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Cressbrook Band are a non-competing band based in the Peak District village of Cressbrook, a few miles from Bakewell. It is one of the oldest bands in the area and is self-funding, raising money through subscriptions, concert fees and other fund-raising activities.
Cressbrook was a mill village and the band was formed in 1880 with the help of the mill owners. The story is that the instruments cost £80 and were delivered to Monsal Dale station. The local men rushed down to the station to unpack them and came back up the valley making a cacophony of wierd noises. Not much change from the present then.
The band provide musical suport for village events throughout the year - especially during Gala Week in early June and around Christmas. On Gala Day they lead a procession through the village to bless the various wells and well-dressings and play a concert outside Cressbrook Club. At the end of Gala Week they lead a torchlight procession around the village playing a local tune known as the 'Morris Dance'. This format is then repeated at the nearby village of Litton at their well-dressings a few weeks later in the year.
Christmas is a busy time for the band. They play carol concerts at a range of local venues, ranging from Cressbrook Church to Peak Cavern. Then on Christmas Day it is traditional for a select group of band members to tour the village playing carols and other traditional tunes. This naturally leads to invitations of hospitality from the local residents, which usually means that by the end of their tour the playing is rather less than perfectly co-ordinated. This format is then repeated on Boxing Day around the hamlet of Litton Slack and the nearby village of Litton.
The band also undertake a range of other engagements around the year. Some of these are annual events, such as the Cressbrook Harvest Festival service at the church, and a variety of well-dressing events to which the band often returns year after year. Others are 'one-offs', such as garden parties, christenings, weddings, funerals and family celebrations. This is typical of most of the local bands.
The band practise on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 8.00pm to 9.30pm, at Cressbrook Club. Visiting players are welcome!
Six well dressings in a charming setting.
Locations are as follows...
Top Pump Well
- Near the car park entrance, in the centre of Buxton Road at its junction with Fennel Street
- On the footpath that links Buxton Road a few metres east of the first well, with Fennel Street next to a shop
- At the corner of Church Street near Sheepwash Bridge
Church Street Well
- Further along Church Street, set into a wall on the south side of the road
Greaves Lane Well
- On the east side of Greaves Lane (the road leading to Monsal Head), a short distance from its junction with Church Street
- Further up Greaves Lane, opposite the junction with Hill Cross
The six village wells are dressed annually and are erected the day before Trinity Sunday. They remain in place for the following week.
The blessing of the water supply, in the form of a well is an ancient ceremony dating back to the Celts or even earlier.
It is only found in or near Derbyshire.
Well Dressing is the art of decorating springs or wells with pictures made of natural products.
Clay is pressed into boards, then the picture is traced onto the clay using a pointer. Then comes the delicate task of infilling with flower petals and other natural materials.
Each petal has to be put in separately and they overlap like tiles on a roof so that rain will flow off the picture. This process takes many hours and usually occupies most of the week prior to the well being dressed.