What’s in a name?
Welcome to Pommie
The origin of Youlgrave’s curious nickname has nothing to do with lead mining or welldressing but is in fact musical. The village has its own band – originally brass and now silver – established over a century ago when the local Co-operative store (then based in the present-day youth hostel building) purchased the first instruments. One account has it that since few members knew any music early parades involved not so much a medley of tunes but rather a “pom, pom, pom” sort of sound. Another, rather more fanciful explanation involves a pig resting on a wall and serenading the band with a “tiddly pom, pom, pom” – hence the village nickname!
Youlgrave or Youlgreave?
Youlgrave was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Giolgrave and research by the late Bill Shimwell has shown that it has been spelt in over 60 different ways. In the Middle Ages it was variously written as Jalgrave, Iolgrave, Yelgreve and even Hyolegrave. Although the name is sometimes translated as grove of Iola (or Geola) the clearest connection is with lead mining, which has been carried out in the limestone hills of the Peak District since Roman times. A grove or groove is an old term for a mine or open workings (miners were often known as groovers); and it is likely that the village name derives from ‘yellow grove’, the yellow probably referring to a colour found in the local rock (possibly baryte or barium sulphate).
However, even today the spelling of the village’s name is a matter of contention and confusion. On Ordnance Survey maps and most road signs you will see it spelt Youlgreave, but many villagers drop the ‘e’ and use the more traditional Youlgrave. Indeed, the sign at the Village Hall does away with the ‘e’, as does Youlgrave Waterworks and the village garage. The road signs at either end of the village go with Youlgrave (the Parish Council spelling) while the sign at the A6 turning says Youlgreave (County Council spelling). Then there’s the road sign at Newhaven, off the A515 south west of the village, that actually says Youlegreave. Confused?
Here follows a list of spellings of the name of ‘the most miss-spelt village’ as compiled by local historian and former teacher at Youlgrave school, Mr J W Shimwell.