Chinley shown within Derbyshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||HIGH PEAK|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||High Peak|
Chinley is a rural village in the High Peak Borough of Derbyshire, England, with a population of around 2000. Most of the civil parish is within the Peak District National Park. Historically, before the coming of the railway, the area was economically dominated by agriculture. Nowadays most inhabitants commute out of the village to work; accessible centres of work include Stockport, Sheffield and Manchester.
Chinley lies in the picturesque Blackbrook Valley. To the north is Cracken Edge, a once-quarried promontory of Chinley Churn, a large, domineering hill with a pass followed by the A624 named Chinley Head. Brown Knoll commands the skyline on the eastern border of the civil parish, with South Head and Mount famine to the North East. An old winding engine can still be seen atop an incline on the north-eastern face of Cracken Edge. Immediately south of the village, brook and parish border is Eccles Pike, an almost-conical hill, partly owned by the National Trust.
Filling the upper end of the valley to the southeast is Chapel-en-le-Frith, more than twice the size of Chinley in area and in population. Other nearby towns include Whaley Bridge (2 miles (3.2 km) west), New Mills (3 miles (4.8 km) northwest), Glossop (6 miles (9.7 km) north) and Buxton (5 miles (8.0 km) south). Buxworth in the same civil parish is the location of Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest Canal. Buxton Road to the east (bypassed here by the A6 through Whitehough) leads to the small settlement of New Smithy, beyond which the road turns south to Chapel Milton before crossing the Black Brook and continuing south into Chapel en le Frith.
The coming of the railways was the reason Chinley grew from the tiny hamlet it had been, and the village is actually named after its railway station. Previously, the names Maynestonefield or Four Lanes End were used. Chinley railway station was once an important railway junction on the Midland Railway's Dore and Chinley (or Hope Valley) line and its London-bound extension through Millers Dale, and it was common to have to change trains in Chinley en route to Manchester, London or Sheffield. The station is now a single 'island' platform on the trans-Pennine line between Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly. It is, however, the only station between Stockport and Sheffield where express trains stop in peak hours.
Chinley has a well-regarded primary school; a small residential special school; an active village community centre and a women's institute hall; two village greens (one was formerly the bowling green); two parks, one of which is a Local Nature Reserve; and a small collection of shops, including a highly rated Indian restaurant, tea shop and a chippy.
Chinley Juniors Football Club plays its games at Chinley Community Centre. Recently the club spent £60,000 on refurbishing the two football pitches at the park. Chinley Churners cycling club is officially affiliated to British Cycling and boasts members of all ages.
Notable buildings and constructions
Chinley Independent Chapel, on the southeastern edge of Chinley adjacent to Chapel Milton, was built in 1711. The chapel was established by William Bagshaw as a nonconformist church in 1662, and is still the home of the local Congregational church. It has simple furnishings and a pulpit near the centre of the building.
The route of the Peak Forest Tramway (in use from 1796–1923), an early horse-and-gravity-powered railway, runs along the southern edge of Chinley near the Black Brook. The one remaining entrance to the Stodhart Tunnel, one of the oldest railway tunnels in Britain, is just inside the entrance to Chapel Lodge nursing home, on the road between Chapel Milton and Chapel-en-le-Frith (in the latter parish). Part of the route is used as a road for testing car brakes by Ferodo, a local manufacturer of brakes and car parts. There are ruins or conversions of a few mills—one still in use as a plastics factory—and one or two large manor-style homes near the route.
The fine stone building of Chinley railway station was dismantled in 1902 and re-erected as a private house on Maynestone Road on the northeast edge of Chinley.
The Old Hall in the nearby hamlet of Whitehough, across the Black Brook to the south, dates from Elizabethan times and, with the adjacent 400-year-old licensed premises, forms part of the Old Hall Inn. A King's mill stood alongside the Black Brook in Chapel Milton for around 700 years, but was destroyed in 1946 to allow construction of a water treatment facility for Ferodo.
A small cattle market was developed on the south side of the railway, near the station, in the early 19th century by a local farmers' co-operative society. It was conducted by Brady & Son of Stockport, who could access it conveniently from Tiviot Dale station on the Midland Railway. It closed before World War II.
John Bennet (1714–1759), described as "one of John Wesley's most outstanding young preachers", was born at Chinley and lived at Lee End. Bennet and his wife Grace Murray are buried in the graveyard of nearby Chinley Chapel.
Charles Wesley visited Chinley regularly; it is said he was in love with Grace Murray.
George Kirk of the Old Hall, Whitehough was Groom to the Royal Bedchamber of King Charles I of England, and was present when the King was beheaded in 1649.
Constance Felicity Goddard (1881-1954), novelist and poet. Daughter of Mary Ann and James Goddard, dairy farmer, of Heatherlea, Maynestone Road. Novels included Dear Charity (1922), Silver Woods (1939), Come Wind Come Weather (1945), Three at Cherry-Go-Gay (1949). A review in The Spectator  compared her work to that of Alison Uttley and Flora Thompson. Her Poems were published in 1929.
Notes and references
- 2001 Census
- Historic England. "Stodhart Tunnel (Grade II*) (1334843)". National Heritage List for England.
- Historic England. "Old Hall Inn (Grade II) (1187237)". National Heritage List for England.
- Family history
- S. Valentine, John Bennet & the Origins of Methodism and the Evangelical Revival in England, Scarecrow Press, NJ, 1997
Media related to Chinley at Wikimedia Commons