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Cromford, Derbyshire

Historical Description

Cromford, a small town, a township, and a parish in Derbyshire. The town stands on the river Derwent, the Cromford Canal, the Cromford and High Peak railway, and also on the Midland main line to Manchester, 2 miles N by E of Wirksworth. It has stations on both railways, and a post, money order, and telegraph office under Matlock Bath. Its site is a deep valley, surrounded on three sides by lofty limestone rocks. It was the scene of the operations of Sir Richard Arkwright, who in 1771 erected the first cotton mill in Derbyshire here. It still possesses large cotton mills, but they have not been worked for many years owing to the failure of the water supply. There are lead mines on Cromford Moor. The parish extends beyond the town over vale and hill. Acreage, 1324; population, 1052. The manor belonged at Domesday to the Crown, passed to the Meynells, the Leches, and others, and was purchased in 1789 by Sir Richard Arkwright. Willersley Castle is a spacious mansion, built by Sir Richard, and now the seat of the Arkwright family. About 200 Roman coins were found not many years ago at Scarthen-Nick. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Southwell; value, £300 with residence. The church was erected and endowed by Sir R. Arkwright, who is interred in it, in 1797, and restored and improved by P. Arkwright, Esq. in 1858. There is also a chapel of ease and almshouses.

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 
Civil parishWirksworth 
Poor Law unionBakewell 

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 Cromford 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 Cromford 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:

DistrictDerbyshire Dales
RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtDE4
Post TownMatlock