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

TIDESWELL, a parish in the hundred of HIGH-PEAK, county of DERBY, comprising the market-town of Tideswell, the chapelry of Wormhill, and the hamlets of Litton and Wheston, and containing 2666 inhabitants, of which number, 1543 are in the town of Tideswell, 33 miles (N.N.W.) from Derby, and 160 (N.W. by N.) from London. The first account of this place is in Domesday-book, in which, under the name Tiddeswall, it is described as a royal demesne, having a chapel, which, in 1215, was given by King John to the canons of Lichfield. The town is situated in a valley, surrounded by some of the most barren lands in the county, on the road from Chesterfield to Manchester. The houses in general are of very mean appearance, but the inhabitants are supplied with good water, by means of a small stream which flows through the town. The chief branches of trade are calico-weaving and mining.

A market and two fairs were granted by Henry III., and confirmed by subsequent sovereigns; the market is on Wednesday, and fairs are held March 24th, May 15th, the last Wednesday in July, the second Wednesday in September, and October 29th, for cattle and sheep. This parish is in the honour of Tutbury, duchy of Lancaster, and within the jurisdiction of a court of pleas held at Chapel en le Frith, every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under £5. A court leet and court baron are held twice a year.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the peculiar jurisdiction and patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield, rated in the king's books at £7. 0. 7½ endowed with £200 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £1200 parliamentary grant. The church, which is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a remarkably fine cruciform structure of the thirteenth century, principally in the decorated style of English architecture, having an embattled tower at the west end, with crocketed pinnacles; each of the pillars in the north and south transepts supports three arches, and is strikingly beautiful: the chancel is separated from the nave by a light screen of carved oak, and from the vestry-room by an embattled stone screen, enriched with tracery.

In the south transept is a tombstone to the memory of John Foljambe, who contributed largely to the erection of the church, in 1358; in the chancel is an altar-tomb, ornamented with brasses, to the memory of Sampson Meverell, who served under the Duke of Bedford in France, and was knighted upon the field at St. Luce; another altar-tomb records the death of Robert Pursglove, a native of this town, Prior of Gisburn abbey, Prebendary of Rotherham, and Bishop of Hull, who died May 2nd, 1579. The church has received an addition of three hundred and fifty-eight free sittings, towards defraying the expense of which the Incorporated Society for the enlargement of churches and chapels contributed £180. There are places of worship for Wesleyan Methodists and Roman Catholics.

The free grammar school was founded, in 1560, under letters patent from Queen Elizabeth, by the above-mentioned Robert Pursglove, and endowed with lands at Priestcliff and Taddington in this county, and at Colmworth in Bedfordshire; also with £2 per annum, chargeable on the estate of the Earl of Manvers; to be called "The school of Jesus", and to be open to all boys living in this parish; from eighty to one hundred are instructed. The master is appointed by the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield; he and the vicar and churchwardens constitute a body corporate. The income arising from the lands is £227 per annum, one-fourth of which has generally been distributed among the poor of Tideswell on New Year's eve.

LITTON, a hamlet in the parish of TIDESWELL, hundred of HIGH-PEAK, county of DERBY, half of a mile (E.S.E.) from Tidswell, containing 710 inhabitants. The celebrated non-conformist divine, William Bagshaw, commonly called the Apostle of the Peak, was born here in 1628.

WHETSTONE, a hamlet in the parish of TIDESWELL, hundred of HIGH-PEAK, county of DERBY, 1 mile (W.) from Tideswell; containing 66 inhabitants.

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