Etwall is a commuter village in Derbyshire, situated 6 miles south west of Derby, with post war housing developments leading to a 3 fold increase in the population between 1951 and 1981. Etwall brook runs through the village and the housing has not encroached on the countryside to the north and east of it. Etwall was originally named after the Saxon king Eata, whose well or spring lies below the church, Etwall still has the remains of up to 70 wells.
Etwall is noted as being the home of Sir John Port who founded Repton school in the 16th century. Etwall has its own very large comprehensive which serves the surrounding villages as well as Etwall itself. It was built on the site of Etwall Hall, now demolished, which was the family home of the Port`s. The hall`s wrought iron gates, made by Robert Bakewell of Derby, now stand at the entrance to Port Hospital Almshouses which were rebuilt in 1681 and recently restored again.
The Alms houses are perhaps the most outstanding feature of the village. Up until the 1960`s, Almsmen and women wore special hats or bonnets and a dark blue cloak with a silver clasp. They were always buried in their cloaks.
Etwall almshouses are situated at the rear of the churchyard of the Church of St Helen. There is some evidence of it originally being built around the 13th century or earlier with its round headed south doorway, but inside, the north arcade of 3 bays is Norman and the windows are nearly all Perp or later. It has a short west tower with diaginal buttresses and a low embattled body. The Port chapel in the north chancel is Elizabethan. The church was largely rebuilt by Sir John Port, following a violent storm in 1545 and restored again in 1881 by F.J Robinson.
There is a monument to Sir Arthur Cochrane (1872-1954) who was the Clarenceux King of Arms, and monuments to the Port family including brasses of Port and his wife and children.
There was once a thriving brick building industry here and many of Etwalls old houses still contain bricks with the word ETWELL stamped on them. Now, the toyota car factory employs many village people.
Larger photographs of Etwall and Etwall Well Dressing can be found at Derbyshire and Peak District Photographs
Other places of interest near Etwall