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Derbyshire, England

(County Derby)

Historical Description

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 clays 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 to 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.

The chief mineral products of the county are coal (annual output over 11,000,000 tons), iron-ore (annual output over 13,000 tons), pig-iron (annual manufacture nearly 500,000 tons), lead (output 3000 to 4000 tons), and potter's clay (output over 20,000 tons). Small quantities of manganese and zinc ores are raised, and gypsum to a considerable extent. The manufactures are silk throwing, cotton yarn, elastic web cotton, silk hosiery, and wrought marble. Mailing and brewing are carried on very extensively, and there are large iron-foundries. Derbyshire is well supplied with railways, which belong mostly to the Midland Company. The trunk line from Exeter to Newcastle and Edinburgh passes through Burton, Derby, Belper, and Chesterfield, so as to run through Derbyshire from north to south. At Burton the line formed by the Leicester and Swannington, and the North Staffordshire, passes through the south, sending off brandies to Tutbury and Ashborne. The main line from London through Leicester sends off branches to Nottingham, the Erewash Valley, through Codnor to Clay Cross, Belper to Ambergate, and from Ambergate to Matlock, Rowsley, Buxton, &c., and from Derby continues its direct course to Carlisle and Scotland. The M.S. & L.E. passes through Glossop, find skirts the north-western part of the shire. The Manchester and Sheffield line to Hull passes on the north-cast from Sheffield to Worksop. The Cromford and High Peak railway is a tramway beginning at Cromford on the Manchester, Buxton, and Ambergate railway, and runs in a line with it, again joining it to the west of Chapel-en-le-Frith, to which it has a branch. The Dore and Chinley line was opened in 1894. It was constructed by the Midland Company, and very much shortened the distance between Manchester and Sheffield. It runs westwards from Dore-and-Totley railway station (near Sheffield) past the Peak, and joins the Midland main line to Manchester, half-way between Chinley and Chapel-en-le-Frith stations. The Trent and Mersey Canal traverses part of the south; the Erewash Canal goes up the southern part of the east, contiguously to Notts, the Derby Canal connects Little Eaton and Derby with the Trent and Mersey and the Erewash; the Cromford Canal connects with the northern part of the Erewash, and traverses the centre; the Chesterfield Canal traverses the north-east from Chesterfield into Yorkshire; and most have connection with tram railways for mining produce.

The chief seats are Chatsworth, Hardwick, Bolsover, Bretby, Elvaston, Hassop, Melbourne Park, Redestone, Sudbury, Doveridge, Ashborne, Drakelow, Egginton, Calke, Okeover, Foremark, Osmaston, Renishaw, Stretton, Tissington, Wingerworth, Willesley, Alfreton, Allestree, Belper, Brookhill, Barlborough, Burnaston, Chaddesden, Foston, Hopwell, Holnesfield, Locko, Longstone, Longford, Leam, Middleton, Measham, Ravenstone, Risley, Stanton, Sutton, and Swanwick.

For parliamentary purposes the county is divided into seven divisions, viz.;—High Peak, North East, Chesterfield, Western, Mid, Ilkeston, and Southern. It also includes the parliamentary borough of Derby. The county contains three municipal boroughs— Chesterfield, Glossop, and Ilkeston— and the county borough of Derby. There are 312 civil parishes and 240 entire ecclesiastical parishes and districts, and parts of 11 others.

The county is governed by a lord-lieutenant and a county council consisting of 60 councillors and 20 aldermen. It is in the Midland military district and judicial circuit. The assizes and the quarter sessions are held at Derby. For ecclesiastical purposes the county is situated in the dioceses of Lichfield, Peterborough, and Southwell.

According to the census returns issued in 1893, the chief occupations of the people of the county were:—-Professional, 5568 males and 3745 females; domestic, 1134 males and 19,352 females; commercial, 13,510 males and 215 females; agricultural, 16,188 males and 844 females; industrial, 102,145 males and 26,898 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 23,840 males and 111,083 females; or a total in the county of 162,385 males and 162,137 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows;—Coal miners, 21,957; general labourers, 10,942; iron and steel workers, 9118; cotton and flax spinners, 8845; agricultural labourers, 6602; farmers, 4972; boot and shoemakers, 2088. The chief occupations of women are, domestic service, with a total of 16,599; cotton and flax spinning, 11,079 ; and millinery and dressmaking, 4931. There were also in the county 233 blind persons, 141 deaf, 232 deaf and dumb, and 715 mentally deranged.

The territory now forming Derbyshire belonged anciently to the British Coretani, was included by the Romans first in their Britannia Prima, next in their Flavia Cæsariensis, and afterwards formed part of the kingdom of Mercia, and was with Notts distinguished from other parts by the name of Merciæ Aquilonares. Much of it was given by the Conqueror to William Peveril, and many places in it, both in earlier and later times, were scenes of conflicts; but its history generally is so interwoven with that of great surrounding tracts, or with that of the kingdom at large, that it cannot well be separately narrated. British remains exist in stone circles at Arbor-low and Stanton Moor; cromlechs and standing-stones at Harthill Moor, Abney Moor, Eyam Moor, Froggatt-Edge, and Hathersage Moor; rocking stones at Stanton Moor, Rootor Rocks, and Ashover Common; fortifications and earthworks at Hathersage, Staden-Low, Pilsbury, Great Finn, and Combe Moss; remains of habitations at Harthill Moor, MiddIeton-by-Youlgrave, and other places; and numberless tumuli and other relics in the northern uplands. Roman remains exist in the workings of several lead mines, camps near Pentridge and at Parwich, vestiges of stations at Little Chester, Buxton, and Gamesley, traces of Ryknield Street, past Little Chester to Chesterfield, of Long Lane, from Little Chester to Chesterton, and of other Roman roads from Buxton to Brough, to Gamesley, and toward Manchester, and in great numbers of coins, utensils, personal ornaments, articles of armour and pottery, and sepulchral relics. Old castles occur at Mackworth, Castleton, and Codnor; ruined old mansions at Had-don and South Wingfield; and remains of monastic edifices at Dale, Beauchief, Gresley, Repton, and Yeaveley.

The following, according to the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, are the parliamentary divisions of Derbyshire, which do not appear under any specific name:—

The North-Eastern. Division (population, 61,995) includes the following:—Eckington—Barlbro', Beauchief, Beighton, Clown, Coal Aston, Dore, Dronfield, Eckington, Elmton, Holmesfield, Killamarsh, Norton, Totley, Unstone, Whitwell; Chesterfield (part of)—Bolsover, Staveley, Whittington.

Western Division (population, 56,987) includes the following:—Appletree—Alkmonton, Barton Blount, Boylstone, Church Broughton, Cubley, Doveridge, Foston and Scropton, Hargate Manor, Hatton, Hilton, Hoon, Hungry Bentley, Marston Montgomery, Marston-on-Dove, Norbury and Roston, Somershall Herbert, Sudbury, Sutton-on-the-Hill; Ashborne (except the parish of Mercaston)—Ashborne, Atlow, Ballidon, Bradborne, Bradley, Clifton and Compton, Eaton and Alsop, Edlaston and Wyaston, Ednaston Hamlet (Brailsford parish), Fenney Bentley, Hartington (Nether Quarter), Hartington (Town Quarter), Hollington, Hulland, Hulland Ward, Hullan Ward Intake, Kniveton, Lea Hall, Longford, Mappleton, Mercaston, Newton Grange, Offcote and Underwood, Osliston and Thurvaston, Osmaston-next-Ashborne, Parwich, Rodsley, Shirley, Snelston, Sturston, Stydd, Thorpe, Tissington, Yeaveley, Yeldersley; Bakewell—Abney, Ashford, Bakewell, Baslow and Bubnell, Beeley, Birchover, Blackwell, Brushfield, Calver, Chatsworth, Chelmorton, Curbar, Darley, Edensor, Eyam, Flagg, Foolow, Froggatt, Gratton, Grindlow, Haddon (Nether), Haddon (Over), Harthill, Hartington (Middle Quarter), Hassop, Hathersage, Hazlebadge, Highlow, Hucklow (Great), Hucklow (Little), Ivenbrook Grange, Litton, Longstone (Great) with Holme, Longstone (Little) and Monsall Dale, Middleton Stoney, Monyash, Offerton, Outseats, Padley (Nether), Pilsley, Rowland, Rowsley and Alport, Sheldon, Stanton, Stoke, Taddington and Priestcliff, Tideswell, Wardlow, Wheston, Winster, Woodland Eyam, Youlgreave; Wirksworth—Aldwark, Biggin, Bonsall, Brassington, Callow, Carsington, Cromford; Dethick, Lea and Holloway; Elton, Hognaston, Hopton, Ible, Ideridgehay and Alton, Ireton Wood, Kirk Ireton, Matlock, Middleton and Smerril, Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Tansley, Wensley and Snitterton, Wirksworth.

Mid Division (population, 59,769) includes the following:—Belper — Alderwasley, Ashleyhay, Belper, Crich, Duffield. Hazlewood, Heage, Holbrook, Kilbourne, Shottle, Turnditch, Windley; Alfreton (part of)—Alfreton, Blackwell, Brackenfield, Morton, Normanton (South), Pilsley, Pinxton, Shirland, Tibshelf, Wessington, Wingfield (South).

Southern, Division (population, 63,910) includes the following : — Repton, Gresley, and Swadlincote — Appleby, Boundary, Bretby, Calke, Castle Gresley, Catton, Cauldwell, Chilcote, Church Gresley, Coton-in-the-Elms, Croxall, Derby Hills, Drakelow, Foremark, Hartshorne, Ingleby, Linton, Lullington, Measham, Melbourne, Newton Solney, Oakthorpe and Donisthorpe, Packington, Ravenstone, Repton, Rosliston, Smisby, Stanton-by-Bridge, Stanton and Newhall, Stapenhill, Stretton-en-le-Fields, Swadlincote, Ticknall, Walton-on-Trent, Willesley, Winshill; Derby (part of)—Allestree, Alvaston, Ash, Aston, Barrow, Beardwardcote, Boulton, Brailsford (part of), Breadsall, Burnaston, Chaddesden, Chellaston, Dalbury, Darley Abbey in St Alkmond Township, Egginton, Elvaston, Etwall, Findern, Kedleston, Kirk Langley, Litchurch, Littleover, Little Chester, Little Eaton, Mackworth, Markeaton, Mickleover, Mugginton, Normanton, Osmaston, Quarndon, Radborne, Ravensdale Park, Shardlow, Sinfin and Arleston, Sinfin Moor, Spondon, Swarkestone, Trusley, Twyford and Stenson, Weston Underwood, Weston-on-Trent, Willington, Ashborne (part of)—Mercaston; Derby, municipal borough.


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

Archives and Libraries

Derbyshire Record Office (address for correspondence only)
County Hall
Matlock
Derbyshire
DE4 3AG
Tel: 01629 538347 (search room bookings)
Tel: 01629 539202 (for all general enquiries)
Fax: 01629 57611
email: record.office@derbyshire.gov.uk


Church Records

The complete set of Phillimore Derbyshire Parish Registers - Marriages series are online.

Ancestry.co.uk, 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.

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.

We have transcribed the entry for Derbyshire from the following:


Historical Geography

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.


Maps

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 & places

Alderwasley
Aldwark
Alfreton
Alkmonton
Allestree
Alsop en le Dale
Alvaston
Arleston and Sinfin
Ash
Ashbourne
Ashford
Ashleyhay
Ashover
Aston
Aston upon Trent
Atlow
Ault Hucknall
Bakewell
Ballidon
Bamford
Barlborough
Barrow Hill
Barrow upon Trent
Barton Blount
Baslow
Baxton Moor
Beard
Bearwardcote
Beauchief Abbey
Beeley
Beighton
Belper
Belph
Bendall
Benty Grange
Biggin
Birch Vale
Birchover
Birchwood
Blackwell
Blackwell (Bakewell)
Blenheim Park
Blue John Mine
Bolsover
Bonsall
Borrowash
Boulton
Boylestone
Boylstone
Brackenfield
Bradbourne
Bradley
Bradwell
Brailsford
Brampton
Brassington
Breadsall
Breaston
Bretby
Bridge Hill
Brimington
Brough and Shatton
Brushfield
Bugsworth
Burbage
Burnaston
Butterley
Buxton
Calke or Caulk
Callow
Calow
Calver
Carles Work or Carl Wark
Carsington
Castle Gresley
Castleton
Catton
Cauldwell
Chaddesden
Chapel en le Frith
Charlesworth
Chatsworth
Chellaston
Chelmorton
Chesterfield
Chesterfield Canal
Chilcote
Chinley
Chisworth
Chunal
Church Broughton
Church Wilne
Claycross or Claylane
Clifton with Compton
Coal Aston or Cold Aston
Codnor
Codnor Park
Coombs Edge
Cotmanhay
Coton in the Elms
Coxbench
Cressbrook
Crich
Cromford
Cromford and Langley Mill Canal
Crowden
Croxall or Croxhall
Cubley
Curbar
Cutthorpe
Dalbury
Dale Abbey
Darley Abbey
Denby
Derby
Derby All Saints
Derby Canal
Derby Hills
Derby St Alkmund
Derby St Michael
Derby St Paul
Derby St Peter
Derby St Werburgh
Derwent or Darwent
Dethick and Lea
Dinting
Doe Hill
Dore
Dove Holes
Doveridge or Dovebridge
Drakelow
Draycott
Dronfield
Duckmanton
Duffield
Earl Sterndale
Eaton
Eaton and Alsop
Ecclesbourn
Eckington
Edale
Edensor
Edlaston
Ednaston
Egginton
Eldon or Elden Hole
Elmton with Cresswell
Elton
Elvaston
Erwash or Erewash
Etwall
Eyam
Eyam Woodlands
Fairfield
Fenny Bentley
Fernilee
Fernilee
Findern
Flagg
Foolow
Foremark
Foston and Scropton
Fritchley
Froggatt
Gamesley
Glapwell
Glossop
Grassmoor
Gratton
Great Barlow
Great Hamlet
Great Hucklow
Great Longstone
Great Rowsley
Great Wilne
Greenhill
Greenhill Lane
Griff
Grindleford Bridge
Grindlow
Hadfield
Haley Hill
Ham Tor
Handley (North Wingfield)
Handley (Staveley)
Hardstoft or Harstoft
Hardwick
Hardwick Hall
Harehill (Church Broughton)
Harehill (Sudbury)
Hargate Manor
Harthill or Hartle
Hartington
Hartshay
Hartshorne
Hasland
Hassop
Hathersage
Hatton
Hayfield
Hazelbadge
Hazlewood
Heage or High Edge
Heanor
Heath
Heathcote
High Peak
High Tor
Higham
Highlow
Hillcote
Hilton
Hognaston
Holbrook
Hollington
Holloway
Holme
Holmesfield
Holymoorside
Hoon
Hope
Hope Woodlands
Hopton
Hopwell
Horsley
Horsley Woodhouse
HucknaIl under Huthwaite
Hulland
Hungry Bentley
Hurdlow (Hartington)
Hurdlow (Monyash)
Ibble or Ible
Idridgehay and Alton
Ilkeston
Ingleby
Ireton Wood
Ironville with Codnor Park
Ivonbrook Grange
Jericho
Kedleston
Kilbourne
Killamarsh
Kinder
Kirk Hallam
Kirk Ireton
Kirk Langley
Kniveton
Langley
Langley Mill
Langwith Bassett
Lea
Lea Brooks
Lea Hall
Lees
Lethersley
Linton
Litchurch
Little Barlow
Little Chester
Little Eaton
Little Hallam
Little Hucklow
Little Longstone
Littleover
Litton
Locko Park
Long Eaton
Long Lane
Longford
Longnor
Loscoe
Lower and Over Hackney
Ludworth and Chisworth
Lullington
Mackworth
Mapleton
Mapperley
Markeaton
Marsh Lane
Marston Montgomery
Marston upon Dove
Marton Brook
Matlock Bank
Matlock Bath
Matlock Bridge
Measham
Melbourne
Mellor
Mercaston
Mickleover
Middle Handley
Middleton and Smerrill
Middleton by Wirksworth
Middleton Dale
Milford
Milltown
Milton (Chapel-en-le-Frith)
Milton (Repton)
Moira
Monsal Dale
Monyash
Morley
Morton
Mosbrough
Mugginton
Nether Haddon
Nether Padley
New Houghton
New Normanton
Newbold
Newhall
Newmills
Newton
Newton Grange
Newton Solney
Norbury
Normanton
North Edge
North Wingfield
Norton
Norton Lees
Nottingham Road
Oakerside
Oakerthorpe
Oaks Green
Oakthorpe and Donisthorpe
Ockbrook
Offcote and Underwood
Offerton
Oker Hill
Ollersett
Osleston and Thurvaston
Osmaston
Osmaston by Derby
Outseats
Over Haddon
Oxcroft
Padfield
Palterton
Parwich
Peak Forest
Pentrich
Philside
Pilsbury
Pilsley
Pilsley in Chesterfield
Pinxton
Pleasley
Postern
Priestcliff
Quarndon
Radbourne
Ravensdale Park
Renishaw
Repton
Riber
Riddings
Ridgeway
Ripley
Risley
Rodsley
Rosliston or Rostliston
Rowland
Rowthorne
Rowton, Rowtor, or Birchover
Sandiacre
Sapperton
Sawley and Wilsthorpe
Scarcliffe
Scropton
Sedsall with Baton
Shardlow
Sheldon
Shipley
Shirebrook
Shirland
Shirley
Shottle and Postern
Shuttlewood
Simmondley
Sinfin and Arleston
Sinfin Moor
Slaley
Smalley
Smerrill
Smisby or Smithsby
Snelston
Snitterton
Somercotes
Somersall Herbert
South Normanton
South Wingfield
Sparrow Pit
Speedwell
Spinkhill
Spondon
Stainsby
Stanfree
Stanley
Stanton
Stanton and Newhall
Stanton by Bridge
Stanton by Dale
Stanton Gate
Stapenhill
Starkholmes
Staveley
Stenson
Stoke
Stone Gravels
Stonebroom
Stoney Houghton
Stoney Middleton
Stonnis
Stretton
Stretton en le Field
Strines
Sturston
Stydd
Sudbury
Sutton cum Duckmanton
Sutton on the Hill
Swadlincote
Swanwick
Swarkeston
Taddington
Tansley
Tapton
Temple Normanton
The Ashop
The Boundary
The Derwent
The Dove
The Goyt
The Ibber or Hypper
The Noe
The Rother
The Sheaf
The Trent
The Winnats
The Wye
Thornhill
Thornsett
Thorpe
Thulston or Thurlston
Tibshelf
Ticknall or Tickenhall
Tideswell
Tissington
Toadmoor
Totley
Trent
Troway
Trusley
Tunstead
Tupton
Turnditch
Two Dales
Twyford and Stenson
Underwood
Unstone
Walton
Walton upon Trent
Wardlow
Wensley and Snitterton
Wessington
Wessington Hay
West Broughton
West Hallam
Weston Underwood
Weston upon Trent
Whaley
Whatstandwell Bridge
Wheston or Whetstone
Whitfield
Whittington
Whittle
Whitwell
Willesley
Willington
Wilne
Wilsthorpe
Windley
Wingerworth
Winshill
Winster
Wirksworth
Woodhouse
Woodthorpe (Clay Cross)
Woodthorpe (Staveley)
Woodville
Wormhill
Wyaston
Yeaveley
Yeldersley
Youlgreave or Youlgrave

Population

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.

Map of Derbyshire