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Haunting tales of the High Peak

Amanda Barton

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WitchcraftDark Notes from the High PeakChapel en le FrithMermaidsghostly lead miners

Witchcraft, mermaids and ghostly lead miners are all to be found between the covers of a new booklet of short stories written by High Peak authors.

‘Dark notes from the High Peak’ is the work of Chapel en le Frith based writing group, Writewits.

The ‘Dark notes’ of the title refers to the macabre undercurrent running through the collection. Each of the six stories was inspired by a local place, saying or custom. A footnote after each story explains its origin.

Three of the stories – ‘The Gongoozler’, ‘Black over Will’s Mother’s’ and ‘Stop your Yammering’ – were inspired by words listed in ‘Derbyshire Dialect’, a study of local language written by another Chapel-based author, Mike Smith. The ‘Maiden’s Garland’ story was inspired by the bell-shaped wire funeral garlands made in the eighteenth century to honour girls who had died before they could be married. They can still be found in a number of Derbyshire churches.

Dark Notes from the High Peak

The group have been meeting at Reading Matters bookshop in Chapel since 2014. While they have published both fiction and non-fiction independently, this is their first collective publication. It was funded by a grant from Chapel-based charity, the Victor Burdekin Trust.

Copies, priced £3, can be purchased from Reading Matters Bookshop, the Pear Tree Café in Whaley Bridge, Buxton Museum, Mica Hardware and Mac Burnham Butcher’s in Chapel.