This is a parish and township in the hundred of Morleston and Litchurch; electoral division of Crich; petty sessional division and poor law union of Belper; county court district and rural deanery of Alfreton. It embraces an area of 3,667 acres, and is valued for rating purposes at £14,073. The population in 1891 was 3,070. A. F. Hurt, Esq., J.P., CC., Alderwasley Hall, is lord of the manor and one of the principal landowners. The others are W. S. Nightingale, Esq., Miss Hurt, the Clay Cross and Butterley Companies; G. B. Hughes, and H. B. Boag, Esqrs. There are also several small freeholders. The surface is picturequely diversified by lofty hills and deep valleys. The soil is various and rests on 'clay and gritstone. Veins of lead occur amongst the hills, and for some years the mines of Crich Cliff were the most productive in the county. Limestone is abundant and extensively quarried by the Clay Cross and Butterley Companies; there is also a good gritstone quarry worked by Mr. John Haynes. In July, 1882, a landslip occurred at the quarries of the former company, whereby Cliff House, three cottages, and about 10 acres of land were destroyed.
The manor of Crich was held at the time of the Domesday Survey by Ralph Fitzhubert, to whom it was granted by the Conqueror, together with its lead mine, which had previously belonged to Leuric and Levenot. To him succeeded his son Ralph Fitzralph, the first Baron of Crich, who gave the church of Crich to Darley Abbey. The family had their principal family residence here, and Hubert Fitzralph obtained a grant of free chase and permission to have hounds and deer of his own. He died about 1225, leaving two daughters coheiresses, one of whom, Juliana, married Anker de Frecheville, whose son, Ralph de Frecheville, succeeded to the barony of Crich. Ralph de Frecheville, in 1324, alienated the manor to Roger Beler and his heirs. It subsequently passed by the marriage of a coheiress to Sir Roger de Swillington, and from this family it descended to Ralph, Lord Cromwell, who, in the reign of Henry VI., sold the reversion to John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. On the death of Gilbert the 7th Earl in 1616, the manor was divided between his three daughters and coheiresses, the Countesses of Pembroke, Kent, and Arundel. The manor has since become very much divided and now belongs to A. E. Hurt, Esq., and several others, who are the owners of the mineral duties.
The village of Crich, which is of considerable extent, occupies a lofty position on the slope of an isolated cliff, 12 miles N. from Derby, 5 N. from Belper, 5 S. from Matlock, and 1 from Whatstandwell station on the Midland railway. This cliff apart from its rich veins of ore, is to geologists one of the most interesting spots in the country. Dr. Mantell in his " Wonders of Geology " says :—" There is one spot which is perhaps not equalled in England for the lesson it teaches of some of the ancient revolutions of the globe. This is called Crich Hill, about five miles east of Matlock. Even from a distance you see there is something extraordinary concealed in that mountain range from its mere outline. This hill consists of strata of limestone like the rocks of Dovedale and Matlock which have been forced up into a dome, through overlying strata of quite a different character, and much less ancient. These new rocks are called 'millstone grit,' and once, of course, were horizontal and deposited on the limestone. A geologist will have no hesitation in assigning this upheaval to volcanic action, but fortunately we are not left to supposition. The proof remains! The very melted lava, the eruption and expansion of which occasioned the elevation at the highest point, and forced its way through an overlying strata, occupies the heart of the mountain, in the centre of which it has been found." This hill is crowned by a round tower of cut stone, built by "F. H. (Francis Hurt), 1788," and rebuilt in 1851. A spiral staircase of 51 stone steps leads to the top, round which is a parapet. This tower, designated Crich Stand, is, according to the Ordnance Survey, 955 feet above the mean level of the sea, and commands an extensive and charming view of the surrounding country. On a clear day with the aid of a telescope Lincoln Cathedral may be seen. Another eminence called The Tors presents a face of solid rock overlooking the village and plain below.
The village wears the appearance of antiquity, many of the houses bearing 17th century dates, and was of sufficient importance in those days to have a market of its own, though there is no record of its grant. An antiquated fountain stands in the centre of the spacious Market Place, and a little distance off, at the junction of the Cromford, Alfreton, and Derby Roads, an imposing wayside cross was erected by public subscription in 1871, on the site, and as far as possible, with the materials of an old cross of unknown date, but supposed to have been Saxon. On one side of the circular head is a pretty floral design in high relief, and on the other is a representation of St. Michael vanquishing the serpent. The cross was designed by Mr. Thomas Harris, architect, London, and the work was executed by Mr. Isaac Petts, of Crich. The market was long obsolete, but for some years one has been held every Friday night. Fairs are held on the 6th of April and 11th of October. On the latter, old Michaelmas day, the feast is also held.
The church is a handsome edifice of stone, situated at uthe top of the town." It is chiefly in the Decorated style of the 14th century, but there are considerable remains of an earlier church, and comprises chancel, with north vestry, nave, with north and south aisle, south porch, and western tower, with octagonal spire, containing a peal of five bells. Above these is another called the "Parson's bell," which was, doubtless, the old Sanctus bell, the turret for which still graces the eastern gable of the nave. The arcade of each aisle consists of three semicircular or Norman arches, and a narrow pointed one adjoining the chancel, indicating an extension of the nave when the chancel was rebuilt. The pillars on both sides are circular, but those of the north aisle have massive square capitals, whilst those on the south aisle have rounded ones. The chancel is spacious and lighted by a handsome east window of five lights, representing Christ and the four Evangelists, and two on the south side. It is separated from the nave by a lofty-pointed arch. The incised memorial slabs that form the floor tell of the many persons there interred. In the south wall are three sedilia under trefoiled arches; and on the opposite side is an almery or cupboard closed by a carved oak door, but the slanting internal recess shows that it was originally a hagioscope or "squint." Above this, projecting out of the wall, is a stone reading desk with ledge to hold the book. There was formerly a chapel at the east end of the south aisle, the piscina of which remains, and there are indications of another chapel against the north aisle. The font is a massive piece of Norman work, lined with lead, and ornamented with a moulding of cable pattern and a chevron. The parapets of the aisles are plain, those of the nave are embattled, and the roofs are flat.
The monuments are numerous and interesting, but space permits us to particularise only a few. Under an ogee arched recess in the north aisle is the recumbent effigy of a man in a long gown, bareheaded, hands joined over the breast, and feet resting on a dog. It is said to be that of Sir William de Wakebridge, who founded two chantries in this church. In the exterior wall is another canopied recess, similar to the above, without any effigy. On the north wall of the chancel is the upper slab of a tomb bearing incised figures of a man and woman dressed in the costume of the 16th century, and wearing muffs. In the two upper corners are two shields of arms. It once covered the tomb of German Poole, lord of "Wake-bridge, who died in 1588, but the Latin inscription is almost effaced. Under this is a table tomb of alabaster, on which are incised the figures of a man and wife, and the following mutilated inscription, which, when perfect, was as follows :—
"Here lieth John Glaye, gentleman, and Mary whom he first did wive ;
With her hee lived eight years space, in which God gave them children five.
Daughter to William Calton, Esquir., who was unto that kinge of fame
Henrie the eight chief cock-matcher and servante of his hawkes by name.
And shee had a former match, Charnolles, of Swarkstone, in Lestershire ;
So shee deceast, this Claye did take the widow of German Poole, Esquire,
Daughter of Edward, who was sonne to Sir John Ferrers, of Tamworth, Knight :
She lyes entombed in this church with him to whom she first was plight.
And now this Claye is closed in claye, the fairest flesh doth fade like grass ;
Hee had one sister who unto Stuffyn, of Shirbrook, married was.
For Deathe doth give an end to all, and now this Claye shall rest herein:
All Claye to claye shall come at last, by Death the due reward of synne.
Thou deathe, his deathe, thy deathe is hee whose soule doth live with Griste for aye :
The stinge of death can no one flee; the greatest monarchs are but claye."
There are also inscriptions in Latin, setting forth that the said John Claye died in 1632 and Mary in 1583. The following undated epitaph also appears on the same wall:—
" Soules they are made of heavenly spirit,
From whence they come yee heavens inherite.
Didst know that bodyes made of claye
Deathe will devoure by night or daye.
Yett is hee as hee was I say,
He livinge and dead remayneth Claye;
His verye name that nature gave
Is now as shall be in his grave.
Tymes doth teach, experience tryes
That claye to duste the wind up dryes:
Then this a wonder coumpt wee must,
That want of winde should make Claye dust."
In another corner of the chancel is an altar tomb of alabaster, on which is incised the figure of a man in plate armour. Bound the margin is a Latin inscription to Godfrey Beresford, servant to the most honourable George, Earl of Shrewsbury, and son and heir to Aden Beresford, of Fenny Bentley, who died in 1513. Above the sedilia is a brass encased in marble to the memory of Christopher Blencowe Noble Dunn, M.R.C.S., E., who died in 1892, and was for 30 years medical officer of this district. He was an enthusiastic antiquary, and also wrote several short poems, which, but for an unforeseen accident, would have been published under the title of "In Wood and Meadow." Another quaint brass to the infant son of Thomas Shelmerdine, who held this living during the Commonwealth, bears the following inscription:—
" Noe sooner bloomed, but blasted,
Yet to revive with thine
At the refreshing.—Ephraim Shelmerdine. March 1°, 1637."
There are eight old funeral brasses on the walls of the belfry, which were formerly in other parts of the church. A thorough restoration of the church was carried out in 1860, at a cost of £1,800. The churchyard was also enlarged at the same time. Here is the headstone of George Walker, who died in 1849, in his 101st year. Two other centenarians are also buried here.
The original dedication of the church was to St. Mary. It is mentioned by that name in various ancient chartularies, and also in the county histories of Pilkington, Davies, and Glover, but in modern directories and also in the Diocesan Calendar it is styled St. Michael's. The change is supposed to have taken place about the time of the Reformation, but there is no clear record.
The living is a vicarage, entered in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of Henry VIII. as of the clear value of £6 10s. 10d., and now worth £230, in the gift of five trustees, and held by the Rev. W. Acraman since 1875. The tithe rent-charge, present value £36, belongs to the living of Wessington, to which it was given by the late Sir Robert Wilmott. The vicarial tithes amount to £30. The living was augmented with £200 benefactions and £200 Queen Anne's Bounty, laid out in the purchase of a farm at Plaistow Green, and with £600 Parliamentary grant.
There is ample provision for the spiritual wants of the inhabitants, for, besides the Parish Church, which will seat 500, there are several Dissenting chapels. The present Baptist Chapel, erected in 1877, at a cost of £1,600, to supersede one built in 1839, is a spacious building of cut stone, with some pretensions to architectural display. The style is an imitation of the Norman. Above the cornice is a gablet, containing a chiming clock and bell. The interior is very ornate. On the east wall are several handsome memorial tablets by Messrs. Petts. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel at Crich Common. There is no record of its erection, but the Rev. John Wesley is said to have preached in it. On the wall over the pulpit is a marble monument to John Storer, who died in 1891, at the age of 80. At the age of 13 he lost his sight through an explosion of gunpowder. His father was a class leader in connection with the Primitive Methodists ; but John, when 26 years old, left the Primitives and joined the Wesleyan Methodists, of which body he afterwards became a preacher. For some years he resided at Alderwasley, but in 1856 he returned to his native village, and in the pulpit beneath his monument he poured forth his exhortations in rough but soul-stirring eloquence. The United Methodists and the Primitive Methodists have also chapels in the village; the former was erected in 1861, and the latter in 1853.
The village possesses both a parochial and a British school. The former was built in 1818, and enlarged by the addition of an infants' room in 1881; total accommodation, 120 in the senior department, and 50 in the infants. The British School is a handsome block of stone buildings, erected in 1881, at a cost of £1,500, and comprises two departments, mixed and infants; total accommodation, 260; average attendance (mixed), 150 ; infants, 40. A Reading Room was erected by public subscription in 1889, at a cost of £350. On the ground floor is a spacious billiard room, and above a bagatelle room and a reading room. There are several Friendly Societies in the village. The Independent Friendly Society, established in 1791, holds its meetings in a clubroom, built in 1835; the Oddfellows meet at the British School, and the others at various inns.
There are several genteel residences in and on the outskirts of the village. Chase Cliff, the property and residence of Miss Hurt, is a handsome house, built in 1859, from the designs of Benjamin Terry, Esq., architect, of London. It is in the old style of architecture, with stone mullioned windows. It is surrounded by beautiful sylvan scenery, and commands from its elevated situation extensive views. Others are mentioned by name in the directory.
Ambergate is a prosperous and pleasant village partly in Heage and partly in this parish. Here are the limekilns, twenty in number, of the Clay Cross Co., where about thirty hands are constantly employed. The quarries are three miles distant. The stone is brought part of the way by a locomotive, and then sent down a very steep tram line, by a wire rope worked by a drum. These works were started by the celebrated George Stephenson. Bull Bridge is a busy little village on the bank of the river Amber, 1¼ miles S.E. from Crich. Here are five limekilns belonging to the Butterley Company, and the bobbin and moulding works of Edward Watkins & Co., removed from Fritchley in 1885. The Ambergate, Crich, Bull Bridge, and Fritchley Gas Light & Coke Co., Ltd., have their works here. The Cromford canal passes the village. Whatstandwell and Crich Carr now form one village, delightfully situated amidst beautiful Alpine scenery. There is a station here on the Midland railway, and the place is much frequented by visitors and tourists. Stone of excellent quality for grindstones, building, girder beds, caps, coping, and other purposes is extensively quarried, and exported in the dressed and rough state. Norway receives grindstones from Whatstandwell; and the stone is also sent to India and America. The Duke's quarries, ten in number, have been worked by the Sims family for upwards of a century. The sawing and moulding mills of Mr. Thomas Stone are also situated here on the bank of the Derwent. The Primitive Methodist Chapel, situate in the higher part of Crich Carr is a handsome edifice of cut stone, erected in 1877, at an estimated cost of £1,000. The site was given by the late Mr. John Sims, and also a portion of the stone. The United Methodists have likewise a chapel here ; and there is also a good National School, erected in 1884, and enlarged in 1893. The Whatstandwell Coffee and Reading Booms were established in 1882. Subsequently the business was taken over by Mr. Peacock. Members pay 6d. per quarter towards the reading-room, and 9d. per quarter towards the billiard-room. There is a lending library of about 1,000 volumes, many of which were presented by Miss Florence Nightingale. On the road to Crich is a very copious spring, which gushes out of the rock with great force.
Fritchley is pleasantly situated in a valley about one mile from Crich. It is said to have received its name from an early proprietor, whose descendants still own land and reside here. A bobbin factory was established here upwards of a century ago, by the brothers Wightman; it afterwards came into the hands of Mr. Sargent. Subsequently it. was carried on by Mr. Edward Watkins, until 1885, when the building was destroyed by a fire, and the business was removed to Bull Bridge. The village contains many very good houses, which impart to it a highly respectable appearance. Seen from the higher grounds it presents quite a pleasing picture. Ample provision has been made for the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants. Church service is held in the Memorial school, erected by Miss Elizabeth Hurt, in 1869 ; the Primitive Methodists rebuilt their chapel in 1852, and the Congregationalists have also a neat edifice of dressed stone, erected in 1841. The Society of Friends is comparatively strong here. The meeting house is a very plain structure converted out of two cottages, where about 50 Friends regularly meet. Matilda Rickman, who died in 1881, left £1,800 for educational purposes, and they have now an excellent school. The Fritchley Society, we believe, is the only one in the kingdom that strictly adheres to the rigid simplicity and decorum of the original tenets.
The Bowmers have been settled here upwards of 200 years. On a stone over the door of an outbuilding at Barn Close are the initials JB. (John Bownier), and the date 1671; on another stone is L.M.B., 1669.
About three-quarters of a mile distant are two rows of three storeyed houses called Hat Factory. Here the Butterley Co. have extensive limestone quarries. Morewood Moor is a hamlet partly in this parish and partly in South Wingfield. The Manor House is an interesting relic of bygone days, and the interior still bears traces of its former beauty. There was formerly a brown ware pottery here.
Wakebridge is a hamlet and separate manor about one mile N.N.W. of Crich. It belonged at an early period to a family who took their name from the place, and were allied by marriage with the Fitzralphs, lords of Crich. Sir William de Wakeburge, or Wakebridge, was knight of this shire, and also of Nottingham in several Parliaments. In 1350 he founded and endowed a chantry in the parish church "for God's service and maintaining of poor folk." It was dedicated to St. Nicholas and St. Catherine, and was in the north aisle. The chaplain was bound to distribute amongst the poor, yearly, 10s. in pennies—no small sum when a cow could be purchased for Is. and a heifer for 6d. The clear income of the chantry was £13 4s. 4d. Eighteen years later he founded another chantry at the altar of St. Mary in the same church, and endowed it with rents of the annual value of £6. Sir William also built a chapel at his mansion house at Wakebridge, and garnished it with an " orgayne and other costly devises." The foundation stones of this chapel may be seen in the bull croft of the present farmhouse, and the door of the cheese room, a beautiful piece of oak work and of undoubted antiquity, probably once belonged to it. Sir William died without issue, and his sister, wife of Sir John de la Pole, inherited his estates. Wakebridge remained in the possession of this family till the death of John Pole, Esq., in 1724, when it passed to his great nephew, Garalt Morphy, whose brother, Edward, sold it, in 1771, to Peter Nightingale, Esq., of Lea, and it is now the property of Mr. W. S. Nightingale. There is a lead mine here on the Lea Hurst estate.
Wheatcroft is a hamlet about two miles N.W. of Crich. The family of Kirkland was formerly settled here, and their initials, with the date 1648, still remain over the door. John Kirkland, who died in 1652, willed his lands in Wheatcroft and elsewhere to Godfrey Clarke, of Somersall, his nearest kinsman, reserving a rent-charge of 40s. out of his farm at Wheatcroft to the poor of Crich. On his funeral brass in the parish church it is said that his " ansers (ancestors) and hee lived at Weatcrost above five hundred years." The United Methodists have a chapel here.
Thurlow Booth, Park Head, Plaistow Green, and Robin Hood are hamlets in the parish.
General Post Office, Crich; John Higton, sub-postmaster. Letters, via Matlock Bath (except where otherwise stated), arrive at 6-45 a.m. and at 3-45 p.m.; despatch at 6-40 p.m. on week days only. Letter Boxes—Churchyard Wall cleared at 6-0 p.m.; Crich Common at 6-15 p.m.
Parish Councillors—Henry Basil Boag, John Sims, Geo. Godfrey Macdonald, Jas. Thomas Lee,. Walter Glossop, Joseph Nightingale Hopkinson, Joseph Radford, Rev. Wm. Acraman, and Herbert Leafe.
Rural District Councillors—J. Burton and B. Peach.
Acraman Rev. William, The Vicarage
Independent Friendly Society; Wm. Curzon, secretary ; Samuel Else, treasurer
Barber Robert, Rock house
Brown Geo. (& air.), Market pl
Bramwell Geo. Herbert, Crich Common
Dawes Robert, The Mount
Bower Samuel, Sheldon house
Grocers, Provision, and
Postal address, Bull Bridge, Ambergate.
Wall Letter Box cleared at 6-20 p.m.
Ambergate, Crich, Bull Bridge, and Fritchley Gas Light and Coke Co., Ltd.; J. Dawes, secretary; h Crich .
Parkin George, foreman
Bus from the Lord Nelson to Belper, Saturdays at 3 and 6 p.m., return from Belper at 5 and 9 p.m.
Post Office at Thomas Davidson's. Letters, via Ambergate, arrive at 7-30 a.m., and are
despatched at 9-45 a.m. and 6-25 p.m. Nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office, Crich,.
1 mile distant.
|Brayton Misses Margaret and Hannah
Chell George, millwright
Chell John, house owner
Crozier Mrs. Julia, Orchard cottage
Davidson Thos., grocer, provision and general merchant, and draper
Dick Reuben, boot and shoe maker
Fletcher Mrs. Ann Margaret, grocer
Gaunt George, vict., Bed Lion Inn
Gaunt Robert, fent dealer
Henderson John B., fishmonger
Minards Caleb, beer retlr., Shoulder of Mutton
Parkin John James, clerk
Poyser Mrs. Eliza, boot and shoe maker
Radford Mrs. Ann
Radford Jph., miller, South Field, Ambergate
Radford Mr. Thomas
Redfern Joseph, carter and coal dealer
Sadler Miss Jane, schoolmistress
Sargent Miss Lydia B.
PLAISTOW GEEEN AND MOORWOOD MOOR.
Postal Address, Plaistow Green, Crich, near Matlock Bath, except for those marked * for whom
letters should be addressed Crich, &c.
*Bingham Thomas, The Edge farm
|*Hyde William, Martin house, Morewood Moor
Jenkinson Joseph, Pot House lane
Marshall Thomas Clay
* Smith William, Shuckstone
*Stoppard Aaron (and castrator), Hollins farm
Taylor Samuel (and cattle dealer)
Tomlinson Alexander, Fish Pond house
* Walker Charles, Hollins farm
* Woodward (Jas.) & Thorpe (Thos.), Plaistow hall
WHATSTANDWELL AND CRICH CARR.
Post, Money Order, Savings Bank, Insurance and Annuity Office, at John Bowmer's. Letters, via
Matlock Bath, arrive at 6-20 a.m. by mail cart daily, Sundays at 6-40 a.m., and at 2-59 p.m.
by train daily, except Sundays ; and are despatched at 7 p.m. by mail cart to Matlock Bath,,
and at 10-49 a.m. by train to Derby. Sundays at 5-55 p.m. by letter carrier to Matlock
Bath. Nearest Telegraph Office, Whatstandwell Railway Station or Crich.
Allsop Mrs. Ellen, shopkeeper
Taylor Thomas, shopkeeper, Crich Carr
Mason Mrs. Ellen, Derwent house
Postal address, Wheatcroft, Crich, near Matlock Bath.
Ashbey James, Yew Tree farm
|Hitchcock Samuel, Lindway Lane house, Brackenfield, Alfreton
Hopkinson Joseph Nightingale (and grocer), Ivy Bank
Wilton William, Mount Pleasant
Home| Genealogy Index | History Index | Non church Records Index