23 Apr

The place name "Burbage" is thought to be of Saxon origin based on "burh" referring to a fort and "baec"  referring to a ridge.  Since Burbage, on the west side of Buxton,  is close to the high ridge known as Burbage Edge this description fits.  Likewise, on the eastern side of the Peak District, on the high ground above Grindleford, we find Burbage  Moor and Burbage Rocks together with Burbage Brook which runs down Padley Gorge into Grindleford, to join the Derwent.

A further link between these two Burbage  locations is their position as entry points into the White Peak area.  In 1759, two Turnpike roads were created linking to Buxton -from the Cheshire plain on the west and South Yorkshire on the east, each of them following long established packhorse routes.  The Macclesfield to Buxton Turnpike crossed Burbage Ridge and descended into the Wye valley through Burbage while the Sheffield to Buxton Turnpike came across Ringinglow and Burbage Moor before descending to Hathersage.

In the early 900s, the Saxons were advancing against the Danes to extend the area under Saxon control.  Derby was taken by the Saxons in 917 and Nottingham in 918.  To improve their control over the Peak District, a burh was built at Bakewell in 920, as recorded in the Anglo -Saxon Chronicles.  The location of this burh has not been confirmed by archaeological evidence but, again based on place name evidence, it is thought to refer to Burton Moor, a short distance south of Bakewell which developed as a key Saxon location over the next few years.  A burh was also constructed in Manchester in 919.

From the recorded pattern of Saxon burhs, it seems possible that Burbage was an intermediate smaller unrecorded burh on the key route from Derby to Manchester via Bakewell, with the eastern Burbage also on an important strategic link up the Derwent valley to South Yorkshire.  Each of these Burbage locations has high ground from which a beacon fire warning of invading Danes could have been seen at Burton Moor on the high ground above Bakewell.

So, perhaps Burbage was once a lonely isolated frontier outpost helping to keep marauding Danes away from Saxon England .... who knows?

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