In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Alfreton like this:
ALFRETON, a small town, a parish, and a subdistrict, in the district of Belper, Derby. The town stands on the brow of a hill, about a mile from the new branch railway connecting the Erewash line with the main Midland, and 14 miles NNE of Derby. It is said, but without good reason, to have got its name and origin from a residence of King Alfred. Its form is irregular and straggling; and many of its houses are old. The parish church is variously early, decorated, and later English; and was restored and enlarged in 1869. ...
The town has a railway station, a head post-office,† two banking offices, and two chief inns; and is a polling place. Stocking manufacture is carried on; and potteries, stone-quarries, collieries, and iron-works are in the neighbourhood. A weekly market is held on Friday, and fairs on 26 Jan., Easter-Tuesday, Whit-Tuesday, 31 July, 8 Oct., and 22 Nov.The parish contains also the villages of Greenhill-Lane and Birchwood, the manor of Riddings-with-Ironville, and the hamlets of Summercotes and Swanwick. Acres, 4,550. Real property, £27,414,-of which £7,472 are in mines, and £2,000 in iron-works. Pop., 11,549. Houses, 2,082. The property is divided among a few. The manor of Alfreton belonged to successively the De Alfretons, the Chaworths, the Babingtons, and the Zouches; and now belongs to W. P. Morewood, Esq. Roman relics have been found at Greenhill-Lane. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £150.* Patron, W. P. Morewood, Esq. The p. curacy of Swanwick, the vicarage of Ironville, and the vicarage of Riddings with-Summercotes, are separate benefices. The ancient parish church belonged to Beauchier Abbey. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists. An endowed school has £50 a year, and other charities £145. The subdistrict is co extensive with the parish.
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 Alfreton has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Amber Valley. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Alfreton and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Alfreton, in Amber Valley and Derbyshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd September 2014
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