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Matlock Bank: The Duke of Wellington and the Hascarlane Toll Bar, 1892
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The Duke of Wellington Inn, on the corner of Chesterfield Road and Wellington Street, was a fairly substantial house in 1892. It is difficult to date the building, but it appears to be either late eighteenth or early nineteenth century and had been owned by the Ward family for many years; they may have built it. It was shown on Sanderson's Map of 1835 and George and Mary Ward were listed as the landowners in the 1848 Tithe Award[1].

There has been some speculation about the name of the inn and a possible connection to the Battle of Waterloo but there is no evidence to support this and there was no Duke of Wellington Inn listed in any of the trade directories published in the first half of the nineteenth century[2]. Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, died on 14 September 1852 and after his death many streets became Wellington Street/Road and inn names became The Duke of Wellington or the Wellington Arms, etc. as tributes to one of Britain's great men.

The owner/occupier at the time of this cabinet card was George Ward (1830-13 Aug 1898)[3], the son of the Matlock Bank farmer George Ward by his first wife Elizabeth Brocklehurst[4]. Elizabeth died in 1835 and George, with a young son to look after, quickly remarried. His second wife was Mary Ballington[4], who brought up the young boy. After his father died George continued to live with his stepmother until he married.

George Ward the younger started out as a Wheelwright & Joiner[5]. He was granted a license for a beerhouse on his premises in the mid 1850s but we do not find the name The Duke of Wellington associated with the building until the 1871 census and then in Kelly's 1876 Directory. There may be other references, but they are currently (2021) not known by the web mistress. Following Mr. Ward's death on 18 Aug 1898[6] his son Samuel briefly ran the Duke of Wellington before it was put on the market and sold[7].


"Derbyshire Times", 11 March 1899.

By Messrs Else and Son, Matlock Bank. "Duke of Wellington Inn." To Brewers And Others. Highly Valuable, Old-Accustomed, Fully-Licensed, Freehold And Free Public-House, Known as The "Duke of Wellington" Inn. With the outbuildings, yards, garden, and croft of grassland adjoining.
Late in the occupation of the owner, in whose possession it has been for many years. Frontages on Chesterfield Road and Wellington Street of 251 and 142 feet respectively , containing an area of 4923 sq. yds.
Smoke Room, Parlour, Bar, Sitting Room, Pantry and eight bedrooms. With outbuildings including a stable, a coach house, pig sties etc. Ample supply of water[8].


Asker / Hascar / Hasker is an very old Matlock place name that is found in a number of early records[9]. We can see the Hascar Lane (Asker Lane) Toll house opposite the Duke of Wellington in the top photo. The board that displayed the toll charges was still fixed to the house wall although the property's residents were no longer collecting toll money by this time. Bryan does not mention the toll gate by name in 1903, simply referring to a gate having existed on Matlock Bank[10].

Chesterfield Road was formerly the Chesterfield to Matlock Turnpike Road; by 1759 there were 9 turnpike trusts in Derbyshire, including this one[11]. In 1848 the "Horsecarlane Toll bar" was owned by the Trustees of Chesterfield and Matlock Turnpike Road with the house and its garden on a plot measuring 15 perches (not quite a quarter of an acre)[1]. Over the years there were a number of additions, alterations and repairs carried out. In 1817, for example, the building was repaired and a Cow House was added[12]. Presumably the Cow House was on the left had side and perhaps the privy was on the right, although the door may just have been the "back" door and the privy could have been further away from the house. Grenville Smith notes that the roof was made of stone slates, a heavy material[13].

John Dodson was the toll collector here from shortly before 1851 until the 1870s[14]. In 1879 the toll gates and gate posts of the Hascar Bar were for sale[15] and early the following year the Turnpike Trust was wound up[16]. The house remained for some years and was bought by Rev. John Higgs but in 1894 the Council condemned cottages belonging to Mrs Shepherd and Rev. Higgs as unfit for habitation[17] and the former toll house was demolished. Later that year, the Highways Committee wished to widen Chesterfield Road as they were attempting to make it more attractive to visitors so Rev. Higgs agreed to rebuild the boundary wall[18].

The top image was also a family photo that was passed down through several generations of the Smith/Hursthouse family and we know that in the picture shows several of the children of Joseph and Mary Smith who were still living at the family home on Chesterfield Road at the time as well as "the eldest sister" Ginnie. Martha (Pattie) and Mary (Polly) both married in 1892 and their elder sister was already married; both young women were smartly dressed here. It may have been their brother George was standing between them; he was wearing a suit and a cap and was possibly a "buttons" at one of the hydros, with perhaps Henry and Frederick sitting on the wall. The man driving the cart could be either Joseph or his sons Isaac or Joseph Jr. as they were all farm labourers at that point[19]. They later moved to Asker Farm. There are three people outside the old toll house, including a mother and a toddler, and someone else is looking out of the window watching the proceedings. Their identities are unknown.

To return briefly to the Duke of Wellington, it was bought by Mr John Parkin," late of Sheffield". It was Mr. Parkin who altered the front of the building; he proposed making alterations, and the plans were taken before the Brewster Sessions for approval[20]. The bay windows were added at this time. A couple of years later the license had to be transferred to his wife Elizabeth, but she died in 1913 and this "Well Accustomed, Freehold and Fully Licensed Hotel - the hotel is entirely free as regards its trade"[21] - was on the market once more. It passed into the hands of John Ellis[22], who was not there long. William Clay, great grandfather of the web mistress, was the landlord in 1915[23] but by 1916 it had changed hands once more and J H Walton was the licensee[24].

The Duke of Wellington and Chesterfield Road during the Second World War. The car on the left was probably an Austin 10 whereas the one on the right, with two people in it, was an Austin 8 Army staff car with a soft top. It has the number 1 just above the front bumper, headlamps either side of the radiator grill and very wide mudguards. There seem to be no registration plates on either vehicle.
Herbert Hollingworth was the hotel's licensed victualler from shortly before WW2 until early 1943.
The Asker Lane entrance was still very narrow as the sharp corner by Westlea (previously Hillside) had not yet been removed, so the downhill visibility for drivers would have been very poor.



1. [The Duke of Wellington and the Toll Bar] Cabinet card published by W. N. Statham, The Studio, Matlock Bridge. © Maureen Smith collection. When Maureen received this image from her grandmother in 1948 she was told it dated from "about 1893". The age of the children as well as the white dress of one of the young women and smart attire of the second one seem to indicate that it was taken the previous year.
2. Photograph of the Duke of Wellington and Chesterfield Road, taken during World War II. © Ann Andrews collection.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] Matlock Tithe Award, 1848/9.

[2] See Matlock, Matlock Bath & District Directories, 19th Century. Even White's 1857 Directory just lists George Ward with a beerhouse on the Bank.

[3] George Ward Senior married Elizabeth Brocklehurst by licence at Wirksworth in 1824 (see Strays, Surnames W). Elizabeth was buried at St. Giles' on 28 Jan 1835 (see her 1835 burial). He then married Mary Ballington (see Matlock Marriages, Surnames W and Marriage Witnesses 1835).
George can also be found, as a farmer on Matlock Bank, in the 1841 census | Bagshaw's 1846 Directory (Farmers) | Pre 1858 Wills - Surnames W (1846).

[4] Mary Ward passed away "on the 4th inst., at Matlock, ... aged 87" ("Derbyshire Times", 13 May 1871) although her age at burial was said to be 89. In the 1861 census she was living alone.

[5] George Ward the Younger advertised in most of the trade directories, although until 1876 the name The Duke of Wellington was not published. See Kelly's 1855 Directory | White's 1857 Directory | White's 1862 Directory | Kelly's 1864 Directory | Kelly's 1876 Directory | Kelly's 1891 Directory | Kelly's 1895 Directory |

[6] "Derbyshire Times", 20 August 1898. Death of Mr, George Ward, of Matlock. " Matlock has lost one its oldest and most respected licensed victuallers". George Ward was buried at St. Giles' on 16 Aug 1898. His wife Mary pre-deceased him and was buried in the churchyard on 2 Jun 1897.

[7] Kelly's 1899 Directory.

[8] "Derbyshire Times", 11 March 1899. Else and Sons advertisement. The property was sold at the Horse Shoe Hotel, Matlock Green ("ibid.", 1 April 1899). The ample supply of water was significant. The Inn shared the same supply as Chatsworth Hydro, known as Poplar Cottage at the time of this image.

[9] Hascar Records:
- 1503 - Garratt, H.J.H. and Rawcliffe, Carole. (edited by) (1985) "Derbyshire Feet of Fines 1323 - 1564" pub. Derbyshire Records Society.
- Madder family Wills, 1568, 1585 - see pre 1858 Wills, Surnames M.
- Wolley Manuscripts, Vol 6673 ff.62-3 - Title Deeds
- Wolley Manuscripts, Vol 6668 f.112 - late inheritance of John Savile, 1735.

[10] Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.

[11] "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals, an Illustrated by the Records of the Quarter Sessions of the County of Derby from Queen Elizabeth to Queen Victoria" by the Rev. Charles J. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A vol I. London: Bemrose and Sons, 23 Old Bailey; and Derby (1890)

[12] From a copy of Mr. O'Brien's bill, Michael Spencer collection, dated 14 June 1817. Original held by the Derbyshire Record Office.
The work undertaken also included house repairing and masonry work, joiners work for shifting the house door, glazers work for shifting and repairing the windows and other items.

[13] Grenville Smith points out that the stone slates become smaller in size towards the apex of the roof, so those near the ridge were smaller - and lighter - than those over the eaves.

[14] John Dodson and his family can be found in the 1851 census | White's 1852 Directory | the 1861 census | the 1871 census. His wife Mary had died in 1869, aged 70, and was buried at Tansley (no Christian name was given for her although she was of Matlock). John, of Matlock Bank and aged 78, was buried there on 2 Jan 1875.

[15] "Derbyshire Times", 11 October 1879. Two of the toll bars were having to be pulled down and the grounds were to be flattened, with the materials they had been made of for sale, but at Hascar Lane and at several other toll bars belonging to that trust it was just the posts that were to be sold.

[16] "Derbyshire Courier", 6 March 1880. Chesterfield and Matlock Turnpike Road. "A meeting of the Trustees on 15 Mar 1880 ... for the purpose of passing the final Account and winding up the Trust".

[17] "Derby Mercury", 14 February 1894. Local Board monthly meeting.
John Higgs was an influential man in Matlock and can be found in: the 1841 census | 1851 census (see Strays, Surnames H | the 1861 census | the 1871 census | Return of Owners of Land 1873 - Derbyshire | the 1881 census | the 1891 census. He died in 1895.

[18] "Derbyshire Times", 10 November 1894. Improvements. The Highway Committee Meeting. The wanted to widen Chesterfield Road and Rev Higgs readily agreed and instructed his agent, Mr. J. Smith, to do the necessary work.

[19] Joseph and Mary Smith, together with their children, lived close the the Inn. They can be found in various census returns. For example in the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census | Post 1858 Wills, Surnames S. Their elder daughter, Sarah Jane (Ginnie), was already married to Joseph Gregory by the time of this photo.

[20] "Derbyshire Times", 20 May 1899. Final transfer of the license to John Parkin and intention to make alterations.
The Parkins can be found in the 1901 census | Kelly's Directory, 1908 (Elizabeth P) | Kelly's Directory 1912 (Elizabeth P) |

[21] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 15 August 1913.

[22] "ibid.", 10 May 1913. Ellis granted a temporary license.

[23] "Ashbourne News Telegraph", 25 June 1915. Matlock Publican Roughly Handled.

[24] J. H. Walton advertised in Kelly's Directory 1916.