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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Derbyshire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Wingfield Manor (1), The Early Years to Mary Stuart
The High Tower, 72 feet high

"Neither the picturesque nor the strictly architectural traveller should miss Wingfield Manor House. Its tall ruins ... are an extremely dramatic sight".[1]

Wingfield Manor was begun about 1440 by Ralph, Lord Cromwell who was Treasurer of the Exchequer in the reign of Henry VI[2]. 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, 1892

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 crypt[3].

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 year[5]. 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"[3]. 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".[4].

"It appears from Sir Ralph Sadler's[6] 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[3]. 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 and children[7]. She was removed from Wingfield Manor and taken to Tutbury Castle on 25th Jan 1585[3]. 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[8].

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[3].
One of Imanuel Halton's sundials can be seen above the window on the right.

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[5].
Images in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Pevsner, Nikolaus (1953), "The Buildings of England, Derbyshire", Penguin Books.

[2] Henry VI reigned 1422-1461.

[3] 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.

[4] Plowden, Alison (1972) "Mistress of Hardwick", BBC Publications, Marylebone High Street, London ISBN: 0563106646.

[5] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London.

[6] 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 gentleman.

[7] "Black's Tourist Guide to Derbyshire" (1888) pub. Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh.

[8] 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 Church.

Also see:
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire
The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1891: South Wingfield, Derbyshire
Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811

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