Flash, whose name means a swamp, is the highest village in Britain, being some 1518 ft above sea level. Going back into history, Flash had at least five houses in 1597, had three inns and three shops in 1817. The local church of St. Paul’s was built starting in 1743, its graveyard contains graves dating back to at least 1791. There was a village post office by 1904. In 2020 there were still no signs of a swamp!
During the 18th century the area was settled by pedlars and hawkers who, like the landscape were rough characters. This gave Flash a reputation as a wild place where counterfeit money was made and outlawed practices were continued. Prize fighting was one such, which was still held at Flash for some years after it had been made illegal. The village’s proximity to three county boundaries helped – when the police came, the ring was simply moved to another county!
When Sir George Crewe (conservative politician) first visited Quarnford in 1819/1820 it appeared to him as ‘the very end of the civilised world’, and Flash village was ‘dirty, and bore marks principally of Poverty, Sloth, and Ignorance’.
Although the village historically was almost an outpost due to its relative isolation and small economic significance, it is situated in some of the most picturesque and unspoilt areas of the English countryside.
Quarnford is the civil parish containing Flash and other hamlets. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 244, reducing marginally to 242 at the 2011 census. The village is in the Peak District National Park.
The name Quarnford, recorded in 1227, is derived from Old English cweorn, a quern or millstone. The ford was probably over the Dane near Manor Farm, and the name may refer to a stopping place on a route for the carriage of millstone.