Businesses in Dent Towns and Villages of Cumbria


(See also St Andrew’s Church , Dent Crafts Centre)

Dent village view of Fells by Graeme DougalDent is located in remote Dentdale by the river Dee. It is an anomaly. Although lying within Cumbria, it is part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Stone and whitewashed houses with low pitched slate roofs cluster around narrow cobbled streets from which alleyways lead. The Sun Inn is an old rough stone building and lays claim to its own small brewery in a converted barn three miles outside of the village. The beer, made from the springwater of Rise Hill, is justly famous.

Dent Sun Inn by Graeme DougalDent owes its prosperity to wool, and developed a cottage industry of knitters. Many of the homes had galleries hanging outfrom the houses where the knitters sat to ply their trade making stockings, gloves and caps. Comprised of both men and women, the knitters were known as the Terrible Knitters of Dent. In this case terrible meant the opposite of what it does today. Men often knitted walking to their fields, using ‘sticks’ tucked into the belt as one of the needles. Sometimes carved sticks were used as engagement rings. An 18th century rhyme went:

She knaws how to sing and knit
and she knaws how to carry tkit
While she drives her kye to tpasture.

Dent Adam Sedgwick birth place old parsonage by Graeme DougalKnitting wasn't the only trade in the village. Coal mining, marble quarrying and horse breeding were all part of the economy. The black marble known as Dent marble was quarried and processed at Stonehouse in upper Dentdale. It was made into chimneypieces and other decorative items, and some is found in the local church. The Victorians prized the marble for its unusual colour and many fossils.

Coal was mined in the dale, and the road from Dent Station to Garsdale was known as the Coal Road. At one time there were a number of water mills in Dentdale, but these closed with the coming of the industrial revolution.

Dent St Andrews church by Graeme DougalA local landmark sitting on a hill is the church of St Andrew. It was first constructed in the 12th century, then rebuilt in 1417. It was again restored in 1590, 1787 and 1889. The church is aisled with six bay arcades and a five light east window. The three western bays date from the 13th century. The nave and the tower, mostly dating from 1785, retain Norman features. The blocked doorway in the north wall is also from Norman times. A three decker Jacobean pulpit dates from 1614.

Dent St Andrews church interior by Graeme DougalThe box pews are from the 17th century. Those in the south aisle are the family pews of the '24 Sidesmen, a body of local landowners dating from 1429. They still exist today. They meet yearly to distribute ancient charities and to appoint the vicar.

There are brass memorials in the church to the Sedgwick family, and a Sedgwick memorial fountain made of Shap granite sitting near the church is in memory of Adam Sedgwick, born in the village in 1785. He became a well known Victorian geologist and was professor of geology at Cambridge.

Dent George and Dragon pub by Graeme DougalUp until the 1930s, Dent was a busy place with many local shops. The fountain in the village centre marks where a market cross once stood. At one time a fair was held here in June. A glass-blowing industry welcomes visitors to its small factory.

Dent, the only village in the Dent valley, sits on the western side of the bare hills of the Pennines, once the west riding of Yorkshire. Its railway station on the Settle-Carlisle line is the highest in the UK at 1100 feet. There are paths from the village into the surrounding valley.

Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal

Dent is on a minor road four miles south-east of Sedbergh, off the A684.

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