Who was Dr Wrench ?
Many people pass through Baslow, on the doorstep of the Chatsworth Estate, noticing one or two unique features, but have no knowledge of the man who put them there.
Edward Mason Wrench was the son of a City of London rector who served as an army surgeon in the Crimean War and later in India at the time of the Indian Mutiny.
He retired from the army and settled in Park Lodge, Baslow – where for the next 50 years he served as a physician to the Chatsworth estate, including visiting royalty, and to the people of Baslow.
Not only was he extremely active and influential in the area, he left a physical mark on the area and a significant written one. His daily diary forms part of the extensive archive of his papers at Nottingham University.
The Dr Wrench walk
The route is one of five miles, beginning and ending at the National Trust / RSPB car park next to the Robin Hood Inn on the Chesterfield to Baslow road (A619).
The route is via Birchen Edge and on to Baslow Edge with its Wellington memorial established by Dr Wrench – and then down to Baslow Church where he is buried and which has a distinctive east facing clock that he commissioned to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
The return is via the Chatsworth Estate past his residence of Park Lodge where a further unconventional Jubilee memorial carved in a rock is located.
One of the many Derbyshire gritstone ‘Edges’ this is on the doorstep of the
Simply turn left out of the car park on to the B6050, and then left again a few yards further on.
The path continues below the Edge, but after a couple of hundred yards, turn right and take the short but steep climb to the top.
Birchen Edge is noted for its memorial to Lord Nelson, which undoubtedly was the inspiration for the equivalent memorial by
Dr Wrench to the Duke of Wellington – on nearby Baslow Edge.
Continue along the Edge past the Nelson Monument and the trig point and drop down on the footpath to Clod Hall Lane at its junction with the A621 Sheffield road.
This lower area can be somewhat damp, even in the height of summer.
Cross the A621 and walk briefly up the hill before turning left onto open access land.
Descend from the Monument towards Baslow, along Bar Road and School Lane to the Church.
Dr Wrench was for a time a churchwarden at St Anne’s Church, Baslow – and it is here that he has a gravestone – within sight of the tower on which he commemorated the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 – with a distinctive east facing clock.
There are also windows dedicated to the Wrench family inside the Church.
Leave Baslow churchyard by the gate nearest the grave and cross Church Lane.
Turn right and walk past the roundabout on to Cock Hill (A619).
Cross the road at a pedestrian crossing and take the footpath on the right into the Chatsworth Estate.
Turn right at Plantation Cottage, pass through the Cannon Kissing Gate, and turn left at the signpost to the Robin Hood.
Continue through the Park, with Park Lodge (the one time home of Dr Wrench) to your left.
Climb over a stile and to the right, just off the footpath, is the Jubilee Rock.
Carry on past the Jubilee Rock and climb a stile leading to a track back to the Robin Hood.
Cross the Heathy Lea Brook and emerge on the A619 just below the Inn.