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Scarthin Nick : Staffordshire Row & Chapel Hill, 1905
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Staffordshire Row, nine houses in Scarthin
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Scarthin Nick
From Allen's Hill, 1892



The Southern Entrance to the Dale, 1900-1910
(Scarthin Rock)



The White family were Scarthin residents



Churches & Chapels


The six houses of Staffordshire Row were built in the late eighteenth century[1]; the houses today are nos. 30 - 46 Water Lane and the listed buildings are part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site.

Staffordshire Row is on the very edge of the ancient parish boundary of Matlock, on the road which goes to the Via Gellia and Bonsall and just below the junction with Chapel Hill. The houses were built of local gritstone and are believed to have been erected by Sir Richard Arkwright on land he had bought in 1784[1].

It is believed that Arkwright built the houses for workers in his mills[1]. Examination of some of the census returns[2] reveals that although members of the households may have worked in the local cotton mills, this wasn't necessarily the case with the heads of each household. For example, of the nine households in 1841 there were 3 labourers, 2 independents, 1 cotton spinner (Samuel Gould), 1 hatter and 2 lead miners[2]. In 1871 the occupations of the head of house for the nine households were butcher, coal merchant, cordwainer, day labourer, farmer, gardener, retired laundress and railway plate layer. In 1901 Herbert Gillott, one of the eight heads of house, worked in the mills as a cotton winding overlooker[2]. The other occupations were a coal carter, a clerk in a hosiery works, two Joiners/Carpenters and railway worker, house duties and someone living on means[2].

The Church, bottom right, is Scarthin Mission Church; it was a chapel of ease linked to Holy Trinity Church in Matlock Bath[3].

Another former place of worship was the large four storey building near the bottom of Chapel Hill, on the left of the Staffordshire Row houses. This building had been the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, with a schoolroom underneath, for over ninety years when it was sold in 1900[4].

The road had been renamed after the Chapel[6]. The chapel schoolroom was, for some time, used to train their preachers[5]. In 1901 John Willn, who lived at Via Gellia House on Chapel Hill from about 1877, owned it; he was still at Chapel Hill when he passed away at the end of 1909[7].
Religious Census, 1851 (Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Scarthin).


The former Wesleyan Methodist chapel with schoolroom underneath is on the left.
Next to the chapel, but lower down the slope, are two cottages which must be the "Swiss Villas" referred to in the 1910 sale advertisements (see below) for various properties owned by John Willn.

Below them is a very small house which was redeveloped at the beginning of the twentieth century. An advertisement was published in 1906:
"To LET, very pretty new Model COTTAGE charming views; five rooms; immediate possession. Rent £14 and rates. Mr. Willn, Via Gellia House, Cromford"[8].

The small house was the toll bar, where William Pearson, William Jones and Mary Bunting collected the tolls in the 1850s, 60s and 70s[9].


Mary Elizabeth Willn, John Willn's second wife, offered Via Gellia House for sale in 1910. It was described as a charming family residence with well appointed conservatories and gardens, stabling and a coachhouse. Mr. Willn owned a number of other properties. Two villas, known as Swiss Villas, were also to be sold as well as nine houses[10]. The furniture and household effects were sold in 1911[11]. Via Gellia House then became the home of Guy le Blanc Smith[12].

Charles Frederick White, later an M.P., lived at Woodside, Chapel Hill with his family between 1905 and 1917. Their home was in the block of Georgian three storey houses above the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel - so on the very left hand side of the main image.


"Staffordshire Row, Cromford". Published by G. W. W. (G. W. Wilson) of Aberdeen.
In the collection of and provided by and © Ken Smith.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

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

[1] "The Derwent Valley Mills and their Communities" (2001), The Derwent Valley Mills Partnership, County Hall, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3AG. ISBN 0-9541940-0-4, p.30.

[2] Census returns for the Matlocks were poor in providing exact addresses but Staffordshire Row is named in the 1841 census, the 1871 census and the 1901 census. One of the families was away in on the night of the 1901 census.

[3] See Churches and Chapels : Scarthin Mission Church

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 26 September 1908.

[5] There is more about this chapel in: Buxton, Doreen and Charlton, Christopher (November 2013) "Cromford Revisited", The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Educational Trust. ISBN 978-0-9541940-6-2

[6] The earliest reference found in a newspaper was in 1924 when Nathaniel Wheatcroft (d. 2 Dec 1862) was shown living at Chapel Hill ("Derby Mercury", 29 December 1824). He can also be found in Glover's Directory, 1827-8-9 and White's Directory, 1857 (under Cromford).

[7] John Willn was living on Chapel Hill in the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census. He can also be found in the following trades directory transcripts in other parts of this website: Kelly's 1891 Directory | Kelly's 1895 Directory | Kelly's 1899 Directory.
He was also listed in Kelly's Directory of 1912. However, he had died at Via Gellia House, aged 77, on 31st December 1909 and was buried at Cromford Church on 4 Jan 1910. His first wife Harriett, was also buried there. She had died at Via Gellia House on 29 March 1891 and was buried on 3 Apr 1891.

[8] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 29 June 1906.

[9] The toll collectors found in census returns were William Pearson (1851 census and White's 1857 Directory), William Jones (1861 census) and Mary Bunting (1871 census).

[10] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 22 April 1910. The properties were described as "near Cromford". This was one of a series of notices advertising the property.

[11] "ibid.", 17 February 1911.

[12] "ibid.", 26 April 1912. Guy Le Blanc Smith was involved with Spar Motors in Matlock Bath. See Museum Parade & The Pitchings, 1910.