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

BONSALL, a parish (formerly a market-town) in the hundred of WIRKSWORTH, county of DERBY, 3½ miles (N. by W.) from Wirksworth, containing 1396 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's -books at £9. 16. 0½, and in the patronage of the Dean of Lincoln. The church, dedicated to St. James, is a handsome embattled edifice, having a tower terminating in pinnacles, and supporting an octagonal spire, curiously ornamented, and encircled with coronets. There is a place of worship for General Baptists.

The houses are scattered over a considerable plot of ground, and form a large village, at which a market was formerly held; the market cross, consisting of a pillar, bearing date 1687, resting on a base formed by an ascent of fifteen steps, and crowned by a ball, still remains. The vicinity is diversified with hills and dales, among which latter, the Dale of Bonsall is the most interesting: its geological formation consists of four strata of limestone, and three of toad-stone: the neighbouring hills also abound with limestone. Lead-ore and lapis calaminaris are obtained to a considerable extent, and prepared on the spot, the greater part of the population being engaged in the different works: here is also a comb-manufactory.

A school, in which fifty boys and girls are instructed gratuitously, is endowed with about £100 per annum, arising from the gift of certain tenements by William Cragge and his wife Elizabeth, in 1704, and of some land by Elizabeth Turner, in 1763. Adjoining the school-room is a comfortable dwelling-house, with a garden attached to it, for the use of the master, whose salary is about £46 per annum: of the remainder of the income, a portion is appropriated for apprenticing boys and for purchasing religious books. Bonsall is in the honour of Tutbury, duchy of Lancaster, and within the jurisdiction of a court of pleas held at Tutbury every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under 40s. Vestiges of a Roman road may be traced within the parish.

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