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Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Historical Description

Chesterfield, an old market and union town, a municipal borough, and a parish in Derbyshire. The town stands on sloping ground, between the rivulets Bother and Hipper, in the Vale of Scarsdale, on the Roman road from Derby to York connected with the Trent by a canal 46 miles in length, adjacent to the M.R., 12 miles by road but 20 by railway S by E of Sheffield. Chesterfield is almost the centre of the East and West railway, which runs from the coast of Lincolnshire to Warrington in Lancashire. It probably occupies the site of a Roman station, but at Domesday was only a bailiwick of Newbold. Two battles were fought here, the one in 1261 between the Earl of Derby and Henry III.'s nephew, the other in 1643 between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. The manor was given by William the Conqueror to William Peveril; annexed to the Crown by Henry II.; given by King John to William de Bruere; passed to the Wakes, the Plantagenets, and others; and now belongs to the Dukes of Devonshire. The town is irregularly built, and has narrow well-paved streets, and a spacious marketplace. The town-hall, with market-house and covered market, is an extensive and commodious suite of buildings, erected in 1857. The parish church is cruciform, and of various dates from Early English onwards; has a square tower surmounted by a curiously twisted spire 230 feet high, inclining considerably from the perpendicular; and contains a beautiful screen and some fine ancient monuments to the Foljambes and others. Trinity Church was built in 1838 at a cost of £3700. There is a memorial window to the great engineer George Stephenson, who was buried here in 1848. Christ Church, Stonegravels, erected in 1869, has schools and a parsonage, and is a chapel of ease to Holy Trinity. A Free Methodist chapel was erected in 1869. There are Baptist, Congregational, Quaker, Unitarian, Wesleyan, Primitive, and United Free Methodist chapels, and a Roman Catholic church; an endowed grammar school; a Workman's Home, erected in 1877-78; industrial schools, erected 1880-81; a dispensary and hospital, and a large convenient workhouse. The Stephen-son Memorial Hall, opened by the Duke of Devonshire on 14 July, 1879, comprises a public hall and an institute containing a lecture-room, museum, laboratory, class-rooms, &c., and the borough free library and reading-room. It is specially intended to promote the study of mining and civil and mechanical engineering. The grammar-school was founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and rebuilt in 1846, and is a picturesque edifice situated behind Trinity Church. The endowed charities include almshouses and apprenticing funds, and amount to over £1300. The town has a head post office, a station on the M.R., four banks and a savings bank, and two chief inns; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and publishes two newspapers. There are three reservoirs in connection with the waterworks, with a storage capacity of 160,000,000 gallons. A weekly market is held on Saturday, and cattle fairs on 27 Jan., 28 Feb., the first Saturday of April, 4 May, 5 July, and 25 Sept., and a statute fair for hiring servants on 25 Nov. Manufactures of fishing tackle, hosiery, worsted, earthenware, and machinery are carried on, and much traffic exists in connection with neighbouring foundries, collieries, and lead mines. Races are run in September on a course nearly 2 miles long on Whittington Moor. The town was made a municipal borough by Queen Elizabeth, and is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. The boundaries of the borough were extended in 1892. Chesterfield gives the title of Earl to the family of Stanhope, and numbers among its eminent natives or residents Ince the poet, Lucas the mathematician, Wood, Oldfield, Charles, and

Billingsley the nonconformists, Jewitt the author of " Wanderings of Memory," Pegge the antiquary, Halifax the Bishop of St Asaph, Stokes the botanist, Bromley and Mrs Blore the poets, Mrs Stokes the novelist, and Stephenson the father of railways. Acreage of the township, 1219; of the parish, 11,740; population of the civil parish, 22,009; of the two ecclesiastical parishes, 16,902. The living of St Mary and All Saints, with Calow, is a vicarage in the diocese of Southwell; gross value, £275 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Southwell. The living of Holy Trinity is a rectory; net value, £310 with residence, in the gift of trustees.

Chesterfield Parliamentary Division of Derbyshire was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 61,294. The division includes the following : —Chesterfield (part of) —Ault Hucknall (including Hardstaff), Barlow-Great, Barlow Little, Brampton, Brimington, Chesterfield, Calow, Glapwell, Hasland, Heath, Langwith, Newbold, North-wingfield, Pleasley, Scarcliffe, Sutton-en-le-dale, Tapton, Temple Normanton, Tupton, Walton, Wingerworth, Woodthorpe; Alfreton (part of) —Ashover, Clay Lane, Stretton,. Chesterfield, municipal borough.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDerbyshire 
Ecclesiastical parishChesterfield All Saints 
Poor Law unionChesterfield 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records, in conjunction with the Derbyshire Record Office, have the Church of England Baptisms (1538-1916), Marriages and Banns (1538-1932), and Burials (1538-1991) online.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Chesterfield from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Derbyshire is online.


Online maps of Chesterfield are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Derbyshire papers online:

RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtS40
Post TownChesterfield