Publisher: “The Adam Bede Series”, George Marsden & Sons, Wirksworth.
Babington House has a very long and distinguished history, and has served many different roles since its construction in around 1630. It sits within what resembles a small quarry, and the stone from this area was used to build the house. It began its life as house for the Babington Family.
From 1724-1829 the property became a Workhouse, and from 1867-1927 a Cottage Hospital, it later became the Maternity Hospital. The house returned to private use when the hospital relocated to Waltham House.
Locals have indicated that this postcard could well date from the time of the Great War, where recovering soldiers were returning from action to rest and recuperate. They have indicated that the figure in the foreground is a certain Nurse Penny.
Lucy Gannon the writer who wrote the Peak Practice series for TV once lived at the house in the 1990s, and her friends Dawn French and Lenny Henry were often seen visiting, along with Simon Shepard who rented a house up the top of Greenhill.
The Babington Family are associated with the attempts to hide Mary Queen of Scots in the locality around the period of 1568-9, when Mary had escaped from force arrest in Loch Leven Castle. Later Antony Babington would lend his name to the infamous Babington Plot of 1586.
The plot was an attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots, with the aim to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. On 13-14 September, Babington, Ballard and five others (the poet Chidiock Tichbourne, Thomas Salisbury, Robert Barnewell, John Savage and Henry Donn) were placed on trial. On the 19th Sept, Babington was drawn on hurdles from Tower Hill to St Giles. He was still alive as the executioners knife went to work on disemboweling him. Elizabeth was horrified at the revolting cruelty of their death, and ordered that those to be executed the following day were mercifully to be left hanging until dead before being cut down.
For more photographs of Babington House see the Wirksworth Parish Records.