|Arms on the gate to the park||Okeover Hall with stables and chapel|
|Stables of classical design||View of the domestic part of the hall|
|All Saints, Okeover||St. Mary's, Mapleton in Derbyshire|
A walk from Ilam first along the Manifold then the river Dove brings one to Okeover Hall. There is a public footpath across the park from which the extensive hall buildings and chapel can be seen. The walk can be made into a circular tour via Blore before returning to Ilam.
Arthur Mee in his The King's England book on Staffordshire, notes the Okeover family as one of the oldest in England. An Okeover has been lord of the manor since the time of William II, (1087-1100). The house and church were pillaged by the Jacobite as they marched south to Swarkstone Bridge in 1745.
Pevsner describes the complicated layout of buildings at the hall, which can be seen in part in my photographs. The building were arranged on three sides of a courtyard which is open to the north. The west wing is Georgian and the east wing retains a Georgian wall on its north side. The rest of the east wing and the south wing were built between 1953 and 1960 by Marshall Sisson. Pevsner describes the west wing as comprising nine bays and two storeys with a three-bay pediment. The stables are a separate nine bay range with a three-bay pediment on Doric pilasters over three rusticated arches.
All Saints was a chapel for the hall and is largely 14th century; the tower was built about 1500. There must formerly have been a south aisle. The church was "restored" by the ubiquitous Scott in 1856-8. He put the nave and chancel under a single roof. The church houses a famous brass which was made originally to commemorate William Lord Zouch (died 1447) and his two wives. However, in 1538, the brass was stolen and engraved on the reverse side to commemorate Humphrey Okeover, his wife and 13 children. In the 19th century it was stolen again and eventually found broken into fragments. Some of these, showing a woman and several children were then mounted on an oak board and displayed in the nave.
Okeover Hall lies on the Staffordshire side of the Dove but it is worth crossing the bridge to the Derbyshire side to see the unusual small church shown bottom right. It lies adjacent to the Okeover Arms. Although there was a church on this site in the reign of Edward I, the current structure dates from the first half of 18th century. It is now part of the United Benefice of Ashbourne.
The Buildings of England, Staffordshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, Penguin,
1974, ISBN 0 14 071046 9
The King's England, Staffordshire, by Arthur Mee, Hodder and Stoughton, London, first published in 1937.
The Old Parish Churches of Staffordshire, by Mike Salter, Folly Publications, 1996, ISBN 1871731 25 8