CRlCH is a town, township and extensive parish, in the Mid division of the county, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, Belper union and petty sessional division, Alfreton county court district and rural deanery, archdeaconry of Derby and diocese of Southwell, 4¾ miles west-by-south from Alfreton, 5 north from Belper, one north-east from Whatstandwell station on the Manchester main line of the Midland railway, and 144 from London. The railway and the Cromford canal pass along the south-western border of the parish, and the line from Ambergate to the north also bounds the parish on the south-east. The church of St. Mary is a handsome stone building, in a mixed style, partly Norman, situated on a commanding height, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of three bays, aisles, and a western tower with spire, containing 5 bells, dating from 1620 : there are several old monuments, some to the Dixie family, others to the Poles of Wakebridge, lords of the manor of Wakebridge, and a member of whose family was "Falconer " to Henry VII. ; likewise a monument to the Clay family, a member of which married Mr. Pole, and to whom a most curious epitaph is inscribed on the chancel walls: there is also a stone slab to the memory of Babington, who was beheaded for endeavouring to set at liberty Mary Queen of Scots, when imprisoned in Wingfield Manor in the time of Queen Elizabeth : there are three memorial stained windows, all erected during the present vicar's incumbency, during which time also other improvements and repairs have been carried out.The church plate is dated 1712. There are about 500 sittings, all free: The registers date from the year 1604 The living is a vicarage, yearly value about £230, with residence, in the gift of five trustees, and held since 1875 by the Rev. William Acraman, of St. Aidans, who is patron of the livings of the adjoining parishes of Tansley and Wessington. In the village is an ancient stone market cross (restored in 1871): the upper part contains a figure of St. Michael and the Dragon. The Baptists have a good place of worship here. The United Methodist Free Church was built in 1864, they have also chapels at Crich Carr and Wheatcroft The Primitive Methodists have chapels at Crich, Crich Carr, Fritchley, and Morewood Moor. The Wesleyans have a small chapel. The Congregationalists have a chapel at Fritchley There is a mission church at Fritchley, one mile south east, built in 1870 and contains about 150 sitting; it is also used as a day school, and was enlarged by the addition of an infants' school room in 1874. There are also at Fritchley Congregational and Primitive Methodist chapels. Emma Hurt's Charity amounts to £47 yearly, the odd £7 goes to Wessington; Cornthwaite's Charity, left in 1838, amounts to £6 7s. yearly for clothing ; Cooper's, of £6 5s 10d, left in 1853 is distributed in money; Wright's Charity amounts to £17 14s. 6d. yearly, and is given to regular attendants at church. The charities for the township of Wessington amount to £10 yearly The yearly sum of £7 5s from the Rev. Francis Gisborne's Charity, is received by the vicar and churchwardens, and laid out in the purchase of flannel for the poor. In 1562 John Kirkland left £2 yearly to the poor of this parish for ever, which is distributed on St. Thomas' day. Sim's Charity of recent date amounts to about £50, and is distributed to promote religious education. The inhabitants are principally employed in the adjacent quarries which produce limestone and gritstone of a superior quality, a large quantity being sent to London and other parts. The gritstone quarries at Whatstandwell are the property of the Duke of Devonshire. Lea mills and other industrious centers in the neighbourhood also give employment to many. The manufacture of hosiery by hand is also carried on to a very considerable extent, and there is a Lead mine in operation at Wakebridge. The Butterley Company have extensive quarries and lime kilns at BullBridge; and at Ambergate are the lime-works of the Clay Cross Company. Chase Cliffe is a handsome stone mansion, pleasantly situate in grounds tastefully laid out: it is the property and residence of the Misses Hurt, and was erected by them in 1859. On Crich Stand, which has an elevation of upwards of 950 feet above the level of the sea, is a circular tower, 50 feet in height, erected in 1851 (on the site of a former tower) by the late Francis Hurt esq. of Alderwasley. On July 6th, 1882, a considerable land slip occurred which reached nearly the base of the tower and demolished four houses. In the village is an ancient stone market cross (restored in 1871) ; the upper part contains a figure of St. Michael contending with the Dragon. The market has been revived, and is held weekly on Friday. Fairs for sheep and cattle are held on the 6th of April and 11th of October. The principal landowners are Albert Frederick Hurt esq. and W. Shore Smith esq. and there are several smaller freeholders. The Duke of Devonshire is also an owner. The soil is loamy ; subsoil, gritstone. The land is chiefly in pasturage. The acreage of the township is 3,750 ; rateable value, £13,085 ; the population in 1881 was 2,984.
Fritchley is a village 1 mile south-east ; Coddington, half a mile west; Bull Bridge, 1½ miles south ; Plaistowe Green, 1 mile north ; and Wheatcroft 2½ miles north, are hamlets. Crich Carr and Whatstandwell are also places here.
Crich Carr is that portion of the parish near Whatstandwell railway station, and is increasing in population.
Parish Clerk, John Wetton.
Post, Money Order & Telegraph Office, Savings Bank & Government Insurance & Annuity office.—James Lee, postmaster. Letters arrive through Derby at 8.10 a.m. ; dispatched at 5.45 p.m
Post Office, Whatstandwell.—Timothy Martin, receiver. Letters arrive from Derby at 5.40 a.m. ; dispatched at 6.40 p.m. The nearest money order & telegraph office is at Crich
Post Office, Fritchley. — Thomas Davidson, receiver. Letters through Derby arrive at 7.30 a.m. ; dispatched at 6.10 p.m. The nearest money order & telegraph is at Crich
Insurance Agents :
London Assurance & Accidental, J. Saxton, The Hollies
Liverpool & London & Globe, J. Lee
Sun Fire, J. J. Clarke, Matlock Bridge
Schools ; – To avoid a School Board being formed, great exertions have been made to provide school room for the children of the parish, and there are now three National and one British school, the whole holding upwards of 800 children. The former schools, however, are sufficient for the accommodation of all the children in the parish. National (Crich;, erected in 1848 for 330 children ; average attendance, 80 ; Isaac Williams, master National (Crich Carr), erected in 1884 for 80 children; average attendance, 60 ; Mrs. Frances Hawkes, mistress National (Fritchley), erected in 1870 & enlarged in 1874 for 141 children; average attendance, 130; Thomas L. A. Coosens, master ; Mrs. A. M. Coosens, mistress British (Crich), erected in 1884-5 for 260 children; average attendance (mixed 175), infants 52 ; Heyworth Dyson, master
Railway Station, Whatstandwell, Charles Whitmore, station master
Coddington, Crich Carr & Whatstandwell.
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