Dimple Farm

Dimple Farm today

In the 1700s it was owned by Peter Nightingale, originally from peasant farming stock but who had made a small fortune out of lead mining. The property was passed to his son Peter Nightingale Junior in 1756. The son became founder of Lea cotton spinning mill and was a promoter of the Cromford  Canal and the Lea Bridge arm which was built at his own expense. He became Richard Arkwright’s financial partner in 1776, and in 1788 sold him land in Willersley (for the Castle). Nightingale (1736-1803) died a bachelor. His grand niece was Florence Nightingale. A court case in 1775 between the two men may have brought to an end Arkwright’s stranglehold grip of patents on his machines, which had led to Arkwright becoming the wealthiest commoner in Britain.

Some roof beams in the property have been tree ring dated around 1580. One window at the rear is particularly interesting. At first glance it looks like a traditional mullioned window, but has been carved out of one piece of stone with some carved decoration along the lintel. It is thought to date to the late 15th century ( both some roof beams and this mullion will have been reused from elsewhere).

In the first part of the 20th century it had been owned by the manager of Stancliffe quarries, and then the Allen family.  For forty years immediately after World  War Two, it was owned by the council, now Derbyshire Dales District Council, who used the buildings as a storage depot, and the farmland as a land fill site, later developed as a sports ground.  Over a long period of time, pieces of land have been sold off , and in recent years the barns have been in separate ownership from the farmhouse. In 1994, it was sold by auction by the District Council and acquired by David Smith, an MCA member, who has renovated the farm. This section is based upon his extensive amount of research into its history. He has donated all the old deeds and documents to the Derbyshire Records Office, to be found under the Nightingale Papers.