The ruins of the Abbey
Dale Abbey shown within Derbyshire
OS grid reference District Erewash Shire county Derbyshire Region East Midlands Country England Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town ILKESTON Postcode district DE7 Police Derbyshire Fire Derbyshire Ambulance East Midlands EU Parliament East Midlands UK Parliament Mid Derbyshire List of places: UK • England • Derbyshire
Formerly known as Depedale or Deepdale, the village contains the remains of an abbey founded in the 12th or 13th century.
The Augustinian monks moved to Dale Abbey in 1162 from their previous home at Calke Abbey. A few years later they were joined by Premonstratensian canons from Tupholme and finally, a few years after this, by another group from Welbeck. All these attempts failed, primarily due to the isolation of the area and the lack of good arable land amidst the thick woodlands.
From around the year 1199, the Abbey became well established enough—and with the acquisition of further lands, tithes and other properties—to survive for the next three hundred and forty years. Although a relatively large establishment, the abbey was home to no more than 24 canons. The Abbey provided priests at Ilkeston, Heanor, Kirk Hallam and Stanton by Dale.
The Abbey owned around 24,000 acres (97 km2) of land. Much would have been leased or rented out or used for grazing or for the production of produce for the residents of the Abbey.
In 1539, the Act of Dissolution brought an end to almost four centuries of monastic life in the Dale. The remains comprise a 40-foot-high chancel window. Excavations have shown the church to have possessed transepts 100 feet in length, a crossing tower, a cloister 85 feet square and a nave of unknown length. Some of the remains of the building can be found in houses around the village.
The last Abbot of Dale Abbey, John Bebe, died in 1540.
Sir Francis Pole of Radbourne took possession of Dale Abbey. The furnishings and fittings were either gradually sold off or stripped out and installed in other churches. Morley Church became home to some of the stained and painted glass, floor tiles and an entire porchway. The ornately carved font cover was installed in Radbourne Church while Chaddesden received a window frame. The font eventually found its way back to All Saints Church Dale Abbey in 1884 and the slabs upon which the canons walked for so many centuries can be found in the grounds of the church at the Moravian Settlement at Ockbrook.
Dale Abbey is recorded as the site of the "Wedding of Allan-A-Dale", the third of the stories of Robin Hood. 
The church of All Saint's, at just 26 by 25 feet, is probably one of the smallest in the country. It shares a roof with an adjoining farmhouse. Dating from the mid-12th century, it was altered in 1480. It contains a pulpit from 1634. The adjoining farmhouse may have been used as an infirmary for the Abbey. For some time before 1820 it was used as a pub called the Blue Bell, the bar being used as a vestry, with a door into the aisle. It was rebuilt in 1883.
Behind the church is an area of woodland. In the wood is Hermit Cave, hewn out of the sandstone cliff by a 12th-century Derby baker who wished to live a life as a recluse. It is well preserved, measuring 6 yards by 3 with a doorway, two windows, a peephole and a niche for a light.
The Carpenters' Arms opened in 1880 and the Methodist Chapel opened in 1902.
- ^ http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=marshall&book=robin&story=wedding
- ^ Windmills in England Rex Wailes ISBN 0284400076
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