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Darley Dale: Stancliffe Hall, early twentieth century

Although greatly extended by Sir Joseph Whitworth, Stancliffe Hall is a stone built Stuart mansion, constructed following the demolition of an earlier building[1]. Stephen Glover (1833) tells us that it was "held by a younger branch of the Clumber family" and "was passed by successive heirs to the families of Newsam and Pott". In 1655 John Digby of Mansfield Woodhouse sold it to Robert Steere of Bridgetown, gent. Sir Paul Jenkinson gave it to Lettice, his daughter, who sold in to Robert Greensmith in 1718. William Heathcote of Batavia, Demerera became the owner in1799 and by the 1830s his brother, Arthur Heathcote Heathcote, was in residence[2].

Terence Kilburn, Whitworth's biographer, states that Whitworth tried - unsuccessfully - to buy the estate in 1847 and made another offer in 1854; the negotiations took two years to complete, with Whitworth paying £33,850 for the Stancliffe estate[1]. Although he was staying at the Hall in 1861[3], he did not reside here permanently until after his second marriage in 1871. Work on the property, in the French Renaissance style, was undertaken firstly by Thomas Roger Smith and then in 1879 by Edward Middleton Barry[1].

Sir Joseph Whitworth died in Monte Carlo aged 83 and was buried at St. Helen's, Darley Dale, on 2 February 1887[4]. The hall's interior was being decorated at the time[5]. He left his home to his widow Lady Louisa and it was said that "The house is a very fine one; and contains many valuable works of art"[6]. "The grounds ... are unequalled in Derbyshire for rock, scenery, and magnificent views"[7].The parish was a beneficiary of Sir Joseph Whitworth's estate, and his wife continued to do a great deal for the village. She passed away in 1896 and was buried beside her husband on 30 May, aged 68[4].

Sir Joseph's agent had been Joseph Dawson, who was succeeded by his son Sir Joseph Dawson (1857-1915). The latter gentleman was instrumental in the purchase of the Whitworth Estate after the death of Lady Whitworth and the foundation of the Stancliffe Estates Co Ltd in 1897[8].

In 1899 the Rev. Ernest Owen, M.A., formerly of the Llandaff prep school, approached the Stancliffe Estates Company with a view to the property becoming a school. There were extensive alterations before the school opened, including a new schoolroom and dormitories being built.The first batch of pupils, some 50 boys, arrived in Darley Dale in early October the same year[9].

The house and its estate are no longer a school and the house is Grade II listed.

Enlargement, showing the house and its 1885 Winter Garden (conservatory), which is hidden in the trees on the right.
The Winter garden was demolished.

References to Stancliffe Hall or the Estate:

Stone Quarrying in the Matlocks mentions Stancliffe Estates Company Limited

Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1891, North Darley (Darley Dale)

Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1899 - Matlock Bridge mentions Stancliffe Estates Co. Ltd.

The Matlock photographer William Nathan Statham worked here when it was a school.

Riber school played rugby and cricket matches against the school.

Darley Dale War Memorial is constructed from Stancliffe stone

  Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire:
Pedigrees, Documents & Deeds : Surnames C - F, Herbert Greensmith Beard, Stancliff Hall
Pedigrees, Documents & Deeds : Surnames G - L, Sir Paul Jenkinson

"Stancliffe Hall, near Matlock. View from the Park". Published by P. A. Buchanan & Co., Croydon. Printed in Berlin. Unused. (1/2d postage stamp Foreign 1d)
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Page researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Kilburn, Terence (1987) "Joseph Whitworth, Toolmaker", Scarthin Books, Cromford, ISBN 0 907758 22 3. Kilburn's book was the first modern popular biography of him. The foreword was written by A. E. Derbyshire, the then Chairman of the Whitworth Trust.

[2] Glover, Stephen (1833) "The History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby ..." Edited by T. Noble. pub. Derby and London.

[3] The 1861 census is available on FindMyPast.

[4] Darley Dale Parish Register.

[5] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 29 January 1887.

[6] "ibid"., 15 February 1887.

[7] "Derbyshire Times", 2 October 1897

[8] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 3 September 1915.

[9] "Derbyshire Times", Saturday 14 October 1899.

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