Although there is evidence of prehistoric, Iron Age settlement in the area, Bakewell itself was probably founded in Anglo Saxon times, with settlers being attracted by a cluster of warm springs.
Bakewell Parish Church, now a Grade I listed building, was founded in 920 and has a 9th century cross in the churchyard. The present church was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries but was virtually rebuilt in the 1840s by William Flockton. By Norman times Bakewell had obviously gained some importance as it was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The crossing of the River Wye, where the Grade I-listed five-arch bridge now stands, was key to Bakewell’s establishment as a meeting and crossing point and led to the town’s development as a trading centre, a market being established in 1254. There was an abortive bid in the 18th century to develop Bakewell as a spa town similar to nearby Buxton.
The construction of the Lumford Mill by Richard Arkwright in 1777 was followed by the rebuilding of much of the town in the 19th century, and now tourism is the main industry, thanks mainly to its standing, since 1951, as Derbyshire’s capital town of the Peak District National Park.