Bonsall (St. James)

BONSALL (St. James), a parish, in the hundred of Wirksworth, S. division of the county of Derby, 3½ miles (N. by W.) from Wirksworth; containing 1496 inhabitants. This parish, anciently called Bonteshall, comprises by computation 2338 acres. The village was formerly a market-town, and is situated in a district strikingly diversified with hills and dales: among the latter, the most interesting is Bonsall Dale, of which the geological formation consists of four strata of limestone and three of toadstone. The neighbouring hills also abound with limestone; and lead-ore and lapis calaminaris are obtained in great quantities within the parish, and prepared on the spot, affording employment to many of the inhabitants. The village consists of numerous houses scattered over a considerable portion of ground; in the centre is the ancient market-cross, bearing date 1687, and consisting of a pillar, resting upon a base to which is an ascent of fifteen steps, and surmounted by a ball. The manufacture of combs is carried on to a moderate extent: about a third of the population is employed at stocking and drawer frames, and there is a saw-mill for cutting the white semi-marble Hopton stone. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 16. 0½.; net income, £201: patron, the Bishop of Lichfield: there are 67 acres of glebe, with a house. The church is a handsome and picturesque old structure, with some good pointed windows remaining, and a tower surmounted by an elegant octangular spire; the interior is adorned with a variety of neatly executed mural monuments. There is a place of worship for General Baptists; and a school is endowed with £100 per annum, arising from tenements bequeathed by William Cragge and his wife Elizabeth in 1704, and lands by Elizabeth Turnor in 1763. Vestiges of a Roman road may be traced.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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