WIRKSWORTH, an extensive parish, which contains 11 townships,
viz., the Market town and township of Wirksworth, the townships
of Callow, Cromford, (also a market town) Hopton, Ible, and Middleton
by Wirkaworth, in the Hundred of Wirksworth, the township of Alderwasley,
Ashley Hay, Biggin, Idridge Hay, and Alton in the Appletree hundred,
with the township of Ironbrook grange, in the hundred of High Peak.
The entire parish contains 13,571A. 0R. 27½P. of land, of
which 7,097A. lR. 1½P. are in Wirksworth hundred, 6,057A.
0R. 34P. in Appletree hundred, and 4l6A. 2R. 32P, in the High Peak
hundred, and in 1851, had 1,773 houses, and 7,480 inhabitants, of
whom 3,677 were males and 3,803 females; rateable value £22,051
14s. 7d. The Cromford canal, and the Cromford and High Peak railway
commence in this parish; the former about 1½ mile N. of the
town, near where, it crosses the river Derwent, by means of an aqueduct,
the span of whose arch is eighty feet, and the latter is about half-a-mile
N., through which it communicates with the Midland railway.
Wirksworth County County Court is held at the Moot Hall, Beeley
Croft, monthly, and the district comprises the following places:-Alderwasley,
Alderwasley Forge, Alton, Aldwark, Ashleyhay, Bonsall, Bradbourne,
Brassington, Carsington, Callow, Cromford, Darley, Dethick, Elton,
Hackney, Hognaston, Holloway, Hopton, Ironbrook Grange, Idle, Idridgehay,
Ireton Wood, Kirk Ireten, Lea, Matlock, Matlock Bank, Middleton-by-Wirksworth,
Northwood, Snitterton, Sidnope, Stancliff, Tansley, Toadhole, Wensley,
Winster, Wirksworth. Judge, Joseph Thomas Cantrell, Esq. Registrar,
Philip Hubbersty, Esq.; Office St. John's street. High Bailiff,
The Moot Hall, in Beeley croft, erected in 1814, is a neat stone
building, ornamented with the Miners' arms in front, and contains
an ancient miners' dish made of brass, given by Henry VIII, A.D.,
1513. It contains a little more than 14 pints Winchester dry measure,
and has the following inscription upon it "This dish was made
the iiij day of Octobr, the iiij yere of the reigne of Kyng Henry
the viij., before George Erle of Shrowesbury, Steward of the Kyng
most Honourable household; and allso Steward of all the honour of
Tutbery, by the assent and consent as wele of all the Mynours as
of all the Brenners within and adioynyng the Lordshyp of Wyrkysworth
Percell of the said honour. This Dishe to remain in the Moote Hall
at Wyrkysworth, hanging by a Cheyne so as the Mchanntes or Mynours
may have resorte to the same att all tymes to make the trw Mesure
at the same." The original Moot Hall, built in 1773, by the
direction of Thomas Lord Hyde, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster,
stood in the Market place. Peter Arkwright, Esq., is lessee, under
the crown, for the soke and wapentake of Wirksworth. James C. Newbold,
Esq., of Matlock Bath, is the acting steward of the barmote court,
under the lessee, and Mr. John Alsop, of Wensley, the head barmaster.
A Barmote court and court leet is held here on Lady-day and Michaelmas.day;
presided over by the steward, by whom all mineral disputes within
the Wapentake are tried, The township of Wirksworth contains two
manors besides that of the rectory. The chief paramount manor belonged,
in the year 835, to the abbey of Repton, and at Domesday survey
it belonged to the crown. King John, in the fifth year of his reign,
granted it to William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, having been forfeited
by the attainder of Robert Earl of Derby, in 1265. It was granted,
together with the Wapentake, by Edward I., to his brother, Edmund
Earl of Lancaster. The manor of Holland, otherwise Richmond, was
given by Thomas Earl of Lancaster to Sir Robert Holland; it was
forfeited by the attainder of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, in
1461, King Henry IV. granted it to his sister Ann, Duchess of Exeter;
afterwards it belonged to Margaret Countess of Richmond, mother
of King Henry VII., on whose death it devolved again to the crown,
and was granted, in 1553, to Ralph Gell, Esq., in whose descendents
it still remains. This manor extends into the townships of Ashley
Hay, Middleton, Carsington, Hognaston, and Kirk-Ireton. A court
baron is held at Wirksworth.
About half a mile north from Wirksworth are several extensive quarries
of very superior limestone and marble, of which large quantities
are conveyed by the High Peak railway to the Cromford canal, and
thence to various parts of the kingdom.
In the course of time the mines were worked to such a depth as to
be impeded by water. To relieve them several adits, or (as they
are called) soughs have been driven at various intervals. The oldest
is the Hannage Sough, which relieved the mines to a certain depth;
then the Cromford Sough was driven from the market place, in Cromford,
but that became in the course of time useless; and about the year
1777, the Meerbrook Sough was commenced from the level of the Derwent,
near Hotstandwell Bridge.
CROMFORD, a township, chapelry, and market town, 16 miles N.
from Derby, 2 miles N. from Wirksworth, 8 miles S.E. from Belper,
1 mile S. from Matlock Bath, and 147 miles N.N.W. from London, contains
815A. 2R. 3½P. of land, (exclusive of Scarthing Nick, which
is in Matlock parish,) and in 1851, had 255 houses, and 1,190 inhabitants,
of whom 569 were males, and 621 females; rateable value £2,100.
Peter Arkwright, Esq., is sole owner, except about six acres. The
Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a plain stone structure, with a
small tower and one bell, situate near the bridge. The living
is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Peter Arkwright, Esq.,
and incumbency of the Rev. Robert Morgan Jones. The building was commenced
by Sir Richard Arkwright, and was completed and endowed by Richard
Arkwright, Esq., his son, with £50 per annum, since which it
has been augmented with £200 from Mr. Arkwright, £200
Queen Anne's bounty, and £1,000 parliamentary grant. It is neatly
seated with oak pews, and galleries on each side, it contains an organ,
which was put up several years ago, to which many additions and improvements
have since been made. The tithe has been commuted for £63. There
was anciently a chapel here, of which no traces now remain. Commodious
schools have been erected in North street, and form, with the master
and mistress' house, three sides of a quadrangle. The boys' school
room, and the residences were erected in 1832, by the late Richard
Arkwright Esq., and the girls' and infants' some years later. They
are substantial stone buildings, the boys' room is 55 feet by 24 feet,
and the girls' and infants' are 20 feet square. The average attendance
of boys for the last 24 years has been 115, and of girls and infants
180, who each pay a small weekly charge, the deficiency being made
up by Peter Arkwright, Esq. The Wesleyans have a chapel, erected in
1810, and enlarged in 1840; it is now undergoing considerable alterations,
and is calculated to seat 1,000 persons. The Wesleyan Reformers hold
their services in a large room at Scarthing Row. The Primitive Methodist
chapel, at Scarthing Row, is a good brick building, erected in 1853,
at the cost of £300; it will seat about 300 persons.
CROMFORD, (anciently Crombeford) is situated in a deep valley
on the south bank of the Derwent, enclosed by lofty limestone rocks
on the north, south, and west; to the east a picturesque valley, finely
wooded and clothed with rich herbage, stretches to a considerable
distance. The houses are chiefly built of gritstone, which abounds
in the vicinity. The cotton mills, the colour works, the lead mines,
the wharfs, the canal, and the railroads, together with extensive
smelting mills, hat manufactory, and worsted mills, at Lea, not only
give employment to the numerous and increasing population, but renders
the town of Cromford of commercial importance. In 1790, Sir Richard
Arkwright procured the grant of a market to be held on Saturday. Fairs
were formerly held here, but are now discontinued. The feast is on
the first Sunday after September 8th. Here are two Sick Societies,
an Odd Fellows' lodge, and a lodge of Ancient Foresters. Some years
ago 200 Roman coins were found in a hole of a rock near Cromford.
This was an inconsiderable village prior to the establishment of the
cotton mills, by Sir Richard Arkwright, here and at Matlock Bath.
He erected the first cotton mill in the world, at Nottingham, in 1769.
The first mill erected at Cromford was in 1771; the lower mill was
built a few years afterwards. The penetration of Sir Richard Arkwright
may be discovered in the very choice of a situation so suitable to
carry on his extensive operations, and which laid the foundation for
that immense wealth now enjoyed by his family. The mills are supplied
with a never-failing stream of warm water, drained from the mines
on Cromford moor, which not only never freezes itself but prevents
the adjoining canal from being frozen throughout the winter. The large
mill at Masson, between Cromford and Matlock Bath, was built in 1783.
The number of hands employed at the mills is not so large as previously
in consequence of a considerable portion of the supply of water being
diverted into another channel. The works are still carried on under
the firm of Arkwright and Co. Darwin thus elegantly describes the
complex operations carried on by the improved machinery in these mills,-
clothing dry details of manufacture and machinery in language which
at least displays the consummation of poetic art:-
2 G 2
"Where Derwent guides his dusky floods,
Through vaulted mountains, and a night of woods,
---------------The watery god
His ponderous oars to slender spindles turn,
And pours o'er massey wheels his foaming urns;
-------------Emerging Naiads cull,
From leathery pods, the vegetable wool;
With wiry teeth revolving cards release
The tangled knots, and smooth the ravell'd fleece.
Next moves the iron hand with fingers fine,
Combs the wide card, and forms th' eternal line;
Slow with soft lips the whirling can acquires
The tender skeins, and wraps in rising spires,
With quickened pace successive rollers move
And these retain, and those extend the rove,
Then fly the spokes, the rapid axles glow;
While slowly circumvolves the lab'ring wheel below."
The Cromford Canal, which joins the Erewash canal near Langley
bridge, opens a water commumcation to the east; the High Peak railway
which joins the canal about 1 mile S. E. from Cromford, here communicates
with the Midland Railway, affording every facility for the conveyance
of coal, minerals, and limestone, to every part of the kingdom.
A branch of the Midland railway from Ambergate to Rowsley runs through
the town, and has a neat station, from whence there are five trains
each way daily. It is carried through the north west part of the
Wirksworth hundred, running past the western side of the High Peak
hundred over a mountainous country to Whaley Bridge, where it joins
the Peak Forest canal. The length of this railway is 34 miles, its
greatest elevation is 290 feet above the level of the Cromford canal.
This ascent is accomplished by means of inclined planes, up which
the waggons are drawn by stationary steam engines. The High Peak
Railway Company hold their quarterly meetings at the Greyhound Inn,
Mr. Francis Barton, as the general manager.
The Rock House is a good mansion, situate on a limestone
rock, overlooking the Derwent vale, the seat of the Misses Hunt.
Near the road from Cromford to Wirksworth is a mine called God-be-here
Founder, rendered memorable from an occurrence which took place
in the year 1797: two miners, named Job Boden and Anthony Pearson,
while employed in the mine, the earth above them, together with
a quantity of water, suddenly rushed in and filled the mine to a
depth of 54 yards. The other miners immediately began to draw out
the rubbish, in search of their lost companions; and on the third
day Pearson was discovered dead in an upright posture. The miners
continued their exertions, and on the eighth day of their labours
they distinctly heard Boden's signal, and aseertained that he was
living. They now worked with great energy, but more caution, for
a few hours longer, when they found the object of their search,
weak and almost exhausted, yet fully sensible of the miraculous
nature of his escape. His recovery from the effects of this premature
entombment was slow but effectual, and he returned to his employment
in about fourteen weeks, and lived many years afterwards.
Stonnis, or the Black Rocks, a lofty range of hills on the
Wirksworth and Cromford road, about one mile from the former, are
noted for the magnificent views obtained from them of Matlock, Cromford,
and the district around, which is admitted by all to be equal if
not superior to any in the neighbourhood, and will amply repay the
tourist for his toil. By descending a short distance from the summit,
you 'reach a natural' cavern, well known as "Gratton's Parlour."
The following inscription cut in the rocks, will give the reader
some faint idea of the magnificent scenery which is here obtained,
"Heavens ! what goodly prospects spread around us."
CHARITIES.-Lady Armyne, by a codocil to her will, bearing
date 14th August, 1662, left a yearly rent charge of £16 l0s.,
to be issuing of her manor, land and tenements, in Cromford, for
the maintenance of six poor widows or widowers. This manor passed
into the hands of Sir Richard Arkwright, in 1789, subject to the
payment of the above sum, and also subject to the repairs of the
hospital in Cromford. Each widow receives 40s. per annum, and a
further sum of 6a. 8d. at Christmas, towards the purchase of a gown.
The amount of these payments is £14 per annum, being less
by £2 l0s. than the annual sum mentioned in Lady Armyne's
will. The cause of this diminution does not appear, but it seems
not improbable that it arose from a deduction on account of land
tax. We havc not found any trace of the full amount of the rent
charge being ever paid, and in a valuation of the Cromford estate,
in 1720, the annual payment to the almshouses is stated to be £14.
It does not appear by whom or at what period the almshouses were
built, or in what manner the repairs of them became a charge on
Marked * reside at Scarthing Row, Matlock Parish.
Post Office (Receiving House), at John Parker's. Letters arrive
at 8 a.m., and are despatched at 6.30 p.m.
Arkwright Miss Frances, Oak hill
Arkwright & Co., cotton spinners, and Mas-son Mills;
Rd. Hackett, manager
Adams Obadiah, saddler
Allen John & Wm., gingham mnfrs.
Barker Samuel, bookkeeper
Barton Francis, general manager to Crom-ford & High Peak Railway
Co., and civil engineer
Boden John, stone merchant, mineral agent, and spar dealer
Britland Anthony, miner
Britland Dorothy, school
Buckley George, cowkeeper
Bunting Wm., blacksmith
Charles Mr. Robert
Clay Richard, chemist & druggist
Gould Joseph, marble manufacturer, &c.; h. Scarthing row
Hackett Richd., manager to Arkwright & Co.
Griffiths Alice, mistress, girls' school
Griffiths Emma, mistress, infant school
Harrison Mr. Edward, steward, Ash Cottage
Hewitt Mrs. Lydia
Higgot George, corn miller
Hodgkinson John, bar master for Cromford and Wirksworth
Holmes Thomas, marble manufacturer; h. Cromford Moor
Hughes Matthew, goods manager, Cromford & High Peak Railway
Hurt Misses E. E. S. & F., Rock house
Jones Rev. Robert Morgan, incumbent
Keeling Rev. Francis S., (Wes.)
Kidd John, brazier and tinner
* Kirk John, hat manufacturer
*Marsden Mrs. Rebecca Mary
Shaw Wm., schoolmaster
Stone Mrs. Catherine
*Storer Joseph, ale & porter merchant
Wheatcroft Mr. Nathaniel, Chapel hill
Wheatcroft Nathaniel, jun., general agent
Inns and Taverns.
Bell, Peter Gell
*Bull's Head, John Walker
Cock, John Mart
Greyhound Coml. Hotel, Sydney Cross
Junction Inn, Fras. Smedley Brown
Railway Inn, Ann Houseley
Red Lion, John Eaton
Burton Mary Ann
Smedley Job, (& con-fectioner)
* Smith John
* Stone John
* Brocklehurst Richd.
* Boden Edward
Abel Jno., Canal whrf
Boden Ebenezr, Canal wharf
Kidd Samuel, Canal wharf
Moore Caleb, Canal wharf
Wheatcroft Abraham, Canal wharf
Wheatcroft Nathaniel, jun., (& agent to the National Loan Union
Insurance Co.,) Canal wharf.
Cromford Mineral Paint Co.; John Fryer, agent
Curriers & Leather Cutters.
Outram Thomas Smith
Brown Samuel, Birch-wood
Houseley Ann, Steeple House
Glass, China, and Earthenware Dlrs.
* Hall Luke
Parker Jno., (& paintr)
Spencer Simeon & John, (& hosiers)
Spencer Simeon & John
Staley Geo., (& iron- monger)
* Boden John
*Stone William, (and builder)
Linen & Woollen Drapers.
White Robert Gum
Manufrs and In-layers in Marble.
Gould & Holmes
Meakin Edwin, (and parish clerk & mine agent)
*Weston Anthony, (& tombstone maker & engraver)
Milliners & Dress Makers.
Burton Mary Ann
White Robert Gum
(Matlock and Rowsley Brnch. of Mid. Ry.) Station, ½
mile N. E. of the town there are 5 Passenger and 2 Luggage Trains
each way daily, and on Sundays, one Passenger Train on-ly. Edwin
Furniss, station master
By Water, to all parts.
Grand Junction Canal Co., Canal wharf; A. Wheatcroft, agt.
Wheatcroft G. & Son, Canal wharf
Wheatcroft Nathaniel, jun., Canal wharf
To Derby, on Friday, Simeon Spencer & Geo. Wildgoose