Dronfield (St. John the Baptist)
DRONFIELD (St. John the Baptist), a parish, partly in the union of Ecclesall-Bierlow, and partly in that of Chesterfield, hundred of Scarsdale, N. division of the county of Derby, 6 miles (S.) from Sheffield; comprising the chapelries of Dore and Holmesfield, the townships of Coal-Aston, Dronfield, Totley, and Unstone, and the hamlet of Little Barlow; and containing 4583 inhabitants, of whom 1986 are in the township of Dronfield. This parish, called in the Domesday survey Dranefield, had formerly the privilege of a market. It is situated on the high road, about midway between Sheffield and Chesterfield, and comprises by admeasurement 4515 acres, of which about 2500 are arable and pasture, and a large portion of the remainder common. An act was passed in 1839 for inclosing lands in the manor and township of Totley, and also in the manor of Unstone; and in 1840, an act was obtained for inclosing the manor of Dronfield. The neighbourhood abounds with coal, which is extensively wrought and made into coke for the railroad, affording employment to many of the population; some quarries of stone for building, repairing roads, &c., are also in operation. There are manufactories for scythes, sickles, and edge-tools, and for various articles in ironmongery and cutlery; several foundries; and some cotton-works. Fairs are held for cattle and cheese, on the 25th of April, the first Wednesday after the 17th of March, and the first Thursday after the 12th of October. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 2. 1., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £224; impropriators, the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland, Offley Shore, Esq., and Mrs. Cecil. The church has a tower and spire at the west end, opposite to which was once a chantry chapel, now an inn. There are chapels at Dore and Holmesfield; also places of worship in the parish for Independents and Wesleyans. The grammar school was erected in 1579, by Thomas Fanshawe, in pursuance of the will of his father, dated 1567, by which it is endowed with lands now producing an income of £180. At Cowley is a sulphureous spring.