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Ashbourne Derbyshire. Southern gateway to the Peak District.
The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There are numerous interesting towns such as Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Leek, Matlock and Wirksworth, plus many enchanting villages
|Dovedale and the White Peak. Although the town lies a short distance away from the River Dove, it commands the approach to Dovedale.|
Church Street, which leads out west from the town centre, has many fine buildings, including of course St Oswald's church, the former Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School (founded 1585), Owfield's Almshouses (1614-30), Peggies Almshouses (1669) and The Mansion, which was the home of the Rev John Taylor from 1740 to 1787. A colourful character, Taylor was one of Dr Johnson's closest friends, and Johnson was a frequent visitor here.
The Grammer School, named after Queen Elizabeth and known locally as 'QEG', was founded in 1585 by Sir Thomas Cockayne and is a fine example of an Elizabethan public building. The Cockayne family were a notable local Derbyshire family with estates in the area from around 1200 onwards. Their alabaster tombs can be seen in St Oswald's church.
The town can also boast of visits by Charles I and Bonny Prince Charlie, who stayed here on his march south to Derby in 1745.
The streets in the centre of the town are quite narrow and the are overhung by the inn sign of the Green Man and Black's Head - a famous Georgian coaching inn once frequented by Dr Johnson and Boswell. To the left are the former Shambles (now called Victoria Square), which lead up to the Market Square, the hub of the modern town. The town has a fairly wide range of shops and of course numerous pubs.
The Tourist Information Centre is in the market square - telephone 01335 343666
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