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Riber Hall, Matlock
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Pedigree of Wolley of Riber

1903 map of Riber

Riber Hall engraving
, home of George Allen

1926 pen and ink drawing

"More gracious [than the castle] is the Elizabethan hall, with the charm of the gabled roof and mullioned windows,
with a stone gateway in the balustraded wall, its round steps jutting on the wayside."

Arthur Mee, 1937[1].

William Woolley, who wrote a "History of Derbyshire" in 1712, mentioned two properties at Riber. The first was the Wolley family's ancient home (Riber Hall) and the second he described as "a good house of the Jaques, of a pretty good family in this county"[2]. Woolley meant the Jaques lived at Riber Old Hall (now Riber Manor House), as for several centuries it was the only other substantial property in the hamlet. The buildings have several similar architectural features, although parts of Riber Hall are older. The 1619 inventory of Adam Wolley's estate indicates that the house had at least ten rooms, two of which were new[3].

Riber Hall passed out of the ownership of the Wolley family following Anthony Wolley's death in 1669[4]. It was first purchased by Thomas Statham, but in 1681 it was bought by the local rector Reverend John Chappell, though he did not live there long as he was buried at Matlock on 24 December 1688[5]. The Chappells continued to live at Riber for a few more years, but following the deaths of the widowed Mary Chappell in 1720[5] and her son John in 1724[5], the two Chappell daughters divided the estate. This is when the house was split into two halves, or moieties, and sold[6].

Nineteenth and early twentieth century occupants of the left hand side of Riber Hall included Joseph Greatorex[7], Job Cooper[8], George Allen[9], John Smedley[10], James Taylor[11] and Roger Handley[12]; the Walls, including Jane and John Wall[13] were on the right. The Outrams also lived there[14]. Shortly after the death of George Allen on 10 September 1866 his farming and other stock was sold and Riber Hall advertised as being To Let by John Else, the Matlock auctioneer. "TO LET, with immediate possession, the ... very desirable RESIDENCE, with 63 Acres of excellent LAND. The house contains dining, drawing, and sitting rooms, five bedrooms, two kitchens, larder, wash house, dairy and good cellerage. The outbuildings included stabling for four horses, carriage-house, cow-houses for twelve cows, bar, corn and hay chambers, cart sheds, piggeries, poultry house, tool-house, and store rooms; with a large, productive kitchen garden, and orchard well stocked with fruit trees ; extensive pleasure grounds. The site is a most healthy one, and commands some of the most picturesque scenery in the neighbourhood"[15].

The last of the Jaques, or Jacques, of Riber was buried at St. Giles' in 1840. Whilst the parish register says William Jaques lived at Riber it does not provide his actual abode[16], nevertheless later evidence indicates his nephew John Cotterill continued to live at the Old Hall for many years[17]. Their residence, now Riber Manor, was further down the hamlet. Benjamin Bryan, writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, rather confused the two buildings; he presumably though the 1633 date stone on the Old Hall referred to the Wolley family[18]. It is an easy mistake as the letters G. W. M. W. are carved on the stone. However, the W stands for Walker who lived there before the Jaques.

Riber Hall is a Grade II listed building today.

The message written on the back of the early twentieth century postcard above was sent from Riber Hall on same date as it was posted. The recipient was Miss May Wall of Pope Carr: "Dear Cousin, I thought you might like this for your album. Our Jack waved his hand to you when you came into the choir, on the Sunday night. Love to all from all Your affec cousin A. Marchant"[19].

Riber Hall at sunset
Riber Hall, mistakenly named as River Hall on this postcard of a painting by the late nineteenth
and early twentieth century local artist. The two figures in the foreground are almost
certainly the artist's wife and one of his daughters.

Henry Hadfield Cubley's painting of Riber Hall perhaps has a red sky at night for good luck or possibly just because it was attractive. It shows the lovely early seventeenth century hall and the semi circular steps jutting onto the roadway, described by Arthur Mee (above), that are a feature of the building. The gables have the same ball-head finials as those that top the gate piers.

Other Cubley paintings

Matlock Bank
from Derwent

Matlock Church
from Hawe Leys

The Old Bridge,

Old Matlock

Pic Tor

More on site information about the WOLLEY family of Riber Hall:

Wolley Manuscripts Derbyshire A major collection of pre 1828 documents.

The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock - more detailed, with documents relating to the WOLLEYs.

Hatches, Matches & Dispatches Find the WOLLEY family in Matlock's parish registers.
Pre 1858 Wills & Administrations, Surnames W - Z (scroll down)
Coat of Arms: Description of WOLLEY arms.
Riber and its Hall is mentioned in Hall's "Days in Derbyshire", 1863, Chapter the Seventh. Riber, Dethick and Lea.

1. "Riber Hall". No publisher. Posted on 3 Oct 1910 at Matlock Bath.
2. "River Hall, near Matlock, Derbyshire" [sic]. The title's caption is a printer's error as there is no such place in the Matlocks. The subject of this painting is Riber Hall.
Raphael Tuck & Sons "Oilette" [Regd.] Postcard 1683. Art Publishers to their Majesties the King & Queen. "Picturesque Derbyshire", Printed in England. Message side of card has Royal arms top left corner. Not used, so no date but most postcards of his paintings date from the late nineteenth or the beginning of the twentieth century. However, this card has no message bar on the front so post dates most of his other cards in my collection. Another card was posted in 1904.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured hyperlinks for onsite transcripts):

[1] Mee, Arthur (ed.) (1937) "Derbyshire: The Peak Country", The King's England Series, Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London.

[2] Glover, Catherine and Riden, Philip (edited by) (1981) "William Woolley's History of Derbyshire" Derbyshire Record Society Volume VI. William Wolley died in 1719. See the Pedigree of Wolley of Darley Abbey which shows where he fits into the family.

[3] There are more details of Adam Wolley's Will on Pre 1858 Wills & Administrations, Surnames S - Z (scroll down). His inventory listed each room's contents, the number of animals (including four yolke of oxen and 68 sheepe) and even what was stored in his barns).

[4] Go to Antony Wolley's burial and details from his Will. Pre 1858 Wills & Administrations, Surnames S - Z.

[5] John Chappel[l] was buried at Matlock - see his burial and Rectors. Mary Chappel was buried 30 July 1720 and their son John 28 Jan 1724.

[6] See pre-1858 Wills for Chappell.

[7] Also see pre-1858 Wills for Greatorex

[8] "The Derby Mercury", 8 October 1823 mentioned "a capital dark brown Mare belonging to Mr. Job Cooper, of Riber Hall". The same paper (18 February 1824) names him again as still at Riber.

[9] George Allen was shown as living at Riber Hall in both the 1851 census and the 1861 census. He also advertised in most of the trade directories whilst living at Riber, beginning with Bagshaw's Directory 1846 | Kelly's Directory 1848 | White's Directory 1852 | Kelly's Directory 1855 | White's Directory 1857 | White's Directory 1862 | Kelly's Directory 1864.

[10] See the Riber Hall engraving.

[11] "Derbyshire Times", 7 January 1885. Else and son announce instructions from James Taylor of Riber Hall "whose lease expires on Lady Day next", to sell furniture etc and farm stock.

[12] "Derbyshire Times", 18 October 1890. Joseph Hodgkinson instructed by Roger Handley, giving up farm, to sell household furniture, livestock etc..

[13] The Walls were listed at the address in 1901 census and Jane and John Wall's gravestone in St. Giles' churchyard is the only stone to give the address as Riber Hall. Their daughter, Sarah, was listed as living at Riber Hall in Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's Directory 1912 | Kelly's Directory 1916 |. Sarah and her sister Mary were still there in 1939.

[14] The Outrams were living at Riber in the 1881 census | 1891 census | 1901 census but it wasn't until the 1911 census that Annie Outram, by then a widow, was living at the Hall. However, she had moved in before then as she was shown as living at Riber Hall Farm in Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's Directory 1912 | Kelly's 1916 Directory.

[15] "The Derby Mercury", 7 October 1866 (John Else notice about letting the property. Same paper, 10 October 1866, and other issues: Preliminary Announcements about selling the farming stock.

[16] William Jacques was buried in 1840. See Burials at St. Giles for other family members. Also pre-1858 Wills for Jaques and for Cotterill. It wasn't until the twentieth century that a Jaques returned to Riber.

[17] Cotterills can be found in the 1841 census | the 1851 census | the 1861 census | the 1871 census | the 1881 census. Also see pre-1858 Wills for Cotterill and Strays, Surnames C.

[18] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[19] Emily May Wall lived with her parents at 1 Pope Carr in 1911. Her father George had been born ar Riber.