Crich (St. Mary)
CRICH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Belper, partly in the hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, partly in that of Scarsdale, and partly in that of Wirksworth, N. and S. divisions of the county of Derby; containing, with the township of Wessington and the hamlet of Tansley, 3698 inhabitants, of whom 2619 are in the township of Crich, 5 miles (W. by S.) from Alfreton. This is a place of some antiquity, and coins of Adrian and Diocletian have been found in an adjacent lead-mine, from which circumstance it is conjectured that lead was obtained here by the Romans. It is situated on an eminence commanding extensive prospects, on the road from Alfreton to Wirksworth, and near the river Derwent. The parish comprises about 3400 acres, the substratum of which has long been a source of considerable wealth: the lead-mines, several of which are now in operation, produce a metal of the finest quality, and appear to have been wrought continuously since the time of the Norman survey, when "Leuric had a lead-mine at Cric." The manor of Wakebridge, in the parish, belonged to Darley Abbey, and still enjoys the privilege of exemption from king's duty on lead-ore, the mine of which, in the manor, is considered the richest in the county. The parish contains also limestone and gritstone quarries, the stone of the latter of which was in demand for the use of the Midland railway, and is applied to building and other purposes.
The village not long since was inconsiderable, but rose into importance from the establishment of a cottonmanufactory at Frichly in 1793, and in 1810 received the grant of a market, which however was discontinued on the decline of the factory. The chief employment at present is frame-work knitting; there are also manufactories for the spinning of candle-wicks, and one for bobbin-turning. Cattle-fairs are held on the 6th April and 11th October. The Cromford canal passes along the western side of the parish, and, by a tunnel on the south, joins the Nottingham canal; the Midland railroad runs through the eastern part, and a branch has been laid down to a limestone-quarry at the top of the village, for the purpose of conveying the stone to twelve kilns lately built. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 10. 10.; net income, £98; patron and impropriator, Sir W. W. Dixie, Bart.: the tithes were commuted for land in 1776. The church is a fine structure, with a tower surmounted by a spire, and contains several ancient monuments of the Dixie family; it is beautifully situated, commanding an extensive prospect. Among the old monuments is one supposed to be of Sir W. de Wakebridge, who fought in the Holy Land. A church has been built in the hamlet of Tansley; and there are places of worship for Wesleyans, Independents, and Baptists. About one mile north of the village is Crich Cliff, a lofty hill, upon which an observatory was erected in 1789.