Cottage, Viâ Gellia, near Matlock Bath, 1905
|Matlock Bath : Twentieth Century Photographs,
Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
"Tufa Cottage" is in Derbyshire's Viâ Gellia, between
The Pig of Lead and Grange Mill on the turnpike road connecting
Newhaven and Cromford. The road was built in the very early
nineteenth century and is now the A5012.
In 1912 Via Gellia was described in a trade directory: "The
Via Gellia, partly in this parish [Bonsall], is a beautiful wooded
valley nearly four miles in length from Cromford to Grange Mill;
the road winding along the bottom of the valley forms a level and
charming promenade and drive".
A trip in a horse drawn cab through Via Gellia, often for visitors
en route to Dovedale, was available from Matlock Bath and they
would have undoubtedly stopped to look at this building. The house
has long been a magnet for tourists.
The area around the cottage is known as Bonsall Wood and on
the top of the hillside above the house are Dunsley (Petrifying)
the sign on the gate is impossible to read properly, it could be
a plea for the Edwardian trippers (the card was posted in 1905)
not to enter the garden as it begins with "Please" and
seems to end with "Rock". Equally, and probably more
likely, the residents might have sold rock samples as a way to
boost their income.
The cottage is built of tufa, which is a porous stone. According
to the Oxford dictionary it is "formed of pulverised matter
consolidated and often stratified ... a porous or vesicular carbonate
of lime, generally deposited near the sources and along the courses
of calcareous springs".
An 1880 Map names the hillside behind the property as Via Gellia
Quarry and the surrounding landscape suggests the house was built
in the quarry.
"Tufa Cottage" was not the name of the house. Throughout
the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth it was Marl
House, or Marl Cottage.
We can see from various census returns that it was often the home
of gamekeepers. For example, in 1911 a gamekeeper called Herbert
Hinkesman, a 34 year old born in Stoke, Herefordshire, was living
at Marl House with his wife and daughter.
It was then shown as having four rooms. In 1891 and 1901 the resident
game keeper was Edward Brooks.
However, before 1891 it is difficult to establish who lived there
with any certainty and the house was empty in 1861.
The date the house was built is not known, but was probably around
1830. Another example of a tufa construction is on the Lovers'
Walks in Matlock Bath where there is a tufa arched shelter near
the children's play area.
One of the Artistic Series, A.P. Co., 9 Bury Court, St. Mary Axe,
London, E.C. No.1940.
Card posted to Miss H. Walker, the webmistress's
great aunt, in Matlock Bath on July 23 1905.
Postcard in the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
links go to other information on this web site:
 Davies, David Peter (1811) "History
of Derbyshire" pub. S. Mason, Belper describes the new road
through the Via Gellia and notes what was found
when it was built. Read the
transcript elsewhere on this web site (look
 "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire"
(1912) Kelly & Co., p.66
 "The Shorter Oxford Dictionary
on Historic Principles" (1973), Oxford University Press
 OS Map (1880) Derbyshire 1 : 2,500.
Later Maps provide the house name but the maps refer to both Marl
House and Marl Cottage.
 The 1911 census is available on Find
My Past (external link, so will open in a new window)
 In 1901 Edward Brooks, a 47 year old
widower who was born at Youlgreave, is shown at Marl House - RG13/3241
f6 p4 s23 (2 rooms). In 1891 Brooks was living at No 1 Via Gellia
with his wife and children - RG12/2756 f25 p1 s3 (4 rooms). He was
also a gamekeeper in 1891, so is is probably safe to assume that
1 Via Gellia was Marl House
 The 1881 shows a gardener called William
Charlton, who was born in Bonsall, probably living at the property
- RG11/3426 f30 p2. The address provided was just Via Gellia, though.
In 1871 he was living there with his father, also called William
Charlton and a gardener - RG10/3602 f30 p1 s5. However, in 1861 In
1861 Marl House was unoccupied and the
Charltons were living down the road. Similarly, in 1851 the Charltons
were living on Via Gellia Road (HO107/2146 f692 p2
s7, but there are two unoccupied houses shown on the previous census
page. In the 1841 census it is impossible to tell. William Charlton
senior was living at Bonsall Hollow.
There is more on site information about Bonsall on this website:
Andrews Pages : Picture Gallery, Derbyshire has several photographs
and old cards
Kelly's Directory, 1891 - transcript of Bonsall entry