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Derwent, Derbyshire

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Location: Derwent, Derbyshiremap
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St John and St James Church
St John and St James Churchyard

Interesting Facts:
• The village was 'drowned' in 1944 when the Ladybower Reservoir was created and all the buildings in the village were demolished.
• Ladybower construction work started on the Ladybower in 1935. It took over 3 years to completely fill from 18th March 1943 to January 1947 so the water level probably didn’t actually reach Derwent Village until 1946.
• Derwent's packhorse bridge spanned the River Derwent near the main gates of Derwent Hall and it was removed stone by stone to be rebuilt at Slippery Stones.
• The Church of St John and St James was built in 1757 and seated 140 people. It held its last service on 17 March 1943 and then most of the building was demolished in 1943. The bells: St John and St James had one bell until 1901 when Colonel Cavendish gave it a set of 4; the old bell was then used in the vicarage as a dinner gong. The 4 bells that were in the church tower in 1943 were re-hung at Chadesden, Scarcliffe and Chelmorton which had two. The church spire was left intact to form a memorial to Derwent but was dynamited on 14th December 1947.
• The bodies of 285 people were exhumed from the church graveyard and reburied in Bamford.
• The site of the village is revealed when the Ladybower reservoir level falls markedly as the village is only about 40 ft below top water level so it surfaces about every 10 years.
• The Derwent Valley dams (Howden and Derwent) were one of the training places for RAF Squadron 617 (The Dam Busters) for Operation Chastise during the Second World War. It was optimal as they could practice using their Y shaped siting devices on the Derwent’s twin towers.
• There is no formal memorial to any of the villages.
• The site of Birchinlee (Tin Town), the construction workers' temporary village occupied when the Derwent and Howden Dams were built, is clearly marked.
• The only marker of the location of Derwent is the village's War Memorial which stands to the west of the village.
• Notable Charles Balguy was born at Derwent Hall in 1707. Please see sources for further information on the Balguys and Derwent Hall.

With grateful thanks to Frank Parker of the Longstone Local History Group for research and fact checking.

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Categories: Derwent, Derbyshire