In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Wirksworth like this:
WIRKSWORTH, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred, in Derbyshire. The town stands in a valley, nearly surrounded by hills, at the terminus of a branch of the Midland railway, and at the southern extremity of a mining region, 13¾ miles NNW of Derby; was known to the Saxous as Werchesvorde; belonged, before the Norman conquest, to Repton abbey; passed, through the Ferrerses and other s, to the Duchy of Lancaster; is a seat of petty-sessions and county courts, and a polling place; carries on malting, and the manufacture of silk, gingham, and tape; engages largely in the working of neighbouring lead mines; publishes a weekly newspaper; and has a head post-office,‡ a r. ...
station, a banking office, two hotels, a police station, a moot-hall of 1814, a temperance hall, a church of the 13th century, with chancel restored in 1855, and with a tower and spire, four dis senting chapels, a mechanics' institution, an endowed grammar-school rebuilt in 1828, with £180 a year, alms houses with £55 a year, other charities £186, a weekly market on Tuesday, and five annual fairs. Pop. in 1861, 2,592. houses, 637.-The township comprises 8,497 acres. Real property, £18,615; of which £5,142 are in mines, £1,346 in quarries, and £148 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 3,923; in 1861, 3,717. Houses, 900.The parish contains four townships in Belper district, five in Ashborne district, and two in Bakewell district; and comprises 14,154 acres. Pop. in 1851, 7,498: in 1861, 7,098. Houses, 1,623. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £300.* Patron, the Bishop of L. The vicarages of Middleton and Idridgehay, and the p. curacy of Cromford, are separate benefices.The sub-district contains the four W. townships of Belper district, and two townships and a chapelry of other parishes. Acres, 14,348. Pop., 6,072. Houses, 1,388.-The hundred contains 13 parishes and 6 parts. Acres, 72,177. Pop. in 1851, 22,503; in 1861, 23,901. Houses, 5,242.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Wirksworth has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Derbyshire Dales. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Wirksworth and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Wirksworth in Derbyshire Dales | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 31st October 2014
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