|Wingfield Manor (1), The Early Years to Mary
The High Tower, 72 feet high
Wingfield Manor was begun about 1440 by Ralph, Lord Cromwell who
was Treasurer of the Exchequer in the reign of Henry VI.
It was then sold to John Talbot, second Earl of Shrewsbury,
who completed the building and Wingfield remained as one of
the principal seats of his successors until not long before
the English Civil War. It was built on a small hill and would
have had extensive views.
Inner Court, with the High Tower on the left,
The entrance gateway opened onto a large square outer court
or quadrangle where the less important members of the household
lived. The inner court was more stately. The great banqueting
hall was 72 ft. by 36 ft., underneath which was a spacious
The Crypt, one of the finest in England, was built in two
wide aisles with a vaulted and groined roof. There are
many carved details on both the capitals of columns and
on the bosses on the vaulting ribs, an example of which
can be seen above. About 1900.
Mary Queen of Scots was first at Wingfield on 2 February
1569 and returned for a six month stay in April of the same
She was placed in the custody of George Talbot, sixth Earl
of Shrewsbury who was the fourth husband of Bess of Hardwick,
in 1568 and she remained in his care for seventeen years.
It was said the her "misfortunes
began in her cradle, and accompanied her, with little intermission,
to her grave".
Alison Plowden described her a "very feminine", whereas
Bess of Hardwick was shrewd and successful. They were both
skilled needlewomen, which was fortunate for the length of
time they spent together, but "both
possessed devious scheming brains"..
"It appears from Sir Ralph Sadler's papers
published in 1809, that there were two hundred and ten gentlemen,
yeomen, officers and soldiers, employed in the custody of the
Queen of Scots at Wingfield in the month of November, 1554" when
she was once more in residence.
Her personal household consisted of five gentlemen, fourteen
servitors (attendants/servants), three cooks, four boys, three
gentlemen's men, six gentlewomen, two wives, and ten wenches
She was removed from Wingfield Manor and taken to Tutbury Castle
on 25th Jan 1585.
The Babington Plot, in which local landowner Anthony
Babington of Dethick was heavily involved, was to have disastrous
consequences for both Mary and the ringleaders.
Oriel Window, North Court.
"It has been a very beautiful edifice ... from the
remains on the north side of the principal court: these
consist of a porch and a bow with three Gothic windows".
The window arches are pointed and both porch and bow window
are embattled. Just below the battlements is a fascia
of quatrefoils and roses.
There is more about Wingfield
Manor on the next page.
1. Postcard of "High Tower, Win[g]field Manor". R.
Sneath, Paradise St., Sheffield, The Peak Perfection Series,
No.202. Not posted.
2. "The Crypt, Wingfield Manor" by W. W. Winter of
Derby. Image from Ward Lock & Co's "Guide
to Matlock, Dovedale, Etc.", Illustrated Guide Books
of England and Wales (Guide Series 1903-4). The photographs/drawings/engravings
in the book were unlikely to have been taken specifically for
the guide and were also not necessarily of the same date the
book was published.
3. Postcard of "Inner Court, Wingfield Manor". Valentine's
Series No.17460 [Registered 1892]. Not posted
4. "Oriel Window in North Court, Wingfield Manor. Illustration
by Nellie Erichsen from Firth.
Images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Henry VI reigned 1422-1461.
 Ward, Reverend Richard (1814) "The
Matlock, Buxton and Castleton Guide, containing concise accounts
of these and other remarkable places ... in the ... County
of Derby", Derby.
 Plowden, Alison (1972) "Mistress
of Hardwick", BBC Publications, Marylebone High Street,
London ISBN: 0563106646.
 Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways
and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London.
 Mary was removed from the care
of the Shewsburys in Sept 1854. Relations between the couple
were becoming increasingly acrimonious. She was temporarily
placed in the custody of Sir Ralph Sadler, an elderly Puritan
Tourist Guide to Derbyshire" (1888) pub. Adam and
Charles Black, Edinburgh.
 Anthony Babington, the Plot's leader,
was horribly treated when he was hung, drawn and quartered,
whilst Mary was eventually removed to Fotheringhay where she
was executed. Also see Dethick
Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire
Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock
Directory of Derbyshire, 1891: South Wingfield,