Hathersage is a village in the Derbyshire Peak District, in England. It lies on the north bank of the River Derwent, approximately 10 miles west of Sheffield. The name of the village is generally thought to mean "heather-edge" and was recorded in the Domesday Book as Hereseige.
The earliest recorded church was built by Richard Bassett, son of Ralph Bassett, Chancellor of England in the reign of Henry I. The present structure mainly dates from the late Fourteenth and early Fifteenth Century. It has a stained glass window by Charles Kempe, which was removed from Derwent Chapel before it was submerged under the Ladybower Reservoir. On a circular mound next to the mediaeval church, there is an earthwork called Camp Green, which is thought to be a fortification built by the Danes around 850 CE (This is scheduled as a Norman ringwork castle of the C11/C12. Attribution to the Danes is folklore). In the graveyard lies the base and lower shaft of a plain Saxon cross. At one time, this carried a sundial.
Stones in the churchyard mark what is known as the grave of Little John, where in 1780 James Shuttleworth claims to have unearthed a thigh bone measuring 72.39 cm. This would have made Little John 8.08 feet in height. One claimant to Robin Hood "of Locksley" is the village of Loxley, only eight miles over the moors on the edge of Sheffield. A number of local landmarks are associated with Robin Hood, such as Robin Hood's Cross on Abney Moor, Robin Hood's Stoop on Offerton Moor, and Robin Hood’s Cave, on Stanage Edge.
In 1845, Charlotte Brontë stayed at the Hathersage vicarage, visiting her friend Ellen Nussey, whose brother was the vicar, while she was writing Jane Eyre. Many of the locations mentioned in her novel match locations in Hathersage, the name Eyre being that of a local gentry family. Her "Thornfield Hall" for example is widely accepted to be North Lees Hall situated on the outskirts of Hathersage.
In 1566, Christopher Schutz, a German immigrant, had invented a process for drawing wire and set up a works in Hathersage. This became important for nail making and for the sieves used by miners. It developed into the production of pins and needles. This led to one of the first Factory Acts, for working conditions were so bad, from the inhalation of grinding dust, that the workers' life expectancy was around only thirty years. In the mid-eighteenth century, Hathersage was famous for its brass buttons.
Because of the scenery of the Hope and Derwent valleys, literary connections, and easy access by train or road from Sheffield and Manchester, Hathersage is a tourist destination. Its visitors come to swim (open-air swimming pool with cafe open all year), climb (Stanage Edge, which with other nearby edges have been the nursery for many famous British rock and mountain climbers), or ramble its beautiful river valleys or hillwalk its open moors.
In 1990, the cutler David Mellor opened the Round Building built on the site of a former gasometer as a cutlery factory in the village. The building was designed by architect Sir Michael Hopkins. In 2007, an extension was opened as a Design Museum, in a new extension to the old retort house on the site. Mellor's wife, Fiona MacCarthy, continues to live in Hathersage.