Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for DERBYSHIRE, or Derby

DERBYSHIRE, or Derby, a midland and almost central county; nearly alike distant from the eastern and the western seas, and from Scotland and the English channel. It is bounded on the NW, by Cheshire; on the N and NE, by Yorkshire; on the E, by Notts; on the SE, by Leicestershire; on the S, by Warwickshire and Staffordshire; on the W, by Staffordshire and Cheshire. Its length south-south-eastward, is 52 miles; its greatest breadth, 30 miles; its circuit, about 175 miles; its area, 658, 803 acres. The southern portion, as far as to Belper, is low country, diversified only by undulations and inconsiderable heights; the middle and north-eastern portions are hilly, and have rich diversities of dale and rock; and the north-western portion rises into the mountains of the High Peak, a conspicuous part of the backbone of England, has several summits nearly 1,800 feet high, and presents a striking mixture of arable bottoms, upland pastures, barren moors, precipitous cliffs, and romantic scenery. The chief rivers are the Trent, the Derwent, the Dove, the Wye, the Erewash, the Etherow, the Goyt, and the Rother. Warm springs are at Matlock, Buxton, and Bakewell; sulphur springs, at Keddleston, Ilkeston, and Heage; and a chalybeate spring, at Quarndon. Rocks of new red sandstone occupy nearly all the south, to a line north of Derby and Ashborne; and rocks of the carboniferous series, ranging from the lower limestone and shale, through the upper limestone and the mill-stone-grit, to the coal-measures, occupy all the centre and the north. Building-stones and roofing-slates are quarried; marbles, spars, white chert, and fine clays are worked; mineral caoutchouc, quartz diamonds, toadstone, manganese, calamine, galena, barytes, and many other rare or valuable minerals are found; lead has long been obtained to the amount of about 4, 500 tons a year; iron was produced to the amount of 139, 250 tons in 1859; and coal is mined in 151 collieries, yielding, with the contiguous coal-fields of Notts and Leicestershire, about 5, 050, 000 tons a year.

The soils, over most of the south, and over a large tract of the north-west, are prevailingly reddish clay or marl; those in the lower and wider part of the valleys are partly alluvial; those of a tract along all the east, from Stanton-by-Dale northward, are clays of various qualities; and those in the north are alternations of clays and moorish or peaty moulds. About 510, 000 acres are arable, pasture, and meadow land. Agriculture is well advanced in the south, but backward in the north. Many farms are small; and comparatively few are on lease. Wheat and barley, the latter for the Burton breweries, are much grown in the south; and oats and potatoes in the north. Cheese of good quality, often sold for Cheshire or Gloucester, is largely produced in many parts, especially in Dovedale. The cattle are chiefly of the Staffordshire breed, but include many crosses. The sheep are mainly Leicesters or a smaller breed; amount to about 360, 000; and yield annually about 9, 000 packs of wool. Hogs are reared for the market in many parts; and asses and active black horses are bred for service in the north-west. Ancient forests, where wolves were hunted, have disappeared. Manufactures in silks, cottons, lace, hardware, and other departments, employ about 22, 000 hands. Railways abound in the south and the east; and three go respectively up the centre and the north-west, across a point in the north near Sheffield, and along the north-west border, in the vale of the Etherow. The Trent and Mersey canal traverses part of the south; the Erewash canal goes up the southern part of the east, contiguously to Notts; the Derby canal connects Little Eaton and Derby with the Trent and Mersey and the Erewash; the Cromford canal connects with the northern part of the Erewash, and traverses the centre; the Chesterfield canal traverses the north-east from Chesterfield into Yorkshire; and most have connexion with tram-railways for mining produce. The turnpikes extend aggregately to about 650 miles, and yield a toll-revenue of about £30, 350; and the other highways, used for wheel-carriages, extend to about 1, 700 miles.

Derbyshire contains 132 parishes, parts of 6 others, and 6 extra-parochial tracts; and is divided into the borough of Derby, and the hundreds of High Peak, Wirksworth, Scarsdale, Appletree, Morleston and Lit-church, and Repton and Gresley. It was further cut, for parliamentary representation, by the reform act of 1832, into the divisions of North and South; and was re-distributed for the same purpose by the reform act of 1867, into the divisions of the North, South, and East. The registration county gives off 3 parishes and an extra-parochial tract to Yorkshire, 14 parishes, part of another, and an extra-parochial tract to Notts, 11 parishes and an extra-parochial tract to Leicester, and 28 parishes, and parts of 4 others to Stafford; takes in a chapelry from Cheshire, 5 parishes from Notts, 4 parishes, part of another, and an extra-parochial tract from Leicester, 5 parishes, parts of 2 others, and an extra-parochial tract from Stafford; comprises an area of 558, 620 acres; and is divided into the districts of Derby, Belper, Shardlow, Ashborne, Chesterfield, Bakewell, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Hayfield. The market-towns are Derby, Belper, Ashborne, Alfreton, Wirksworth, Winster, Tideswell, Cromford, Ilkeston, Dronfield, Buxton, Chesterfield, Bakewell, and Chapel-en-le-Frith. The chief seats are Chatsworth, Hardwick, Bolsover, Bretby, Elvaston, Hassop, Melbourne-Park, Redestone, Sudbury, Doveridge, Ashborne, Drakelow, Egginton, Calke, Okeover, Foremark, Osmaston, Renishaw, Stretton, Tissington, Wingerworth, Willesley, Alfreton, Allestree, Belper, Brookhill, Barlborough, Burnaston, Chaddesden, Foston, Hopwell, Holnesfield, Locko, Longstone, Longford, Leam, Middleton, Measham, Ravenstone, Risley, Stanton, Sutton, and Swanwick. Real property in 1815, £883, 370; in 1843, £1, 379, 025; in 1851, £1, 999, 550; in 1860, £2, 546, 718, -of which £122, 847 were in mines, £46, 789 in iron-works, £9, 101 in quarries, £998, 558 in railways, and £2, 879 in canals.

The county is governed by a lord-lieutenant, a high sheriff, about 90 deputy-lieutenants, and about 200 magistrates; is in the midland military district and judicial circuit; and constitutes an archdeaconry in the diocese of Lichfield. The assizes and the quarter sessions are held at Derby. The police force, in 1862, comprised 43 men for Derby borough, at a cost of £2, 768, 11 for Chesterfield, at a cost of £755, and 157 for the rest of the county, at a cost of £13, 566; the crimes committed were 43 in Derby, 23 in Chesterfield, and 256 in the rest of the county; the persons apprehended, 48, 29, and 217: the depredators and suspected persons at large, 387, 61, and 1,851; and the houses of bad character, 76, 26, and 420. The county jail is at Derby. Two members are sent to parliament by Derby, and two by each of the three divisions of the county. Electors of the north division in 1867, 5, 055; of the south division, 7, 976. Poor-rates in 1862, £83, 401. Marriages in 1860, 2, 322, -of which 505 were not according to the rites of the Established church; births, 10, 239, -of which 762 were illegitimate; Deaths, 6, 115, of which 2, 211 were at ages under 5 years, and 126 at ages above 85. The places of worship in the county proper, in 1851, were 250 of the Church of England, with 87, 829 sittings; 45 of Independents, with 13, 307 s.; 39 of Baptists, with 10, 664 s.; 6 of Quakers, with 1, 147 s.; 11 of Unitarians, with 1, 990 s.; 1 of Moravians, with 227 s.; 222 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 39, 734 s.; 10 of New Connexion Methodists, with 2, 048 s.; 132 of Primitive Methodists, with 17, 604 s.; 6 of the Wesleyan Association, with 921 s.; 34 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 5, 810 s.; 2 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 430 s.; 2 of the New Church, with 450 s.; 2 of isolated congregations, with 150 s.; 6 of Latter Day Saints, with 270 s.; and 8 of Roman Catholics, with 1, 512 s. The schools were 319 public day schools, with 25, 133 scholars; 521 private day schools, with 12, 138 s.; 558 Sunday schools, with 55, 305 s.; and 34 evening schools for adults, with 830 s. Pop. in 1801, 161, 567; in 1821, 213, 651; in 1841, 272, 202; in 1861, 339, 327. Inhabited houses, 69, 262; uninhabited, 3, 436; building, 521.

The territory now forming Derbyshire belonged anciently to the British Coretani; was included by the Romans, first in their Britannia Prima, next in their Flavia Cæsariensis; and afterwards formed part of the kingdom of Mercia, and was, with Notts, distinguished from other parts, by the name of Merciæ Aquilonares. Much of it was given by the Conqueror to William Peveril; and many places in it, both in earlier and later times, were scenes of conflicts; but its history generally is so interwoven with that of great surrounding tracts, or with that of the kingdom at large, that it cannot well be separately narrated. British remains exist in stone circles at Arbor-Low and Stanton-moor; cromlechs and standing-stones at Harthill-moor, Abney-moor, Eyam-moor, Froggatt-Edge, and Hathersage-moor; rocking-stones at Stanton-moor, Rootor-rocks, and Ashover-common; fortifications and earthworks at Hathersage, Staden-Low, Pilsbury, Great Finn, and Combe-moss; remains of habitations at Harthill-moor, Middleton-by-Youlgrave, and other places; and numberless tumuli and other relics in the northern uplands. Roman remains exist in the workings of several lead mines; camps near Pentridge and at Parwich; vestiges of stations at Little Chester, Buxton, and Gamesley; traces of Ryknield-street, past Little Chester to Chesterfield, of Long Lane, from Little Chester to Chesterton, and of other Roman roads from Buxton to Brough, to Gamesley, and toward Manchester; and in great numbers of coins, utensils, personal ornaments, articles of armour and pottery, and sepulchral relics. Old castles occur at Mackworth, Castleton, and Cadnor; ruined old mansions, at Haddon and South Wingfield; and remains of monastic edifices, at Dale, Beauchief, Gresley, Repton, and Yeaveley.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a midland and almost central county"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Derbyshire AncC
Place names: DERBY     |     DERBYSHIRE     |     DERBYSHIRE OR DERBY
Place: Derbyshire

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