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Repton (St. Wyston)

REPTON (St. Wyston), a parish, in the union of Burton-upon-Trent, hundred of Repton and Gresley, S. division of the county of Derby, 4 miles (N. E. by E.) from Burton; containing, with Bretby chapelry, 2241 inhabitants, of whom 1943 are in the township of Repton. This place, anciently called Repington, is supposed to have been the Roman station Repandunum; under the Saxon dominion it was styled Repandum, and was a chief town of the kingdom of Mercia. Before 660, here was a nunnery under the government of an abbess, in which Ethelbald and others of the Mercian kings were interred. The Danes, having expelled Burhred, viceroy of Mercia, from his throne, wintered at Repandum in 874, at which period it is supposed that the convent was destroyed. The manor being possessed soon after the Conquest by the earls of Chester, a priory of Black canons was removed hither in 1172, from Calke, in this county, by Matilda, widow of Ranulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester; its revenue at the Dissolution was estimated at £118.

The parish is bounded on the north by the navigable river Trent, and comprises 4917a. 2r. 14p., of which 2649 acres are in Repton township; the soil is strong, and the subsoil gravel and clay. The village is considerable, and contains some very neat houses. There are fairs on the 3rd Monday in April and 3rd Monday in November; and an annual court leet is held by the lord of the manor. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £123; patron and impropriator, Sir John Crewe, Bart.: there are a glebe-house, and a glebe containing 46 acres. The tithes were commuted for land, under an inclosure act, about eighty years since. The church is principally Norman, but exhibits portions in the several later English styles; it is a venerable structure consisting of a nave, chancel, aisles, and a tower surmounted by a handsome spire 210 feet high: under it is a curious crypt, believed to have been part of the conventual church destroyed by the Danes. At Bretby is a chapel, in the gift of the Earl of Chesterfield. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists.

In 1556, Sir John Port devised all his estates in Lancashire and Derbyshire, in trust, for the foundation and endowment of a grammar school here, and an hospital at Etwall; and in 1621, the master of the hospital, the schoolmasters of Repton, and the three senior poor men, were made a body corporate. The remains of the conventual buildings, which were principally in the Norman style, have been converted into the schoolroom and offices belonging to the grammar school; and a mansion, to which is attached a brick tower in the later English style, is rented by the governors from the Burdett family, and occupied by the head master. The improved rental of the estates, now about £3000 per annum, long since enabled the governors to increase the number of pensioners in the hospital, and to augment the establishment of the school. The learned divine and Hebraist, John Lightfoot, was appointed first usher, on the original foundation of the school; and amongst the eminent persons educated here, may be noticed, Samuel Shaw, a learned nonconformist divine; Stebbing Shaw, the historian of Staffordshire; Jonathan Scott, translator of the Arabian Tales; and W. L. Lewis, translator of Statius.—See Etwall.


Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.