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Matlock & Matlock Bath : Lists Through the Centuries
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The Eighteenth Century
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Licences for badgers, drovers, hucksters and swailers etc

What was a .... ?

  • Badger - a licensed huckster. Formerly badgers dealt in corn, butter, cheese and fish, and had to be licensed by the justices. They were often guilty of regratin [buying up goods and then selling for a higher price, sometimes at the same market], and were held liable by statute.

    Badgering - the act or practise of buying provisions in one place and selling them in another.
    Badgerer - one who badgers or cheapens in price.

  • Drover - one who drives animals in droves to market. A cattle dealer. The drovers used to follow old traditional routes and would often travel many miles.*
    *Mike Spencer notes that "A drover had to be at least thirty years old,a householder and married, to obtain a licence."

  • Huckster - one who retails small wares, provisions or the like; a pedlar; hawker; especially one who raises and sells garden products; a market gardener.
    To hawk goods about was the privilege of men who were then called hawkers, and of women who became hawkestres, from which our huckster
    Schele de Vere Studies in English p.152 [s.1867]

Mike Spencer, who researched the list of names below in early 2003, writes that this is by no means an exhaustive list. The records cover 1746-1772, so many years and sessions have not been covered, but if you had ancestors who dealt in corn, sold small wares in the streets or market,or sold dairy products, cheese and eggs then you may find mention of them in the volumes. When most parish records reveal very little at this date about occupations it nice to be able to put that little bit of information against a name to let them live again so to speak, and these records supply that little bit for those who needed licences to work.

The information is given here with the kind permission of Derbyshire Record Office, with whom copyright remains.

Chesterfield Oct 7th 1746
[It is not easy to tell who was applying for what as, apart from the first entry, the rest is not differentiated. Some people appeared twice, and are not listed again, so they could have appeared for a different Licence.]
John WASS, Matlock
Joseph HODGKINSON, Matlock
George TAYLOR, Matlock
Thomas HILL, Matlock
Jos HILL, Matlock
Joshua JOHNSON, Riber
1755 Michaelmas sitting of Quarter Sessions
[Place held not listed]
JOS HILL, Matlock
JOHN WASS, Matlock
1771 Translation Sessions
[No place given. Badgers only, usually with an accompanying name for those who acted as sureties in case the badger failed to perform his duties or job in a proper manner so as to lose his licence and pay any bond or fine presumably.]
JAMES GOOSE Hackney Lane, (Darley Dale )
1771 Epiphany Sessions
[see note above]
WILLIAM SMITH Matlock, gardiner
WILLIAM SMITH Jnr., Matlock, mason

Lists Containing Five or Less Names
1. The Toleration Act
In accordance with this act, dissenting preachers and places of worship were registered. "The following is a complete list of dwelling houses, with their owners names, licensed and registered at the Derbyshire Quarter Sessions, as meeting houses (together with a few special chapels) from the end of 1689 to the end of the reign of George II"[1, 2].

[Matlock and District names only are given below] Quakers (Q) :
Protestant Dissenters (P)
Lea, 1718, Thomas NIGHTINGALE  
Matlock, 1689, William BUNTING (Q)
Matlock, 1689, Robert CLIFFE (P)
Matlock, 1726, Cornelius BOWMAN (Q)
Matlock, 1726, William LEES (Q)

2. Meeting Houses or Chapels
Although people are not named below, the following is nevertheless of interest to those researching Matlock:[1, 3]

"From the beginning of the reign of George III, the county records contain ... petitions or applications for registering ... meeting houses or chapels". List up to the reign of Queen Victoria:

1. Protestant Dissenters: 1783. "Cromford Chapel", Matlock.

2. Independents: 1781. Meeting House, Matlock.

The extracts above are taken from:

[1]"Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals, an Illustrated by the Records of the Quarter Sessions of the County of Derby from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Victoria", Rev. Charles J. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A Vol I. (1890) pub. London: Bemrose and Sons, 23 Old Bailey; and Derby (pp.332-4). Researched and transcribed by Ann Andrews, Jan 2000.
[2] ibid, p.366
[3] ibid, p.368

Unless the section specifies a contributor, material has been extracted by Ann Andrews. Other contributors, copyright holders, etc. are to be found under the relevant section. With my very grateful thanks to everyone who has contributed or given permission to reproduce their material.