Ilam Story

The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge The Ilam Story - Click to enlarge





















Visit a unique Folk Art painting of the history of The Village of Ilam in the Staffordshire Peak District

Scroll above to see the whole 18 metre painting. Click on the painting to enlarge each panel.  The words used on each panel can be found below.  Visit The Church of the Holy Cross in Ilam to see the real thing!
 
An Interpretation of the History of Ilam
Twelve villagers have worked together to produce an heirloom for Ilam.  Ilam Art Club has used an ancient painting technique from Sweden to produce an 18 metre long 'Bonad' (or decorative wall hanging).   This folk art uses egg tempera paints, made with egg yolks (from Ilam eggs) and natural earth pigments.  The paint is applied to gesso (rabbit skin glue and chalk) on canvas.
 

Visit the Ilam Story
A beautiful print of the Ilam Story is on semi-permanent display in the Church of the Holy Cross in Ilam.  It stretches along the North and South Walls of the Church, just above the pews.  The Church is open to visitors every day.  Laminated copies of the words are available inside the Church.  Be warned; visitors can end up spending a couple of hours in the Church studying the painting!

The Artists
Each member took on a theme or subject, like farming, transport, buildings.  They painted the images through history then the tutor filled in the background, landscape and words on each of the 12 panels. One member painted the lower border with local flora and fauna for each month of the year.  We didn't think there were enough women represented in Ilam's history so you'll find extra ones at the top corners of each panel!



Ilam Art Club Members;
Sue Prince (tutor), Ann Sutton, Cathy Rowlinson, Sheila Warrington, Suzanne Tudor, Eva Tuff, Joan Wain, Pamela Spooner, Jean Wayne, Laura Hudson, Chloe Meigh and Ken Sharples.  For further info please click to contact
 
Thank You!
We extend our grateful thanks to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Peter Broom, the National Trust, historian Philip Mottram and our friends and families who have put up with our obsession! Any mistakes you find are our mistakes and not those of anyone who has advised us.
 
 
'The Marriage at Cana'  by Johannes Nilsson 1808
on display at the BonadsMuseet in Unnaryd, Sweden

Swedish Folk Art and how it came to Ilam
In rural southern Sweden, in the late 1700s a tradition started of creating painted wall hangings to decorate the dark, smoky interiors of the small farmhouses during the winter nights around Christmas.
These narrative paintings traditionally depicted Bible stories. They were called 'bonader', meaning 'decorative wall hangings'.
 
Swedish bonader were created on linen, grown and woven locally, the painting surface was prepared from natural ingredients, probably flour, egg and chalk, and the paint was egg tempera; natural pigments, ground and mixed with egg yolk. They are often several meters long.
 
Artist Sue Prince lives on organic Beechenhill farm in Ilam, and also worked in sustainable development projects. As part of the Peak District National Park's BESST project (Business and Environment linked through Small Scale Tourism). In March 2004, she visited Unnaryd in Southern Sweden and became inspired by these ancient Swedish works.

Since then she has helped revive Bonad painting in Southern Sweden and ran classes for Swedish people every summer for eleven years.  Now she runs courses in the Peak District. See www.sueprinceartist.co.uk for more details
  
The Words
1. January: 700BC: 1066

In the gardens of Ilam the united rivers (Hamps and Manifold) become a powerful stream, that within a few yards of the place where they first appear,

700BC

Neolithic people built burial barrows on hills around Ilam

50AD

When the Romans settled around Ilam their influence changed prehistoric roundhouses into Romano-British dwellings (with corners).

Post roman

  1. Bertram Prince of Mercia journeyed to Ireland and found a bride.
  2. He eloped with the beautiful Princess and they travelled back together
  3. On the way back she gave birth to a baby
  4. While Bertram looked for food wolves killed the mother and baby
  5. Bertram was distraught, he renounced his Royal heritage and turned to God
  6. He became a hermit and lived in a cave in Ilam
  7. Many pilgrims came to Ilam to seek healing. He became a saint.

St Bertram's Well

1002

Wulfric Spott was a Saxon thane. He massacred Danes. As a penance he gave Castern Estate to the Abbey of Burton-on-Trent

1066

Halley's Comet

2. February: 1120: 1203

Is poured over a weir, where it forms a cascade of considerable extent and great beauty. The Manifold now becomes a busy and brilliant scene,

1100

Reaping corn with sickles

1100-1200

Market Charters granted

The Ilam monks began the export of wool to the continent

1115

Monks from the Benedictine Abbey of Burton upon Trent

1115

First recorded names of Ilam occupants: Tedwi, Lewin Gup, Ulward the Smith, Huning, Griffin and Bertrich.

The mill paid Ten shillings rent to the Monastery

1200

Ilam Church re-built. St Bertram's Chapel built

Musden became a grange of Croxden Abbey

1201

Lead rakes worked on Ilam Moor

3. March: 1300: 1546

Which after winding round a part of the village about a quarter of a mile from the principal front of the hall, flows through some pleasant meadows

1203

The Meverell family acquired the Throwley estate. Throwley Hall

1306

Throwley had trouble with deer poachers

1349

A great plague took hold of Staffordshire, 23 tenants had to be replaced at Throwley

1539- 1558

The Story of the enclosures of Ilom More

1542

The Star Chamber, London

Your subject Humphrey Walker was seised of certain waste ground called Ilome More, Dowffe Dale and Bunsterre containing 400 acres.

So it is Francis Meverell MP (Esquire of Throwley) and others 8th May 34 Henry VIII with force and arms riotously entered the premises and drove out the cattle of your subject and some of his tenants and killed some of them.

William Blore of Ilom, husbandman aged 54 years says that he saw Francis Meverell etc on Ilom More at the time mentioned and he drove out there from 60 of his sheep.

Also about Sept then next ensuing the said Francis Meverell etc entered the pasture of your orator called Bychenne Hill containing 100 acres and trod down the corn growing there and broke the hedges inclosing the same.

Francis Meverell etc of any riot etc they were not guilty except for a little time they were following their hawks.

1543

Humphrey Walker blocked the road to Throwley preventing the Meverells getting to Church in Ilam, the mill at Thorpe or the market at Ashbourne.

4. April: 1546: 1653

And enters the river dove at a short distance from Thorpe Cloud. The hills about Ilam have a magnificent and almost sublime character;

1546

Henry VIII closed the Monasteries.

John Port (younger son of a rich merchant of Chester) bought Ilam and build the original Ilam Hall

1560

Nicholas Hurt bought Casterne Hall

1642

John Port III enlisted for Parliament. Cromwell addresses a garrison of troops at River Lodge Ilam

1653

Izaac Walton and Charles Cotton fished in Dovedale

?The Compleat Angler' by Izaac Walton and Charles Cotton was first published.

5. May: 1680: 1820

They are thrown together in irregular masses, which, with one exception only, are connected. Some of them are covered with noble woods,

1664

A great snowfall- ?This year on 8 March fell an exceeding deep snow wch starved severill to death as for example Thomas Hill's wife of Alstonefield and Thomas Bulls wife of Cubley both coming from Uttoxeter m'ket. There was none plow'd in this psh before 17 March'

1680

Nether Croft by Moor Barn on Ilam Moor where hawkers and farmers gathered smoking their clay pipes. The pipes were from Brosley, Polesworth and Much Wenlock

1690

Congreve and Samuel Johnson stayed at Ilam Hall. Congreve (19yrs) wrote ?The Old Bachelor' and part of ?Mourning Bride'

1745

Bonny Prince Charlie passed close by on his way from Leek to Derby

1813

?Was you ever in Dovedale? I assure you there are things in Derbyshire as noble as in Greece or Switzerland' Lord Byron

6. June: 1809: 1850

While others again present to the eye a carpet of the smoothest and most glossy verdure. In the space between them lies the lovely vale of Ilam ?

1809

Ilam Hall was bought by David Pike Watts

1820

Chantry chapel was built, a memorial to David Pike Watts

1821

Jesse Watts-Russell rebuilt Ilam hall. John Shaw was the architect.

1839

Jesse WattsRussell knocked down the old village and cottages and built a new village designed by George Gilbert Scott.

1840

The Battle stone

This cross shaft was taken from the foundations of a cottage during the rebuilding of Ilam village

1840

The Mary Watts Russell Cross.

Erected by her husband Jesse Watts Russell

The sculptor- Richard Westmacott

?This cross and fountain erected by her husband perpetuate the memory of one who lives in the hearts of many in this village and neighbourhood.

Mary Watts Russell. MDCCCXL'

?Free for all, these crystal waters flow

Her gentle eyes could weep for other's woe

Dried is that fount but long may this endure

To be a well of comfort to the poor'

1850

John Watts Russell went to New Zealand to farm sheep. He founded Ilam in Christchurch

1880

Dovedale. Annie Bennington sold pop to visitors at Reynard's cave in Dovedale

?1d to climb rope to Reynard's cave'

7. July: 1836: 1875

So lovely, indeed, that the tourist can hardly be accused of exaggeration when he exclaims in a burst of irrepressible enthusiasm:?

1836

Air Cottage was built by Jesse Watts Russell for his daughter who suffered from TB. The doctor said fresh air would help but she died before it was completed. Then it was used as a shooting lodge.

1851

Ilam School opened. The school was built for the village by the Watts Russells. Upper Musden ? the income from School Farm at Upper Musden supported the new school at Ilam.

Pupils from Ilam School went on to lead many different lives.

1859

The Ilam Anastatic Drawing Society was established in 1859 for the purpose of collecting amateur drawings in pen and ink from all parts of the kingdom to be printed in an annual volume.

1875

Ilam Hall was bought by Right Honorable Robert William Hanbury MP. He was Financial Secretary to the treasury and Representative of the Postmaster-General in the House of Commons. He became President of the Board of Agriculture

8. August: 1899: 1924

"I felt as if I had been treading on fairy-ground, the parts were so beautiful and so exquisitely combined, and the whole so rare and unexpected,

1899

Thorpe railway station opened 2 ? miles from Ilam

1901

Grenadier Guard Mr Bassett of Ilam fought in the Boer War, then served at Queen Victoria's funeral

1903

RW Hanbury MP owner of Ilam Hall died.

The Rt Honble RW Hanbury MP

Minister for the Board of Agriculture

Born Feby 24th 1845

Died April 28th 1903

1914-1918

World War I

Captain Percival Burrows MC, son of Ilam School head 1902-1906 was killed in action on 19th Sept 1918.

Private William Hudson was killed in France 8th Nov 1918

1915

Mrs Hanbury had married Mr Bowring.

Mr and Mrs Bowring-Hanbury visited the School with guest Ismail bin Ibrahim Duchesse de Lousada.

At 12 o'clock the children had scrambles for sweets and biscuits on the lawns.

1916

Hall Dale. FH Holmes witnessed destruction of woods in Hall Dale, he started working for the protection of Dovedale

1918

Armistice day, the children marched around the village with flags and sang patriotic songs at the fountain

1919

Children planted 6 apple trees, 6 gooseberries, 6 redcurrants, 6 blackcurrants

1924

Ilam school children were taken on a trip by chara-banc to Manifold Valley for a train trip

9. September: 1927: 1950

That it seemed more like a scene of enchantment that might soon pass away, than anything real and permanent. A village of a few houses only

1927

Ilam Hall was sold to a restaurateur, he went bankrupt and sold the hall to a demolition contractor who promptly took down two thirds of the building

1934

Sir Robert Macdougal bought Ilam Hall to save it from demolition.

Sir Robert Macdougal gave Ilam Hall to the National Trust on the understanding that it be used as a Youth Hostel.

1937

Villagers lit a bonfire on Bunster to celebrate the coronation of George VI

1938

The scheme for the first National Park embracing the Dove and Manifold Valley was nearly complete.

1938

Electricity came to Ilam

1939-45

WWII Jack and Roy Bassett served in the army, David Bassett served in the Royal Airforce- he was shot down and killed over Belgium. Alfred Heath died in the war.

In 1945 the Church bells rang to mark the end of the war in Europe.

1939

Refugee families from Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia stayed at Ilam Hall from March to May. There were 30 people, 3 children attended Ilam School; Anna Hamp, (born 1929), Irma Hamp (born 1925), Franz Kopetz (born 1926).

1939 1944

Evacuee children stayed in Ilam; Josette Brooks (6) and Margaret Smith (6) from Birmingham stayed with the Smith family at Rushley Farm. Children also came from Hythe, Kent, Sheffield, London and Peterborough.

1942

The Church bells rang for victory at El Alamein

1944

Plane crash B24 bomber or B17 near Ilam

1945

Bells ring to mark the end of the war in Europe

1947

A great snow fell and brought the area to a standstill for weeks. 40ft snow drifts lasted from January to April

1947

A plane bringing emergency food crashed on Grindon Moor

1950

Donkey Burton gave donkey rides to tourists at the stepping stones at Dovedale. He lived in Ashbourne and at the end of the day the donkeys would trot home.

1950

Tradesmen visited farms around Ilam, the ironmonger comes to Musden Grange

1954

The Ilam Council houses were built.

10. October: 1951: 1967

Scattered among the trees, verdant meadows watered by a busy stream everywhere sparkling with light, and on a gentle eminence

1951

Peak District National Park Authority started

1951

The post office was at Church Lodge. Alfred Barrett was the postman

1952

Robert Rowlinson and Richard Wain caught a rabbit by the swing bridge on their way to school. The school teacher's husband ate the rabbit. The boys were mortified. The swing bridge was on the river Manifold.

1956

Dovedale Dash started

1961-1963

Water main came to Ilam; workmen laid the pipes by hand.

Pumping station and reservoir at Park Cottage

1962

A great storm occurred. The wind blew the top off the Ilam monument.

The wind also blew down a tree that destroyed the swing bridge.

1963

Dr Beeching ordered the closure of many stations including Thorpe.

1965

Nobby the tramp was a familiar local figure. His real name was Earnest William Whittaker. As a youth he came to work on a farm in Wetton.

1967

Dovedale House, the Lichfield Diocesan Youth Centre was opened by HRH Princess Margaret.

11. November: 1976: 1998

A venerable mansion, the old hall, rising out of, and backed by luxuryant foliage, are the principal features of this lovely spot, which is

1976

Ilam was struck by water shortages. A terrible drought in the summer when animals had fodder in the fields, and a water strike in the winter when the village relied on stand pipes.

Dovedale Sheep Dog Trials. The National Sheep Dog Trials have been held in Ilam twice.

1979

Ilam is often used for filming. In 1979 the Mallens, a story by Catherine Cookson, was filmed in Ilam, villagers and animals were extras.

1986

Halley's comet

Ilam Womens' Institute

1989

Young photographers brought cameras for Ilam school children to use for a project and exhibition

1991

There was a great flood. A local boy was swept away in the river. Neighbours saved him by throwing a hose pipe.

12. December: 1998: 2009

One of the most romantic little vales that nature ever formed. No glen in the alps was ever more beautiful, more picturesque, or more retired."

1998

Ilam Bells

Bell no 3 was cracked in the 1900s. It sounded like a wet fish on a tin bucket. Ian Smith, David Frith and Robert White led the team who restored the bells in 1990s.

A duck race raised money for the bells.

1999

Taking no 3 to be welded by Soundweld in Cambridge.

2000

The bell ringers rang in the millennium

Ilam's party for the Queen Mother's 100th birthday

2001

Foot and Mouth disease struck England, Ilam was ?closed'. There were no walkers, farms were closed for months.

2001

Ilam Art Club started

Sue, Ken, Cathy, Pamela, Laura, Chloe, Suzanne, Jean, Sheila, Ann, Eva, Joan

2002

Ilam's Golden Jubilee party

2003

Wetton and Alstonefield First Responders

2004

Ilam Cross Trust. Raising funds to repair restore and preserve the Mary Watts Russell Memorial Cross. Ilam historian Philip Mottram led this work. The Ilam imp was discovered.

2004

Isabella, a pupil at Ilam School was lost in the Indian Ocean Tsunami

2005

HRH Prince Charles visited Beechenhill Farm where he met local food producers. He visited the George at Alstonefield and met local farmers.

Note: Henna, the white hen painted in 2009 was painted using her own egg.

The text along the top of the panels is a passage from ?Burke's Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland' it was quoted in the sale documents for Ilam Hall and Estate in 1910.

"In the gardens of Ilam the united rivers (Hamps and Manifold) become a powerful stream, that within a few yards of the place where they first appear, is poured over a weir, where it forms a cascade of considerable extent and great beauty. The manifold now becomes a busy and brilliant scene, which after winding round a part of the village about a quarter of a mile from the principal front of the hall, flows through some pleasant meadows and enters the river dove at a short distance from Thorpe cloud.

The hills about Ilam have a magnificent and almost sublime character; They are thrown together in irregular masses, which, with one exception only, are connected. Some of them are covered with noble woods, while others again present to the eye a carpet of the smoothest and most glossy verdure. In the space between them lies the lovely vale of Ilam ? so lovely, indeed, that the tourist can hardly be accused of exaggeration when he exclaims in a burst of irrepressible enthusiasm:?

"I felt as if I had been treading on fairy-ground, the parts were so beautiful and so exquisitely combined, and the whole so rare and unexpected, that it seemed more like a scene of enchantment that might soon pass away, than anything real and permanent. A village of a few houses only scattered among the trees, verdant meadows watered by a busy stream everywhere sparkling with light, and on a gentle eminence.

A venerable mansion, the old hall, rising out of, and backed by luxuryant foliage, are the principal features of this lovely spot, which is One of the most romantic little vales that nature ever formed. No glen in the alps was ever more beautiful, more picturesque, or more retired." "
 
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Click to see the Beechenhill Timeline looking at the History of a small farm and the village of Ilam in the context of Britain and Europe.