Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811> This page
Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811
The parishes and chapelries as they were just over 200 years ago. Extracts from an early Derbyshire history

From : 'History of Derbyshire' by David Peter Davies

Derbyshire is described below under sub headings which are found at the beginning of Chapters 2 and 4 but they do not appear within the chapter's text.
The sub headings provided below have only been used to aid your research:

[Reminder: Names of places, etc. are as they were recorded]

Its Situation and Boundaries

[p. 17]

"THE county of Derby, is situated in the middle of England; being at an equal distance from the German ocean on the East, as from St. George's channel on the West: and on the North and South, the extremities of Northumberland and Hants, are nearly alike remote. On the North it is bounded by Yorkshire and a part of Cheshire, which is separated from it by the river Etherow; on the South by a part of Leicestershire; on the East by the county of Nottingham, and another part of that of Leicester; and on the West, it is divided from Staffordshire and Cheshire, by the Trent, the Dove, and the Goyt.

Ancient Divisions

[pp. 17-18]

In the time of the Britons, Derbyshire is found included, in the number of the counties that made up the kingdom of the Coritani; who likewise inhabited, the Counties of Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton, Lincoln, and Rutland. But the Romans, when they had gained possession of the island, made a new division of it, into Britannia prima, Britannia secunda, Maxima Cæsariensis, Valentia, and Flavia Cæsariensis[1]. Under the division of Flavia Cæsariensis, which reached from the Thames to the Humber, was included the county of Derby.

Roman Roads

[pp. 18-21]

The Romans have left indubitable proofs of their having inhabited this county; this will be more clearly shewn, when we come to describe the places, where any remains of them have been discovered. One very strong evidence is, the military roads, which may be traced, traversing the county in different directions. That learned antiquarian Mr. Pegge, about forty years ago, investigated and described two of the principal ones, which have been discovered in this county[2]. The road which has claimed most of his attention, is that which passes, in a north-east direction, through Derbyshire.

This Ilkenild-street, he has discovered, came out of Staffordshire, and entered this county at Monk's Bridge, about two miles to the north-east of Burton, and passing over Egginton heath, to Little Over, ran in a north-east direction to the west side of the town of Derby; then crossing Nun's Green, it reached Little Chester, by a bridge thrown over the Derwent at that place. From thence it proceeded to Breadsall Priory; and after running across Morley moor, it is very visible about one hundred yards to the East of Brackley gate. It is then lost; till we come to Horsley park; after that it crosses the road leading from Nottingham to Wirksworth, near Horsley Woodhouse; and may be traced to a house called Cumbersome, which is built upon it. After crossing Bottle-brook, it goes by the Smithy houses; it may be seen in the Street-lane, and crossing the fields between Heage and Ripley, it appears opposite Harthay-house. Then directing its course to Cony-green house, and passing on the east-side of the camp on Pentrich common, it extends towards Okerthorpe; from hence it runs to the Peacock inn, and crossing the road goes into the fields on the right hand, and appears again on the side of the hill, on the other side of the road. From this place, it extends in a direct line for Higham, through the demesne land of Shirland Hall ; then following the turnpike road to Clay-cross, it reaches a farm called Egston; and crossing some inclosures, the Quaker's burying ground, and a part of Tupton moor, near the Blacksmith's shop it is lost; and beyond the middle of Sir Windsor Hunloke's avenue, no traces of it are discoverable; but it is thought to have extended as far as Chesterfield.

The other road which Mr. Pegge has investigated, is that supposed to have extended from Buxton to Brough near Hope, called the Bathway, or Bathing-gate. This is not so discernible as the other; but, this gentleman has ascertained its existence: and beginning at its north-east extremity, has traced its course with clearness and certainty. It is said, that there is another Roman road, in the neighbourhood of Buxton, extending from Hurdlow House to Pike Hall, in a parallel line with the turnpike road which leads to Ashbourne.

When the Romans had quitted Britain, and the Saxons had made a conquest of it; the Pentarchy of the former, was succeeded by the Heptarchy which the latter established. Derbyshire, with seventeen other counties, was included in the kingdom of Mercia[3]; and its inhabitants, in conjunction with those of Nottingham, from their being situated North of the Trent, were distinguished by the name of (Mercii aquilonares) the northern Mercians. - These two counties, appear to have been connected in the administration of their civil poli-[?]; and to have been governed by the same civil officers, until the reign of Henry the Third: (about the year 1240) when the burgesses of Derby, purchased the privilege of having their assizes held alternately at their own town: but from the year 1566, when an act was passed for allowing a sheriff to each county, they have been held, with a few exceptions, at Derby.

Figure | Extent

[pp. 21-22]

The figure of Derbyshire is so irregular, and its outlines so variable, that it can hardly be said to bear a resemblance to any determinate figure :—it approaches nearer to that of a triangle than any other; but its numerous curves and projections, make the resemblance more imaginary than real. From the best survey that has been taken of it, it is ascertained, that its greatest length, from North to South, is nearly fifty-five miles; and its breadth at the northern extremity, is reckoned to be about thirty-three; but from thence it gradually diminishes, so that at its southern extremity, it narrows almost to a point. Its circumference is about 204 miles. It contains 720,640 acres of land: of these above 500,000 are cultivated, arable, and pasture; whilst the remainder consists, chiefly, of bleak mountainous regions, and open commons. The, whole county is divided into six hundreds, 116 parishes; and includes about 34,000 houses.


[p. 22]

BEDE, a Saxon writer of the eighth century, says, that the inhabitants of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, "possessed the land of seven thousand families." Now taking half of these for Derbyshire, and allowing ten persons upon an average, to constitute each family, we shall find upon this calculation, that the population at that time, was no more than 35,000 inhabitants. In the beginning of the reign of George the Second, it is asserted, that they amounted to 126,900; and a few years ago, it was thought, that, they were increased to 161,142: and it may be expected from the flourishing state of the cotton, and other manufactories, in the county, that their number is much augmented since that time.

General Appearance

[pp. 22-25]

There is no other county in England, which presents such a variety of scenery as Derbyshire :—the northern and southern parts exhibiting, such a striking difference and contrast in geographical features. The former abounds with hill and dale, "and the scenery, is in many parts, romantic and sublime; but on the whole inferior in picturesque effect to that of other mountainous countries. Beauty indeed is only resident in the vallies; the high ground appearing dreary, and destitute of entertainment: and in many situations not a single house or tree, is seen, to divert the eye of the traveller, or relieve the weariness, that arises from the contemplation of sterility and nakedness: Unpleasing however, and even disgustful to the imagination, as the moors are, they serve by way of contrast, to heighten the beauty of the dales and vallies, by which they are intersected; and the sudden change which these occasion in the appearance of the country, at once surprises and interests :—admiration is excited by comparison; and the mind readily admits, that its pleasure would have been less perfect, if the preceding scenes had been more beautiful[4]."

The country gradually rises until we come to the neighbourhood of Wirksworth : and then it begins to assume that picturesque and mountainous appearance, which it continues to possess to its extremity: "that chain of hills arises, which stretching northwards, is continued in a greater or less breadth, quite to the borders of Scotland; and forms a natural boundary, between the East and West sides of the northern part of the kingdom. Its course in this county is inclined a little to the West. It spreads as it advances northerly, and at length fills up the whole of the north-west angle, also overflowing a little, as it were, towards the eastern parts. The hills are at first of small elevation; but being in their progress piled one upon another, they form very elevated ground, in the tract called the High Peak, though without any eminencies, which can rank among the loftiest mountains even of this island[5]." The most considerable however in height, are the mountains Axe-edge and Kinder-scout. The former situated to the south-west of Buxton, according to Mr. Whitehurst's calculation, rises 2100 feet higher than the level of the town of Derby, and 1000 above that of the valley in which Buxton Hall stands. The height of Kinder-scout has not been ascertained; but as it overlooks all the surrounding eminences, it is supposed to have a still greater elevation.— From the great elevation of these mountains, the clouds are observed to rest upon them, when they pass over the high land with which they are surrounded. The prospect from these eminences is very extensive; it is even alleged, that on a clear day, the vicinities of the towns of Liverpool and Manchester, the mountains of North Wales, and the Wrekin in Shropshire, may be distinguished with the naked eye. In that part which is called the Low Peak, lying near the centre of the county, there are eminences of various heights and extents. Brassington-moor, Alport near Wirksworth, and Crich-cliff, are the most conspicuous. There is also a ridge, extending from Hardwicke towards the borders of Yorkshire in a northern direction. The southern part of Derbyshire is, upon the whole, a pleasant and fertile country; not distinguished in its appearance from the other midland counties. The banks of the Trent is a range of low meadows subject to inundations, for the most part well cultivated, but presenting no variety of scenery.

Rivers (and Canals)

[pp. 25-39]

Like all other hilly countries, Derbyshire abounds in rivers: the principal are, the Trent, the Derwent, the Dove, the Wye, the Errewash, and the Rother.

The TRENT,[6] which from the length of its course and the quantity of its water, is accounted the third river in England; has its source near Biddulph on the borders of Cheshire, out of New-pool, and two springs flowing from Molecop. Passing through Staffordshire, it enters Derbyshire at its south-western extremity, a little distance South of Catton Hall; and forms the boundary of the county for several miles on that side. At Newton Solney, it takes an easterly direction, and flowing by Willington, Twyford, and Swarkeston, it reaches the borders of Leicestershire. A little distance from Weston, it assumes a north-easterly course, and for a considerable way, forms the boundary of the county in that direction, till it finally quits Derbyshire, and enters Nottinghamshire near Barton. After receiving many tributary streams, and forming the boundary between the counties of Nottingham and Lincoln, it meets the Ouse on the borders of Yorkshire, where their united streams form the Humber.

The DERWENT[7] has its source in the junction of several rills, flowing among the mountainous regions of the High Peak ; and after being increased by the various torrents which flow over these dreary wastes, it becomes a considerable stream at the little town of Derwent ; from which it takes its name. At Hathersage, it is augmented by another considerable branch, from the more western part of the Peak; and taking a southerly direction inclined a little to the East, flows rapidly over its uneven bed, and passes through Chatsworth park below which it receives the Wye, coming down from Buxton and Bakewell. After passing through Rowsley, it heightens the beauty of the pleasant vale of Darley by its progress; its course as well as its appearance is then changed; it takes a more easterly direction, and its stream is ingulphed between those high and craggy rocks, which overhang it on each side, and inclose it in a narrow channel, till it is freed from its confinement, and opens with a peaceful stream into the romantic dale of Matlock.— From there it winds its course, through a narrow vale, to the town of Belper; and the different prospects, which present themselves to the eye, for the eight miles which separate these places, can hardly be equalled for picturesque beauty, or in richness and variety of scenery. It then enters the cultivated and extended vale which reaches the town of Derby; where suddenly turning to the East, and crossing a wide plain, it mixes its waters with those of the Trent, near Wilne on the Leicestershire border. The length of its course is estimated at about forty-six miles ;—and it has been observed, that, owing to the rapidity of its current, and its reception of the many warm springs, that mix with its waters, the temperature of the Derwent, is warmer than that of rivers in general; and that in summer, it frequently raises the thermometer to 66 degrees.

The DOVE[8] also rises in the High Peak, at a little distance to the South of Buxton, on the Staffordshire limit: and holding a course nearly parallel to the Derwent, it winds amidst alternate angles of mountain bases, which some times jut out in a bold and naked rock; and at others, in a promontory covered with trees, or a gentle sloping bank of grass"[9]. In its progress it passes through the very romantic spot, Dove Dale, a place far-famed for its wild scenery: it is then augmented by many little streams, and inclines to the West until it reaches the vale of Uttoxeter; and passing several towns in its course, at last unites itself with the Trent, a few miles North of Burton.

The Dove, like the other rivers in Derbyshire, sometimes swells in the space of twelve hours, to an amazing height; and frequently carries away whole flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, and returns as suddenly to its natural channel. These inundations are occasioned by the very sudden and great quantities of rain, which frequently fall in the northern parts of the county.

The WYE[10] derives its origin among the barren moors in the neighbourhood of Buxton ; and flowing in a south-east direction, by Ashford and Bakewell, it comes to Rowsley, where it falls into the Derwent.

The ERREWASH[11] rises about the middle of the eastern border, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Alfreton; and running southwards forms the boundary, between the counties of Derby and Nottingham, until it joins the Trent near Sawley.

The ROTHER[12] has its source in the junction of several small streams in the vicinity of Chesterfield; which, town it passes in its course; when taking a north-easterly direction, it enters Yorkshire between Kilmarsh and Beighton.

These rivers are well stocked, with almost every kind of fresh-water fish. Formerly a great quantity of salmon was caught in the Derwent; but owing to the wears [weirs], that have been erected, and the many other obstructions these fish find in their progress up the stream, there have been but few, if any, caught during late years. The Dove and the Wye, are famed for the quality and quantity of their trout: and the grayling is a fish which is seldom met with, except in the Trent and Dove. Besides these, the pike, the barbel, the carp, the chub, and the gudgeon are found in very great plenty.

Derbyshire is not deficient of those advantages, which arise to an inland country, from the possession of the means of water carriage. As early as the year 1729, the Trent was rendered navigable as far as the town of Burton: but since that period, an unspeakable benefit has been conferred on the commerce of this county, by the communication which has been opened between it and every part of the kingdom by the means of navigable canals. Of these, there are no less than seven, which cross the county in different directions.

The first that was opened in this county, was that which was planned by Mr. Brindley, a gentleman of Derbyshire; an account of whose life will be given, when we come to treat of the parish in which he was born. He made his survey in 1758, and in 1766 the bill for making a navigable canal from the river Trent near Wilden-ferry in Derbyshire, to the river Mersey near Runcorn-gap, was brought into Parliament and passed.

"This canal which, by its planner, was ingeniously termed the grand trunk (in allusion to the main artery of the body, from whence branches are sent off, for the nourishment of the distant parts,) and which is commonly known by the name of the Staffordshire canal; takes its course from the north-west to the south-east, across the county of Chester, and thence across Staffordshire beyond its middle; when turning short in a north-eastern-direction parallel to the Trent, it accompanies that river into Derbyshire, and enters it near the place where the high road from Derby to Leicester, crosses the Trent over a bridge, substituted to the former Wilden-ferry. In length it is ninety-three miles. Its fall of water, from its greatest elevation at Harecastle-hill, is 326 feet on the northern side, and 316 on the southern; the former effected by thirty-five locks, the latter by forty. Six of the most southern locks are fourteen feet wide, adapted to the navigation of large barges, and one of the northern is of the same width. The common dimensions of the canal are twenty-nine feet breadth at the top, sixteen at the bottom, and the depth four feet and a half. The canal is carried over the Dove in an aqueduct of twenty-three arches, the ground being raised to a considerable height for the space of a mile and two furlongs.— Over the Trent it is carried by an aqueduct of six arches of twenty-one feet span each; and over the Dane, on three arches of twenty feet span. There are besides near 160 lesser aqueducts and culverts, for the conveyance of brooks and small streams. The cart bridges erected over it are 109; the foot bridges eleven. This great work was begun on July 17th 1766. It was carried on with great spirit by Mr. Brindley, while he lived, and: was finished by his brother-in-law Mr. Henshall, who put the last hand to it in May, 1777.[13]"

CHESTERFIELD CANAL—In 1769, Mr. Brindley surveyed the course of an intended canal, from the town of Chesterfield, to the river Trent; and in 1770 an act was obtained for putting his plan into execution. The tract canal is from Chesterfield by Rickett's-mill, near Stavely-forge, by Stavely town and coal-works, the Hague, and near Eckington and Killimarsh, to Hartshill, which it penetrates by a tunnel ; thence to Worksop and Retford, where it crosses the Idle and at length arrives at the Trent, which it enters at Stockwith, a little below Gainsborough. Its whole length is about forty-six miles :-its rise from Chesterfield to Norwood is forty-five feet; and its fall from thence to the Trent 335 feet, for which it has sixty-five locks. The tunnel at Norwood is 2850 yards ; and that at Drake-hole 153 yards, This canal was completed, so as to be navigated in 1776; but the expense of the work amounting to £160,000, was so much beyond the estimate, that shares fell to a very depreciated value ; but lately they have recovered themselves considerably.

LANGLEY-BRIDGE, or ERREWASH CANAL.—In the year 1777, the owners of the extensive coal-mines, lying in the south-western part of this country, obtained an act, for making a navigable canal from Langley-bridge to the Trent opposite to the entrance of the Soar — This canal commences in the Trent near Sawley, and runs nearly parallel to the little boundary river Errewash; and after passing the collieries in the neighbourhood of Langley and Heanor, it terminates in the Cromford canal at Langley-bridge. It is joined by the Derby canal, between Sandiacre and Long-Eaton; and there is an iron rail-way branch to Brinsley coal-works. The general direction of this canal is nearly North for eleven miles and a quarter ; its fall 108 feet eight inches; by means of fourteen locks.

PEAK-FOREST-CANAL.—The act for cutting this, was obtained in 1794, and it was finished in l800. It proceeds from the Ashton-under-Lyne canal near Dunkinfield-bridge ; and crossing the river Tame passes Denton, Chad-kirk and Maple-Chapel to Whaley-Bridge, (to which a branch is carried) where it enters Derbyshire: and is carried forward to the bason and lime-kilns at Chapel-Mir; and notwithstanding its being carried through the most hilly country, there are no locks, This canal at present pays thirty per cent. Mine-waters may be used for the supply of this Canal, but only the flood-waters of rivers.

CROMFORD CANAL, begins at Cromford near Matlock, and running for some way parallel to the Derwent, passes Crich, Bull-bridge, Fritchley, Heage, Hartshay , Loscoe, Heanor, and joins the Errewash canal at Langley-bridge. It runs in general in a south-east direction for fourteen miles; of which the first eleven are level; but the latter three have a fall of about eighty feet. Besides several smaller tunnels, there is one, near Ripley, 2966 yards in length; over this, there is a reservoir of fifty acres of water when full; the head or embankment of which is 200 yards long, thirty-five feet in height in the middle of the valley, the base being there fifty-two yards wide; the top of the bank is four yards wide. This reservoir is said to have cost £1600[14]. There is a cut to Pinxton coal-works, of three miles in length: another to Swanwick coal-mines: and also a collateral one of near half a mile, from the Derwent aqueduct-bridge, to Lea-bridge, stone-sawing-mill and, wharf; but this latter cut is private property. There is a rail-way branching to Crich lime-works, for a mile and a half; and another to Beggarlee coal-works, an equal distance. The principal engineer to this canal was W. Jessop, Esq. and it was completed before the year 1794. - The total cost is said to have exceeded £80,000. - Several new cuts have been proposed to be made from this. In 1797, it was in contemplation to make one from the summit-level to the collieries in Codnor Park. Notice was given in 1801 of an intended Belper canal, which was to join this near Bull-bridge; and in 1802 a cut was proposed to be made from the Derwent aqueduct on this canal, to near Dethick, and thence near the Derwent and Wye rivers, to the town Bakewell.

ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH CANAL. The act for this canal was obtained 34th Geo. III. It joins the Coventry Canal at Marston-bridge, about two miles to the South of Nuneaton; it then passes Hinckley, Stoke Golding, Dadlington, through Bosworth-field, and near Market-Bosworth, then crosses the river Sence to Gospal Park, goes to Snareton, and through a tunnel to Measham, Oakthorpe, and across Ashby-woulds, and through Blackfordby to Ashby-de-la-Zouch. This canal, with all its branches, is fifty miles long, and 252 feet lockage[15].

DERBY CANAL; the act for which, was obtained 33rd Geo. III. commences in the Trent, at Swarkestone-bridge ; and crossing the Trent and Mersey Canal terminates at Little Eaton, about four miles North of Derby. The length of this branch is about eight miles and a half, with a rise of about twenty-nine feet. There is a rail-way branch of four miles and a half to the Smithy-Houses; and thence to the collieries near Denby. Another branch of this canal begins at Derby, and holds an easterly direction, nearly parallel to the road leading to Nottingham, which passes Chaddesden, Spoonden, Burrowsash, and joins the Errewash canal between Long Eaton and Sandiacre : its length is eight miles and a half, with a fall of twenty-nine feet. This canal is forty-four feet wide at top, twenty-four at bottom, and five feet deep; except the upper level at Little Eaton, which is made six feet deep, to retain the water of wet seasons like a reservoir; the locks are ninety feet long, and fifteen feet wide within side. Adjoining the town of Derby, is a large wear, where the canal crosses the Derwent, which was navigable to this place for many years before this canal was undertaken; and the proprietors thinking that the tolls would necessarily fall off on the completion of this canal, agreed that the Company should purchase the whole concern for £3996. A little he West of the Derwent, the canal crosses a brook in a cast-iron aqueduct. This canal was finished in 1794; the company were authorised to borrow £90,000, the value of shares being £100. Manures are to pass toll-free, and puncheons or clogs of wood, to be used as supporters in the adjacent coal-mines, and road materials, excepting for turnpike-roads. If the Mansfield turnpike-road tolls, are reduced below four per cent. on their debt, this company is to make them up to that sum. The profits of the concern are not to exceed eight per cent. and after £4000 is accumulated, as a stock for contingencies, the tolls, are to be reduced.— Five thousand tons of coals are annually to go free of all rates, for the use of the poor of the town of Derby; and three members of the corporation, and the same number of proprietor each for the liberty of passing along the railway branch.

Atmosphere and Climate

[pp. 39-44]

The ATMOSPHERE and CLIMATE of Derbyshire vary very much in its different parts. From its northern situation, even the southern part of the county is colder, and more frequently visited by rains, than many of the more central counties of England. In summer, cold and thick fogs are frequently seen hanging over the rivers, and surrounding the basis of the hills; and hoar-frosts are not unfrequent in the month of June. Old people seem to think, that the seasons have undergone a change within the last forty or fifty years: and though it is natural for age to magnify the advantages of its youth, yet many observers, endowed with philosophical skill, and candid judgment, have agreed that some change has taken place, in the temperature of the year. Thus, it is said, that the winters in this county, are found in general to be more moist and mild, and the summers more humid and cold than they formerly were; and that consequently, the seasons are later and more backward.

Owing to the great elevation of the northern part of the county, it is found much colder than the southern. Some kind of grain will not grow at all in the Peak; and even that which is sown in the most sheltered vallies, is seldom ready to be cut till late in the year.— The winters are, in general, very severe; and the frost continues so long in the ground, that it cannot be broken up until the season is far advanced: the consequence is, that the corn has seldom sufficient time to ripen, and is cut down, and left to wither in the sun, and to be dried by the air.

The mountains are so high in the Peak of Derbyshire, that they attract and intercept the clouds in their progress over them: this region is therefore distinguished from all others by the greater quantity of rain which falls upon it.— Sometimes it descends in torrents, accompanied with violent storms; carrying every thing before it, and causing great ravages on the side of the hills, and in the cultivated dales: but they are seldom of long duration, and often disappear as suddenly as they come on. "We arrived, says a late tourist[16], who witnessed one of these storms, "just in time to take shelter amongst those massy rocks, from the most tremendous storm of thunder and lightning I had ever witnessed.— Fixed, as it were, not only on the summit of a mountain, but on the highest land in the country, for perhaps one hundred miles round; and in a thunder storm when the hills echoed the loud peals again and again, with almost as loud responses; while the vivid lightening was playing from the clouds beneath; were altogether such a sublime assemblage, that I could not but think myself fortunate in having arrived at this momentous period.

"I clearly observed the clouds pass with the most amazing rapidity, on the sides and summits of the mountains; in one moment veiling the whole country in impenetrable mist, and then as instantaneously passing from the sight. Another flash of lightening, and another awful barn of thunder; and in a single moment, the scene was again cleared up, by the impetuous passing cloud. I had never before experienced such a singular sublimity; I could scare think it natural ; it had more the appearance of magic or enchantment!"

These sudden and violent storms, however, clear the air of every thing noxious: the atmosphere is found to be pure and healthful ; and, like most high situations, free from epidemic diseases, though it is found, that in the deep vallies and narrow dales, agues and fevers are not uncommon.

One disease, however, is endemick in these parts, and extends as far South as Derby: it is the Bronchocele or Derbyshire neck. It is a swelling seated on the fore-part of the throat, occasioned by the enlargement of the thyroid gland, but not unfrequently the gland becomes subdivided into several fleshy portions, connected closely to each other by cellural membranes. The form and contents of this tumour are very various: during the first years of its existence, it is reddish, and moderately compressible; endowed with little sensibility, highly vascular in its texture, not readily going into suppuration, and leaving the external skin of its natural colour. It is generally believed that the swelling, in the greater number of cases, is truly sarcomatous or fleshy; while some have said, that the bronchocele consists of a honey-like matter ; others, that it contains little, portions of bone and hair; others, that it is inflated by air; and some, that it is distended by a watery, or puriform fluid: all these opinions may be occasionally true. Females, children, and persons of relaxed and delicate constitutions, are more subject to this affection, than males, adults, and persons whose habits are rigid and vigorous: but sometimes persons of apparently good constitutions, of either sex, are affected by it.

No satisfactory causes have been assigned for this disease. Some have attributed it to the drinking of hard, cold or snow water; the use of food not sufficiently nourishing; the repulsion of some cutaneous disorder; the abuse of vinous or spirituous liquors: but the bronchocele will be found to prevail where none of these causes exist. It is found in many countries besides Derbyshire, and particularly in Swisserland:[17] indeed it predominates in most Countries, affected by great humidity of the atmosphere, joined with excessive heat: it augments in the spring time, and diminishes in the autumn; it is less prevalent in a cold and dry winter, than during a season of dampness and moderate warmth. It is purely a local complaint of the neck, unattended with the least danger, unless it extend to a size to affect the breathing, which is seldom the case. The remedy is simple; and if the patient be of a moderately good constitution and under twenty-five years of age, the cure is almost certain: but at a more advanced period in life, it is improbable, and seldom if ever succeeds[18].


[pp. 44-46]

The SOIL of Derbyshire, is almost as various as its appearance. In the northern parts of the county, very extensive peat-bogs exist; in which have been found buried at a considerable distance below the surface, large pieces of timber, very little decayed. The soil in these parts, consists chiefly of ligneous particles, being the roots of decayed vegetables, mixed with argillaceous earth or sand, and a coaly substance derived from decayed vegetable matter. The surface presents nothing but the barren black moss, thinly clothed with heath or ling. But in many parts of the Peak there is to be found, what the natives call a corn loam: this seems to consist of a virgin earth, impregnated with nitre. Where this corn loam is in sufficient quantity, and meets with a stratum of marl or clay, it forms a desirable field for cultivation; but these spots are over-balanced by vast tracts of barren hills and mountains, whose sides present very little soil, being chiefly composed of rocks. When the limestone forms the mountain, the soil though scanty, is productive of the finer grasses, which form good pasturage for sheep[19]. On that part which is called the East Moor, there is scarcely any vegetation : not a dale or a glade which seems to have received the cultivating hand of man, or the fostering smile of nature.

The most common soil in the southern parts is, a reddish clay or marl. This soil, which in this district has little or no stone beneath the surface, is also found to prevail, through the middle part of the extensive tract of limestone, which lies on the north-west side of the county; and consists of much calcareous earth, which readily effervesces with acids. It is thought that the colouring principle of this soil, is the calx of iron; as the water which passes through it, has been found to be slightly chalybeate. Some parts of the southern district is interspersed with small beds of sand, or gravel; which are in general siliceous, and therefore insoluble in acids. The large tract of country which produces coal, is covered with a clay of different colours; black, grey, brown, and especially yellow. This kind of soil is also found in some parts where the gritstone is met with; but there, it is frequently of a black colour, and bituminous quality. That on the north-east side of the county, where limestone prevails, is of a brown colour and loose texture. The soil on the banks of the rivers, and in the vallies, is different from that of the adjacent parts, and evidently has been altered by the depositions from the frequent inundations.


[pp. 46-50]

Owing to the barreness of the soil, and the coldness of the climate, there is out little corn grown in the northern parts; and the attention of the farmers, is chiefly turned to grazing and breeding cattle. Of these, large herds are brought from Cheshire and Yorkshire in the spring, and fetched back in the autumn; for their pasturage during the summer, the owners pay a shilling a head per week; which but ill remunerates the poor tenant, who, in general, pays from ten to fourteen shillings an acre, in rent, for this naked and unyielding ground. At Chelmorton and Stoney Middleton, a considerable number of cattle are yearly fattened, and disposed of, at the Manchester and Sheffield markets. The land in, and about the parish of Glossop, is chiefly used for pasture: and very little corn, except black oats, as grown in this, or in any other part of the High Peak.

But as we approach the southern extremity, tillage becomes more frequent ; and on the eastern side of the county it chiefly prevails.— The midland tracts, have a mixture of pasture and arrable land, according to the soil and situation: but the banks of the Dove are chiefly occupied with dairy farms. About the town of Derby all kinds of grain are cultivated: and the produce is in general very abundant. In the extensive fields in the neighbourhood of Chaddesden and Chellaston, a great quantity of wheat, and that of a particularly fine sort, is raised: the course of tillage invariably pursued there, is fallow, wheat, barley, beans, and peas. The ground here is mostly prepared by a wheel-plough, drawn by two horses going a-breast: though the double furrowed plough also has been introduced into the southern parts of the county. Barley is much cultivated in many parts of the county: more particularly at Gresley and Repton. These parishes lying near the extensive breweries of Burton, the farmers have been induced to grow this grain, because of the ready sale they find for it there: the whole produce has been estimated at 5000 quarters annually. The produce of wheat in the county is scarcely equal to the consumption: that of beans and oats nearly answers the home demand. Extensive crops of cabbage and turnips are raised: and the cultivation of artificial grasses, seems more attended to now, than it has been for some years: indeed the whole agricultural system of the county, is in a state of progressive improvement.

But an uncommon species of culture, in which about 200 acres of this county are employed; is that of camomile. "A loamy soil, is chosen for its cultivation, and, after the ground is well prepared by thorough cleanings, about the end of March, the roots of an old plantation are taken up, and divided into small slips, which are planted in rows about eighteen inches assunder, and the same distance in rows. The plants are kept clean by frequent hoeing and weeding with the hand. In September the flowers are fit to gather : their perfection depends on their being fully blown, without having stood so long as to lose their whiteness; the flowering continues till stopped by the frosts. The gatherings are repeated as often as successions of flowers appear; but this depends very much on the season, dry open weather furnishing more successions than wet or dull weather. When the flowers are gathered they are carefully dried, either in kilns very moderately heated, or on the floors of boarded rooms, heated by slow fires: the object is to keep the flowers white and whole, this is best effected by drying them as slowly as possible. The produce varies from two hundred weight, and even less, to four, and in some few instances, six hundred weight per acre. The price has also varied from 40s. to £7. per cwt. The plants usually stand three years, of which the first affords the smallest produce; and the second the greatest and the best. When the plants are continued beyond three years, the ground becomes foul, and the flowers weak. When dried, the flowers are packed in bags; and afterwards sold to persons in the neighbourhood, who transmit them to the druggists in London."

But upon the whole, Derbyshire is more of a grazing and dairying, than a corn county.—
[Description of farm animals and birds not included]


[p. 56]

The produce of the manufactories in the county, are various and extensive. The manufactories, of cotton, into thread, stockings, and calico, at Cromford, Belper, Derby, and other parts; of wool into hose, and cloth, on the borders of Nottinghamshire, and in the neighbourhood of Tideswell; of iron on the north-east side, adjacent to Yorkshire; of silk, and also of ornaments made of spar, at Derby; are the principal, and will be taken notice of when we come to treat of these places.

Civil Division
[pp. 122-3]

The civil division of Derbyshire is into six hundreds:—The High Peak Hundred, in the north- west; Scarsdale Hundred, in the north-east; Wirksworth Wapentake, in the West; Appletree Hundred, in the south-west; Morleston Hundred, in the south-east; Reppington Hundred[21], in the South. At what period this division of the county was made is uncertain ; but it seems to be of later date than Domesday book. There we meet with the Scavedale wapentack, Hamelestu wapentack, Morlestan wapentack, Walecross wapentack, and Pechelers: a division which appears to be of Saxon origin ; and bearing but little correspondence to the present one.

At the time of the Norman Survey, the land in Derbyshire, like all others, in those feudal times, was divided among seventeen proprietors:— [listed below in columns to make the names easier to read]

  King William,
The Bishop of Chester,
The Abbey of Burton,
Hugh the Earl,
Roger of Poictou,
Henry de Ferieres,
William Peverel,
Walter de Aincurt,
Geoffrey Alselin,
Ralph the son of Hubert,
Ralph de Burun,
Hascuit Musard,
Gilbert de Gand,
Nigel de Satford,
Robert the son of William,
Roger de Busli,
The Thanes of the King.


[pp. 123-124]

Some remains, of what an elegant historian, calls,[20] "the encroachments of the feudal nobles on the prerogative of their monarchs; their usurping the administration of justice with supreme authority, both in civil and criminal causes," are yet to be found in Derbyshire : these are the court of the duchy of Lancaster, and the Peverel Court. To the duchy of Lancaster, belong the honor of Tutbury and at Sudbury the hundred of Appletree ; and the courts of pleas (or as they are generally called the three weeks courts) for the former, are regularly held at Tutbury, and for the latter at Sudbury. In these courts a steward presides : and all debts and damages under forty shillings, due for goods sold, servant's wages, labourer's hire, agistment of cattle, rent, money lent, trespasses, assaults, and several other things, are recoverable.

In the Peverel court, which is held at Lenton, near Nottingham, a steward also presides ; and sometimes actions for the recovery of small debts are brought into it : as its proceedings are less expensive and more expeditious, than those in the courts of Westminster. Most towns and villages in the county, are comprised within the jurisdiction of these courts.

The county of Derby sends two members to parliament ; a priviledge, which it is ascertained, it enjoyed as early as the twenty-third of Edward I. ; but how much sooner has not been discovered with certainty. The assizes are held at Derby twice a year, spring and autumn. The Epiphany, the Easter and Michaelmas county sessions are also held at Derby; but the Midsummer at Chesterfield.— But with respect to the common judiciary, Derbyshire is included in the Midland circuit.

Ecclesiastical Division

[p. 124]

In ecclesiastical concerns, Derbyshire forms part of the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry; and is divided into one archdeaconry and five deaneries,[22] which are the following:
[listed below to make the names easier to read]

Archdeaconry of Derby.
Deaneries of   Ashbourn,

The County Town was: The Town of Derby

Footnotes and references from the book and transcriber's notes on the above.

[1] Camden, Gibson's p. clxvi.

[2] Pegge's Peram.

[3] Camden clxvi.

[4] Beauties of England and Wales, III. 239.

[5] Aiken's Descrip. of the Country around Manchester, p.65.

[6] some Antiquarians derive the name of this river from the French word TRENTE; and to support this derivation have asserted that it is made up of thirty different rivers. Others allege, that thirty sorts of fish are to be found in its waters. Vide Camden, p.530. Trent is written TREN in an ancient M. S. of Llywarch Hen, (he flourished about the year 630.) Cambrian Register, Vol. I. p. 341.

[7] There are several rivers in England of this name; but the etymology of the word has never been settled: it is most probably derived from the British word "DERW" oaks, with the addition of another syllable signifying "PASSING." ; Thus implying; a river flowing through groves of oaks.

[8] "DOVE; is a river from a level ground, it has its name from the British Dov tame, but if a swift river, it is of the same origin with the DOVI and TYVI in Wales;" which signify a river buried between deep banks. Ibid. p. 341, 291. Others derive the name from the colour of its water, which has a greyish tinge, approaching that of the bird of the same name. name.

[9] Grant's Tour to the Lakes.

[10] WYE or GWY, the old British word for water in general.

[11] ERREWASH, from the Cambro-British word ERWYS, the river of heroes.

[12] ROTHER, From the Brittish RHUDDER, or RHUD-DWR, reddish water, or water flowing over a reddish bed of clay or stones.

[13] Aikins Descrip. p.118.

[14] Dr. Rees' Cyclopiedia.

[15] Phillips' Inland Navigation, p. 329.

[16] Hutchinson's Tour through the High Peak of Derbyshire, p.91.

[17] The inhabitants in one part of this country [i.e. Switzerland], particularly in the republic of Vallais, are very much subject to goitres, or large excrescences of flesh that grow from the throat, and often increase to a most enormous size, the causes which produce a frequency of this phaænomenon in this country form a very curious question.
The springs that supply drink to the natives are impregnated with a calcareous matter called in Switzerland tuf, nearly similar to the incrustations of Matlock in Derbyshire, so minutely dissolved as not in the least to affect the transparency of the water. It is not improbable that the impalpable particles of this substance, thus dissolved, should introduce themselves into the glands of the throat, and produce goitres, for the following reasons: because tuf, or this calcareous deposition, abounds in all those districts where goitres are common. There are goitrous persons and much tuf in Derbyshire, in various parts of the Vallais, in the Valteline, at Lucerne, Freybourg, and Berne, near Aigle and Bex, in several places of the Pays-de-Vaud, near Dresden, in the valleys of Savoy and Piedmont, near Turin and Milan; But the strongest proof in favour of this opinion, says the author, is derived from the following facts. "A surgeon whom I met with at the baths of Leuk informed me, that he had not infrequently extracted concretions of tuf-stone from several goîtres; and that from one in particular, which suppurated, he had taken several flat pieces, each about half an inch long. He added, that the same substance was found in the stomach of cows, and in the goîtrous tumours to which even the dogs of the country are subject.— He had diminished or cured the goîtres of many young persons by emollient liquors, and external applications ; and prevented them in future, by removing his patients from the place where the springs are impregnated with tuf; and if that could not be contrived, by forbidding the use of water which was not purified.": GUTHRIE'S GEOGRAPHY, p. 526.
This is also discussed under FAQ, where more a modern medical view is linked.

[18] Cyclopædia, v. Bronchocele.

[19] Vide Reports to the Board of Agriculture.

[20] Roberston: Charles V. vol.I, p.66.

Transcriber's Notes

[21] Davies is inconsistent with the spelling of this Deanery. In this section he uses Reppington, but elsewhere he uses Repington.

[22] Davies is quite specific with these names, and his chapter headings group the parishes accordingly. The Lysons, some six years later, differ slightly from Davies. They record the parishes Davies recorded as belonging to the Archdeaconry of Derby under the High Peak Deanery. Later directories place them under the rural deaneries of Bakewell, Eyam and Glossop.

[23] The Deanery of Castillar did not take its name from a Derbyshire town or village. Its origins are from the Mediaeval Latin castellaris 'precinct of jurisdiction of a castle' and the deanery was named from Tutbury Castle St.
Cameron, K. (1959) 'The Place Names of Derbyshire', English Place Name Society Volume XXXIX, Cambridge University Press, p.24.

Davies' book
An Ann Andrews book transcript