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Matlock: Willersley Castle, 1927 - at the time of the sale
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Willersley Castle 1927
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Arkwright family pedigree

Arkwright & His Cotton Mill

Engraving of Willersley Castle

Willersley, 1931.
Slightly altered

Willersley Castle Terrace, 1933

This lovely photograph of the main entrance to Willersley Castle was published in the 1927 sale catalogue of the estate, when the property passed out of the ownership of the Arkwright family, the descendants of the man who played such an important part in the Industrial Revolution. As one newspaper commented at the time of his death in 1792 "The history of this gentleman's life presents an extraordinary instance of what ingenuity, aided by persevering industry, can achieve"[1]. Sir Richard Arkwright was a remarkable man and, although he had the misfortune not have lived at Willersley himself, it was his money that paid for it and his descendants were to have the priviledge of living here for over 120 years.

The catalogue's foreword states: "Willersley Castle occupies a wonderful position in Matlock Dale, high above the Derwent, with views embracing the Heights of Abraham, Masson Hill, High Tor and other giants of the Peak. Before the lodge gates stretches the beautiful length of the dale immortalised by George Eliot as "the turn of the road to Cromford", and esteemed by the artists of Pilkington's day to be "the most compleat piece of scenery in the whole valley".

It is characteristic of the great inventive genius if Sir Richard Arkwright, that in spite of a massive obstruction of rock (which had to be removed before building could begin), he should have realised the possibilities of the site as a setting for his eighteenth century mansion"[2].

You may like to view more information on this website about the Arkwright family:
Matlock Biographies See ARKWRIGHT
Description of ARKWRIGHT Coat of Arms
Arkwright Family MI's
Matlock and Matlock Bath Trades Directories & Census
Cromford, DBY : Trades Directories
Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock

Engraving, from "The Beauties of England and Wales"' (1802)
covers cotton manufacturing, the mills, Willersley & the surrounding area, Sir Richard Arkwright (web page 2 of 2, 18th & 19th century Guides).

Cromford Church and Bridge
- this is on the opposite side of the River Derwent and is where several members of the Arkwright family are buried.

Photograph of Willersley from the 1927 sale catalogue[2] in the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
The interest of a lady called Kate who lives on Vancouver Island is how the image came to be presented here. She spotted the catalogue in a local shop and most generously sent it to sent me - which is how the image comes to be on this site.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Chester Chronicle", 17 August 1792.

[2] From the foreword of "A Catalogue of the Contents of the Mansion Willersley Castle, Matlock Bath", Knight Frank & Rutley (1927).