Dronfield

Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831.
Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2010
Lewis Topographical Dictionaries

DRONFIELD, a parish in the hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 6 miles (N.W. by N.) from Chesterfield, comprising the chapelries of Dore and Holmesfield, the townships of Coal-Aston and Unstone, and the hamlet of Totley, and containing (exclusively of part of the township of Barlow which is in this parish) 3680 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's books at £10. 2. 1., endowed with £600 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Crown.

The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, has a tower and spire at the west end, opposite to which there was once a chantry chapel now converted into an inn. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. Dronfield, in Domesday-book called Dranefield, had formerly the privilege of a market, but on account of its proximity to Chesterfield and Sheffield, it has been long discontinued. There is a fair for cattle and cheese on April 25th, and another fair on August 11th. Scythes, sickles, and edge-tools, are manufactured here; and there are manufactories for cast ware, various articles in cutlery, and saddlers ironmongery, also for spindles for cotton works. A great quantity of coal is obtained in the neighbourhood.

The grammar school was erected in 1579 by Thomas Fanshawe, Esq., in pursuance of the will of his father, dated in 1567, by which it is endowed with lands now producing an annual income of £200. Queen Elizabeth, by letters patent, empowered the above-named executor to make the necessary statutes for its government, and ordained that the vicar and churchwardens, or in default, six wise and honest men, to be chosen by his heirs, should be constituted a body corporate, by the name of "The governors of the grammar school of Henry Fanshawe, Esq". The master's salary is £130, the usher's £66, besides which they have each a dwelling-house; one hundred and thirty children are educated upon this foundation. There are two other free schools in the parish, one at Dore, and another at Holmesfield. At Cawley [sic] is a sulphureous spring, with a bath annexed. About two miles from the town are the remains of Beauchief abbey, founded in 1183, for Premonstratensian, or White canons, by Robert Fitz-Ranulph, Lord of Alfreton, one of the executioners of Thomas a Becket, to whom it was dedicated; on its dissolution, in the 26th of Henry VIII, the revenue was valued at £157. 10. 2.

COAL-ASTON, a township in the parish of DRONFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, ¾ of a mile (N. by E.) from Dronfield, containing. 304 inhabitants. Here is a school with a trifling endowment.

COWLEY, a hamlet in the parish of DRONFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 1½ mile (W.S.W.) from Dronfield, with which the population is returned. Here is a sulphureous spring.

DORE, a chapelry in the parish of DRONFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 5 miles (N.W. by W.) from Dronfield, containing 476 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £400 private benefaction, £400 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant. Earl Fitzwilliam was patron in 1807. A new chapel has been erected upon a more convenient site than that of the ancient one. The Rev. Robert Turie, in 1720, gave £40 towards endowing a school, in aid of which, the Duke of Devonshire, and other benefactors, have, by various bequests and donations, raised the income to £37. 18. per annum, this sum being applied to the education of thirty children, in a school-room recently erected by subscription.

HOLMESFIELD, a chapelry in the parish of DRONFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 2 miles (W.) from Dronfield, containing 499 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £10 per annum and £200 private benefaction, and £400 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Dronfield. The chapel was rebuilt in 1826. A school was erected, in 1725, on land given by Matthias Webster, previously to which Robert Mower, in 1719, gave certain land toward the maintenance of a Schoolmaster, and subsequently, in 1725, Prudence Mower gave £60; the produce of these endowments, with other subscriptions, amounts to about £18 per annum, for which sum about twenty children receive instruction.

TOTLEY, a hamlet in the parish of DRONFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 3 miles (W.N.W.) from Dronfield, containing 805 inhabitants. Six children are instructed for an annuity of £6, the gift of the Rev. Robert Turie, in a school-room built by subscription, in 1821.

UNSTONE, a township in the parish of DRONFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 4 miles (N. by W.) from Chesterfield, containing 574 inhabitants.

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