Winster Market House

The exterior of Winster Market House

The first place in Derbyshire to be acquired by the Trust, at a cost of £50. There is no documentary evidence to indicate a precise date for the construction of Winster Market House, but it is generally believed to have been erected during the sixteenth century.

The House itself is two storeys high and rests upon a massive stone base. It follows the traditional pattern of such buildings, originally having the whole of the ground floor open with the upper storey supported by five arches. The date at which these arches were filled in is not known but it was probably during the decline of the market, between 1795 and 1855. The upper chamber is mainly of brick resulting in an attractive contrast with the stone arches and facings.

In 1717 the market (though with no record of the Market House) and its dues was the property of Thomas Eyre of Row Tor, Birchover. The Market House passed from the Eyres to the family of Massarene by female descent where it remained until at least the early nineteenth century. In the days when they were in use the stocks were close by, as was the busy Angel Inn.

After the lead mines closed the markets were less important and the Market House became neglected. By the end of the nineteenth century it was in a ruinous condition and the upper storey had to be removed for safety in 1904. In 1906 the building was bought from Mr Joseph Greatorex for the National Trust, largely from a fund raised by Mrs Childers Thompson. Under the direction of Mr Henry Rye of Bakewell, architect for the Duke of Rutland, local labour was employed to reconstruct the building, the plans being drawn up by Mr Weir, the National Trust’s architect.

Wherever possible the old materials were used, and the original lines of the building were followed. The total cost of restoration was about £165. Winster Market House was one of the earliest buildings to be taken into the care of the then recently formed National Trust, and the first property to be acquired in the Peak District.

Little but this Market House now remains of the original thriving and prosperous market town. However, some of it’s elderly residents can still recall the annual cattle markets held before the First World War, when sheep were herded along Pump Lane, and cattle and horses were sold in front of the Miner’s Standard public house.

Winster still does host its own special events, however. There is still a market and fair held every May, there is a Carnival Wakes Week in June featuring Winster’s own Morris men, and on Shrove Tuesday every year there is a pancake race along the main street. The village has other interesting features too, including the Old Hall with its pilasters and balustraded parapet built with stone from Darley Dale, and there are at least sixty other listed buildings (although few are earlier than eighteenth century).

The Market House is the only building in Winster owned and protected by the National Trust, and is now open to the public as an Information Centre.

Open daily 8th April 2017 - 29 October 2017, 11am to 5pm. Winster Market House is unstaffed. Please note; there are steps inside the building. 

To find out more please call the White Peak Estate Office - 01335 350503