From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Hob Hursts House

Burial Chamber
53° 13' 7.36" N 1° 34' 12.46" W
Bronze Age

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Hob Hursts House is an unusual square prehistoric burial mound with an earthwork ditch and outer bank. Named after a local hobgoblin who haunted nearby woods. Technically a 'round barrow', Hob Hurst's House is a prehistoric burial chamber, unusual in that it is rectangular in shape, roughly 8 x 7.5 m and 1 m high. An earthen ditch and bank, also rectangular, surrounds the mound. A ring of 5 stones is in the centre. In 1853, Thomas Bateman excavated Hob Hursts House. Inside the mound, he found a square stone-lined chamber containing charcoal and burnt human bones. The chamber can still be seen today.

Hob Hursts House was one of the first monuments in Britain to be taken into state care in 1882. The stone bollards, inscribed VR (Victoria Regina) which surround the site, were erected at that time.

The site is in poor condition, but still worth the visit. Close by is Park Gate stone circle and in nearby woods a stream with waterfalls can also be seen, clearly marked on the o/s map.


There was once an old woman who lived on the Eastern moors of the Peak District who offered shelter to Hob Hurst when he was in need. Whilst Hob was with her the woman was careful not to look at him for Hobs were known to be very shy, but when she was weaving she would often catch a glimpse of him from the corner of her eye. He was little with dark skin and gleaming eyes. She would often hear his singing which sounded like the wind blowing through the cotton grass of the moors, and when he was not singing it was laughter she could hear. His laughter was like the bubbling, chuckling streams that populate the moors. One day when the woman was ill, she was collecting water from the well when Hob disappeared into the rock that was near the stream and stayed there for a while. Upon drinking the water she was made well and the water tasted especially good to the woman ever after.

Hob Hurst was a good-hearted fairy who used to live in the forest now part of the Chatsworth Estate. He did all he could to be helpful, but wasn't really all that good at it. For example, one day he attached himself to a local cobbler who was traveling with his wares along the pack-horse track that goes by Hob Hurst's house. Hob followed the cobbler home and all the way implored with him that he could make shoes for the cobbler. The cobbler relented, and Hob Hurst set to work.

Hob made shoes alright, but he made them so quickly and so shoddily that all the cobbler could do to keep up was to throw the shoes out of the window as fast as Hob made them.

Hence the Derbyshire expression about something made too quickly: "Its bin done faster than Hob Hurst can chuck shoes out o' t' winder"

An interesting experience is to visit Hob Hurst's House, the Bronze Age tumulus up on Beeley Moor, especially at dusk. This ancient tomb is said to hold supernatural powers and if you listen carefully you may hear the voices of the original inhabitants.