which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Crich Manor House (Pot House)

Photographs courtesy of Sue Worboys

photo of Manor Farm

photo of Manor Farm

This has been called Crich Manor, Pot House and Manor Farm.

In T. L. Tudor's book The High Peak to Sherwood (1926: Scot; London; page 259) he wrote:

From South Wingfleld a westward road climbs up to the summit of the ridge between the Amber and the Derwent, passing an ancient boundary mark, Shuckstone Cross, now a mere stump, deeply cut with ancient letters, meaning no man knows what. A countryman replied to questions about these hieroglyphics with laconic indifference. " Canna tell thee. May be, Lattin radin' abart summat." This seemed like a rebuff, but the Derbyshire countrymen have this way of brusque speech sometimes, when they are quite ready to be communicative in their own way. He went on to tell a curious old tale of treasure-trove, once discovered under this stone, with which the finder bought himself a house not far away.
This is the legend of Crich Pot-house, a rather stylish old place of eighteenth-century characteristics, with a beautiful plaster ceiling ; sometimes called Crich Manor House. Here in the eighteenth century was made a rude kind of pottery, now rare, and not easily identified.

In Tudor's book are two illustrations of the house –

drawing of Crich Manor House manor house ceiling

The house was demolished in the 1950s and the stone was used to build a new house on the site. All that remains of its former glory is one of the plaster roses from "Queen's Room" ceiling as illustrated in Tudor's book. This rose is in private hands.

photo of a palster rose
Plaster rose from the Manor House ceiling

Geoff Dawes in his book A History of Crich (2003; Landmark Publishing) wrote of the Pot House –

There is a local legend that in order to get Mary out of Wingfield Manor, Anthony Babington and his accomplices started to dig a tunnel some distance away from the Manor with the object of burrowing under the walls and coming up into the suite where Mary was being kept.
The Crich Manor House just below Edge Moor, known in more recent times as the "Pot House" had a room in it called the "Queen's Room". This had an ornate plaster ceiling and elaborate wall panelling and, it was said, was prepared to receive Mary when she escaped from Wingfield Manor. No evidence for the existence of Babington's tunnel to Wingfield Manor has been found. Nevertheless when the Pot House was being demolished in the late 1950's the workmen thought they'd found a tunnel heading towards Wingfield Manor. This tunnel turned out to be a large drain or sough passing under the house. At a later stage in the demolition when the lower part of the Queens Room was being knocked down, the workmen found steps leading downwards to a passage heading towards Edge Moor. It was blocked by a fall before it reached the line of Dark Lane and its exit on the hillside has not been discovered. Had Mary been in the Pot House (the Crich Manor House) and had it been surrounded by the Earl of Shrewsbury's men it would have been possible – if the passage towards Edge Moor emerged in the shrub and trees under the Edge – to escape along this route. It is possible that this passage was the source of the legend of Babington's escape tunnel. Whatever the historical foundation of the legend, what is known is that Babington's conspiracy was discovered and it failed.

The house was sufficiently important to be marked on the 1838 OS map.

map of Crich Pot House
Reproduced from 1838-1842 Ordnance Survey map with the kind permission of Ordnance Survey.

This house and the nearby colliery, on Pit Lane, were auctioned off as reported in the Derby Mercury dated 17 February 1875. It was, at that time, owned by the Moorwood Moor Colliery.

Auction of Crich Manor House in 1875

The field name map below shows the position sites being auction off: Bacon Bit and Jepson Lot (for the colliery); Bull Piece, Lime Field, Brickyard Close, Clay Close and Well Yard for the Manor House.

Map of auction site 1875

The Manor House is the building between Clay Close and Brickyard.

From The Derbyshire Advertiser May 7, 1915

Article on Manor House Farm

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