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Matlock: Snitterton Hall, 1909
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Photographed a couple of years later

"A gem of an Elizabethan manor house."[1]
Nikolaus Pevsner (1953).

Pevsner added that the "symmetrical front [is] embattled and gabled, with broad shallow projections on the sides and six-light and four-light mullioned and transomed windows. The doorway [is] flanked by crude fancy ionic pilasters and with a lintel decorated with flower motifs"[1]. Mrs. Eva McCreagh Thornhill of Stanton Hall had bought the property from Mrs. Killick in 1906[2], three years before the above image was published. By 1912 it was the home of her daughter Flora and son in law, Bertie George Davie[3].

Wills, documents, deeds and early parish registers help provided information about some of the earliest residents of this house. There are a number of records of the Milward family of Snitterton in the Darley Dale PR; the earliest death was for Robert, the 17 year old son of John Milward, in 1652. His brother, John Milward junior of Snitterton House, married Joyce, daughter of Henry Sacheverell of Barton, NTT, in 1867 but he died two years later. He left all his "personal estate, goods and chattels whatsoever" to his "dear wife", apart from "the ancient Household Goods belonging to Snitterton house" and six of the best cows which were left to his lawful successor[4].

His father was buried at St. Helen's the following year. John Milward senior had been Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1635, was a Colonel in the Civil War and became an M.P. One of John Milward senior's daughters, Felicia [Pholicea], a co-heiress of his estate, had married Charles Alderley of Westminster. They were to sell a fifth of the manor, including Snitterton Hall, to Henry Ferne (see below)[5].

The next inhabitant of Snitterton House seems to have been John Low, Yeoman "late Brother deceased" of the Vicar of Blackwell according to the administration documents of his estate.[6]

Henry Ferne of Snitterton, whose father Robert had erected the Free School at Bonsall, was Receiver General of the Customs in the Reigns of Queen Anne and George I. Henry married Elizabeth Dayrel and their son Robert became an M.P. Henry and Elizabeth Ferne were living in Hammersmith in the early 1720s but Henry died without leaving a Will; his son had taken out Letters of Administration but he passed away before his father's estate was settled. This left the administration in the hands of Henry's widow, Elizabeth. Her daughters - Elizabeth Turnor, Isabella Rolleston and Frances Bradshaw - were coheirs of their brother's estate. A number of documents are held at TNA and other archives that relate to the family[7].

The earliest resident of Snitterton Hall recorded in local newspapers was Mr. Shore, who had lost "a spaniel bitch, mostly white with several small red spots on her back, answering to the name of Phil" in 1774[8]. We hear of Robert Shore again when he was authorised to sell 68 parts or shares of a lead mine, Ox-close in the Liberty of Matlock[9]. He also built the paper mill at Matlock Bath, together with George White of Winster (see Wolley Manuscripts, vol 6670 f.90d and Wolley Manuscripts, vol 6671 ff.310-313). Unfortunately, he had some financial difficulties in 1779 and all his "household goods, furniture, husbandry, geers, cattle, hay, corn and other stock were sold on the 21st February" 1780[10].

Mr. Benjamin Stone, a farmer, moved into the hall a little later in the year and passed away there on 16 Dec 1810, aged 80[11]. Snitterton Hall was owned by Edmund Turner in the late 1820s, when it was occupied by the Sybray family; they farmed the land until the 1860s[12]. Joseph Sybray's wife was the daughter of Mrs. Gooddie of what was to become the Peacock inn at Rowsley[13].

Derby Mercury, 1 September 1852

THE SNITTERTON HALL ESTATE, Situate in a most Romantic and delightful Locality, distant about Two Miles only from the Picturesque and far-famed Matlock Baths ...
either as an Entire Estate, or in Lots, as may be deemed advisable ...
The freehold estate comprised the Manor or Lordship of Snitterton, an excellent residence, about 410 acres of Superior Arable, Meadow and Pasture Land.
The principal part of the estate is in the occupation of Mr R Sybray.

It was also advertised in:
"Sheffield Independent", 23 October 1852.

Amongst those from whom particulars could be provided was a Mr. MacVicar of Wragby, LIN,
a land agent who worked for the Turnor family.

The Sybrays were followed by John Melland, who farmed 309 acres[14]. By 1887 the old manor house had changed hands again and Robt Armistead was there, but the property was divided into two by 1890, and the following year Armistead advertised it to be let or sold by the next Lady Day[15]. Robert Stevenson, a retired mining engineer, died at the house in 1892[16]. He was followed, briefly, by J. T. Mower who moved to Snitterton in 1892, re-advertised it in 1893 but was still there in 1894. Arthur Cook farmed there in 1895 but two years later he was advertising the front portion of the house as to let, furnished. On offer was a dining room, a drawing room, a kitchen, larder and four bedrooms with stables if required. The Cooks remained at the Hall until 1903. Little wonder, though, that the Ripley paper commented on Mrs. McCreagh Thornhill's purchase in 1906 that this "fine old manor-house... has, we understand once more changed hands"[2].

Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 25 October 1930

By Order of the Trustees of Colonel B. G. DAVIE, Deceased.
Matlock 2 miles. Within easy reach of Derby, Sheffield, and Manchester,
THE SMALL ORIGINAL MANOR HOUSE, of great antiquarian interest, possesses one of the most perfectly preserved, unspoilt stone façades in existence, also the interior is full of original features.
Rich in OAK PANELLING and STONE CHIMNEY-PIECES, box window seats.
Main Electric Light and Water. Central Heating, GARAGE, STABLING, 3 FARMS, 2 COTTAGES.
Lovely, but inexpensive old-world walled gardens, pasture, woodland, in all
427 ACRES.

Lieut.-Col. Davie had died in 1917. His mother in law and wife survived him; both were living in Stanton Hall when the 1939 register was taken. Eva Thornhill passed away in 1941, aged 91, whilst Flora died in Buxton in 1958, aged 82. She had added Thornhill to her surname.

The Hall is now Grade I listed and its walls have a Grade II listing.

Snitterton is mentioned in the following on-site book transcripts and historical records:

1. Derbyshire References:
Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes C-D. See DARLEY.

The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Pedigrees, Documents & Deeds : Surnames M - P : Milward of Snitterton
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Pedigrees, Documents & Deeds : Surnames M - P : Needham of Cowley, Snitterton and Thornsett
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Charters, Documents & Deeds : Places S - T

2. Matlock References:
  Matlock in the Domesday Book, 1086
Matlock Charters and Early Deeds
Manorial Records, Extracts from 1851
Game Duty Lists, Gentlemen's and Gamekeepers' Certificates, 1800 - 1852 (Sybray)
Coats of Arms of Matlock Families, 1817 and before - Ferne and Snitterton
The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock - Navigate via Place Names, S - T

"Snitterton Hall, Matlock". Valentine's Series. Unused. The original version of this card is no.61569 and was published in 1909.
Postcard in the collection, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
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] Pevsner, Nikolaus (1953), "The Buildings of England, Derbyshire", Penguin Books.

[2] "Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 9 November 1906. It was then lived in by Mr. Jas. Allsop, who had been a schoolmaster at Heage. It was sold by Messrs. Wilson and Gray by private treaty. Mrs. McCreagh Thornhill had been widowed in 1902.

[3] There is some confusion about who bought the house. The "Derby Daily Telegraph" of 23 January 1909 stated that the 1906 vendor was Mrs. Killick of Southport and Mrs. McCreagh Thornhill's son in law had bought the property. He is shown at Snitterton Hall in Kelly's 1912 Directory. Lieut.-Col. Davie joined the 8th London Regiment and died in Hove in 1917. he is commemorated on a number of War Memorials, both locally and elsewhere in the UK: Bishops Tawton Devon (where he was born); the Chapel, Rugby School; St Michael's Church, Belgravia (where he lived in 1911); St Mary's, Wensley; Bakewell Cottage Hospital. He may be commemorated at other locations, too.
- "Derbyshire Courier", 11 June 1910 records that a new wing was being built, after which the Davie family were expected to take up residence. The workmen had discovered an old covered-in cellar, containing old moulded stone and ironwork with a date of 1635.
- Mrs. Margaret Louisa Killick (1860-1946), nee Ashworth, was born at Bonsall. Her husband Charles (d.1906) was a Manchester businessman with businesses also in Bombay.

[4] John son of John Milward junior of Snitterton was buried 4 Oct 1669. He appointed Joyce as the sole executrix of his Will (John Milward Junr Snitterton, proved 23 Nov 1669). He also bequeathed: £10 apiece to his sisters for mourning rings; £10 to John Sharron, John Lees and John Clifton; his hawks and most of his dogs were given to Anthony FitzHerbert; £5 to Henry Else and Abraham Wild; £2 to John Heatherby and Francis Glover and sums to his female servants. He does not mentioned surviving issue, either legitimate or illegitimate, and none have been found.

[5] John Milward senior of Snitterton was buried at Darley on 21 Sep 1670.
- Will of John Milward of Snitterton, 19 Dec 1670 (TNA - PROB 11/334/546). Snetterton at TNA. Dated 24 Oct 1669. He was survived by one surviving son, Henry, several daughters and a grandson, John Constable, who was the son of his daughter Elizabeth. He was generous to servants and the poor of both Ashbourne and Wensley and Snitterton.
- The information about Felicia and her husband is from Cox, J. Charles (1877) "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire Vol II" Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings; and Derby.
- Also see FitzHerbert of Tissington Title Deeds, Derbyshire RO, D239 M/T 729 (1685).
- Sheriffs. 1635. John Milward, Snitterton, Esq. (Armiger) "a person of much Courage and Generosity, as any Gentleman could be capable off". From: "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals...", Rev. Charles J. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A Vol I. (1890) pub. London: Bemrose and Sons, 23 Old Bailey; and Derby
- He was an M. P. - see The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, John Milward.
- There is a memorial in St. Helen's to his wife Anne, nee Whitehalgh, who died in 1858. Their issue was three sons and eight daughters.

[6] Administration of John Low, late of Snitterton House. Having died intestate, administration was granted 14 Nov 1687 to his sister Dorothy Allsop. Another sister had married the Vicar of Blackwell. His son and heir was Thomas Low of Alfreton who renounced his claim. The inventory only covered the "goods in ye house at Snitterton".

[7] An MI for Henry Ferne can be found in Bonsall Church (see MIs elsewhere).
Other documents include:
i. The Will of Robert Ferne of Snitterton Hall, dated 17 Oct 1723 (TNA: PROB 11/593/357). Also see The History of Parliament, Robert Ferne. His sisters, co-heirs of his estate, were Elizabeth wife of Edmund Turnor, esq of Stoke, Lincolnshire, Isabella wife of Lancelot Rolleston, esq of Watnall, Nottinghamshire and Isabella wife of Thomas Bradshaw of Custom House, London.
ii. The Lincolnshire Archives (19 and 20 Dec 1728) hold a lease and release of a "capital messuage called Snitterton Hall" and other properties that had belonged to Robert. They also hold some records about the Free School at Bonsall, founded by the grandfather of Elizabeth Turnor.
iii. Grant of letters of administration of the goods and chattels of Henry Ferne, formerly of Hammersmith, co. Middx., to Elizabeth Ferne, his widow, October 1723 (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, ER 3/2184).
iv. Will of Elizabeth Ferne, Widow of Hammersmith, MDX (TNA: PROB 11/659/147). Elizabeth was buried at Hammersmith on 16 May 1733.
A prolonged Chancery case, with Mr. Ferne in dispute with the trustees and copyholders of the manor of Bonsall began circa 1719; proceedings were not settled for many years. In the early 1900s a man from Manchester with the same surname even wondered if they were his relations and if he had a claim, but Turnor descendants had continued to live in Lincolnshire so he could hardly have been an heir. There is a lengthy description of Chancery case involving Henry Ferne in Glover, Stephen (1833) "The History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby ..." Edited by T. Noble. pub. Derby and London (under Bonsall). This was added to the already published volume from material he was given by T. I. Ince of Wirksworth and is not in the edition of the book I (web mistress) own, so I have concluded it was re-printed after my copy was first bought.

[8] "Derby Mercury", 18 March 1774.

[9] "ibid.", 29 May 1778 and 5 June 1778. Robert Shore was son of Roger Shore of Snitterton (Roger's Will, 1748).

[10] "ibid.", 12 November 1779, when his Creditors were desired to meet. Sale notices were placed in the same paper on 8 January 1780 and 4 February 1780.

[11] "ibid.", 9 June 1780 and the "Nottingham Journal", 5 January 1811. He was buried at Darley St. Helen's on 19 Dec 1810 and probate was granted 17 Oct 1811. In 1796 he was listed as one of those in the area who had joined the Association for the prosecution of felons. His son was Benjamin Stone, surgeon, of Winster (Probate 17 Oct 1811).

[12] Six members of the Sybray family are buried at St. Helen's. Joseph died in 1845, aged 67. His widow Sarah Webster Sybray, passed away in 1860, aged 77. Four of their children had already died and their son Robert was the only child to survive. He and his son Charles farmed at Snitterton Hall in the 1861 census although had moved to Alderwasley by 1871. Charles Sybray is shown as an Insurance Agent in Kelly's 1864 Directory of Matlock.

[13] "Nottinghamshire Guardian", 20 January 1900. Notes About Rowsley. Mrs. Gooddie was the last tenant farmer at the Peacock. The Sybrays moved to Snitterton Hall about 1828. They were listed in Glover's 1827-29 Directory.

[14] "Derby Mercury", 25 February 1880. Copy of Return. Melland John, Snitterton Hall, Matlock, gentleman. The Mellands can also be found there in the 1871 and 1881 census returns as well as Kelly's 1881 Directory. John Melland was at Atlow in 1891.

[15] Kelly's 1887 Directory and Kelly's 1891 Directory of Derbyshire - see onsite transcript for 1891.

[16] He died 14 Jul 1892, aged 52, and was buried at Darley St. Helen's two days later.

[17] Sale notices were placed in the "Derbyshire Times", 29 June 1892 and the "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 20 October 1893.

[18] Arthur Cook was a Councillor in 1900 for South Darley (Wensley) but he retired from the role in 1903.