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

CHESTERFIELD, a parish in the hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, comprising the market-town of Chesterfield, which has a separate jurisdiction, the chapelries of Brimington and Temple-Normanton, the townships of Hasland, Tapton, and Walton, and the hamlets of Calow, Newbold with Dunstan, and Pilsley, and containing 9190 inhabitants, of which number, 5077 are in the town of Chesterfield, 25 miles (N. by E.) from Derby, and 151 (N.N.W.) from London, on the road to Leeds. The Saxon name of this place, Ceaster, from which its present appellation is derived, indicates it to have been a Roman station. At the time of the Norman survey, when it was called Cestrefeld, it was only a bailiwick to Newbold, the latter being now a small hamlet in the parish; but within a century from that period, it appears to have risen again into such importance as to have obtained from King John, who conferred it upon William de Briwere, a charter of incorporation, with the privilege of two markets and a fair.

In the reign of Henry III., a decisive battle was fought here between Henry, nephew of that monarch, and the barons, which terminated in the defeat of the latter, several of whom were slain. Robert de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, who had espoused their cause, being taken prisoner, was sent in chains to Windsor, and afterwards, by act of parliament, degraded from his honours and deprived of his estates. During the parliamentary war, another conflict took place between the royalists, under the command of the Earl of Newcastle, and the parliamentarians, in which the former obtained a signal victory.

The town is situated on an eminence between the Rother and Hipper, which at this place are inconsiderable streams; the houses are of brick, roofed with stone; the streets are indifferently paved, but well lighted with gas, by an act of parliament obtained in 1825, and are plentifully supplied with water conveyed by pipes from Holme, two miles west of the town. There are a subscription library and a theatre: assemblies are held monthly in a suite of rooms at the Castle Inn; and races take place in autumn. An agricultural society has been established within the last few years, the members of which hold their meetings alternately at Chesterfield and Bakewell, generally in October.

Several of the inhabitants are employed in tambour work, and the manufacture of bobbin net-lace, gloves, and hosiery: there are also a silk-mill and a cotton-mill; and in the vicinity are some productive mines of iron-stone and coal, and some foundries, in one of which, mill-work, machinery, and steam-engines are made; about three hundred men are employed in these works: there are also several potteries, chiefly for the coarse brown stone ware, which afford employment to about two hundred men.

The Chesterfield canal, communicating with the Trent and the Humber, continued for forty-six miles by sixty-five locks, and passing under two tunnels, of which that at Norwood is nearly three quarters of a mile in length, was completed in 1777, at an expense of £160,000. The market is on Saturday: fairs, principally for cattle, are held on January 27th, February 28th, the first Saturday in April, May 4th, July 4th, September 25th, and November 25th, the last being toll-free; those in May and September, at the latter of which a great quantity of cheese is sold, are attended by the clothiers from Yorkshire.

The government, by charter of incorporation granted by King John, and ratified by succeeding monarchs, enlarged by Queen Elizabeth, and confirmed by Charles II., is vested in a mayor, six aldermen, six brethren, and twelve capital burgesses, assisted by a chamberlain, town-clerk, and other officers, among whom are a master butcher and master brazier, whose duty it is to inspect the quality of the meat, and the accuracy of the weights and measures. The mayor is chosen by the corporation, on the Sunday preceding Michaelmas-day; both he and the mayor for the preceding year are justices of the peace: a constable is chosen at the court leet of the lord of the manor, held in October.

The petty sessions for the division are held here; and a court of record for the recovery of debts not exceeding £20 is held under the lord of the manor, by letters patent granted by King John to William de Briwere, and confirmed by Charles I., in the seventh year of his reign, to William, Earl of Newcastle, and Sir Charles Cavendish, then lords of the manor, the jurisdiction of which extends over the hundred of Scarsdale, eight miles round Chesterfield. The town-hall, standing in the market-place, was built in 1790: on the ground-floor is a prison for debtors, and a residence for the gaoler, above which is a large room for holding the sessions and transacting public business: there is also a house of correction, under the superintendence of the county magistrates, but it is too small to admit of the classification of prisoners.

The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's books at £15. 0. 2., endowed with £400 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Dean of Lincoln. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a spacious cruciform structure, principally in the decorated, but partly in the early, and partly in the later style of English architecture, with a square embattled tower rising from the intersection, and surmounted by a lofty spire, which, from the peculiar mode of putting on the lead with which it is covered, though perfectly upright, appears in every direction in which it is viewed to incline considerably from the perpendicular. The clerestory windows of the nave, and the east window of the chancel, are fine compositions in the later style; and in the south transept are a beautiful screen and rood-loft: there are two very antique monuments in the nave, and three in the chancel, to members of the family of Foljambe.

There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, Sandemanians, and Unitarians. The free grammar school, for the endowment of which Godfrey Foljambe, Esq., in 1594, appropriated £13. 6. 8. annually, was founded in the reign of Elizabeth, and placed under the management of the mayor and corporation; the endowment, augmented by subsequent benefactions, produces annually £109. 10. 9., which sum, including £15 to the master and £15 to the usher, bequeathed by Cornelius Clarke, Esq. in 1690, is paid as a salary to the master, who is chosen by the mayor and corporation, subject to approval by the Archbishop of York, no usher having been appointed lately, in consequence of the small number of scholars, only five or six, attending the school. The school-house, to which are attached a garden and from four to five acres of land, was rebuilt by subscription in 1710: this school, in common with those of Ashbourn and Wirksworth, has the preference, next after the founder's relatives, to two fellowships and two scholarships, founded by the Rev. James Beresford, in St. John's College, Cambridge.

A petty school, intended originally as preparatory to the grammar school, was founded in 1690, and endowed for the instruction of ten boys, by Cornelius Clarke, Esq.; the endowment was subsequently augmented by John Bright, senior, and John Bright, junior, Esqrs., for the instruction of an additional number of boys or girls, their nearest relatives, or, in default of such, of other children of the parish, nominated by the mayor and corporation; the present income arising from these endowments is £74 per annum: there is no schoolroom appropriated to this establishment, the children being taught in the master's house. A National school, in which one hundred and eighty boys and one hundred and twenty girls are instructed, was built in 1814, at an expense of £800, and is supported by subscription; and a Lancasterian school, in which one hundred and twelve girls are instructed, was erected in 1819. Mrs. Judith Heathcote, and other members of the same family, in 1619, appropriated estates producing £114 per annum to the apprenticing of poor children; the premium with each, originally fixed at £5, has been increased to £10, and, within the last ten years, one hundred and three boys have been apprenticed.

Thomas Large, Esq., in 1664, gave lands and tenements, now producing about £45 per annum, for the foundation and endowment of almshouses for three aged persons: to these two more were added, in 1751, by Mrs. Sarah Rose, who also left £200 for their endowment. Almshouses for six aged persons were founded in 1668, by George Taylor, Esq., who endowed them with property now producing £22 per annum; he also gave in trust to the mayor and corporation £120, to be lent to young tradesmen at five per cent interest. The dispensary, erected in 1800, is liberally supported by subscription. Godfrey Foljambe, Esq., in 1594, bequeathed the rectory of Attleborough, in the county of Nottingham, and an estate at Ashover, in this county, producing together about £640 per annum, of which, after paying £40 per annum to the minister, £13. 6. 8. to the master of the free grammar school, £20 to the master and fellows of Jesus' College, and £13. 6. 8. to the master and fellows of Magdalene College, Cambridge, the remainder is appropriated to the relief of the poor.

Godfrey Wolstenholme, in 1682, gave a house let for £38. 5. per annum, which is distributed in coats and gowns to the poor; and Sir Godfrey Webster, in 1720, bequeathed £1100 South Sea stock, the dividends on which, amounting to £28. 13. 4., are annually distributed in sums of £1 each to poor persons. Mrs. Hannah Hooper, in 1755, gave £2000 three per cent, consols., the dividends on which, amounting yearly to £60, are paid to six poor widows who have been resident in the parish for seven years; and Mrs. Elizabeth Bagshaw, in 1802, gave £2000 three per cent, consols., the dividends on which are distributed, in sums of £1 each, to poor housekeepers: there are also various other charitable bequests at the disposal of the corporation.

An hospital for lepers, founded prior to the 10th of Richard I., and dedicated to St. Leonard, existed here till the reign of Henry VIII.; and there was a guild or fraternity, dedicated to St. Mary and the Holy Cross, founded in the reign of Richard II., the revenue of which, at the dissolution, was £19. The chantry of St. Michael, founded by Roger de Chesterfield in 1357, and the chantry of the Holy Cross, founded in the reign of Edward III., were also among the ancient religious establishments of this place. There were besides, prior to the Reformation, three free chapels, dedicated respectively to St. James, St. Thomas, and St. Helen: on the site of the last the present free grammar school was built. Chesterfield gives the title of earl to the family of Stanhope.

BRIMINGTON, a chapelry in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 2 miles (N.E.) from Chesterfield, containing 629 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £1200 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Chesterfield. The chapel was rebuilt in 1808. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The Chesterfield canal passes through the chapelry.

CALOW, a hamlet in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 2 miles (E. by S.) from Chesterfield, containing 395 inhabitants.

HASLAND, a township in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, if mile (S.S.E.) from Chesterfield, containing 770 inhabitants.

NORMANTON (TEMPLE), a chapelry in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 3 miles (S.E.) from Chesterfield, containing 141 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £1400 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Miss Lord. A school is supported by small annual donations.

PILSLEY, a hamlet in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 6 miles (S.S.E.) from Chesterfield, containing 284 inhabitants.

TAPTON, a township in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 1 mile (N.E. by E.) from Chesterfield, containing 149 inhabitants.

WALTON, a chapelry in the parish of CHESTERFIELD, hundred of SCARSDALE, county of DERBY, 3 miles (S.W. by W.) from Chesterfield, containing 783 inhabitants.

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