BUXTON, a market-town and chapelry, in the parish of Bakewell, union of Chapel-en-le-Frith, hundred of High Peak, N. division of the county of Derby, 33 miles (N. W.) from Derby, and 159 (N. W. by N.) from London, on the high road from Derby to Manchester; containing 1569 inhabitants. Antiquaries agree in considering this to have been a Roman station, although they have not been able to ascertain its name. The place was subsequently called Bawkestanes, supposed to be a corruption of Bathanstanes, signifying "the bath stones;" and one of the Roman roads noticed below still retains the appellation Batham-gate. The Romans, attracted by the temperature of the waters, constructed a bath, the wall of which, covered with red cement, and other parts, were remaining until some years ago, when they were removed to make way for improvements; and several Roman coins have been discovered. Near this spot two great military roads intersected, one connecting Little Chester and Manchester, and the other leading from Middlewich to Brough, and thence to York and Aldborough.
The town is situated near the source of the small river Wye, in a valley surrounded by bleak elevated tracts of moorland; but several plantations have been formed on the adjacent eminences, which, with other improvements, have materially altered the appearance of the immediate vicinity. The older part, occupying the high grounds, consists chiefly of houses built of limestone, without order, and of mean appearance; the more modern, situated in the vale, comprises lodging-houses and hotels, erected and fitted up with every regard to the comfort of the numerous visiters. The old Hall, built in the sixteenth century by the Earl of Shrewsbury, for several years afforded temporary accommodation to visiters of rank, and for some time was the abode of Mary, Queen of Scots, who, while in the custody of the earl, accompanied him and his countess in an excursion to this place. The house underwent considerable alteration and enlargement in 1670, and is still one of the principal hotels; it has stairs communicating directly with the natural baths. The Crescent, erected in 1781, by the Duke of Devonshire, is a fine range of building in the Grecian style, erected of gritstone obtained near the spot, fronted with freestone brought from a quarry about a mile distant. At the eastern extremity, and contiguous to the Great Hotel, hot baths have been constructed, which are supplied from Bingham's Well. The new square, nearly adjoining, has an arcade communicating with that of the Crescent, and forming a continued promenade; it contains many handsome lodging-houses, and there are others in various parts of the town. St. Anne's Well, near the Crescent, the resort of those who drink the waters, is inclosed within a building in the style of a Grecian temple: the water issues from the spring into a marble basin, and opposite to it is a double pump, by which both hot and cold water are simultaneously raised from springs lying within a few inches of each other; the hot spring has a temperature of 82° of Fahrenheit. The waters are saline, holding nitrogen gas in solution, and are efficacious in gout, rheumatism, and indigestion, and in nervous, scorbutic, and nephritic diseases: the season commences early in June, and continues generally till the end of October. There is also a chalybeate spring, the water of which is strongly impregnated with iron held in solution by acidulous gas. The environs abound with picturesque and romantic scenery, and with pleasant walks and rides: of the former is the Serpentine, beautifully wooded, following the course of the Wye; and of the latter, the Duke's Ride, on the Bakewell road, extending over the summit of a rock called the Lover's Leap, is a favourite excursion.
The principal branch of trade consists in the manufacture and sale of many beautiful ornaments in marble, fluor-spar, alabaster, and other mineral productions of the Peak; and a great quantity of lime, noted for its strength, is burnt to the west of the town, the workmen and their families living in huts excavated in the cinders, which cement firmly together, and become as hard as the rock itself. In the vicinity passes the Cromford and High-Peak railway; and an act was obtained in 1846 for a railway from Stockport, by Buxton, to Ambergate, on the Midland line. The market is on Saturday; fairs are held on Feb. 3rd, April 1st, May 2nd, and Sept. 8th, for cattle. The Living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £105; patron, the Duke of Devonshire. A new church or chapel, an elegant structure near the town, was erected in 1812, at the expense of his Grace. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. A school, now conducted on the national system, was founded towards the close of the seventeenth century, and re-opened in 1817, after a suspension of 25 years, during which period its affairs had been in chancery: the income, arising from land and property in the funds, is £80 per annum; the school is held in an excellent room provided by the Duke of Devonshire. The Bath charity, for the benefit of poor invalids coming hither for the use of the waters, is liberally supported by subscription, and the benefit it confers is proved by the numbers who are annually claimants for its aid: in 1844 as many as 1491 persons were admitted, of whom 970 were cured or much relieved, 341 were relieved, 67 only derived no benefit, and 113 remained under cure. About three-quarters of a mile to the south-west of the town is Pool's Hole, a dark and dreary cavern, narrow and very low at the entrance, but lofty and presenting an exceedingly interesting appearance within, abounding with stalactites, representing various natural forms; near the extremity is a rude mass, called the Pillar of Mary, Queen of Scots, beyond which few persons advance. About one mile and a half beyond the cavern is Diamond Hill, so called from the detached crystals found there in profusion, denominated Buxton diamonds: their form is hexagonal, and their surface and angles well defined, but of bad colour; when first found they are hard, but they soon lose that property.