Thoughtful Thursday…. A Touching Tribute


Ilam Cross, Derbyshire

At the crossroads in the middle of the tiny Derbyshire village of Ilam, is this rather fantastic memorial cross.  It is  intricate in design, built in the Gothic Renaissance style….  I am also told that when first constructed it also had a spring of fresh water for the benefit of travellers.

The connection of the cross, with the village is simple. The village lies within the shadow of Ilam Hall.  Owned by the Russell family and later, by marriage and name change, to the Watts-Russell family.

Mary Watts Russell was the wife of Jesse Watt-Russell and this is his tribute to his wife who died, at the age of 48, in 1840

The wording on a nearby plaque says it all

Memorial on Cross

Understandably it is often called an “Eleanor Cross”.  It is not, but the styling is so similar.

“Eleanor Crosses” of which there are 12, were built on the instruction of King Edward I.  Again it was a tribute to his wife, Queen Eleanor.  in 1290, the King and Queen were on their travels in the North East of England.  It was whilst on this ‘Procession’ that the Queen died. The body of Queen Eleanor had to be returned to London for burial in Westminster Abbey, a long journey.  Each night on the journey they paused.  King Edward decided to mark these special night halts where the coffin rested, by the erection of a series of memorial Crosses.  So between 1291 and 1295 this line of crosses were constructed, all intricately sculpture..  

Ilam Cross is very much in tune both with the style but also the poignant and lasting Memorial to a lost wife.

I am sure that there have been, and will continue to be, many personal tragedies in this strange times we live in.  

So Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

29th July

(C) David Oakes 2021

Thoughtful Thursday……



Loch Garten in the Abernethy Forest lies within the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland.  All is calm, the still waters and low light create, at the end of the day, the perfect place to pause and reflect….

Tranquil it may be, though we must all remember to …

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

22nd July

(C) David Oakes 2021

Thoughtful Thursday…….


Magpie Mine, Sheldon, Derbyshire Peak District

The buildings at Magpie Mine are a protected monument, a tribute to its mining history.  Deserted and ruined but they still seems full of life, a life long gone.

Every visit to this lonely spot high on the Derbyshire Limestone Peak District, I always stop and ponder.  I try to imagine a busy working environment with harsh conditions both above and below ground.

Derbyshire has been linked with Lead Mining for a great many centuries.  It was lead that attracted the Romans to Derbyshire.  A great deal of Lead mining occurred in this general locality since then.  But for Magpie Mine its historical records appear to start in 1682 with work on what became know as the Shuttlebank Vein. There were in fact a number of Lead workings in the immediate, Magpie Mine, Dirty Red Soil, Great Red Soil, Maypit and Horsesteps…. all becoming known simply as Magpie Mine.

It wasn’t until 1840, and a new owner, that modern equipment was added in the hope of great productivity and of course profit.  Much of what we see today, dates to that period of the mines history.

Trying to imagine those times, and all those centuries of labour before, is hard.  No doubt lots of stories to be told.

There  was though one in particular.  A major dispute in 1833, resulting in a murder charge that followed the deaths of 3 miners whilst underground, but that is another long story.

There are no ghost stories that I am aware of, but when you walk through these Mine buildings,  I often have a feeling that the spirits of those miners walks with me.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

15th July

(C) David Oakes 2021

Thoughtful Thursday….. Nothing New


Heage Windmill, Derbyshire

Wind turbines may well be the new technical wizardry to save us all from fuel starvation. Wind power though is far from new.  The Windmill above was built in 1797, but many earlier Windmills can still be found.  Mostly used, like Heage Mill, for the processing of Flour….  many others were used for pumping water, to drain areas of potential agricultural land and some were for the the grinding of bones.   A truly versatile source of power.

Heage Windmill is built high above the Lower Derwent Valley in Derbyshire, its six sails are unusual but all the better for catching the wind.  The name Heage, is the name for the small village that encompass this hill side.  The name itself means ‘High Edge’ more than likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Heegge’ also meaning high or lofty place.

From name to purpose…. nothing is really new.

Nor is the daily message new, but just as important….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

8th July

(C) David Oakes 2021



Thoughtful Thursday…. Not going to Sea


Fishing Days are Over

Fishing Days are Over…

I always feel rather sad to see the rotting hulks of old Fishing Vessels,  left to the weather and looters to strip it to its skeleton.

Many years of venturing on the turbulent seas, bringing home a catch to earn a valuable income for its owner.  I am old enough to remember the days when the Scottish Fishing Harbours were crammed, wall to wall with such craft.  Now all but gone.

It was a dangerous and extremely hard way to earn a living…. it needed a tough boat and a tough crew.

They too had to….

Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

1st July

(C) David Oakes 2021