Above: This 1890 OS map (click to enlarge) shows the four buildings along this short stretch of the old Macclesfield to Buxton road, as well as the many small coal pits and trail holes which once pitted the landscape.

The Cat & Fiddle pub is a short distance to the left. The road to Goyt’s Bridge runs north alongside the River Goyt (which is very much a stream at this point).

Above: A similar painting to the one at the top of the page, and by the same artist, but in the depths of winter (click to enlarge). Click here for more info on Goyts Moss Farm.

Above: Goyt’s Moss Farm was a white-washed, stone-built farmhouse lying beside the Macclesfield to Buxton road. It’s been completely rebuilt (I’m not sure when) and now functions as a Peak District National Park Rangers information centre and toilets, lying beside the small car park at Derbyshire Bridge. (Page update: Click here to see that I got that wrong!)

Gotys Moss Farm

Goyt’s Moss Farm was one of four houses lying within a quarter mile stretch of this once busy road (see below), just down from the famous Cat & Fiddle pub. There are very few traces of the other three buildings beyond some scattered dressed stones slowly disappearing beneath the moorland vegetation.

Above: This photo shows the four houses in Goyt’s Moss. I’ve circled Goyt’s Moss Farm. The old Macclesfield to Buxton road vanishes over the horizon. And the narrow lane to Goyt’s Bridge goes to the left.

The Macclesfield to Buxton road was diverted sometime around the 1930s. The old road now provides a great route for walkers across the open moorland. (See walk 11.)

Goyt’s Moss is surrounded by small coal pits which would have provided both fuel and income to the families who lived in this exposed and fairly remote moorland landscape.

My thanks to Mike for providing the census records below. I think some of them may be for Moss House, which was the next door property. I’ll update this page if things become any clearer.

Page updates

I found this photo of the ruins of Goyt’s Moss Farmhouse in the snow in an old photo album from the 1960s kept in Matlock Public Records Office. I’d always thought it would have been demolished in the 1930s, along with all the other farmhouses on the Errwood Estate. But perhaps that wasn’t the case. There are certainly no signs of Moss Hall which would have been visible in the distance, on the same side of the road.

The text at the bottom of the page mentions that the house was used by shooting parties. Perhaps that’s the reason it survived longer than other buildings.

Click here to view a ‘then & now’ fade which shows that I wasn’t right in thinking today’s Rangers’ cabin was built on the same spot as the farm.

The text below comes from some papers stored in the Derbyshire Bridge Rangers Hut.

Goyt’s Moss Farm (J. Lomas lived here 1917-1928)

The farm was 110 acres and extended along the south side of the old road to Burbage, up to the ridge of ‘Girding Hill’, a large pasture which was grazed by cattle.

Snipe were common on the wet, flatter areas. Curlew were mainly on the edge of the ridge where the vegetation was cotton grass. There used to be a two-line telephone overhead cable along the old Burbage road, and red grouse were regularly found dead under the wires by Jim Lomas, quite often an average of two per week in the late summer after young birds were on the wing. Later, corks were put on the wires after complaints from the gamekeeper (Perks).

An extensive moorland fire burned 6″ – 9″ of peat on Diamond Hill area. It was started by a picnic fire somewhere near the Goyt stream and spread right up the moor, lasting for three weeks. It was controlled by the Berryclough stream, using water from the stream, and here there was less depth of peat. In the seasons following the fire, young heather did re-colonise the area but did not produce such good growths as other parts of the moor. Bracken grew more easily after the fire.

The shooting cabin was abandoned when Boothman’s Cottages were vacated, and shooting parties made use of the house as an alternative. The Lomas family moved to Kettleshulme in 1928 when Stockport Corporation acquired the valley for reservoir construction.

SurnameFirst nameBornRelationshipOccupationBirth place
1841 Census (Goits Moss)
Shufflebottom John c1791 Head Stone mason
Shufflebottom Sarah c1791 Wife
Mycock Jane c1811 Servant
1851 Census (Goyts Moss)
Ward David c1800 Head Banksman Macclesfield Forest
Ward Ann c1813 Wife Flagg
Ward John c1836 Son Works on land Goites Moss
Ward Hannah c1838 Daughter Goites Moss
Ward Sarah c1841 Daughetr Goites Moss
Ward David c1812 Son Goites Moss
Mycock Fanny c1830 General servant Flagg
Wilshaw Joeseph c1816 Agric. labourer Goites Moss
1861 Census (Goites Moss)
Wards David c1819 Head Farmer of 70 acres Macclesfield
Wards Ann c1813 Wife Derbyshire
Wards Sarah c1859 Daughter Goits Moss
Wards Joeseph c1852 Daughter Goits Moss
Moss Martha c1847 Servant Chesterfield
Johnson William c1816 Servant Macclesfield Forest
1861 Census (Goits Moss Cottage)
Ward Hannah c1874 Head Macclesfield Forest
Ward James (?) c1844 Bollington
1871 Census (Goyts Moss)
Austin William Head Labourer Caulden
Austin Mary Wife Mayfield
1881 census (Goyts Moss)
Ward John c1838 Head No occupation Goyts Moss
Ward Sarah c1839 Wife Fairfield
Ward Fanny c1875 Daughter Goyts Moss
Ward Martha c1878 Daughter Goyts Moss
1891 Census
Keeling John c1847 Head Farmer Kingsley
Keeling Jane c1856 Wife Staffordshire
Keeling Ellen c1878 Daughter Harpur Hill
Keeling Elizabeth c1880 Daughter Harpur Hill
Keeling Thomas c1884 Son Harpur Hill
Keeling Mary c1888 Daughter Harpur Hill
Newton Sarah Elizabeth c1887 Neice Flash
1901 Census
Palfreyman Mary c1836 Head Farmer Staffordshire
Kidd Sarah Annie c1880 Daughter Staffordshire
Goodwin Sarah Ellen c1888 Granddaughter
Ford John c1884 Servant Farm servant Chapel en le Frith
Keeling John c1850 Head Farmer Kingsley
Keeling Jane c1855 Wife Staffordshire
Keeling Ellen c1878 Daughter Harpur Hill
Keeling Thomas c1884 Son Derbyshire
Keeling Mary c1888 Daughter Derbyshire
Keeling Jane c1892 Daughter Goyts Moss
Keeling Charlotte c1895 Daughter Goyts Moss
Keeling Ernest c1898 Son Goyts Moss
Keeling John c1900 Son Goyts Moss
1911 Census
Keeling John c1847 Head Farmer Kingsley
Keeling Jane c1856 Wife Quarnford
Keeling Thomas c1884 Son Working on farm Harpur Hill
Keeling Mary c1888 Daughter Dairy work Harpur Hill
Keeling Jane c1892 Daughter Dairy work Goyts Moss
Keeling Charlotte c1894 Daughter Dairy work Goyts Moss
Keeling Ernest c1898 Son Goyts Moss
Keeling John c1900 Son Goyts Moss
Phillips Helen c1878 Daughter Harpur Hill
Phillips James A c1876 Son in law Grocer Cleveland
Barber Walter Henry c1886 Visitor Chauffer Cheadle Hulme