We recently visited Wirksworth, a small but very interesting town in the White Peak in Derbyshire. We had passed through it a couple of times and thought it looked a nice place to visit, then a cousin returned from there and told us about the most amazing pub, and being pub people we felt obliged to investigate!
Wirksworth is a very, very old town and its church, the beautiful St Mary’s, dates from the seventh century, but the history of people living here go back to Neolithic times.. There are thermal springs nearby, so that would have encouraged settlement, just as it did nearer to where we live, in Bath. However it was the mineral deposits, such as lead which really drew firstly the Romans who started mining, and then various other peoples eager to exploit the riches of the area. Saxons, Vikings, Normans, like other productive places across the country, there was a continuous trail of people rushing in to displace whoever was already there for the wealth they could acquire. It was central to the sudden explosive industrial development of the Industrial Revolution, and in fact is where ‘red tape’ – yes, actual red tape, the red tape was/is made.
So… the amazing pub is named after a crinoid (many fossils found here while the lead mines were operating) – marine animals related to starfish and sea urchins and sea cucumbers. It’s called The Feather Star and it is tiny but the welcome is warm. It’s full of eccentric artefacts and excellent beer, loads of vinyl records which the friendly person behind the bar put on for us when we expressed an interest in one (Roy Orbison actually)
The bar was just about full with three other customers and two dogs so we went up the tiny stairs. to a room which had plenty of seating, of all sorts imaginable. Here we could properly see how old the building was, with very thick walls – it was so full of atmosphere, a real place for writers!
Drinks on a drum for a drummer! There’s a little ukulele peeping out in the corner!
My beer on a record player
Unfortunately it was rather a brief visit, but we are looking forward to returning – to see more of Wirksworth, and the Feather Star!