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

CROMFORD, a chapelry in the parish of WIRKSWORTH, and hundred of WIRKSWORTH, county of DERBY, 15 miles (N.) from Derby, containing 1242 inhabitants. This place, which is pleasantly situated on the river Derwent, was an inconsiderable village prior to the year 1776, when Sir Richard Arkwright, having purchased the manor, erected mills, and established a cotton-manufactory of very considerable extent. Since this period it has greatly increased, and is now a flourishing place: it consists chiefly of dwellings for the persons employed in the factories, which are neat and commodious; of these many are built round an open space in which a small customary market is held on Saturday; the others are chiefly in detached situations.

The cotton-manufactory affords employment to more than one thousand persons, including a proportionate number of children, who are not admitted into the factory till they have been for a certain time at a school supported by the proprietor for their instruction: there is also a manufactory for hats, and one for ginghams, on a small scale, and a paper-manufactory, in which about forty persons are occupied: a great quantity of lapis calaminaris is made here, of which from one hundred to four hundred tons are exported annually. In the neighbourhood are extensive mines of lead and calamine, also quarries of marble and limestone.

The Cromford canal, communicating with the Erewash canal near Langley bridge, and the Cromford and Peak Forest railway afford every facility for the conveyance of minerals, coal, and limestone to various parts of the kingdom. The chapel, a small neat building, begun by Sir Richard Arkwright, and completed by his son, Richard Arkwright, Esq., who endowed it with £50 per annum in perpetuity, was consecrated in 1797.

The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Richard Arkwright, Esq. The Wesleyan Methodists have a place of worship here. There are day and Sunday schools, founded and supported by the Arkwright family, for the instruction of the children employed in the factory. Almshouses for six poor widows were founded, in 1651, by Dame Mary Talbot. Cromford 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.

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