CRICH lies about five miles east from Wirksworth, which is the posttown, and twelve from Derby. The. parish is chiefly in the hundred of Morleston and Litchurch, but extends into that of Scarsdale, and into the wapentake of Wirksworth. The parish comprises the township of Crich, and the villages of Dark-lane, Frithley, and Wheatcroft, with part of Upper and Nether-Holloway, in the hundred of Morleston and Litchurch; the township of Wessington, in the hundred of Scarsdale; and the township of Tansley, in the wapentake of Wirksworth.
There was formerly a market at Crich, which, although we have not been able to find any record of its grant, appears to have been of considerable antiquity. It was attempted to be revived about the middle of the last century, at which period it had been long discontinued. In 1810, it was again opened, and continues to be held for corn, provisions, &c. on Thursdays. There are two fairs, April 6, and Oct. 11, for horses, cows, sheep, pigs, woollen clothes, cotton goods, and pedlars' wares.
The manor or barony of Crich belonged, when the survey of Domesday was taken, to Ralph Fitz-Hubert. The heiress of his descendant, Hubert Fitz-Ralph, brought it to Anker de Frecheville, whose son Ralph was possessed of it in 1218. Roger Belers, who purchased this manor of Ralph de Frecheville (a descendant of the former), died seised of it in 1325. Sir Roger Belers, who died in 1380, left two daughters, who possessed this manor in moieties; but the whole devolved eventually to the descendants of Sir Robert de Swillington, who married the elder. From the Swillingtons, the manor of Crich passed, by inheritance, to Ralph Lord Cromwell, who in the reign of Henry VI. sold the reversion to John Talbot, the second Earl of Shrewsbury. Upon the death of Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury, in 1616, it was divided between his daughters and coheiresses, the Countesses of Pembroke, Kent, and Arundel. The Countess of Pembroke's share passed through the Savilles, to an ancestor of the Earl of Thanet, who is the present proprietor. The Countess of Kent conveyed her share to her uncle, Edward Earl of Shrewsbury. The Duke of Shrewsbury, in 1710, sold the lands, which were soon afterwards divided into parcels; and in 1711, conveyed his third of the manor or barony to William Sudbury, and four other persons. The remaining third was sold, in 1660, for 3270l., by the Honourable Henry Howard, to Anthony Bennet and Ralph Smith, by whom it was disposed of in severalties.
In the parish church, which is in the deanery of Derby, are some monu ments of the family of Clay, with quaint epitaphs, in which there is a per petual play upon the name. There are the tombs also of Godfrey Beresford, Esq. (1513), son and heir of Adam Beresford, of Bentley, and servant of George Earl of Shrewsbury; " Robert Marshall, Esq., and Margaret, his wyfe, who in this town lyved quietly above fyfty yeres, without debate or stryfe" (no date); and a tablet for John Kirkeland, yeoman (1652), whose family are said (in his epitaph) to have lived above 500 years in Wheatcroft. Bassano's volume of Church Notes describes an aneient monument, supposed to be that of Sir William de Wakebridge, who died in the reign of Edward III., and that of German Pole, Esq. of Wakebridge, who died in 1588.
The church of Crich was given to the abbot and convent of Darley, by Robert de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, in the reign of King Stephen. Sir Robert Wilmot, Bart., of Chaddesden, is the present impropriator; Sir Wolston Willoughby Dixie, Bart., patron of the vicarage.
There was a chantry in the church of Crich, " for God's service, and maintaining of poor folk," founded in 1350, by Sir William de Wakebridge, in honour of St. Nicholas and St. Catherine; and another, founded in 1361, by Sir William de Wakebridge, Ric. de Chesterfield, and Ri. de Tissington, in honour of the Virgin Mary. The income of the former was valued, in 1547, at 12l. 4s. 41/2d. per annum; the other at 6l. 3s. 4d.
The manor of Tansley, which belonged to the Knights-Templars, and afterwards to the Hospitallers, is supposed to have been granted to George or Francis, Earl of Shrewsbury. William. Earl of Pembroke, who married one of the coheiresses of Gilbert Earl of Shrewsbury, sold it to William Earl of Newcastle, from whom it has passed, with Bolsover and other estates, to his Grace the Duke of Portland, who is the present proprietor.
The manor of Wakebridge belonged, at an early period, to a family whose ancestor took his name from the place. Peter, son of Ralph de Wakebrugge, married a daughter of Hubert Fitz-Ralph, Lord of Crich, in the reign of King John. Sir William de Wakebridge, who distinguished himself in the wars with France, and is spoken of by Wyrley, as a valiant knight, though he bore colour upon colour in his arms, died without issue, in the reign of Edward III.: his sister brought this estate to the Poles, of Staffordshire, and afterwards of Radborne in this county; a younger branch of which family became possessed of this manor, and settled at Wakebridge. On the death of John Pole, Esq. of Wake bridge, in 1724, it passed to his great nephew, Garalt Morphy, whose brother and heir, Edward, sold it, in 1771, to Peter Nightingale, Esq., of Lea.
By his bequest, the manor of Wakebridge passed to his great nephew, William Edward Shore, Esq., who has taken the name of Nightingale, and is the present proprietor. The old mansion was taken down about the year 1771, but there are still some remains of a chapel.
The manor of Wistanton, now called Wessington, or Wassington, was held, at the time of the Domesday Survey, by Levinc, under Ralph Fitz hubert It appears to have been given to the monks of Darley, by Ralph Fitz-Odo, and Geffrey de Constantin. The monks held it under John de Heriz, in the reign of Edward I. King Henry VIII. granted it, in 1544, to Thomas Babington, Esq., whose son, Henry, died seised of it in 1570.
Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury, was lord of this manor in 1611. In 1657, it was sold by the Earl of Arundel, grandson of one of his coheiresses, to Ri chard Taylor and William Hill, yeomen, whose grandsons were possessed of it in 1760. It is now the joint property of Sir Robert Wilmot, Bart. of Chaddesden (who purchased of John Hill, about the year 1800), and Mr. Daniel Hopkinson, of South-Winfield.
Ref. British History Online (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50725)
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