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Garden Party at Matlock Rectory
People who lived in the Matlocks : Photographs, Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings

The four photographs below are from the album of Mrs. Robert Wildgoose who lived at The Gables on Chesterfield Road and then at Stoneycroft, the house she had built on Cavendish Road. The album now belongs to the Ash family and was in the possession of Ray Ash's step-grandmother Ash (Dora May Wheeldon before her marriage), who was for many years companion and housekeeper to Mrs. Wildgoose at Stoneycroft. A selection from the album is published here with kind permission of Ray Ash.

The images you see here are reproduced from tiny amateur photographs, three inches wide, which are also very faded. They really are quite hard to date but from other photographs in the album were probably been taken around 1900-1905, and maybe even slightly before that. Unfortunately, Marian Wildgoose was not very good at putting dates in her album, so some of the dates are only approximations. They were certainly in the time of Reverend Canon James William Kewley, for many years Rector of Matlock, as he appears in photographs 2 and 3 and probably in photograph 4.

The Rector and his sister hosted a number of garden parties at the Rectory over the years. One in July 1900 was in aid of the Foreign Mission Fund and £11 was collected[1]. The garden party shown in these photos could well have been the one held in July 1902 when Canon and Miss Kewley provided tea on the lawn for sixty or seventy members of the congregation and parishioners. A visiting Colonial missionary gave a talk about his work among the Maoris and the garden party was to raise money. Among those present were the Rev. Charles Baker (Vicar of Matlock Bath), the Rev. G. A. Grace, the Rev. Charles Campbell Nicholas (the curate?), Mr. Joseph Sladen, Mr Henry Hadfield Cubley, Mr. C. F. Cargill and Mr. W. Ellis[2]. Both events were held on a Monday, so might only have been attended by the women in the parish.

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Mrs. Robert Wildgoose

Sunday School Picnic, about 1920

1 Large group, dressed in all their finery, enjoying a summer garden party at the Rectory garden. Riber hillside is behind them.
Ray Ash comments that the women wearing dresses, as opposed to blouses and skirts, in this series of photographs seems to be a strong pointer to the photographs being taken just before or, at the latest, in the very early in the Edwardian period when blouses and skirts became more popular.

2 Canon Kewley, on the far right, with his guests.
Matlock Rectory is the building behind the group, which Pevsner describes as a late eighteenth century building[3]. The Rectory is in Old Matlock and is close to St. Giles' Church.

3 Taken from a similar position. Four Clergymen, including Canon Kewley who is in the centre of the picture.

4 Guests strolling through the gardens on what looks to be a beautiful summer day. Two ladies in the background have put up their parasols.

View even more about the church by clicking on the images below:


You may like to read more onsite information
Rectors of St Giles from 1300
Church Fundraising, 1859, 1886 - 1895: see Church Bazaar at Matlock, 1895

Image scans Copyright Ray Ash.
Research provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
If you have any further information about the identity of anyone in the photographs, or know who maintained the Rectory's gardens at that time, we would like to know. Please contact both the web mistress.


[1] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 14 July 1900.
[2] 19 July 1902 - Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald
MATLOCK TOWN. Garden Party at the Rectory.
[3] Pevsner, N (1953) "The Buildings of England, Derbyshire", Penguin Books, London.