Derbyshire or Derby, a Midland and almost central county, nearly equidistant from the eastern and the western seas, and from Scotland and the English Channel. It is bounded on the NW by Cheshire, on the N and NE by Yorkshire, on the E by Notts., on the SE by Leicestershire, on the S by Warwickshire and Staffordshire, on the W, by Staffordshire and Cheshire. Its length south-south-eastward is 66 miles, its greatest breadth 84 miles, its circuit about 176 miles, its area 658,624 acres. The southern portion, as far as Belper, is low country, diversified only by undulations and inconsiderable heights; the middle and north-eastern portions are hilly, and have rich diversities of dale and rock; and the north-western portion rises into the mountains of the High Peak, a conspicuous part of the backbone of England, has several summits nearly 1800 feet high, and presents a striking mixture of arable bottoms, upland pastures, barren moors, precipitous cliffs, and romantic scenery. The chief rivers are the Trent, the Derwent, the Dove, the Wye, the Erewash, the Etherow, the Goyt, and the Rother, Warm springs are at Matlock, Buxton, and Bakewell, sulphur springs at Kedleston, and a chalybeate spring at Quarndon. Rocks of new red sandstone occupy nearly all the county south of Ashborne, Duffield, and Sandiacre; and rocks of the carboniferous series, ranging from the lower limestone and shale through the upper limestone and the millstone-grit to the coal-measures, occupy all the centre and the north. Building-stones and roofing slates are quarried; marbles, spars, white chert, and fine clays are worked; mineral caoutchouc, quartz diamonds, toadstone, manganese, calamine, galena, barytes, and many other rare or valuable minerals are found; and lead, iron, and coal are mined.
The soils, over most of the south, and over a large tract of the north-west, are prevailingly reddish clay or marl, those in the lower and wider part of the valleys are partly alluvial, those of a tract along all the east, from Stanton-by-Dale northward, are days of various qualities, and those in the north are alternations of clays and moorish or peaty moulds. Agriculture is well advanced in the south, but backward in the north. Many farms are small, and comparatively few are on lease. Wheat and barley, the latter for the Burton breweries, are much grown in the south, and oats and potatoes in the north. Cheese of good quality, often sold tor Cheshire or Gloucester, is largely produced, in many parts, especially in Dovedale. The cattle are chiefly of the Staffordshire breed, but include many crosses. The sheep are mainly Leicesters or a smaller breed. Hogs are reared for the market in many parts, and asses and active black horses are bred for service in the north-west.
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Archives and Libraries
Derbyshire Record Office (address for correspondence only)
Tel: 01629 538347 (search room bookings)
Tel: 01629 539202 (for all general enquiries)
Fax: 01629 57611
The complete set of Phillimore Derbyshire Parish Registers - Marriages series are online.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
List of Registration Districts in Derbyshire from 1837 to 1974.
Directories & Gazetteers
The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Derbyshire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.
A listing of the Hundreds in Derbyshire, with the parishes contained in them.
Land and Property
A transcript of the Derbyshire pages from the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 is online.
Old map of Derbyshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)
Old map of Derbyshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Old map of Derbyshire circa 1829 (Glover's History of Derbyshire)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Derbyshire papers online:
Parishes and places
The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.
The population of Derbyshire in 1801 was 161,567; 1811, 185,487; in 1821, 213,651; in 1831, 237,170; in 1841, 272,202; in 1851, 296,084; in 1861, 339,327; in 1871, 379,394; in 1881, 461,914; in 1891, 519,618. In 1891 the boundary of the county was altered by part of New Mills being annexed from Cheshire, and part of Burton-on-Trent transferred to Staffordshire. The population of the administrative county in 1901 was 610,522. The population of the administrative county and county borough of Derby in 1911 was 684,562.