Leek: once, now and next, Events

Events in October

a month of livelinesses

one of the few surviving carvings from Dieulacres

one of the few surviving carvings from Dieulacres

Events list

(all events are free, no booking is required but if numbers get too big we may have to ask you to go and have a find yourself of cake somewhere for a little while)


roasting apples in an Apple Day fire

roasting apples in an Apple Day fire

Sunday 12th: Apple Day, visit this farm in the Upper Dove Valley for an autumn day of orchards, fruit recipes, art and stories and a chance to explore this beautiful landscape, its animals and plants

Time: 11am – 3.30pm

Where: Dove Valley Centre, Under Whitle, between Sheen and Longnor


Friday 17th: Stitching time: join our artists and add your own panel to the new Cope for the Lost Abbey. Images of ancient saints and modern heroes lie side-by-side on this community cloak. With fabric and felt, wool, silk, thread, beads and sequins: no experience is needed!

Time: 1 – 3pm

Where: Silverdale Library, Newcastle: High St, Silverdale, Newcastle ST5 6LY, 01782 297444


Saturday 18th: Old stories, new adventures! Join our storyteller to listen to old tales of the Moorlands: of giants and mermaids and magic and monsters! Create your own stories about life and adventures in Leek

Time 10am – 12noon

Where: Leek Library, Church St, Leek


maidens. knights, horses and horrors...the delights of medieval stories!

maidens. knights, horses and horrors…the delights of medieval stories!

Saturday 18th: unrolling Leek! a Big Draw event, we’ll be drawing all your favourite places in Leek on one huge piece of paper: from Brough Park to the Foxlowe, from William Plummer’s anchor memorial to your own back garden, everywhere works!

Time: 2 – 4pm

Where: Foxlowe Art Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD


Thursday 23rd, Ladydale Well, the Leek Ladder and other marvels: a talk by archaeologist Mark Olly. A chance to meet the more mysterious side of the town, join us to think, wonder and speculate

Time: 7.30 (finishing about 9 – 9.30), refreshments provided

Where: Quaker Meeting House, Overton Bank

Leek ST13 5ES


Saturday 25th, Birthday Party for a Lost Abbey! make a small monk puppet, write a poem, listen to stories, wonder at the Abbey Lanterns, add your own visions for the future of Leek – an afternoon of activities and creativity will lead to the unveiling of the Cope and the formal cutting of the Abbey Birthday Cake

Time: 2 – 6pm

Where Foxlowe Art Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD


Tuesday 28th, Ancient Adventures: To celebrate Leek’s ancient history: come along and make your own medieval castle or pop up abbey – and add some tiny puppets to tell some ancient tales!

Time 10am – 12noon, 1.30 – 3pm: drop in, allow yourself 45 minutes to make something!

Where: Leek Library, Church St, Leek


Wednesday 29th, Dieulacres Abbey – Leek’s vanishing heritage. A talk by local historian Michael Fisher: find out about the history of Leek’s lost abbey!

Time: 7.30 – 9

Where: Foxlowe Arts Centre


Thursday 30th: Ancient tales, modern adventures: storytelling, story making, art: what adventures can we invent for the trees, animals and children of Brough Park?

Times: 10 -12, 1 – 3

Where: Brough Park: Vicarage Road Car Park or walk in and find us under a tree in the middle of the Park!


For more information, contact 01298 77964

work has already started: illuminations

work has already started: illuminations




Leek: once, now and next

Leek: once, now and next


Dieulacres seal

800 years ago, Ranulf of Chester moved a Cistercian Abbey from Poulton in Cheshire to Leek. For the next 300 years, until its Dissolution in 1538, Dieualcres (“may God increase”) was a force to be reckoned with in the hills and moors of the western edge of the Peaks. They became one of the wealthiest abbeys in the midlands and were notorious for keeping a band of armed men who weren’t quite marauders but were used by the Abbot ‘to do all the mischief they can to the people in the county of Stafford and that they have lain in wait for them, assaulted, maimed, and killed some, and driven others from place to place…’

Sometime in the 14th century, a scribe (or scribes) in an abbey – that might well have been Dieulacres – wrote, or transcribed, or edited from earlier sources or maybe just made up, the story of Gawain and the Green Knight that was to become a classic of Old English literature


Gawain: a puppet from a version of Gawain performed in Flash a few years ago

And now it is gone. Dieualcres was dismantled, its stones spreading through the growing town. Carvings were incorporated into the buildings of what is now Abbey Farm. A hermitage stands just off the lane to the farm. A rose window gifted by the abbey shines in one of the Leek churches….

But once, Dieulacres was one of the most important institutions in the midlands and made Leek a focal point for the land around.

Leek:once, now and next is using this 800th birthday of the Abbey that isn’t there any more as an opportunity to celebrate Leek’s past, present and future


the ruins of Croxden Abbey – another centre for the Citsercians in Staffordshire

Public events will lead to a birthday part in October 2014. There will be

  • Abbey Lantern making with youth groups
  • sewing a new Abbot’s Cope using medieval and modern imagery to made a fabulous garment
  • opportunities to darw the skyline of Leek along 10 metres of paper
  • the chance to make your own pop-up abbey
  • an invitation to listen to stories of medieval life
  • to plan the town you’d like to live in….
  • lots to do!

Keep an eye on this blog and local press for event details


This is a joint project between Stone and Water (using an Awards for All grant to explore Leek: once, now and next) and Borderland Voices (drawing on other funds to delve deeper into the Abbey legacy)

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