Erwood Hall Shrine.

The remains of Erwood hall can still be found in the beautiful Goyt valley overlooking Erwood reservoir close to the town of Buxton in the county of Derbyshire. The hall was built during the mid 1800s by the wealthy Grimshawe family and their descendants lived at the hall until the 1930s when the family name died out and the hall was demolished. Before the hall was demolished however it was used for a time as a youth hostel and then brought by the water company involved in building Fernilee reservoir in the 1930s to make sure no pollution from the hall found its way into the water supply.

For people who want to find out more regarding the history of the hall I recommend that they visit the following link to a website that is very informative. http://www.grimshaworigin.org/Webpages2/ErrwoodGoyt.htm. I was more interested in searching for a shrine connected to Erwood Hall and was said to be located some distance from the ruins of the hall.

I parked up in Erwood car park which is next to Erwood reservoir and then followed the path up the hill which leads to the hall. I took a longer circuitous route to the hall and was able to tell by the large amount of Rhodedendrons and overgown walls that the wooded land that I was walking on had at one time belonged to the Erwood estate.

There is said to be a private cemetery close to the remains of Erwood hall where the graves of Samuel Dominic and Jessie Grimshaw and their three children –
Samuel Arthur, Mary, and Anne Genevieve – as well as the spouses of Mary and
Anne, are all in the cemetery. Also included are the graves
of the former captain of the Grimshawe yacht, John Butler, and several of the
servants of the family. However on this occasion I was searching for the shrine of a Miss Dolores who is said to have been a friend of the Grimshawe family.

In the photograph on the right of the ruins of the hall I found a path which is located in the centre of the photo and leads behind the hall. I followed this path for a couple of hundred yards and came across a gentleman cutting overhanging branches which were obstructing the pathway, I asked him directions to the shrine which he gave me and told me that it was no more than half a mile up the valley. After following his directions which put me on the path which runs from Erwood hall to Pyms chair and at times turned into a shallow trench from erosion from wind and rain, and after having travelled around a mile and a half and not glimpsed the shrine I decided to retrace my steps.

While I was walking back towards Erwood hall I came across an elderly group of walkers so I stopped to ask them if they knew where the shrine was, they told me it was further on, so I turned around once more and pushed on further, after around another 15 minutes walking I finally came across the shrine set to one side of the path that I had been walking on. You could be excused for thinking that you had walked onto the set of Lord of the Rings as this round stone building with a studded oak door no more than five feet in height would be a fitting home for a Hobbit. However the reality is somewhat different, as I said previously this shrine was constructed in memory of Miss Dolores who the Grimshawe family met while on one of their many nautical adventures on the family yacht.

The shrine was said to have been built in 1889 after the death of Miss Dolores who was Mrs Grimshawe’s companion and a member of Spanish nobility who returned to England with the Grimshawe family and lived with them until her death. The shrine is named St Joseph’s and services were sometimes held here by the local priest when the hall was still occupied and the services were usually attended by the servants who worked at the hall.

In the past the shrine became structually unsound, the walls were in danger of falling down until Stockport Water Board stepped in and sent workmen to repoint the walls and make repairs that needed doing. It is thanks to this intervention that the shrine is still in very good condition, and the door being unlocked members of the public are free to enter and view the interior of this unusual building.


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