Hognaston is situated 4 miles north east of Ashbourne and was referred to as Ockenavstun in the
1086 Domesday Book. When the nearby reservoir, Carsington Water was opened in 1992, a new by pass helped return the village to its rural bliss. It has a population of around 300 inhabitants and a number of fine 17th century cottages.
A settlement grew up and flourished on this south-facing slope because
of the many water sources, at least six wells and springs, although,
surprisingly, the tradition of well-dressing has passed Hognaston by.
The settlement grew during the early 17th century because the road
through the settlement was the 'main' road from London to Manchester,
via Buxton, even though it would have been nothing more than a rough
cart-track, and nearly impassable during winter months. The road would
almost certainly have seen activity from the Royalist and Parliamentary
armies during the Civil War of the 17th century. It would also have been
used by many a packhorse, hence the name of one of the three inns at
that time, the Packhorse. The other two were the Red Lion and the Bull.
Only the Red Lion survives today. Business and prosperity declined with the opening
of the road through Ashbourne in the late 17th century, when the
settlement reverted to a mainly farming community.
Hognaston can boast at least one famous son, John Smith, founder of
John Smith & Sons, Clockmakers of Derby. The three bells in constant
use in the parish church-tower, together with the clock, were given to the
church by John Smith & Sons as a memorial to their founder, and the-
clock is maintained by them each year. The lovely parish church, dedi-
cated to St Bartholomew, is on a raised site in the centre of the village.
The doorway, tympanum and font are Norman (late 12th century).
There were, until the early 1970s, three bakeries operating and
employing local people, both baking and delivering bread, etc. Occupa
tions in the village before 1914 were many and varied — hawker,
monumental mason, wheelwright, draper, blacksmith, corn factor,
tailor, grocer, baker, carrier, postmaster and farm work.
Sadly, Hognaston lost its village school in 1983, but community spirit still prevails.