Human activity around Ilam dates back as far as 700BC, when neolithic man built burial barrows on the surrounding hills. The area was settled by both Celts and Romans but became more significant after the death of Bertram and the beginning of pilgrimages to his tomb in the Middle Ages.
Ilam today is a mix of old and newer properties, nestling alongside the River Manifold, sitting close to the border between Derbyshire and Staffordshire and overlooked by Bunster Hill (1079' - half a mountain)
The village school, Ilam C of E (VA) Primary, is housed in this Alpine style building. It was built by Jesse Watts-Russell in the mid 1800s. As the new owner of Ilam Hall, he wanted to improve the view from his property. As a result, he had a large proportion of the village demolished and the people rehoused in newly built alpine style housing. The school was constructed as part of this redevelopment.
These two photographs, from the school website, show the building and pupils from their earliest days. The trees have grown somewhat in the last 130 years!
And the school uniform has seen some changes!
To read more about the school, click here.
This is just one of the Alpine style cottages, which must have looked rather incongruous when they were first constructed, but fit the landscape surprisingly well.