The Lost Manor and Chapel of Snitterton - Wensley

This is a copy of an article published in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper on 16th September 1991, reproduced by kind permission of its author, Julie Bunting.


When the Nottingham to Newhaven turnpike route was decided in 1759, the section from Matlock Bridge to Wensley took the best road then in existence, so passing through the hamlet of Snitterton. An original milestone from this era, showing ‘London 159 Nottingham 26'’ still stands there, beside the road which once carried a daily coach service from Matlock to Buxton and back. It is said that Snitterton had three pubs in those days, and a bull-ring survives as evidence that the village laid on other ‘attractions’.

In due course the A6 was established at the other side of the River Derwent, and in more recent times the old road through Snitterton has become part of the boundary of the Peak District National Park. One of the Peak's architectural gems is Snitterton Hall, built in Elizabethan times. An older manor house was still standing then, its site close to the present Manor Farm, and the families who held the manor of Snitterton are well documented.

In the first half of the 15th century the manor passed to William Sacheverall, of Ible, upon his marriage to the heiress of the family which had earlier taken the name of Snitterton. The manor remained with the Sacheverells for some 200 years, when it was purchased by John Milward, a Royalist colonel during the Civil War and younger son of the Lord of the Manor of Thorpe. John Milward fathered eleven children but left no living male heir and at his death a co-heiress, Felicia, took a moiety of the manor of Snitterton to her husband Charles Alderley. This portion, which included the ancient manor house, was sold in 1695 to Henry Ferne, Receiver General of Customs, who has an imposing monument in Bonsall church. In due course the property once more fell to another family upon the marriage of an heiress, to remain in the hands of the Turnor family for several generations.

CONFISCATED LANDS As the old manor house fell into disuse it took with it any proof that if may have possessed a domestic chapel. It is known from sparse documentary evidence that such a building existed at Snitterton in the reign of Richard II, for in the year 1397 Roger de Wormhill had the Bishop's licence to celebrate divine service in his oratory at Snitterton. It appears that with the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII the chantry lands of Snitterton lay amongst confiscated ecclesiastical property granted by the Crown to the Warner family.

Then in 1561 lands in Snitterton, Matlock and Bonsall which pertained to the former chantry of Snitterton were sold by Sir Edward Warner, together with the chapel at Winster and land which benefitted the church of Hognaston. No tangible evidence of the Snitterton chapel is known to survive, and the small population of the village has been solely served by its parish church, St. Helen's in Darley Dale, since at least the time of the Reformation.

© Julie Bunting
From "The Peak Advertiser", 16th September 1991.

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