Chesterfield (All Saints)

CHESTERFIELD (All Saints), a parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Scarsdale, N. division of the county of Derby; comprising the incorporated market-town of Chesterfield, which has a separate jurisdiction, and the townships of Calow, Hasland,Newbold with Dunstan, Tapton, Temple-Normanton, and Walton; the whole containing 10,451 inhabitants, of whom 6212 are in the town, 24 miles (N. by E.) from Derby, and 151 (N. N. W.) from London, on the road to Leeds. This place, from its Saxon name Ceaster, appears to have been a Roman station; its Roman name is said to have been Lutudarum; and there is reason to suppose that in Roman times it was an emporium of the mining districts of Derbyshire. At the period of the Norman survey it was called Cestrefeld, and was only a bailiwick to Newbold, the latter being now a small hamlet in the parish; but within a century from the Conquest, it seems to have risen into such importance as to have obtained from King John, who conferred it upon William de Briwere, a charter of incorporation, with the privilege of two markets and a fair. In the reign of Henry III., a decisive battle was fought here between Henry, nephew of that monarch, and the barons: it terminated in the defeat of the latter, several of whom were slain; and Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, who had espoused their cause, being taken prisoner, was sent in chains to Windsor, and afterwards, by act of parliament, degraded from his honours and deprived of his estates. During the parliamentary war, another conflict took place, between the royalists, under the command of the Earl of Newcastle, and the parliamentarians, in which the former obtained a signal victory.

The Town is situated on an eminence, and the borough is bounded on the south and south-west by the Hipper, and on the east by the Rother, which are here inconsiderable streams: the houses are of brick, roofed with stone; the streets are indifferently paved, but well lighted with gas, by an act of parliament obtained in 1825, and the inhabitants are plentifully supplied with water. There are a subscription library, a mechanics' institute, and a theatre; and races take place in autumn. An agricultural society was established in 1819, the members of which hold their meetings alternately at Chesterfield and Bakewell, generally in October. Some of the inhabitants are engaged in tambour-work, and the manufacture of bobbin-net lace and hosiery; there is a silk-mill in the town, and in the neighbouring village of Little Brampton a cotton-wick mill, called the bump-mill, and a small-ware manufactory. In the vicinity are productive mines of ironstone and coal, and some foundries; also several potteries, chiefly for coarse brown and yellow stone ware, which afford employment to upwards of 200 men. The Chesterfield canal, communicating with the Trent and the Humber, was completed in 1777, at an expense of £160,000: the Midland railway passes by the town, a little to the east of which is a station. The market is on Saturday: fairs, principally for cattle, are held on Jan. 27th, Feb. 28th, the first Saturday in April, May 4th, July 4th, Sept. 25th, and Nov. 25th, the last being toll-free; those in May and September, at the latter of which a great quantity of cheese is sold, are attended by clothiers from Yorkshire.

The government, by charter of incorporation, granted by King John, ratified by succeeding monarchs, enlarged by Queen Elizabeth, and confirmed by Charles II., was vested in a mayor, six aldermen, six brothers, and twelve capital burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, chamberlain, two meat inspectors, and a serjeant-at-mace. The corporation now consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, under the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76: the limits of the borough are coextensive with the township of Chesterfield. The mayor for the time being, and for the previous year, are justices of the peace ex officio; and there are two others. The petty-sessions for the division are held here; and a court of record, for the recovery of debts not exceeding £20, is held under the lord of the manor, by letterspatent granted by King John to William de Briwere, and confirmed by Charles I., in the seventh year of his reign, to William, Earl of Newcastle, and Sir Charles Cavendish, then lords of the manor: the jurisdiction extends over the hundred of Scarsdale, eight miles round Chesterfield. The powers of the county debt-court of Chesterfield, established in 1847, extend over the greater part of the registration-district of Chesterfield. The town-hall, standing in the market-place, was built in 1790; on the ground-floor is a prison for debtors. There is also a house of correction, under the superintendence of the county magistrates.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £15. 0. 2½.; net income, £204; patron, the Bishop of Lichfield. The church is a spacious cruciform structure, principally in the decorated, but partly in the early, and partly in the later, style of English architecture, with a tower rising from the intersection, and surmounted by a grooved or channelled spire of wood covered with lead. The clerestory windows of the nave, and the east window of the chancel, are fine compositions in the later style; and in the south transept are a beautiful screen and rood-loft: there are two very antique monuments in the nave, and three in the chancel, to members of the family of Foljambe. The interior of the edifice was renovated in 1842, at a cost of £4000; and it now gives accommodation to 1800 persons. Portions of the hamlets of Walton and Newbold, and the contiguous parts of the parish of Brampton, have been consolidated as a district to the new church of St. Thomas, Brampton. In 1838, a church was built and dedicated to the Holy Trinity; it is in the early English style, with a tower, and cost £3700. To this church a district has been assigned, having a population of 3000: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of certain Trustees: net income, £90, with a glebe-house. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The free grammar school, for the endowment of which Godfrey Foljambe, in 1594, appropriated £13. 6. 8. annually, was founded in the reign of Elizabeth, and placed under the management of the corporation; the endowment, augmented by benefactions, produces annually £109. 10. 9.: the master is chosen by the trustees of charities, subject to approval by the Archbishop of York. The schoolhouse was rebuilt by subscription in 1710, and was again rebuilt only a very few years since. The school, in common with the schools of Ashbourn and Wirksworth, has the preference, after the founder's relatives, to two fellowships and two scholarships, founded by the Rev. James Beresford, in St. John's College, Cambridge. A school intended originally as preparatory to the grammar school, was founded in 1690, and endowed by Cornelius Clarke; the endowment was subsequently augmented by John Bright, senior, and John Bright, junior, Esqrs., and the income is now £74. A national school was built in 1814, and a Lancasterian school in 1819. The Victoria school, just erected, is intended for the children of the district annexed to the parish church; of these children 50 boys and 50 girls are now clothed and educated at the expense of the vicar, the Rev. Thomas Hill. Judith Heathcote, and other members of the family, in the year 1619 appropriated estates, producing an income of about £114 per annum, to the apprenticing of children.

Thomas Large, in 1664, gave lands and tenements, now worth about £45 per annum, for the foundation and endowment of three almshouses, to which two more were added in 1751, by Mrs. Sarah Rose, who left £200 for their endowment. Almshouses for six aged persons were founded in 1668, by George Taylor, who endowed them with property at present yielding £22 per annum. The dispensary, erected in 1800, is liberally supported by subscription. Godfrey Foljambe, in 1594, bequeathed the rectory of Attenborough, and an estate at Ashover, producing together about £640 a year, which sum, after paying £40 per annum to the minister, £13. 6. 8. to the master of the grammar school, £20 to Jesus College, and £13. 6. 8. to Magdalen College, Cambridge, is appropriated to the relief of the poor. Godfrey Wolstenholme, in 1682, gave a house, let for £38. 5. per annum, which sum is distributed in coats and gowns; and Sir Godfrey Webster, in 1720, bequeathed £1100 South Sea stock. Mrs. Hannah Hooper, in 1755, gave £2000 three per cent. consols., and Mrs. Elizabeth Bagshaw, in 1802, £2000 three per cent. consols.; the dividends on which are distributed to the poor. The union of Chesterfield comprises 34 parishes or places, and contains a population of 39,379. An hospital for lepers, founded prior to the 10th of Richard I., and dedicated to St. Leonard, existed here till the reign of Henry VIII.; and there was a guild or fraternity, dedicated to St. Mary and the Holy Cross, founded in the reign of Richard II., the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £19. The chantry of St. Michael, founded by Roger de Chesterfield in 1357, and the chantry of the Holy Cross, founded in the reign of Edward III., were also among the ancient religious establishments of this place. There were besides, prior to the Reformation, three free chapels, dedicated respectively to St. James, St. Thomas, and St. Helen: on the site of the last, the grammar school was built. Chesterfield gives the title of Earl to the family of Stanhope; a title conferred Aug. 4th, 1628, on Sir Philip, Baron Stanhope, a firm supporter of the royal cause during the civil war.

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