Walking the Padley Pilgrim Ways March

The Padley Chapel ‘standing stone’

Well it’s a stone and it’s standing. Beyond that, there isn’t any certainty about the origins and purpose of this stone.
Early photographs of Padley Chapel show it as the barn of a busy, working farmyard. That reality was a factor in ensuring Padley Chapel’s survival, when the rest of the Manor House was demolished, in the mid 17th century. Therefore, the stone could have been a gatepost. Grooves cut into it, suggest this.
It could have served another purpose, centuries earlier. Beauchief Abbey, was dedicated to “God and St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr and to the brothers of the Premonstratensian order”, 21st December 1183. These ‘white Canons’, travelled across the countryside, bringing mass to the communities of their Grange Farms.
They were gifted lands, reaching out across the Derbyshire Eastern Moors eg at Strawberry Lea, Sheffield Plantation, Padley and Hathersage.
Could the stone at Padley have been a ‘guide stoop’, a route marker? Or a prayer or mass stone, marking a place to rest and pray. We simply will never know.
However, the ‘stone’ stands rather incongruously on its own. It could easily have been cleared from the site. But it is directly below the Chapel’s medieval altar and piscina. Is it possible that when Robert and Joan Eyre built the Padley gatehouse, with chapel c1450, that this stone held a faith significance that they wanted to respect, by leaving it stand where it stood?
You decide for yourself, as to what the possibilities are for the origins and purpose, of this part of the spiritual treasure, that is Padley Chapel.
If you would like help make Padley Chapel more available to visitors
(April-September 2024) then contact [email protected]

Friends of Padley Chapel
Gerard Bonner March 2024