which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell.

Researching the history of a house

Many family and local historians consider undertaking a detailed history of a house or building of interest to them. It may be helpful to look at the detailed and thorough research which has been carried out on a house in the parish. This was carried out by Mrs N. Billings who has given permission for the extracts to be transcribed below. The extracts are but a small part of the completed volume of work.

"Stone House", Crich Carr by Mrs N. Billing
with thanks to Freda Raphael for her research

The Stone House Document Collection
The originals of all documents emboldened are in the Stone House Collection

The Enclosure Plan of 5th July 1786 (Derbyshire County Archives D3156) identified plot 175 as belonging to Thomas Carwood; this is the original four acres of land which can be tracked through Coddington Bank's and Stone House's history. The Enclosure Award (Derbyshire County Archives D3156L), written on large squares of parchment called skins and completed in 1850, defines and measures the plots as follows. Measurements are by acre (a), rood (r) and perch (p)

Plot 175 Skin 27 Thomas Carwood 4a Or 4p
Plot 174 Skin 47 Joseph Walker 2r 12p
Plot 173 Skin 40 Daniel Spencer 1r 5p
Plot 172 Skin 30 Laban Greenough 1r 5p
Plot 171 Skin 38 William Roper 1r 20p
Plot 170 Skin 35 Rev. John Mason 16p
Plot 169 Skin 34 Rev. John Mason 1a 3r Op
Plot 168 Skin 38 Nathaniel Wright 4a 1r Op

Plot 1781 is an existing private road leading to certain ancient enclosures belonging to the Duke of Devonshire and John Mason
Joseph is "to make fences to North and West, by the road". Daniel is to make fences to "East and West along the roadsides".
The Ordinance Survey Map of 1922 shows areas 782 and 781 as comparable to the original plot 175 and area 787 as comparable to plot 174.
The Criche Tithe plan of 1849 (Derbyshire County Archives D2360/3/112a) maps all plots of land.
The Criche Tithe Schedule of December 31st 1850 (Derbyshire County Archives D2360/3/112a) details the plots by number, owner, occupier, use, area and person (Vicar, Duke of Devonshire, landowner) to whom the specified Tithe, an annual monetary sum, is payable. The plot numbers are not consistent with the Enclosure numbers, areas are again in acres, roods and perches, and pages are designated as Folios. The Impropriator of Great Tithes is Sir Henry Sacheveral Wilmott, Baronet.

Stone House's four acres has by now been sold to Joseph Annable, as the house's deeds show.

Plot number Folio Landowner Occupier Use Area Tithe to Vicar*, Duke of Devonshire** Landowner***
1375 53 Joseph Annable Daniel Spencer Pasture 4a Or 23p 7s 25d * 1d** 6s 2d***
1376 83 Daniel Spencer In hand Allotment pasture 2r 12p 1s 5d* 5d** 3d***
1414 70 Zachariah Greenough In hand Allotment and homestead 1r 2p 1d*
1415 83 Daniel Spencer (Renamed as John Greenough in later pencil) In hand Allotment 1r 2p 75d* 5d** 1s 5d***
1416 83 Daniel Spencer (Renamed as John Greenough in later pencil) In hand House, yard and croft pasture 16p 1d* 1s 5d***

"In hand" means occupied by the owner.

All of the following documents are in the Stone House Collection

5th April 1842: Mortgage by demise of a property situate at Coddington Bank
George Cowlishaw was the brother and heir of John Cowlishaw, farmer, 'who died many years ago intestate'. George Cowlishaw, farmer, sold Joseph Anable, farmer, of Crich Carr plot number 175 on the 1786 enclosure plan for £100 - a plot of 4 acres 4 perches at Coddington Bank. This plot was part of the common Crich parish. This 4 acre plot had two small pieces of land sold from it, one of 1,100 yards the other of 150 yards, sold respectively to John Burton and Daniel Spencer. Note: Subsequent documents indicate that the names are the wrong way round and that Daniel bought the larger piece.

16th April 1844: Conveyance of a piece of land at Coddington Bank
The agreement is between George Cowlishaw, only brother of John Cowlishaw, Joseph Anable of Crich Carr, John Burton of Crich, grocer, and Edward Carr, druggist, late of Preston but now of Belper. John Burton has agreed to buy a further piece of land (150 square yards) from George Cowlishaw for £6, described as adjacent to John Burton's other plot and beside his windmill. Access to the land is to be along the existing 7 foot wide trackway, which is to be widened to 9 feet. The land is to be occupied by Edward Carr for life. George and Joseph made their marks and John and Edward signed their names.

18th June 1844: Deed of Further Charge
This records that Joseph Anable has paid £35 interest on his loan to George Cowlishaw.

24th February 1846: Conveyance of the Equity of Redemption of and in a parcel of Land at Coddington Bank
This refers back to the 1842 mortgage detailed above. Joseph Anable had purchased the land from George Cowlishaw for £100 at 5% interest and the £184 now due is being paid. Joseph Anable now owns the land.

18th October 1849: Conveyance of two pieces of land at Coddington Bank The agreement is between John Burton, late of Crich, grocer, but now of Manchester, Joseph Annable of Crich Carr, farmer and Joseph Stone of Wirksworth, gentleman. The agreement refers to a sale indenture of 12th June 1841 between George Cowlishaw and John Burton and says that Joseph has paid John £30. At the time of the enclosures plot 175 was assigned to Thomas Carwood; these two pieces of land of 150 square yards were part of that. A windmill built there following enclosure is now in ruins, but the stone and materials of the windmill are included in the sale. John Burton signed and Joseph Annable (sic) made his mark.

Stone House and the Yates Family

25th March 1858: Mortgage of a Dwellinghouse
In this document James Anable lends Walter Yates of Crich Carr, higgler (an itinerant dealer especially poultry or dairy produce), £250 at 5% interest so that he can purchase the 'newly erected' freehold dwelling house with stables, barns, piggery, garden and outbuildings recently built by Joseph Anable deceased. Yates also buys two fields adjoining both the buildings and the road from Crich Carr by Coddington to Crich Cliff. There were four acres in all.

25th March 1858: Conveyance of a Dwellinghouse
In this agreement between James Anable of Wirksworth, yeoman, and Walter Yates of Crich Carr, higgler, shows that Walter has paid over £340 including interest for the newly erected house (as in the Mortgage above) on land described at enclosure as plot 175, but excluding the two fields of 150 square yards each. A windmill had been built here.
Joseph Anable's will was dated 22nd June 1857. He held copyhold land at Ashley Hay and freehold land at Crich Carr. James Anable and Job Allen, carrier of Wirksworth, were his executors. Joseph died 18th February 1858. The will was proved in Derby 31st March 1858.

27th February 1863: Transfer and Mortgage of a dwelling house, Stable, Barns, Piggery and Garden, Outbuildings and appurtenances.....
James Anable died on 28th April 1862. In his will dated 29th January 1861 he left everything to his two friends John Richardson and George Jackson, with a codicil dated 18th April 1862 making William Tomlinson an additional executor. James' trustees/executors were John Richardson, farmer, of Thornhill near Derby, George Jackson, farmer, of Shottle and William Tomlinson, ironmonger, of Wirksworth. The will was proved in Derby on 11th September 1862. Walter Yates has a mortgage of £250 with the Derbyshire Permanent Benefit Building Society whose trustees are John Barber, gentleman, Robert Pegg, colour manufacturer and James Peet, silk manufacturer, all of Derby. Walter has been paying his monthly interest repayments regularly and must continue to do so or his property will be put up for auction. This document confirms Walter's mortgage agreement with the Derbyshire Building Society.

25th March 1868: Mortgage of Freehold hereditaments and premises at Coddington Bank
This document states that Walter Yates, higgler and farmer, has agreed a mortgage of £250 at 5% interest with John Henry Shorthose of Cotmanhay, gentleman, for the Coddington Bank house, outbuildings and land.

30th April 1873: Transfer of Mortgage on hereditaments and premises at Coddington Bank for £150 and interest
This document refers back to the mortgage of 25th March 1868 and is between Joseph Shorthose of Ilkeston, colliery agent; and George Willoughby of Cotmanhay, victualler, Walter Yates, higgler and farmer and Thomas Jackson of Crich Cliff, victualler. Joseph Shorthose died intestate on 18th January 1873 and his father John Shorthose, being his next of kin, was his heir. Administration was granted on 5th February 1873. Walter Yates has borrowed £150 from Thomas Jackson being the outstanding sum owed to John Shorthose and George Willoughby. An endorsement of 22nd October 1892 shows that Walter Yates has finally repaid his debt to Thomas Jackson.

1892: Abstract of the Title of Mr. Walter Yates to a cottage, orchard and garden at Crich Carr
This document is written on blue paper and is the first not to be written on parchment It is an abstract of previous mortgage documents, presumably held by other people namimg James Raines, miner, of Middleton by Wirksworth and his wife, Hannah. Hannah is the sister of Betty Spencer, widow, of Crich Carr. Betty died on 11th November 1853 having made her will on 8th November and leaving everything to her sister, Hannah. Betty's will was proved on 25th November 1853, Daniel Broadhurst of Crich Carr being her executor. Thomas Jackson, innkeeper of the Cliff Inn was still owed £125 by the heirs of Betty Spencer being the outstanding mortgage on the house and land at Coddington Bank. The property is described as 'a cottage, orchard, garden and appurtenances' of 1,105 square yards.

Water for Coddington Farm

13th May 1885 Agreement
An agreement, with map, made 9th April 1885, between Walter Yates of Coddington and William, Duke of Devonshire to allow water from a spring on land owned by the Duke to be taken along a pipe to a tank built on Walter's land; a further pipe will convey the water to Coddington Farm which is owned by the Duke. The Duke will pay Walter one shilling per year every Lady Day for as long as the Duke and his heirs continue to use the water. The agreement is signed by Walter and the Duke, with two witnesses, one in Cromford and one in London.

1912 Agreement
Agreement, with map, signed by the Duke's agent John Pepys Cockerell on behalf of the Duke, by which the annual rent increased to ten shillings per year and the Duke is allowed to have his staff maintain the tank and pipes.

January 1947 Letter from Potters Solicitors, Matlock
Following correspondence from the Duke's agent Potters wrote to Fred Yates (farmer) at the end of 1946/early Jan 1947 to terminate this agreement with effect from 25th March 1948

26th May 1904: Marriage Certificate
Frederick Yates, 42, labourer, widower of Crich Carr and son of Walter Yates, labourer, married Susan Hill, 23, spinster of Crich Carr and daughter of William Hill, farmer, at Belper Register Office.

9th January 1909 Walter Yates' Will
This named Walter's executors and trustees as Robert Clayton, contractor, of Holloway and John Else, his son-in-law, of Lea Lead Works. Walter willed his household furniture and inside effects to Sarah Farnsworth, his daughter. The remainder of his estate was to be divided equally amongst his son George Yates and daughters Lydia Mee, Ann Epperson, Ellen Else, Emma Wragg and Jane Wass, and also the children (not named) of his late son Walter. Sarah Farnsworth was to have the house, garden and stockingers shop at Crich Carr now occupied by William Mee, as well as the lower part of the garden 'of the premises now in my own occupation' (ie Stone House) on payment of £20 to her brother, five sisters and her late brother Walter's children. His son Frederick is to have the Garden Ground (of Stone House) which is adjacent to Frederick's own property and which is currently occupied by William Mee. Two Matlock solicitors, James Potter and James Speakman Potter, testify that they had read the will to Walter and were satisfied that he understood although he was unable to sign his name, only make a mark. (Perhaps he had suffered a stroke?). Walter died on 6th March 1910.

5th July 1910: Receipt
This typed receipt, signed on behalf of Walter's executors Robert Clayton and John Else, acknowledges receipt from Sarah Farnsworth of £20 in accordance with Walter's will.

5th July 1910: Receipt
This handwritten receipt, signed by Walter's executors Robert Clayton and John Else, states that Sarah Farnsworth has paid the £20 to her brother George and her five sisters for the house, garden, stockingers shop and the lower part of her father's garden as required by Walter's will.

9th July 1910: Memorandum for land transfer
This states that by an Indenture made on 28th May 1910 a piece of land 300yards in size and adjoining the dwelling house has been conveyed to William Wass by Frederick Yates.

27th July 1910: Conveyance of Dwellinghouse
Walter Yates, farmer, made his will on 9th January 1909 and died 5th March 1910; his will was proved on 13th March 1910. His executors were Robert Clayton, builder, of Holloway and John Else, foreman, of Lea Lead Works. Frederick Yates, stone mason, of Coddington pays £500 for three pieces of land plus buildings:
• Coddington Bank: the freehold dwelling house, stables, barns, piggery and outbuildings built by Joseph Anable
• Two freehold fields of four acres adjoining the above and alongside the Crich Carr by Coddington to Crich Cliff Road occupied for many years by Walter Yates and, before that by Joseph Anable
• A freehold croft of land formerly occupied by Charles Harper but now by Frederick Yates
• A strip of garden of 480 square yards formerly occupied by William Twigg and including the tithes payable on it
An endorsed Memorandum notes that on the following day (28th July 1910) Frederick Yates conveyed 300 square yards of land on the South West side of Stone House to William Wass, wire drawer of Whatstandwell.

27th July 1910: Assent
The executors acknowledge that Frederick Yates has received the piece of his father's garden adjacent to his own land.

8th April 1921: Receipt
Sarah Farnsworth receives from Mrs Susan Yates of Coddington, wife of Frederick Yates, £60 deposit for the purchase of the house garden and stockingers shop at Crich Carr, all sold for £270

13th May 1921: Estate Duty paid
This is confirmation by the Inland Revenue that Estate Duty has been paid on Walter Yates' estate to the Inland Revenue with the property described as:
• Freehold cottage occupied by the deceased
• Three closes of freehold land containing 7acres 1 rod 6 perches let to Fred Yates (including the two pieces of garden mentioned in the will)
• Freehold cottage and outbuildings once a stockingers shop and now in ruins; the tenant is stated to be W Mee.

Tithe Redemptions, 1920,1929 and 1930
The medieval practice of paying tithes, but in cash rather than in kind, continued into the twentieth century, although after the Reformation landowners received Tithes as well as the Church. In 1704 Queen Anne set up a fund from her own tithe income to help maintain poor clergy on fixed stipends, a fund known as Queen Anne's Bounty. Nonconformist farmers felt particularly aggrieved at having to pay money to maintain Anglican clergy, especially during times of agricultural depression when many farmers were forced into selling their stock and equipment to pay the tithes and bounty associated with their lands. Redemptions were single payments redeeming the Tithe for ever. Stone House's Redemptions show the following.
26th May 1920 Publication that application has been made by W.Wass for a Tithe Redemption on Tithe Field 1375 numbered on the Plan as 49.
29th August 1930 Receipt for lis and 9d from Frederick Yates for redemption of tithe on plots 1377, 1376 and 1414 on the Tithe Plan for Crich
29th August 1930 Receipt for 4s and 8d from Frederick Yates for redemption of tithe on plots 1375, 1377 and 1376 on the Tithe Plan for Crich
30th December 1929 £918s and 2d for redemption of tithe on plot 1375 "House and pasture land situate on the east side of Hindersitch Lane
10th January 1930 5s and lid for the redemption of tithe on plot 1375 "Part of Field Cottage, Coddington"

Documents from 1920,1921 and 1930 show that Frederick Yates and William Wass paid £9 18s 2d, 5s 11d, 11s 9d and 4s 8d to redeem these charges forever.

1st March 1938: Post Office Telegraphs
Mr Fred Yates Senior agrees to have a telegraph pole stay wire on his land subject to payment of one shilling per year to him by the Postmaster General.

30th/31st August 1941: Land Search
Following the death of William Wass Senior (?) there are Land Searches for:-
William Wass, retired wire drawer of Field Cottage, Whatstandwell
Lawson Yates Wass, labourer of "Lyndhurst", Whatstandwell
Robert Walter William Wass, locomotive engine driver of Church Town, Darley Dale

10th July 1949: Assent
Frederick Yates, retired bricklayer of Stone House, Coddington, died on 24th July 1948 and his will was granted probate on 27th October 1948
Frederick Yates, wire drawer of Chapel House, Whatstandwell and Elizabeth Bunting, wife of Oswald Bunting, of Stone House, Coddington are his representatives (presumably his son and daughter and executors)
Stone House will now be known as Croft House and is owned by Elizabeth Bunting. The property comprises the house and land as described in the conveyance of 27th July 1910 to Frederick Yates, except for the 480 yards of garden conveyed to William Wass the following day.

Stone House and the Bunting Family

26th June 1955: Assent
Elizabeth Bunting died intestate on 11th January 1954 and Administration was granted on 25th February 1954 to her husband Oswald Bunting, retired wheelwright, of Coddington. Oswald Bunting inherited the following property:
Firstly, Stone House and two freehold fields comprising 4 acres, less a 300 square yard plot sold to William Wass; a freehold croft formerly occupied by Charles Harper and then by Frederick Yates; a strip of garden of 480 square yards formerly occupied by William Twigg, with its tithe charges;
Secondly, a freehold dwelling called Field Cottage, with orchard, garden etc of 330 square yards, now occupied by Leslie Bunting, formerly part of Walter Yates's property, then occupied by Frederick Yates and then by William Wass; also a piece of garden next to Field Cottage formerly occupied by William Mee and then by William Wass; and also a 300 square yard plot on the South West side of the dwelling bought by Frederick Yates on 27th July 1910 from the estate of Walter Yates and later conveyed to (inherited by) Elizabeth Bunting from the estate of William Wass on 1st November 1941;
Thirdly, a piece of land bounded by the road on the South West, former property of Frederick Yates on the North West, and former property of Elizabeth Bunting on the North East and South East as in the plan with the deed of exchange of 1st December 1941 between Frederick Yates and Elizabeth Bunting.

7th December 1957: Assent
Oswald Bunting, retired wheelwright, died on 21st April 1957. He made his will on 25th July 1956 and it was proved at Nottingham on 20th May 1957 by his executors (his sons) Leslie Bunting, bicycle builder, of Field Cottage and Alfred Bunting, lorry driver, of Stone House. Alfred Bunting inherited Stone House and the three fields (approximately 4 acres) as marked on the attached plan (copy) taken from the 1922 OS map.

7th December 1957: Abstract of Title
This document describes the ownership of the estate from 27th July 1910 to 7th December 1957.

3rd March 1966: Mortgage and Conveyance
Alfred Bunting sells Stone House and the three fields (four acres) as described in the Assent and map of 7th December 1957 to Harold Lane.

Stone House and the Lane Family

Memorandum of 4th February 1974 and Land Searches
Harold Lane sells most of the three fields to Peter Harold Burnett and Ruth Smith.
There are Local Authority Land Search documents dated 21st December 1965 and 25th February 1966.
Other documents are 4th February 1974: Conveyance
Harold Lane sells three fields to Peter Harold Burnett and Ruth Smith.

6th December 1974: Local Authority Land Searches

30th December 1974: Production of Documents
Leslie Bunting of Field Cottage and Alfred Bunting of Short Row, Belper state they can produce three documents proving title of the land; these are the probate of wills/letter of administration for Frederick Yates, Elizabeth Bunting and Oswald Bunting.

Stone House and the Billing Family

2nd January 1975: Conveyance
Harold Lane sells Stone House, Hindersitch Lane, Crich Carr, Whatstandwell to Mr and Mrs J P Billing. Further documents relate to the Billing family

Stone House: a history, with a bit of speculation...

In the early 1780s it was an adventure for tourists to visit upland Derbyshire. In 1783 William Bray published an account of what he saw as a tourist there, noting that Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highlanders 'pushed as far as Derby 'in the last rebellion' (1745), which was within living memory, and that in Derby 'two persons turn the marbles, spas and petrifactions which abound in this county' into finely polished 'vases, urns, pillars, columns, etc as ornaments for chimney-pieces'. Derby seems to have been at the end of civilisation as Bray knew it, as beyond Duffield the ways became difficult for a carriage and travellers 'begin to ascend the hills, which are in general barren on the outside, marked with heaps of rubbish thrown out by the miners, but interspersed with some pleasant dales and woods.' The lead miners were called grovers and lived with their families in 'huts not bigger than hogsties.' The grovers of Crich would have lived harsh lives in contrast to the elegant lifestyle of the small community of wealthy visitors to the spa developing amongst Matlock Bath's picturesque wooded rocks and cliffs. One of the tourist wonders in the area was Richard Arkwright's recently built factory for spinning cotton at Cromford where, Bray noted, two hundred people, 'mostly children', were employed and a second mill was being built. 'They work by turns, night and day'... 'new houses are rising round it, and everything wears the face of industry and cheerfulness.'

At this time Coddington Farm, with its ancient enclosures, would have been the only substantial homestead in the area. The rest of Coddington Bank was regarded as wasteland by landowners intent on enclosure and for whom fenced and walled pasture for grazing and dairying was the future. However, this threatened the way of life of the local commoners. Their cottages, thatched with furze and heather cut from the hillside, may have been 'no bigger than hogsties' but they were home to families who survived with a few chickens and perhaps a pig and local labouring and groving work. In July 1786 the enclosure surveyors finished measuring the hillside and pegging out the plots; on the plan, curved boundaries usually indicate that the commissioners followed earlier, often Saxon, boundaries and square plots indicate newly defined areas. Thomas Carwood found himself with just over four acres (plot 175 on the Enclosure Awards plan), Joseph Walker was allocated two roods (plot 174) whilst his neighbours Daniel Spencer (plot 173) and Laban Greenhough (plot 172) were awarded small plots of only one rood and five perches each. The enclosure laws required that the owner of each plot, no matter how small, had to build a strong fence, wall, hedge or ditch to enclose his allotted (allotment) land, but many recipients of land could not afford to do this and sold off their plots for cash. For whatever reason Thomas Carwood sold his four acres to John Cowlishaw whose brother, George inherited them when John died not long afterwards. George had travelled up to Crich from his native Kent and worked quarrying limestone; as he was not a farmer he sold the four acres in 1842 to Joseph Anable of Crich Carr for £100.

Daniel Spencer Junior had by now inherited his father's plot and was combining farming with his other occupation of framework knitting. With John Smedley's increasingly successful hosiery factory developing at Lea Bridge, Daniel was receiving plenty of outwork knitting Smedley's fine worsted and silk yarns into delicate hosiery and underwear. Daniel bought more land, 1,100 yards from his neighbour's four acre plot, built a cottage and laid out a small orchard, borrowing the cash from Thomas Jackson, landlord of the Cliff Inn, who probably made a steady income from the local lead miners and quarrymen and who loaned money back to them. Although Daniel was already in his late forties he probably planned to pay back the loan steadily since his business was sufficiently thriving for him to be able to employ three younger men, all from framework knitting families. Soon after this Daniel

Spencer died in 1851, followed by his wife Betty on 11th November 1853. Forty years later Betty's Wirksworth heirs still owed the debt, now £125.

At some time before 1842 a windmill with a gritstone tower was built on a small plot sold off from the Cowlishaw's original four acres to John Burton. It was destined for a short and eventful life. The Derbyshire and Chesterfield Reporter recorded the first tragedy on 15th September 1842. Mrs Mather, a neighbour of the windmill and of John Burton the miller who owned it, had only one child, a little boy around eight years old. The windmill fascinated the little boy and he played close to the mill. On the previous Saturday he had taken shelter from heavy rain in the mill, but the miller shooed him away. The boy returned later and was climbing up to the stage around the tower when the massive sail caught his head, wounding him fatally. Mr Hall, the Crich surgeon, used all his skill to save the child's life but without success. Less than seven years later, on 21st February 1849, The Derby Mercury reported that the new Crich Carr millers John and William Sykes were roused from sleep towards midnight by the sound of fire raging through the mill. Very quickly the flaming sails and mill timbers crashed down, wrecking the building. John Burton, although now living in Manchester, still owned the mill and was insured but the site was sold.

In 1849 Joseph Anable bought the mill plot with its heap of stones together with the adjacent plot from John Burton and set about building a 'freehold dwelling house with stables, barns, piggery, garden and outbuildings', which came to be known as Stone House. The worn cellar steps and vaulted brick ceiling appear older than the rest of the house indicating, perhaps, that Anable built Stone House on top of an earlier building and perhaps the original windmill's cellar.

The first owner of Stone House was Walter Yates, an enterprising young man from Parwich married to Lydia, a local girl from Matlock. Like Daniel Spencer, Walter Yates had to borrow to pay for Stone House and its four acres with the purchase recorded by deed in 1858. He wasn't a wealthy man - the early census returns describe him as an ordinary labourer - but he had ambition. In earlier documents he is described as a higgler, an itinerant dealer especially of poultry and dairy produce. By 1861 he was working as a carter, as well as farming his four acres, and employing two other men as carters. With the new railways and the Cromford canal (opened in 1793) bringing prosperity into the Derwent valley, gritstone quarrying was a thriving business, supplying stone to building works both locally and further afield. Transport had always been difficult in the Derbyshire hills and dales and a reliable carter would have plenty of work carrying stone to men building new, modern houses for people moving into the valley seeking work as railway clerks, masons, factory hands, and in the increasingly popular Matlock hydropathic establishments. The canal also provided work for the men of Crich Carr with local men listed as boatmen. These new, better paid occupations held more attraction than the starvation wages associated with the traditional cottage industry of framework knitting.

By 1871 all three of Walter and Lydia's teenage daughters were working in local factories, perhaps at John Smedley's mill at Lea Bridge. However, the couple had six other mouths to feed, three sons and three more daughters all under fourteen and four of them of school age, as well as a mortgage to pay. Walter finally cleared his debt in 1892. He had had to turn to several quarters in search of loans to buy Stone House and its four acres. For a few years during the 1860s the Derbyshire Permanent Benefit Building Society had provided the funds but mostly he took out private loans with local business people, including Thomas Jackson landlord of the Cliff Inn.

At this time Coddington Farm, opposite the newly built Stone House, was still part of the Duke of Devonshire's vast estates. His Grace's farm needed water and in 1885 the Duke signed an agreement in his own hand with Walter Yates that Yates would permit the Duke to lay a pipe across the land behind Stone House bringing water from a spring on the Duke's land to the farm. For this privilege the Duke paid Yates the sum of one shilling per year every Lady Day (25th March). Walter Yates signed the agreement with a shaky hand, clearly unused to writing. From 1912 the Duke's annual payment increased to ten shillings but by the end of 1946 an alternative water supply must have been arranged because the Duke's agent, John Pepys Cockerel, wrote to Fred Yates, Walter's descendant, terminating the agreement.

As Walter and Lydia's children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren grew up in and around Stone House their lives reflected the steady changes in employment and prosperity around the hamlet of Crich Carr. Framework knitting had become increasingly poorly paid so that few families in the hamlet were employed in this work after the 1860s. As a young man Walter had had to turn his hand to any manual work which presented itself but he aspired to rise in the world and to become a farmer, finally achieving this status in his fifties. The census of 1891 lists him as Farmer and Coal Dealer and as occupying with his family a house with five rooms. His children prospered working in the Victorian industrial enterprises where there were more opportunities for women than for men. Walter's daughters and granddaughters worked in local textile factories, not a physically easy occupation, especially when they had to walk several miles to and from work in all weathers, as well as being on their feet for the ten hours of their shift if they were operating the spinning mules. However, the local entrepreneur John Smedley was a more sympathetic employer than many. He had been a child during the bitter winter of 1814 and knew only too well from personal experience that cold kills people who are poorly fed and clad. After 1850 he provided hot tea, coffee and porridge for his workers at subsidised prices and his female employees could borrow capes and galoshes in wet weather for their journey home, or even stay in the factory overnight, sleeping on mattresses, in very snowy weather.1

At Stone House Walter's sons, Walter, Fred and George, all worked as gritstone cutters and masons, perhaps in theDuke's quarries which were nearby. Sarah, Walter's second daughter, married a stone cutter, emigrating to America around 1882 where her husband William Farnsworth died around fifteen years later. On his death Sarah returned to Stone House with her eight children, caring for her father until his death on 5th March 1910. Sarah inherited her parents' furniture and, as Walter had willed, she moved into the stockingers cottage nearby, with its orchard laid out by Daniel and Betty Spencer half a century before. Her sister Lydia Mee and her family had previously been living there, presumably moving out to allow the larger family a home.

Sarah's eldest brother Walter was already dead so the next brother, Fred, inherited Stone House, where he died on 24th July 1948. The final Yates to live at Stone House was Fred's youngest child, Elizabeth. She had married Oswald Bunting, a wheelwright, who died in 1957, on St George's Day, outliving his wife by just three years. Elizabeth and Oswald Bunting's elder son Leslie worked as a bicycle builder, whilst Leslie's younger brother Alfred worked as a lorry driver, continuing the earlier occupation of his carter great grandfather Walter as a transporter of goods for local people. Alfred inherited Stone House and its four acres, selling to Harold Lane in 1957 and retiring to a cottage in Short Row, Belper, whilst Leslie remained in Crich in Field Cottage nearby.

The land attached to the house continued to be the original plot identified by the Enclosure Commissioners in their map of 1786 until 1974 when Harold Lane sold off the upper portions to Peter Burnett and Ruth Smith. When Stone House was bought by the Billing family in 1975 the house and its land were as they are today.

N. Billing

1 Henry Steer, The Smedley's of Matlock Bank (1897), p. 15.

Read more on family of Daniel Farnsworth & Julia Storer (descendants of Walter Yates)

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