people used to live, it was a bit spooky. But we     couldn’t cook, so I wonder how they used to manage without electricity? Well we solved it by going to Ashbourne to get some fish and chips and it seemed as if the rest of the village was there too!

Sam Webster (aged 7)

Judges’ comments: A delightful description of wildlife spotted in Parwich. It's good to see such active and enthusiastic participation in village life.
I like living in Parwich because the wildlife is really nice. I have seen hummingbird hawk -moths, buzzards and hedgehogs. I saw a barn owl swooping past the Village Green one time. I have my own pond for tadpoles, which are now frogs.
I like it when we dress up as our favourite book character at school. I was Tom Sawyer. We went to the library and we were allowed to get out some books. I got out eight. My picture was in the paper.
I like Wakes Week because I get to do the Hill Race and lots of other sports. There is a competition to see who makes the best costume. Last year I dressed up as Elvis Presley. I won second prize.
I like the Horticultural Show. This year I entered tomatoes, cucumber, marrow, runner beans, cactus and a geranium. My marrow won second prize.
That is why I think Parwich is a nice place.

Georgia Griffiths (aged 6)

Judges’ comments: This is vivid, spontaneous and imaginative writing with the ring of authenticity!
The thing I like about Parwich is the church. In summer it is nice and cool but in winter I wish they would burn a few more candles to warm it up a bit. My Mummy and Granny take me to see the pretty flowers when somebody has got married. It smells nice but when the flowers are gone it smells fusty, like my Granny's garage. I like to hear the bells ringing and chinging. I think it could be the hunchback of Notre Dame!


Judges’ comments on the other entrants:

Thayer Linnell (age 5) arranged her hand-written text very artistically; Tom Stafford (age 6) wrote a lively description of Wakes Week, and Harry Stafford (age 8) wrote an interesting description of Halloween. William Beesley (age ?) wrote a well thought out piece about conkering. Charlotte (age 6) Bradbury’s description of her Granny's gnomes, and Rannoch Linnell’s (age 7) memories of water pistols and chocolate at Halloween made us laugh!   Alexander Drummond (age 10) and Emma Greatbatch (age 14) wrote good descriptions of Wakes Week; Robert Drummond (age 13) wrote an evocative description of the Millennium celebrations, and Allie Webster (age 12) wrote of the friendliness of Parwich people.

You will have to wait till the book is published to read these other entries, but if all goes well with the current grant application we should printing the book next Spring.


Ghost Stories in the Memorial Hall

The AGM (6th February 2003) was followed by a very successful evening of ghost stories.  A number of members of the Society told stories mainly from outside Parwich.  We printed two of these stories in the previous issue of the Newsletter, and as promised here are the remainder.


Weaver’s Cottage

Copyright © 2003 Brian Preece

In 1976 my wife Alana and I bought a cottage in Bonsall called Weavers Cottage. A beautiful white double fronted cottage on the main street. We later discovered that it was in fact a stockinger’s cottage and the old mill part at the rear was converted into further living area accessed from the lounge by an open plan stair case and a gallery. This is the area where the occupants did outwork from the local mill and would have been where simple machinery was installed.

As we were living in a flat in Buxton I took the opportunity to do some decorating and    renovation work before we moved in.  The first task was to salvage a small pine cupboard next to the inglenook fireplace.  On closer inspection it was found the cupboard was in poor condition, riddled with woodworm and the hinges dropping off. The only solution was to rip it out.

This is when the trouble started. As I hit the cupboard with a large sledge hammer and began to rip out the wood, a very loud buzzing sound filled the cottage, similar to but too loud for a bumble bee.  I searched every room for the elusive bee but could not find one anywhere.  I carried on pulling out the entire cupboard framework and dumped it outside the front door.

When I went back inside the buzzing was still there. I decided to sit down have a cup of tea and look at the gaping hole and plan what to do with it.  But that infernal buzzing still filled the house.  Having made up my mind what to do with the gaping hole I decided to start building a wall on which I would place a stone shelf. After a while the wall was partly completed and I decided to stop work for the day. But that horrible buzzing noise was still there. I had convinced myself there was something wrong with my ears.

I walked out of the front door to get some fresh air and the buzzing stopped, it couldn’t have been my ears but the cottage. I really can’t explain what forced me to do what I did next, but I picked up a large piece of the old  woodwork, walked back into the cottage and placed it behind the new brick work where the cupboard had been minutes earlier …. and … the buzzing stopped.

We eventually settled in and started to make a comfortable comfortable in fact in the early evening after dinner I often nodded off in my favourite armchair next to the alcove that looked up in to the old mill area. It was during this half asleep stage, when I was just nodding off...I cant really explain what happens to your brain in this semi comatose state...but I was very often awakened the clanking of light machinery. On gaining my senses fully my eyes were always drawn towards the old mill area.  Was I hearing the old stockinger’s machines in action?

Often I chose to sit on the settee which had a different view of the lounge and the old mill area.  Now I don’t want you to think we were a boring couple always falling asleep but on one particular evening when my wife had fallen asleep on the fireside rug I noticed a dark shadow travel across the ceiling beam from the central main beam to the corner of the room and disappear. 

The cottage had been renovated in such a strange way that the main bedroom was above the kitchen and above this corner where the shadow moved to, was the door to the main bedroom. Now this door was the oldest door in the house.. but I will come back to this part of the story later.

This shadow moved across the beam more or less at the same time each evening … 6.30 to 7.30 and it happened most days … so it gave me the opportunity to carry out a few tests to see what was causing it. I tried closing the curtains at the front of the lounge in case passing car lights or reflections were causing it.

NO it still happened. I turned off the television which was immediately below the beam to see if light was coming out of the back of television.

NO it still happened. Various tests later it was still happening, except on one occasion when it started in the corner of the room and travelled in the opposite direction to just disappear at the central beam.

What it was I do not know!!!

Now, coming back to the bedroom door, I was sitting in the lounge one evening when I was convinced there was somebody upstairs on the landing. I had not heard anything or seen   anything but my mind told me there was somebody upstairs. Now what was more surprising, I was not scared and walked upstairs to investigate. On the landing I found nobody there, but turned to look at the bedroom door. Remember this bedroom door I was talking about earlier.  It was the oldest door in the cottage and it had an oddly designed latch, it was rather like a Suffolk latch but the bottom part was repeated on the top!

Because the door was old and warped which caused a sort of sprung effect when closed, and with the combined effect of this funny latch it was difficult to open the door or close on the first attempt and was impossible to open it without creating a loudish metallic clunking sound. BUT on this occasion the door opened and closed in front of me without making a sound. I quickly retreated to the comfort of my armchair, not uttering a word to my wife.  In fact because she was asleep when the shadows moved across the beams she was unaware of anything strange happening at all in the cottage.  I kept quiet. I didn’t want to scare her!

In those days one of my hobbies was making wine which I did in the kitchen, and I will just remind you what I said earlier.. the cottage had been renovated in such a strange way that the main bedroom was above the kitchen. We had earlier placed a pack of frozen meat on the stone shelf in the alcove next to the fire to defrost: this was the shelf I built where the old cupboard used to be.  While I was busy wine making I heard footsteps from the bedroom above and I thought it was my wife.

Because we had two cats I was concerned that they might be eating the meat. So with perhaps only three or four strides, and two seconds later, I was peering around the lounge door to see my wife sat on the settee watching the television. So who was upstairs? I didn’t go to find out this time.

Just to close down this little tale I will add that we were often woken in the night by banging on the bedroom wall, a wall that was between us and the bathroom, not an outside wall so it could not have been neighbours.  And, wait for it, banging on that infernal bedroom door. On the first occasion this happened I flung open the door, with fists clenched and raised, ready for a fight with a burglar but there was nobody there. A search of the cottage found no intruders, no forced entry and nothing out of place

In the lounge the cats, and by now there were three of them, often followed something around the room, their heads moved simultaneously as if following an  interesting object. And before you say it could have been mice, the focal point of their gaze was always focussed on something at chest height.

We sold the cottage after two years, not because of the ghosts, but because of noisy lorrys at 6 o’clock in a morning. We never told the buyers about the ghosts.  I hope you are not in the audience.


I met a man who wasn’t there …

Copyright © 2003 Rob Francis

Whether it was the promise of a storm hanging heavy in the air or the time of year or the recent conviviality, conversation and drink but Ken is clear about what he actually saw. He is clear about the time and the person stood there on the front stairs.

We had risen early, at 5.30 in the morning, on Whit Monday to go to Bampton in Oxfordshire where each year the Morris Dancers weave in and out the houses for the whole of the Monday; a ritual that has gone on for hundreds of years.

Ken was quieter than usual as we motored through a quiet bank holiday midland countryside and quieter still as we enjoyed our first pint with a cooked breakfast at 8.30 am in a Bampton pub. It was not until later in the day that he gave a matter of fact account of what he has seen earlier that morning. As he came down the stairs he had to pass a man who was standing stock still. He was wearing mole-skin trousers, gaiters, rough type of coat and a swarthy complexion. Ken had to squeeze past him and could almost feel the warmth of his breath.

Ken told the story to me almost as if describing the morning milk delivery.  There was no sense of drama in his account, just a rather surprised and wistful pondering on the mystery of things. When he related this to me we were watching Bampton Morris dancing on the same lawn as they had for hundreds of years.  Ken was merely recounting his strange experience as a way of illustrating how time past can occasionally impress itself onto our present experience – of how sometimes the two seem to become muddled.

It was only months later when looking at the census returns for 1841 that we discovered, living in our cottage at that time, was a Samuel Johnson. Could there be any connection? I doubt it, but when I phoned this information through to Ken Johnson I think I detected a silence at the other end of the phone just for one muddled moment.



Moot Low, Gag Lane, and the Black Monks of Burton a walk led by Rob Francis

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.


Exploring Parwich Moor, a walk

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.

Dating the ring-banks on Parwich Moor: a talk by Graeme Guilbert & Daryl Garton

The main contents of this talk are included in Rob’s article on p. 1 of this issue, so suffice it to say that some 12 people attended, and the fascinating talk prompted much debate.  The speakers gave up their Sunday for no charge not even expenses, and it does prompt the question are numbers for such talks adequate to justify external speakers.  Perhaps this is something we could discus at the AGM next year.


A burden on the parish? The recently discovered Alstonefield Constable Accounts 1725-1838 shed light on the keeping of the peace and maintenance of roads and bridges, a talk by Brian Rich

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.


Post Cards & Future Books

The Society has printed a set of eight post cards that will be launched at the ‘Christmas Do’ on Thursday 11th December.  The cards reproducing old photographs from the early 1900s include: The School, Main Street, St. Peter's Church, Parwich Creamery, Drum Solo, Lord’s Joinery, Planting Cabbages, and A Village Gathering.  They will be available in the Shop and the Pub at a cost of £2 per set from the 12th of December onwards, but a special concession price of £1-75 per set will be available to members ordering sets by Sunday 14th December (see below).  Also if you can take on selling sets of the cards to family and friends contact the editor.

The motivation for producing these cards is to part fund the production of the book ‘Voices: Women of a White Peak Village’, which is currently being compiled by Gill Radcliffe.  The book, some 200 pages of extracts, memories and photographs, will be a remarkable record of village life in the nineteenth and twentieth century.  We have applied to Awards for All for a grant covering a large part of the printing cost as part of ‘A celebration of Rural Life’ including a whole day event, but the Society is committed to contributing at least £1,200 to the whole project.  We will hear if the application is successful in mid-December.

A member of the Society, Hal Broadhurst, is also producing a book next year on the early Alsops of Alsop en le Dale.  It will have a forward by the Duke of Devonshire, and will chart the family from the twelfth century to their sale of the Alsop estate in the late seventeenth century.  It is thought that the cost of the book ‘will not exceed £10’ and anyone wishing to register an interest in advance in obtaining a copy can let the Editor know.


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