DARLEY-ABBEY, a chapelry, in the parish of St. Alkmund, Derby, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, union of Shardlow, S. division of the county of Derby, 1¼ mile (N.) from Derby; containing 1059 inhabitants. This place takes the affix to its name from an abbey for friars of the order of St. Augustine, founded here in the reign of Henry I., and endowed with many privileges, and of which, at the Dissolution, the revenue was estimated at £285. 9. 6½. It is pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Derwent, and on the road from Derby to Manchester; and comprises 537 acres, chiefly pasture, with garden-land, and some wood: on the eastern side the soil is a strong marl, but it is lighter on the western. A large cotton-mill here, the property of Messrs. William and Samuel Evans, employs nearly 500 hands; and their paper-mill full 60 hands more. The village, sometimes called Little Derby, is a considerable and improving place. The Derby canal and Midland railway pass in its vicinity. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Messrs. Evans; net income, nearly £150. The impropriation belongs to the vicar of St. Alkmund's, by purchase from the corporation of Derby. The chapel, or church, was built in 1818, at the sole expense of the late Walter Evans, Esq., father of the patrons, by whom it was also endowed, with liberal aid from Queen Anne's Bounty: the amount for the church and Mr. Evans' part of the endowment was £10,000, of which about £7000 were for the edifice, a handsome structure, in which is a beautiful marble monument to the founder and his lady, and another to their son Arthur. Mr. Evans also left stock, now producing £210 per annum, to his sons and their two sisters, for the support of certain dame schools at Darley-Abbey, and in such other parts of Alkmund parish as they may think fit. Two infant and three day schools are supported by the endowment; and there is a handsome brick school-house, built by the late Mr. Evans at a cost of about £3000. Some remains of the abbey are made into cottages.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.