Professionals (Including Notes on the Schools), 1841-1901

Compiled by David Dalrymple-Smith, © Copyright January/July 2006

‘Victorian Baslow’

This article describes the people in Baslow with Professional qualifications. For convenience, I (David) have divided them into “Upper” Professionals who have the equivalent of a University Degree, mainly Clergy and Doctors, and “Lower” Professionals with some other qualification, mainly Teachers. Engineers are classified as Businessmen. All Governesses are included in this group. A brief description of the Schools in the Village is included.

Most of the data is from the Censuses for Baslow and Bubnell for the years 1841 to 1901 with some input from other sources. Please note that the Census gives a snapshot for one day every 10 years: happenings between Censuses are not recorded.

The Upper Professionals

Architects etc22 12 1
Students     41

Almost all the Upper Professionals came into the village from outside Derbyshire. Two came from elsewhere in the County itself. Only John White (surveyor in 1881) was truly local, coming from a Bubnell Farming family. Dr Edward Wrench was born in Baslow soon after his parents arrived in the village.


Robert Barker was Curate in Baslow from 1761 to 1824. He was succeeded by his son Auriol who died in office in 1853. Auriol is listed in the 1841 Census but not in 1851 when Edward Synge was (acting?) Curate. Jeremiah Stockdale (1829 to 1907) reigned from 1859, appearing in Censuses until 1901. The extra entry of 1901 is a priest boarding in the village who may have had no connection with the Parish.


Dr William Condell, born 1810 in Greenford Middlesex, was the Surgeon and General Practitioner in 1851 & 1861. He was also Physician to the Duke of Devonshire and lived at Park Lodge (Chatsworth property) at Nether End.

Dr Ferguson Branson, Physician MD Cambs., a Doncaster man, was Physician and Surgeon in 1861 and 1871, but lived on in the village at Bridge End until his death aged 85 in 1895.

Dr Edward Mason Wrench F.R.C.S. arrived in Baslow in 1862 taking over the position and house of Dr Condell. A major character in the village, he practiced until his death in 1912. He must have been alert to the end, as he died suddenly while bicycling home from Buxton at the age of 79!

Dr Wrench was assisted in his later years by his son, Edward who in 1901 was living in Ashenfell House, Church Lane.

Henry S. Brightmore, aged 24 was a Medical Student in 1891: His father was a Warehouseman, making him the only student recorded in the Censuses whose parents were not professional.

Architects, Surveyors and Legal Practitioners

John Robertson, an Architect from Scotland appears in 1841 and 1851 Censuses. He was probably Joseph Paxton's assistant and involved in the construction of the great Conservatory at Chatsworth.

Another Architect, George Stokes (1841) could have been similarly employed.

Matthew Frost a Road Surveyor was in the village in 1851.

Frank A. Bush, an Auctioneer and Valuer lived in Baslow in 1901. He could well have practiced in Sheffield, where he was born.

John White, a 21 year old Surveyor, was staying with his parents at Bubnell Cliff Farm in 1881. Other temporary residents include an Architect, an Attorney, a Solicitor, and 3 Law Students.

The Lower Professions

National School Teachers1343253
Bubnell School Staff214433 
Other Teachers 1 1122
Governesses 111  1

Stanton Ford Charity School

The first school in Baslow Chapelry was the Charity School at Stanton Ford. The School Room is now the garage of Stanton Ford house, between the road and the river near Cliff College. Founded about 1600 it eventually closed in 1889. It is in the Parish of Curbar, so names do not appear in the Baslow Censuses.

National School (in the Churchyard)

There was a National School in the present Churchyard, midway between the War Memorial and the Prince of Wales Inn. Several sources suggest that it opened in 1839. It closed in 1876 when the new school was built, allowing a much needed extension to the Churchyard. In the Censuses between 1841 & 1871, the masters were James Williams, James Nibbys, Henry Perris and Charles Walker. School Mistresses included Jane Wallace, in post 1851 to 1871, and Mary Hibberd who was present in 1861 and continued as Infant School Mistress until 1891.

Present School (in School Lane)

The present school was built in 1876 with subscriptions from the village and donations from the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland. John Matthewman was Master until 1901, helped by one or two Schoolmistresses. His son James was a pupil teacher in 1901.

The Beeches

A Mr Frederick Powel owned a Boarding School for boys in The Beeches, opposite the Prince of Wales Inn. According to Bulmer's History, it was “High Class” and prepared boys for Public Schools and Universities. Dates are not known, and the name Powel does not appear in the Censuses.

Bubnell Hall School


Bubnell Hall (House) was distinct from Bubnell Hall Farm, which is described elsewhere. In Victorian times the House was a private boarding school for girls. Miss Ann Wilkinson, with her sister Jane, was Schoolmistress in 1841 and 1851.

In 1861 the house was rented by Mr Farrow an 86 year old retired Banker. His wife Eliza, aged 52 and a Governess, kept the school going with 5 pupils in 1861.

Mrs Catherine Caines, another Governess, lived in Bridge End in 1861. She must have had some contact with the School, because by 1871 her daughters were in charge of the School and remained so until it closed in the 1890s.

The pupils were mainly from south Yorkshire and Lancashire, but some came from as far as Devon. The ages ranged from 7 to 18 years, but most were 10 to 14.

In 1898 Mr Tomlinson who was the current farmer in Bubnell Hall Farm, moved into the main house combining the two properties.

Other Teachers

There were also Music Teachers in 1891 and 1901, and a “Teacher Tutor in College” resident in the village. Perhaps the latter worked at Cliff College, the Methodist Training College nearby in Curbar.

During the 7 decades, there were also two Pupil Teachers, and in 1891 a 13 year old “Teacher (Monitor)”.

The Wrench family (in 1871) employed a resident Swiss Teacher of French.


Some Governesses were the equivalent of Teachers at the Bubnell Hall School and are mentioned above. There were four other “living in” Governesses. One was the Sister in Law to the National Schoolmaster, possibly teaching his children. The others worked for Thomas Gardom the Farmer at Yeld Farm, Charlotte Hinds the widowed daughter of the Innkeeper at the Devonshire Arms, and a Sheffield Tools Manufacturer.

Post Script

I (David) have an interest in the village doctors. I was a General Practitioner in Baslow from 1966 until my retirement in 2001. When I arrived, some patients still remembered Dr Wrench, and many remembered Dr Eddlestone, his son in law and successor. I still live in the house which was built by Dr Wrench for his son and which has been occupied by village doctors ever since.

The above information was contributed by David Dalrymple-Smith
in January 2006 with modifications/additions in July 2006.

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