CRICH is an ancient town, a beautiful and extensive parish, 1 mile north-east from Whatstandwell station on the Manchester main line of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, 4 west-by-south from Alfreton, 4½ north from Belper, and 144 from London, in the Belper division of the county, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, rural district and petty sessional division of Belper, county court district and rural deanery of Alfreton, archdeaconry of Chesterfield and diocese of Derby. 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 Ilkeston and Heanor Joint Water Board have constructed extensive water reservoirs at Chadwick, Crich, to supply the Borough of Ilkeston and Heanor Town with water by gravitation. The extensive works of the Derwent Valley Water Board are in this parish. The church of St. Mary, standing on a commanding height, is a building of stone, in mixed styles, partly Norman, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of three bays, aisles, and a western tower with spire, containing a clock and 8 bells, 6 of which date from 1620: the monuments include several to the Dixie family, and others to the Poles of Wakebridge, lords of the manor of that name, one of whom was falconer to Henry VII.: there is also a memorial with a most curious epitaph to a member of the Clay family, and an inscribed stone slab to Anthony Babington esq. of Dethick, who, with 13 others, engaged in a conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, and raise the country in favour of Mary Queen of Scots, then imprisoned in Wingfield Manor; but the plot being discovered, the conspirators were arrested and executed at Tyburn, 20 and 21 Sept. 1586 : there are rive memorial stained windows: the church plate is dated 1572: the church affords about 400 sittings. In the churchyard is a granite cross erected by public subscription in memory of the men connected with the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. The registers date from the year 1601. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £402, with residence, in the gift of trustees, and held since 1929 by the Rev. Hubert Edmund Jones B.Sc. of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, who is sole patron of the living of the adjoining parish of Tansley and joint patron of Wessington with Brackenfield. The mission church at Fritchley, 1 mile south-east, built in 1870 by Miss Elizabeth Hurt, is also used as a day school; it was enlarged in 1874, and seats about 150. The Baptist chapel, at Crich, a building of stone, with a clock, was erected in 1877, and seats 200. There are Methodist chapels at Crich, Crich Carr, Wheatcroft, Fritchley and Morewood Moor. The Society of Friends have a meeting house at Fritchley. In the village is an ancient stone market cross (restored in 1871), the upper part of which includes a group of St. Michael overcoming the Dragon. The market is held weekly on Fridays. Fairs for sheep and cattle are held on the 6th of April and 11th of October. The reading room is a stone building, erected in 1887. Chase Cliffe, a handsome mansion of stone, pleasantly situated in grounds tastefully laid out, is occupied by Maurice Deacon esq. J.P. A yearly sum of £6 12s. lid. 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 amounts to about £50, and is applied to promote religious education. Emma Hurt's charity amounts to about £40 yearly; Cornthwaite's charity, left in 1838, amounts to £4 1s. 8d. yearly for clothing ; Cooper's, of £1 3s. 8d. left in 1853, is distributed in money ; Wright's charity amounts to £16 5s. 8d. yearly, and is given to regular attendants at church. The charities for the township of Wessington amount to upwards of £7 yearly, . payable from the charities of Crich. Miss Elizabeth Hurt left £1,000, invested in Consols, the interest of which is to augment the living of the vicar; also £1,000 invested in Consols, the interest of which is to be distributed by the vicar and churchwardens to four old parishioners, each to receive 2s. 6d. a week ; and £1,000 invested in Consols, the interest of which is to go towards the support of a trained parish nurse. On Crich Stand, which has an elevation of upwards of 950 feet above the level of the sea, was a circular tower, 50 feet in height, erected in 1851, on the site of a former tower, by Francis Hurt esq. of Alderwasley (d. 1861): in 1902 this tower was struck by lightning and was closed to the public. On July 6th, 1882, a considerable landslip occurred which reached nearly to the base of the tower and demolished four houses. In 1922 the tower was rebuilt and dedicated as a memorial to the 11,400 men of all ranks of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regt.) who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. It was opened in Aug. 1923, by Gen. Sir Horace L. Smith-Dorrien G.C.B., G.C.M.G, D.SO. The Chase Cliff Estates Co. are the principal landowners, Gas and electricity are available. Water is supplied by the Belper Rural District Council. The soil is loamy; subsoil, gritstone and limestone. The land is chiefly in pasturage. The area of the township is 3,208 acres; the population of the township in 1931 was 2,845, and of the ecclesiastical parish, 3,091.
By the Derbyshire Review Order, 1934, part of this parish was transferred to the parish of Heage, in the urban district of Ripley.
FRITCHLEY is a village, 1 mile south-east, with a mission church, and has an excellent supply of pure spring water. Coddington, half a mile west; Bull Bridge, 1½ miles south; Plaistowe Green, 1 mile north; and Wheatcroft, 2 miles north, are hamlets. Crich Carr and Whatstandwell are also places here. Crich Carr is that portion of the parish near Whatstandwell railway station.
Post, M. O. & T. Office. Letters through Matlock.
Post, M. O. & T. Office, Whatstandwell. Letters through Matlock
Post & M. O. Office, Fritchley. Letters through Derby Crich nearest T. office
Railway Station.—Whatstandwell (L. M. & S. Railway)
Conveyances: omnibuses pass through daily for Matlock & Alfreton
Austin Miss, The Mount
Allcock Geo. farmer, Edge farm
CODDINGTON, CRICH CARR & WHATSTANDWELL.
FRITCHLEY & BULL BRIDGE.
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