Churches of Derbyshire

The Domestic Chapelries of Padley and North Lees.[1]

by J. Charles Cox (1877)

This transcription by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2010

THE manor of Upper Padley, in the parish of Hathersage, came to the Eyres in the first half of the fifteenth century, by the marriage of Robert Eyre with the heiress, Joan Padley. In this beautiful situation the Eyres built a large mansion, which was the most considerable in this part of Derbyshire. A son and a grandson of the same name (Robert) resided here in succession, and then Sir Arthur Eyre, whose brass recording his three marriages has been fully described under Hathersage. By his first wife, Sir Arthur had a daughter and heiress, Anne, the only survivor of all his issue. She married Sir Thomas Fitzherbert of Norbury, eldest son and heir of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, the celebrated judge, and he seems to have resided during his wife's lifetime at Padley, preferring it to the mansion on his paternal estate. The Fitzherberts, like the Eyres, remained true to the ancient faith in the days of Elizabeth, and suffered much persecution.

In George Talbot, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who was at that time Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, the Protestants seem to have found an apt instrument of oppression. We have elsewhere given instances of his harsh treatment of Catholic Recusants,[2] and he appears to have been specially severe with the household at Padley Hall. In the year 1567 John Manners and Roger Columbell inform the Earl that on Candlemas Day, early in the morning, Mr. Columbell went himself with sixteen or twenty men to Padley, “where he found Thomas Fitzharbert's wife,[3] Anthony Fitzharbert, two of his sisters, and about twenty persons besides, seeming to be of their household; and made diligent search for Mr. John Fitzharbert, but could not find him”. It is further stated in the same letter that “Padlaye maye be doubted much to be a house of evil resort and therefore, my Lord, there will be no good redresse there, in our simple opinyons, in those matters, unless that some may be resyant there that will be conformable, and some preacher placed amongst us, here in the Peake, to teache the people better”. In the following year Padley Hall was again suddenly searched by the Earl in person, and two Roman Catholic priests, Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam, were discovered in concealment. Sir Thomas Fitzherbert, writing in May, 1589, to the Earl of Shrewsbury about the grievous burdens that he had to bear in consequence of his recusaucy, says that the presence of the “two semynaries was there all unknowne unto my brother, as was confessed at their deathe, and is well approved since by good testimony”.[4]

Nicholas Garlick, who was of a good family in the parish of Glossop, had acted as schoolmaster at Tideswell for seven years. He was ordained priest at the English College at Rheims in 1582, appointed as an English missionary in January, 1583, imprisoned, and then banished in 1585, but returned in the same year.

Robert Ludlam was born near Sheffield. He was ordained priest at Rheims, and came to England in 1582. They were apprehended between the Lent and Summer Assizes, and consequently confined for some time in Derby jail. There they found a third priest, Richard Sympson, who had been committed at the Lent Assizes; but his life had been spared, as he was supposed to be converted to Protestantism. But the influence of Ludlam and Garlick was sufficient to cause him again to recant and to brave martyrdom. The three were hung, drawn, and quartered at Derby, on the 25th of July, 1588. An eye-witness says that they met death “with much constancy and Christian magnanimity, without the least sign of fear or dismay”. They were drawn on hurdles to the place of execution. Garlick, noticing that Sympson, who first approached the ladder, seemed frightened, stepped forward, kissed it, went up before him, and so “with remarkable joy and alacrity finished his course”. When Robert Ludlam was on the ladder and just ready to be cast off, “looking up towards heaven with smiling countenance, as if he had seen some heavenly vision of angels, he uttered these last words, as speaking to saints or angels appearing to him - 'Venite benedicti Dei' ('Come, you blessed of God'); and with these words he was flung off the ladder, and so went to enjoy their happy company”. The heads and quarters of the three martyrs were set upon poles in different places in and about the town of Derby; and “the penner of this their martyrdom (who was also present at their death), with two other resolute Catholic gentlemen, going in the night diverse miles well armed, took down one of the heads from the top of a house standing on the bridge, and a quarter from the end of the body; the watchman of the town seeing them (as was afterwards confessed) and making no resistance. These they buried with as great decency and reverence as they could. Soon after the rest of the heads and quarters were taken away secretly by others”.[5]

The following are some stanzas from a local ballad, descriptive of the death of the three priests

“When Garlick did the ladder kiss,
And Sympson after hie,
Methought that then St. Andrew was
Desirous for to die.

When Ludlam looked smilingly,
And joyful did remain,
It seemed St. Steven was standing by,
For to be stoned again.

* * * *

And what if Sympson seemed to yield
For doubt and dread to die,
He rose again and won the field,
And died most constantly.

His watching, fainting, shirt of hair,
His speech, his death, and all,
Do record give, do witness bear,
He wailed his former fall”.

The old chapel, with the offices below it, is the only part of Padley Hall now standing, with the exception of certain barns and outbuildings. It seems that the principal part of the Old Hall, or Manor House, consisted of an enclosed quadrangle, the south side of which was formed by the chapel. Access to this court or quadrangle was gained by an arched passage through the lower storey or ground floor of the building containing the chapel. Plate XI. shows the north or inner side of the chapel, with the arched entrance to the court-yard built up. It should also be remarked that the ground on this side has been raised several feet above its former level, by the accretion of the ruins of the remainder of the hall. The chapel occupies the upper part of the building, the floor level being indicated on the plate by the base of the two narrow doorways closely adjoining each other, just over the arch-way. Access to these doorways must have been gained by stairways (perhaps of wood), that have now been removed. We see from the interior of the chapel, that a substantial screen divided the building between these two doorways, and it seems probable that the one nearest the east end was the entrance for the family, and the other for the household, retainers, or neighbours. There was a third entrance (scarcely shown on the plate) at the extreme east of this north side, into that part of the Hall which there adjoined it, and there can be no doubt that this was the private door for the priest, communicating directly with his chamber. There was also an external entrance to this angle of the chapel on the east side, now hidden by a modern lean-to, which would enable the priest to quit the Hall or chapel without going through any other part of the building. On the south side there is no entrance to the chapel, but the full size of the arched passage to the court can there be seen, and the two large buttresses, one on each side, which were ingeniously contrived by the architect to serve as chimneys. The offices on the ground floor are now used as cow-houses and stables, and the upper storey or chapel as a barn for hay and other farm produce. The whole is much dilapidated. The main timbers of the roof are in fair preservation. There are four finely-carved hammer beams, with wall pieces rising from stone corbels; the two at the west end bear simple shields, but those towards the east end have well-designed shield-bearing angels, one of which is given on Plate XI. When looking at these “carved angels, ever eager-eyed”, we received from our cicerone a curious piece of information as to their identity. “They do say”, said he, “that one of 'em be a Cherubim and the other a Seraphim”. We are unable to say which it is that our artist has drawn

The chimneys of this building are pointed out as the lurking places of poor Robert Ludlam and Nicholas Garlick, but we are inclined to think that some other hart of the manor-house would probably offer a less obvious place of concealment.

NORTH LEES, about a mile from Hathersage, was another of the residences of the wide-spreading family of Eyre. Nicholas Eyre, of Hope, (the father of Robert, who married Joan Padley,) had four sons. His second son, William, was the first of the family who lived at North Lees. It would not accord with our intentions to give any description of the interesting old Hall, which is still in a fair state of preservation; but a little distance below the house, partly concealed in a small plantation, are the ruins of a small chapel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The Eyre family obtained permission to build this chapel in the first year of the reign of James II. (1685), for the purposes of Roman Catholic worship, but it was only used for two or three years, for at the time of the Revolution in 1688, “it was demolished by the neighbouring Protestants, who assembled for that purpose of their own accord”.[6] It is a small building, having an area of about thirty feet by fifteen. The west wall is still standing, with its round-headed doorway, and the arch of the east window is also erect, but the stones of the latter were picked out of the ruins and re-erected only some five-and-twenty years ago, for the sake of the picturesque effect.

[1] There are further particulars to be gleaned relative to these two domestic chapels from various sources, in addition to those given in these pages; but it would scarcely accord with the design of a work on parish churches to enter into any fuller details respecting them. I hope, however, that the Rev. F. Jourdain, vicar of Derwent Woodlands, in conjunction with myself, will shortly be able to publish a small monograph on the interesting remains of the chapels of Padley and North Lees, together with an account of other Jesuit missions of which there are some traces in the parish of Hathersage.
[2] Churches of Derbyshire, vol. i., p. 186.
[3] This could not be Anne, wife of Sir Thomas Fitzherbert, for she died in 1576 (Harl. MSS., 1093, f.70). It may either have been the wife of an uncle or a nephew of Sir Thomas, the owner of Padley, as he had both then living of the name of Thomas. Anthony Fitzherbert may be either his brother or nephew; and Mr. John Fitzherbert, for whom special search was made, was the next brother nd heir of Sir Thomas, for he had no children. See the Topographer, vol. ii., p. 225.
[4] This correspondence is taken from the Talbot papers, as quoted by Lodge in his Illustrations of British History, vol. ii.
[5] Challoner's Missionary Priests, pt.i, pp.111-114.
[6] Pegge's MS. Collections, vol. v., f.187. At the same time another Protestant mob sacked the ancient Roman Catholic Chapel at Newbold, near Chesterfield; see Churches of Derbyshire, vol. i., p.179.

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in November 2010.

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