CROMFORD, a chapelry, in the parish and hundred of Wirksworth, union of Bakewell, S. division of the county of Derby, 1 mile (N. by E.) from Matlock; containing 1407 inhabitants, and comprising 1308 acres, of which 125 are common or waste land. This place, which is pleasantly situated on the river Derwent, was an inconsiderable village prior to the year 1776, when Sir Richard Arkwright, having purchased the manor, erected mills, which were the first ever put in motion by water, and established a cotton-manufactory of large extent. Since this period it has greatly increased, and at present it is a flourishing place, consisting chiefly of neat and commodious dwellings for the persons engaged in the factories, many of them built round an open space where a small customary market is held on Saturday, and others chiefly in detached situations. The cotton manufacture affords employment to more than 1000 persons; there are a manufactory for hats, one for ginghams on a small scale, and a paper-manufactory. In the neighbourhood are extensive mines of lead and calamine, and quarries of marble and limestone: a great quantity of lapis calaminaris is exported annually. The Cromford canal communicates with the Erewash canal near Langley bridge, and commodious wharfs and warehouses have been constructed on its banks. The Cromford and High Peak railway, for the conveyance of minerals and merchandise, commences at this place, and pursues its course to the Peak-Forest canal, near Whaley bridge; the whole line is thirtythree miles, in which it attains a rise of 990 feet above the level of the Cromford canal: it was opened in 1830. The chapel, a small neat building in the Grecian style, begun by Sir Richard Arkwright, in 1794, and completed by his son, Richard Arkwright, Esq., who endowed it with £50 per annum, was consecrated in 1797. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £96; patrons, the family of Arkwright: the great tithes have been commuted for £90, and the vicarial for £11. The Wesleyans have a place of worship.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.