Shardlow is situated 8 miles south east of Derby in Derbyshire, just off the A6, was once a considerable inland port on the river Trent. There was a settlement in Shardlow at the time of Domesday, when the area belonged to the Abbey of Chester and the village was known as Serdelov.
It was clustered around the crossroads where the track from Aston to Wilne crossed the route from Derby to the Trent. A horse drawn ferry was used to cross the river but this was replaced in 1760 by Cavendish Bridge and tolls had to be paid to cross it. The stone giving the toll charges is still displayed on thr roadside approaching the modern Cavendish Bridge, a replacement for the old one that collapsed in 1947.
Then came the Trent and Mersey Canal to Shardlow, which became known as the Grand Trunk and was akin to the modern motorway system, for it connected canal systems throughout the Midlands. Warehouses were built to store goods, and wharves to moor the boats. Between 1788 to 1841, the village population of Shardlow quadrupled with all sorts of small industries developing to serve the needs of the horse drawn boats and the wants of the boatpeople.
The coming of railway caused changes in Shardlow again. The canal was too slow for all but the most bulky cargos. The Shardlow section of the Trent and Mersey Canal was bought by the North Staffordshire Railway and the canal warehouses became grainstores and other industries developed.
Many of the old cottages in Shardlow were replaced by modern developments in the 1960`s but some were saved when much of the canalside was designated a conservation area in 1978.There are still some large and fine houses remaining that were built by the wealthy canal merchants. Broughton House, built in the early part of the 19th century is an example.
Shardlow Hall, opposite the church on the main road, was built in 1684 to a design by Smith of Warwick and Joseph Pickford of Derby fame. It is an imposing building, consisting of a main brick built block, with wings either side, and was once the seat of the Sutton family but is now used as offices.
Villages used the church at Aston until St James`s Church was built in 1838. It is a stone faced building which has an aisless interior and tall lancet like windows with Perp tracery. It has an embattled west tower.
The area has many inns and restaurants and the canal and river have been extensively developed for leisure use. Shardlow Marina, nestling on the Trent now provides extensive facilities for boating people and visitors alike.
Shardlow photos at Derbyshire Photographs
For more information on shardlow try Shardlow Heritage