The village recorded in the Doomsday book, but evidence has been found of earlier settlements including the Saxons, Romans and Vikings. For much of this time it was an agricultural community but in the late 19th century coal mining started to play an important part. The last mine, Bonds Main, was closed in 1949 and some 90 houses were demolished as the miners moved away and the houses were damaged by subsidence which placed them beyond economical repair. The spoil heaps have been levelled and the area returned to farming and leisure.
In the 1930s the last windmill and the old cottages surrounding it were demolished in the area behind Church Lane. The village's last public house closed in 1995 and the site has now been built on. The old Miner's Welfare was converted to a snooker club and was closed in 2001, the site has now been built on.
The village was for a time host to a Knights Templar community who built a Church on the site of which the present Church stands. Their barracks and storage barns occupied the land to the North of the Church and this later became the site of a Manor House.
The village was owned by the Allwood Lord family, and the Leakes from whom the land was purchased by the Arkwrights of Cromford. When the estate of Sir Richard Arkwright was sold off in 1919, some of the land went into private ownership, but the majority was purchased by the Stavely Iron and Steel Company.