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

WINSTER, a market-town and chapelry in that part of the parish of YOULGRAVE which is in the hundred of HIGH-PEAK, county of DERBY, 19 miles (N.N.W.) from Derby, and 145 (N.N.W.) from London, containing 928 inhabitants. This small town is situated midway between the river Derwent and the Cromford and High Peak railway, about three miles from each, with the latter of which a branch communication is contemplated; it is badly supplied with water, which in dry seasons is only to be procured at the distance of a mile. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in mining, which was formerly much more extensively carried on; the cotton trade at one period was established, but has ceased for some years.

The market, on Saturday, is very indifferently attended; and the four fairs formerly held annually have declined. Winster is within the jurisdiction of a court of pleas held at Tutbury every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under 40s. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, endowed with £400 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £300 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Freeholders. In 1702, Mrs. Anne Phermey and Mrs. H. Fenshaw bestowed one-fourth of the tithes of corn and hay in the township on the minister.

The chapel, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is partly in the Norman style of architecture, and partly of a later date, with a tower nearly covered with ivy. Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists have each a place of worship. Thomas Eyre, Esq., in 1717, bequeathed £20 per annum for the instruction of twenty children; and an annuity of £5 was left, in 1718, by Robert Moore, for teaching five more. In the neighbourhood are several barrows, in one of which, opened in 1768, two glass vessels were found, containing some clear, but green-coloured, water, a silver bracelet, some glass beads, and other trinkets.

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