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

REPTON, a parish in the hundred of REPTON-and-GRESLEY, county of DERBY, 4¼ miles (N.E. by E.) from Burton upon Trent, containing, with the chapelry of Bradby, 2104 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Sir George Crewe, Bart. The church, dedicated to St.Wyston, is principally Norman, but exhibits portions in the several later styles of English architecture; under it is a curious ancient crypt, believed to have been part of the conventual church, which was destroyed by the Danes. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists.

The navigable river Trent bounds the parish on the north, and on its banks are vestiges of a small Roman camp, near which is an immense rock of freestone. Here were anciently a market and a fair; there is now a statute fair at Michaelmas for hiring servants, and an annual court leet is held by the lord of the manor. Repton, anciently called Repington, is supposed to have been the Roman station Repandunum. Under the Saxon dominion it was called Repandum, and was the capital of the kingdom of Mercia. Before the year 660, here was a nunnery under the government of an abbess, in which Ethelbald and others of the Mercian kings were interred. The Danes having expelled Burrhred, viceroy of Mercia, from his throne, wintered at Repandum in 874, at which period it is supposed that the nunnery was destroyed.

The manor being possessed soon after the Conquest by the Earls of Chester, a priory of Black canons was removed hither, in 1172, from Caulk in this county, by Matilda, widow of Ranulph de Blundeville, Earl of Chester; its revenue at the dissolution was estimated at £118. The remains of the conventual buildings, which are principally in the Norman style, have been converted into the school-room and offices belonging to Repton grammar school; and the mansion-house, to which is attached a brick tower in the later English style, is rented by the governors, and occupied by the head master. In 1556, Sir John Port devised all his estates in Lancashire and Derbyshire, in trust, for the foundation and endowment of this school, and an hospital at Etwall.

The Harpur family had the direction of these institutions until the year 1621, when Sir John Harpur assigned the superintendence of them to the Earl of Huntingdon, Lord Stanhope, and Sir Thomas Gerard, Bart., as heirs of the founder; the present hereditary governors are, the Marquis of Hastings, the Earl of Chesterfield, and Sir William Gerard, Bart. In 1621, the master of Etwall hospital, the schoolmaster of Repton, the poor men, and the poor scholars, were made a body corporate. The establishment consists of a head master, two ushers, and twenty scholars on the foundation; the master has a salary of £200, the first usher £100, and the second £80, and the scholars have an allowance of £20 per annum each, for seven years.

The improved rental of the estates, which is now about £2500 per annum, has long since enabled the governors to increase the number of pensioners in the hospital, to augment the establishment of the school, and to give larger salaries to the masters. They elect the master of the hospital and the master and ushers of the school; the Harpur family have, by the original charter, a fourth term with them in the appointment of the pensioners of the hospital, and of the foundation scholars. The learned divine and Hebraist, John Lightfoot, was appointed first usher, on the original establishment of the school.

Amongst eminent persons educated here may be noticed, Samuel Shaw, a learned nonconformist divine; Stebbing Shaw, the historian of Staffordshire; Jonathan Scott, translator of the Arabian Tales; W.L. Lewis, the translator of Statius; and F.N.C. Mundy, Esq., author of the poems of Needwood Forest and the Fall of Needwood. The sum of £200 was given by Mrs Mary Burdett, in 1701, and the like sum by Mrs. Dorothy Burdett, in 1718, for buying bread for the poor, and clothing and teaching poor children of Repton, Ingleby, and Foremark.

BRADBY, a chapelry in the parish of REPTON, hundred of REPTON and GRESLEY, county of DERBY, 3 miles (E.) from Burton upon Trent, containing 302 inhabitants. The living is a donative, annexed to the perpetual curacy of Repton, at which place the inhabitants marry and bury. Near the church is the site of an ancient baronial mansion, which was fortified by royal license in the year 1300; but its materials are supposed to have-been used by the first Earl of Chesterfield, in the erection of a residence, which he fortified and garrisoned for the king, in 1642. After a short defence it was captured by a strong detachment sent by Col. Gell, and was taken down in 1780. A school for teaching and clothing thirty boys, and another for thirty girls, were established and supported by the late Earl and Countess of Chesterfield, and are still continued. Bradby 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.

BRETBY. See BRADBY, county of DERBY.

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