Mayfield was originally a Saxon village, dating back over a thousand years and listed in the Doomsday Book as Mavreveldt. There are many historical jewels in and around Mayfield. A good example is the Norman church which was probably first built about 1125 during the reign of Henry I. The present parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, illustrates the progressive styles of architecture since that date. The fabric and nave arcade are twelfth century, the chancel fourteenth and the tower sixteenth century.
Mayfield can also rightly claim a small niche in history, for it was here, on 7th December 1745 that the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie passed on its retreat from Derby (the southern most point he reached) and terrorised the local population. Some of the Young Pretenders's troops shot the Inn Keeper at the Hanging Bridge and a certain Humphrey Brown who refused to hand over his horse to them.
Many of the villagers took refuge in the church, whilst the Scottish soldiers contented themselves by firing shots through the door, where their bullet holes can still be seen to this day.
Legend has it that many of the Scottish rebels were caught, tried for their misdeeds and hung from gibbets erected on the old bridge - hence the name the Hanging Bridge. There is however a road out of the village named Gallowstree Lane, suggesting that those to be hung went on their way via the bridge and Gallowstree Lane to Gallowstree Hill. Today it is a pleasant walk rewarded by a lovely view down the Dove Valley - not that the Scottish soldiers appreciated it for long!
Mayfield Hall is built on land granted by William the Conqueror to Henry De Ferrars, and then by his grandson to the Priory of Tutbury. The chartulary of the priory tells us that in 1294 the manor of 'Matherfield' included three acres of land worth 5shillings per annum.
In 1538, Tutbury Priory was dissolved by Henry VIII and it's possessions were surrendered to the King. In 1543 the manor was sold to Sir Edward Aston and there are Deeds signed by Henry VIII himself.
Inside the Hall, the paneled bedroom has a fireplace that is dated 1608 and beneath the Hall are cellars and passages reputedly dating from 1157. The purpose of the underground passages is unclear and many theories have been postulated, but the existence of an ice-hole would suggest that at least part of passages have been built for refrigeration/house-keeping purposes. However, this would not explain the extent of the passages, as they have been cut out of sandstone, with no sign of mineral deposits. Each one is wide enough for four people to stand abreast or for a cart to be pulled through.
The Hall has gone through various stages of modernisation, with the current Georgian extensions, clock tower and fašade being added in the 18th Century by William Greaves.
The owner of the Hall is afforded 'Lord of the Manor' title, so come and stay with the Lord Mayfield!!