History of the Village of Stoney Middleton by Thomas E Cowen 1910

Stoney Middleton – A romantic village and notable tourist destination according to Cowen in his book of 1910.

Resident schoolmaster Cowen provides a invaluable insight, not to mention important collection of facts and information.

He writes:

‘Stoney Middleton is not likely to be a place for trade, but for many reasons it may be a place to visit, for health, for rest, for scenery, and for the study of Nature in hill and dale, mountain and moor in the district. So the antiquary may here have ample grounds for the study of prehistoric houses, and tors, and of Saxon haunts. In fact, Stoney Middleton is a place well worthy of a visit’

The complete book is reproduced below due to the kind work of Mr Mather who provided it for the benefit of the village and all those interested in it.



STONEY MIDDLETON is a romantic village situated five miles from Bakewell, five from Tideswell, and twelve from Sheffield. A brook running through the village divides it from the neighbouring village of Eyam. Some of the houses are situated one above the other, on ledges of rock which seem to be almost inaccessible, and the others are scattered.

Dr. Denman, uncle of the first Baron, writing in 1798, says, “Stoney Middleton stands on a very extraordinary eminence, and the main street seems to have been formed by the laceration of a high hill, which must have been affected by a tremendous concussion of nature. This chasm continued is the justly celebrated Middleton Dale. On one side of the Derwent the rock is limestone and on the other gritstone, and the stone which separates these two is shivery and of little use.”

A great variety of shells and marine impressions are to be found in the rocks known as Encrinital Limestone, the characteristics of which are better revealed when polished.

The several parts of the village are thus designated: The Townend or Town Gate; the Cross, from which branch High Street, the old coach road via Highfield, Moyston Knowle, over Longstone Edge, to Manchester. The other branch leads to the Dale Mouth, or opening of the renowned Middleton Dale. On the right near the old Toll House is the Bank, over which coaches formerly journeyed, and a turn to the left leads to a secluded corner, which is called the Nook, near the Church and the Roman Baths.

It contained a great tract of moorland until 1801, when an Act was obtained for its enclosure.


In pre-Roman times, the houses were mere mud huts, built around the Chapel, and enclosed by a “tun” or hedge to protect the inhabitants from the wild beasts and the inroads of the hostile tribes in the neighbourhood. When the Roman invaders forced their way into the Midlands, the sixth

legion is reputed to have marched through Middleton and Brough. Evidence was soon found of the existence of rich veins of lead ore in the limestone rock, and work was soon found for prisoners of war and dwellers in the villages in the neighbouring lead mines. The lead industry survived for centuries until it was found too unprofitable to work the mines.

The villagers worked for little monetary gain, and had many opportunities of replacing their houses with stone, abundance of which material was found in the neighbourhood. No doubt quarries would be worked so that their Roman masters could make suitable roads to be used by the Roman legions when marching from town to town. Here was the Middle town between Chesterfield and Brough, the Roman station. An examination of the houses, which are built on ledges of limestone rock, reveals the absence of any architect, and many of them are built in the ground, doubtless by the miners themselves, who were quite used to passing the larger part of their time in the ground. When a man was contemplating marriage his fellow miners would assist in the erection of a stone house following their own ideas of house building, unrestricted by any ‘Building Regulations’. The houses had thatched roofs, and it is only during the past fifty years that blue or grey slate has been substituted.

“The industrious miner built his neat abode,
Fast by the margin of the headlong flood;
In pleasing solitude the cottage stood;
Low were its walls and nicely trimm’d the roof
With heathy turf and straw, made water-proof.”
R. Furness.


The Church was formerly a chapelry of Hathersage, from which it was separated by the intervening village of Eyam. There is but little left of the old chapel of Stoney Middleton, which subsequently became the parochial chapel. In the early Christian and middle ages there was doubtless a well chapel near the Roman Baths dedicated, like the Baths, to St. Martin, the Saint of Cripples, similarly to the ancient chapel of St. Anne of Buxton. From an examination of the square tower and other incidental particulars it may be safely concluded that a fair-sized chapel was certainly erected in the 15th century. There are no records about the shape of the church nor its date, but diggings in the churchyard show that it was of the usual shape, with oblong nave. In 1650 Mr. Thorpe was curate, and the Parliamentary Commissioners estimated the living at £45[1] and described Stoney Middleton as a “parochial Chapel”, thought fit to be made a parish church.

Thomas Whyte, of Stony Middleton, Gentleman, by will dated 1692 bequeathed his “great Silver Cup to be used in the Church or Chapel of Stony Middleton aforesaid for ever in the administration of the most Comfortable Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion”.

A record written in one of the Parish Registers and dated Aprill 16th, 1717, gives “An Account of the Names of the Singers who were Equally concerned in the charge of Building the Loft in the Middleton Church for their own use”, viz:

Tenor pt. Bafsus.
Joseph Hallom (senr.) Joseph Hallom (junr.)
Francis Hallom (senr.) James Heaton.
Edward Barber. ffrancis Hallom.
Wm. Tomblinson. Ezra Cocker.
John Tomblinson. Joseph Thornilley.
Robert Overton. Thomas Mason.
Wm. Bagshaw.
Joseph Brand.
Joseph Bamforth.
Contra-Tenor. Treble.
Henry Fletcher. Richard Bower.
Jonathan Hallom Joseph Hallom.
John Thornilley. Thomas Hallom.
John Thornilley. Cornelius Hallom.
James Baggaly. Paul ffletcher.
Benj. Hallom.

The tower contains three bells, and it is often asserted that one of the original peal of four bells was taken to the Mother Church of Hathersage. It is, however, noteworthy that the Hathersage bells bear Latin inscriptions, so that if it was taken there, it was evidently recast. The inscriptions on the three bells are as follows:

i.Daniel Hedderly cast us all in 1720.
ii.Thos Froggatt, Rob. Shepperd C. W.
iii.Benjamin Ashton, Esq., Jonathan Rose, Curate.

The parish of Stoney Middleton came into existence in 1743, in consequence of the augmentation of the Church by the Queen Anne’s Bounty Governors. The Rev. Urban Smith wrote, “When I entered upon the Stoney Middleton living in 1834 I found this inscription on a board in the Church: ”under the Royal Arms“ – Restored 1759. John Hallam, Samuel White, Churchwardens”, Dr. Cox, in his Derbyshire Churches, says: The architect of 1759 adopted a singular octagonal design in quasi-Grecian style for the body of the Church, and the effect of uniting this building to a low square tower of perpendicular style of the 15th century is most incongruous.

It is said that the same architect also designed the stables at the back of the Crescent at Buxton, the stables at Chatsworth, the rectory at Eyam, and Stoke Hall.

“We wish”, adds Dr. Cox, the eminent historian, “he had confined his attention exclusively to secular work.”

There are eight semi-circular arches. In 1861 the church was re-roofed, the gallery removed, a new west doorway and earlier window were inserted in the tower. The south door was then closed.

A Communion Flagon now in use in the Church bears the following inscription:

The Gift of the Reverend John Simpson, of Stoke, in the
County of Derby, to the chapel of Stoney Middleton.
30th March, 1777.
D.D. S.M.

Below are names of some of the Curates and incumbents:

John Silvester (Time of Elizabeth).
Jacobus Huit, Curate, 1629.
Mr. Thorpe, Curate, 1650.
Jonathan Rose, Curate, 1720.
John Ashe, Minister, 1759-1780.
Charles Hadfield, Curate, 1780-1792.
J. Wostenholme, Curate, 1792-1794.
Alex. Benjamin Greaves, Minister, 1794-1834.
James Parker, Curate, 1834-1835.
Urban Smith, Incumbent, 1835-1887.
11.J. B. Riddlesden, Incumbent, 1888-present time.

In the King’s Book of 1533 the living is valued at £2 6s. 8d. It is a perpetual curacy now worth £200 per annum, in the gift of the Vicar of Hathersage.

In or about 1817 the Bishop of Lichfield passed through the village and stayed for a short time at the Moon Inn. The proprietor informed him that no service had been held for 16 months, and that the Dissenters had become strong. He himself was in no way concerned, as he had not been there for years.

There are no monuments earlier than 18th century, and the Parish Registers only commence in 1715.

A clock was presented to the Church, through the kindness of Rev. J. Stockdale, R.D., Vicar of Baslow, and inserted in the tower in 1897.

The harmonium, which had been in the Church for a number of years, was replaced in 1903 by an organ built by Mr. Cousins, of Lincoln, at a cost of £130. A stained glass east window, “The Good Shepherd”, was inserted in the Church by subscription in 1905.

In the poetical works of Richard Furness appears a poem – “Stoney Middleton Orra-Turry”. This was doubtless an Oratorio, which took place in Middleton Church, but there is no date given, except 1858, the date when the poems were published. The poet describes the object in the lines:

“And brave old Outram, not a fool,
just wanted some for th’ Sunday School.”

The performance was assisted by an orchestra, comprising the following: Owen, Shemwell, Wild, Hibbert, Wilson, Cramer, Wragg and G. Rayner, the leader. The chief singers were: Soprano, Madam Shirtcliff; contra, Shaw; tenor, Croft; basses, Dooley and Birkett.

Stoney Middleton was formerly in the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, but is now included in the new Diocese of Southwell.

[1] £40 of which was granted by the Honourable Commissioners for Plundered Ministers in 1648 from the sequestered tithes of the old rectory of Glossop.


In the churchyard there is part of an ancient stone font carved in good Gothic style. This was removed from the Church in 1861, and placed in a corner of the churchyard overshadowed by some light trees. From an accurate drawing of it taken some years before it was evidently octagonal in shape, “three sides of which are ornamented with shields – two shields are plain and the other has a chevron, the arms of the Eyres of Hassop”, It is of excellent design. It was doubtless given to the Church by Robert Eyre, who married the heiress, Joan Padley. The Padleys inherited property in the township through marriage with the Bernakes, and it is very possible that Robert Eyre on his alliance with Padley not only gave the font to the Church, but built the present tower, as well as the body of the Church that was swept away in 1759. Robert Eyre died in 1459, and his wife in 1463. A mural monument erected to the memory of a famous Equestrian, William Capps, gentleman, of Stoney Middleton, dated 1703, was also fastened to the wall of the Church. Near the east window stood the tomb of Hannah Baddeley, dated 1764. It would appear that these memorials were removed in 1861 at the restoration of the Church.

The old Churchyard adjoining the Church was closed for interments in 1878, and land was obtained from Mr. Michael Hunter, of Stoke, and a new Cemetery, with Lych Gate, north-east of the Church, was consecrated. This was drained in 1908, the cost of which was defrayed by public subscription.

The churchyard is not infrequently visited by the tourist, who will recall the lines from Gray’s immortal Elegy:

“Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?”

Here, too, are recorded the “short and simple annals of the poor”, and we read the uncertainty of human life.

The work of writing suitable epitaphs was divided between the village schoolmaster and the parish clerk.

A tombstone, of a chorister, stands in a south aspect of the Church –
In Memory of George, the son
of George and Margaret Swift of
Stoney Middleton who departed
this life, August 21st 1759 on the
20th Year of his age.
We the Quior of Singers of the
Church erected this Stone
(The lower part is indecipherable.)

An epitaph, somewhat peculiar in these modern days, shows the limitation of medical skill –

lieth the body of
Sarah the Wife of
Philip Hill
of Grindeford Bridge
who departed this life
March 30th 1801 Aged 33 Years

“With patience to the laft fhe did submit
And murmur’d not at what the Lord thought fit
After a lingering illness, grief and pain
When Doctors fkill and phyfsic prov’d in vain
She with a Chriftian courage did refign
Her foul to God at his appointed time.”

On the right of the Church is the grave of the village carpenter, with some of the implements of his calling carved on the tombstone –

To the Memory of
Anthony Buxton
who died May 28th 1821
Aged 44 years.

“A loving husband, a tender parent dear
A faithful friend, and honest man lies here”.

Near the Church door is the tombstone of Joseph Sellers.[1] He was doubtless a member of the choir, and the “Old Hundred” tune cut on the stone would substantiate this:

o the Memory of
Joseph Sellers
son of John and Elizabeth Sellers
who died May 16th, 1828.

THE VILLAGE STOCKS once stood near the Church gates towards the right. These were removed about the year 1849.

[1] The office of parish clerk has been held in this family for many years. In 1813 John Sellers, clerk and schoolmaster – (he would doubtless have a small private school) – made “A Copey from the Monement of Mr. William Capps”, which monument was destroyed in 1861.


Antiquaries have been able to prove that the Romans had a Bath here at the time that they occupied the station at Brough. Roman coins found in the vicinity of the Baths is an important circumstance.

In the summer of 1814, whilst some workmen were removing the soil from the limestone rock near the place where the road branches out of Middleton Dale to Eyam, they discovered some Roman coins, chiefly copper, but some were covered with a thin silvery coating. They bear an inscription of the Emperor Probus, Gallienus, etc., and of Victorinus (a usurper).

It is very probable that these Baths were held in high esteem in the early Church and Middle Ages, and were dedicated like the Church to St. Martin.

Short, writing in 1734 in his treatise on “Mineral Waters”, says:

“The bath is 8 yards S.W. of the Spring and is enclosed with a wall 4 yards high, 4 yards square, 6 yards every way. The thermometer rose to 6 1-8 ins., and the water comes bubbling up continually with great force as in Buxton. Foreign substances placed in it appear very blue, but white when taken out into the air. Then we have three perpetual warm springs close by the west side of the Churchyard, each of which raised the spirit in the tube to six inches. This water in Frost or Cold Weather is 1-28th part warmer than in Summer. It weighed 50 grains in a pint lighter in Winter than common water. It will keep ten days without smelling.

It can be drank more freely and safer than at Buxton, as it is cooler. It has more sulphur in it than Matlock, so it should be beneficial to Rheumatism.

These waters may be drank for 14 days without intermission, following a rest of 4, or 5, or even 7 days. Four pints a day is sufficient and not too much. Alcohol should not be taken with it. It is beneficial for any unnatural sharpness and saltness of blood, heartburn, too great heat, contraction of stomach, shortness of breath and stuffiness of the lungs.”

Pilkington’s “A View of the present state of Derbyshire and its Antiquities” (1789), contains the following mention of the water and bath at Stoney Middleton

“Dr. Bullock informed me that the warm water at Stoney Middleton in its chemical properties and medicinal virtues very much resembles that at Matlock. He also said that in the bath the thermometer stands at 63 degrees, but in two other springs at a small distance from it, it rises only to 60.

“Dr. Pearson says that a pint of this water weighs 6 grains heavier than distilled and 2 grains heavier than Matlock water”.

“Stoney Middleton has hitherto been little visited or frequented on account of its warm springs. Perhaps if the bath, which is only enclosed by a high wall and exposed to the open air, was covered in and a convenient room built adjoining it, such an improvement might induce a greater number of persons to try of what efficacy the water is possessed.”

Bray, writing in 1771 says “the Bath is nearly as hot as that of Buxton, and was used with great success by those affected with rheumatism”. Their source is near a great fault ranging to Great Hucklow. These springs are of a tepid character, slightly warmer than those of Matlock (about 63 degrees), and are reputed efficacious in certain diseases, such as rheumatism, scrofula, and bad eyes. People in the neighbouring villages used to fetch this water in bottles. The two neat stone buildings for the accommodation of bathers are of modern construction. A great boon would accrue to Stoney Middleton if the Baths could be opened to the public and its virtues demonstrated.


MIDDLETON HALL, on the right of the road from Bakewell at the entrance to the village, is an ancient stone mansion with pointed gables, delightfully situated in the meadows a little to the east of the Church. In former times this residence, then much smaller, was a farmhouse, occupied by Squire Radford.

The Denman family came originally from Bevercoats, Nottingham, and Thomas Denman, Esq., of Bakewell, dying in 1752, left two sons, Joseph and Thomas, who afterwards became distinguished doctors.

In 1761 (March 22) Dr. Joseph Denman (great-uncle of the first Lord Denman) married Elizabeth, the heiress of Richard Finney, Esq., at St. Giles’, Great Longsdon, and so possessed the estates that belonged to that family. He was a very eminent doctor, who wrote a “Treatise on Buxton Water”. On one of the tablets in the Church we find that Elizabeth Denman died on the 5th March, 1803, at the age of 63.

His brother, Dr. Thomas Denman, of Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, was a well-known physician attached to the Court. Upon the death of Dr. Joseph Denman, in 1812, at the age of 82, the estates were bequeathed to his nephew, Thomas Denman, the eminent King’s Counsel. He was created Baron Denman of Dovedale, and became Lord Chief Justice of England in 1832, a position he held for 18 years. He was ennobled in 1834, and shared with Brougham the defence of Queen Caroline against the charge of George IV. His speech and cross-examination on behalf of the Queen gained for him enormous popularity at a time when hostility to the Court was the passport to favour with the people. He was the ablest of the lawyer politicians of the time of the Reform Bill, and took a leading part in suppressing the slave trade and capital punishment for forgery and minor offences. His poetical taste is shown in his translation of the famous song of “Harmodious and Aristogiton.”

The first Baron Denman died in 1854 at the age of 75, and was succeeded by his son, Thomas Denman, the amiable and accomplished, though eccentric, peer, whose special hobby was the raising of a certain breed of black pigs. He died on the 9th August, 1894, at the age of 89. Thomas Denman became the third baron, by succession from his great-uncle. He served in the South African campaign in 1900, and married Gertrude Mary, only daughter of Sir Weetman Pearson, the great contractor, on November 26th, 1903. There is a son and daughter of this marriage. Lord Denman is now Liberal Whip in the House of Lords.


The Wapentake[2] or Hundred of Hammestan comprised the modern High Peak and Wirksworth. Here there were 5 churches, 6 priests, and 5 lead mines. In the Domesday Book for Derby we read: “In Middletvne Goded had iv bovates[3 of land available. Land for iv oxen, viii Villanes, and 1 bordar (i.e., copy holder), with ii ploughs and iv acres of meadow and little underwood. valued at vi shillings.” (In the time of King Edward the Confessor.)

The adjunct Stoney or Stony is derived from the Anglo-Saxon stœn, Stan, a stone, hence Stoney Middleton implies the stoney or paved middle town. Dr. Wrench thinks that Middleton takes its name from the township being in two parishes, with a boundary in the middle. The following is taken from Wood’s “History of Eyam”:-

“Thomas, the son of Gerard and Matilda Furnival, mentions at the instance of the Statute Quo Warranto of Edward the First, his being possessed at that time of the Manors of Stoney Middleton and Eyam. Elizabeth, the widow of Thomas de Furnival, who died in 1332, seized of Eyam and Stoney Middleton, had for her dowry, inter alia, Eyam, Stoney Middleton, Bamford, and Hathersage, Derbyshire, and Treeton, Todwick, Ullay, Brampton, Catcliffe, Orgrave, and Whiston, Yorkshire; she died on Tuesday next ensuing the Feast of the Blessed Virgin 28th Edward the Third after enjoying her splendid dowry a great many years. It then reverted to her husband’s grandson by his first wife. Thomas, Lord Furnival, called the Hasty (Lord of Hallamshire).”

In the “Journals of the Derbyshire Archæological and Natural History Society” the following occur:-

“At the Great Court of Baslow on Wednesday morrow, St. Andrew A.D. 37. Edward III. 1363, John de Ruyle, John and Richard Mulner of Midleton, Walter Bosan of Midleton, and Walter Wareyn were summoned for fishing in the preserved water. Again in the same Court on Wednesday next before S.S. Simon Jude’s Day 42 Edward III. A.D. 1368, the tenants of Midleton and Eyam were ordered to be distrained for pasturing their cattle on the moors.”

The following has been given in the Reliquary, 1860-70 (edited by Llewellynn Jewitt. Esq., F.S.A.):

“In the 16th year of the Reign of Richard II., 1393, two messuages of land and 9½ acres in Eyam were transferred from John de Stafford of Eyam and Thomas Amott of Midleton to John Rankell Chaplain. Again in the 19th year of the reign of Richard II., 1395, King John or possibly his eldest son attested his grant of land in Calver and Midleton Cliff from Godfrey de Roland to Thomas and Richard Gomfray. On the 2nd February, 1421, in the reign of Henry V. a piece of land at Eyam called ‘Rylye’ was transferred to John Martyn and Nicholas Martyn. In connection with this transfer the name of John de Stafford Squyer was followed by that of Henry de Stafford of Mydleton Clyff”.

“In the 12th year of the reign of Elizabeth [Ed: 1570] the Manor of Stoke, with its appurtenances and diverse lands, tenements, and hereditaments in Hope, Great Hucklowe, Little Hucklow, Folowe, Eyme, Tyddeswall, Litton, Abney, Alfreton, Teddepole, Baslowe, Howmefield, Middleton, Dronfield, Egginton and Bradwell were acquired by Humphrey Barley, genero[s]us for himself and his heirs. He held in capite 1 May, 12 Eliz. lib., 25 fol. 107”.

“Derbyshire 16 May 1601 the names of those gentlemen with theire severall stores of money, they are to paye towards setting forthe of three horsemen into Ireland vizt : Henry Wigly of Mydleton gent xvs.” [4]

“Franciscus Sharpe of Stoney Middleton” occurs in a list of vills and freeholders of Derbyshire dated 1633, and the sign alloc [Ed: sic] implies he possesses a writ or certificate of excuse.

“Whereas Alathea Countess of Arundell and Surrey was heretofore seized of Certaine Farmes or rents of farmes issuing out of farmes and of Certaine Tythes of Corne, Hay, Wooll, and lamb and other tythes Coming, growing, and renewing forth of the Parish of Glossop, in the county of Derby, etc., for the recusancy of the said Countess are sequestered. These they grant, lease, lett and farm lett unto William Couse, of Stuffnall, in the county of Salop gent. and Robert Ashton of Stony Middleton in the county of Derby gent. two parts in three for one whole yeare from the five and twentyeth day of March 1650 for Three Hundred and Eighty three pounds. All repairing and maintaining of houses and outhouses to be carried out.”

In 1665 Robert Ashton Esqr. of Stoney Middleton High Sheriff[5] of Derbyshire owned land to the extent of 44 acres 1 rood 24 poles.

In 1670 Dennis Ragg of Stoney Middleton Bank had a farm under the Morewood of Alfreton. He issued a trade token for a half penny in 1670, and may have been either Grocer, Tallow Chandler or Miller as the Raggs and Furnesses followed all three businesses

A grant was made by Sir John Benet Knight to Pembroke College, dated Nov. l0th, 1676, and contains the following:-

“And also all the annual rent of eighteen pence of like lawful money reserved and issuing out of, or for lands in Stoney Middleton in the said county of Derby now or late paid by Roger Ashton Esquier.”

In 1703 Wm. Capps, wrestler and equestrian, died. It would appear that he was a gentleman of note of that age, for there is Capps Barn, Capps Close, and Capps Big Close even to-day.

In 1747 the Quakers from Wales introduced cupolas for smelting lead in Derbyshire. Two of these were to be found in Stoney Middleton. One owned by the Duke of Devonshire found work for poor miners, and the other belonged to John Barker, Esq., was situated in Middleton Dale.

The Manor belonged at an early date to the Bernakes, of Upper Padley. Richard de Bernake sold it in the reign of Edward I. to Thomas de Furnival. From the Furnivals it passed by marriage to John, First Earl of Shrewsbury. Gilbert, the seventh Earl, died without issue, and the Manor passed to the Countess of Pembroke, one of his co-heiresses; thence to the Savilles. It again fell to an heiress, the Countess of Burlington, and thus came to the Cavendish family.

The old Manor House is reputed to have been situated at the corner of Vicarage Lane, and there is a gable end still standing. Roger Sellars was the last resident.

[1] Manor was the whole extent of land under a Norman baron, over the inhabitants of which he had jurisdiction in criminal and civil suits.

[2] Wapentake (A.S. wœpan arms, and tac to touch) was equivalent to the Hundred in Anglian districts, so-called because when the overlord appeared for justice, the men touched his spear in token of fealty.

[3] Bovate, ploughland, varying from 8 to 24 acres.

[4] [Ed: ah, but was this really a reference to Stoney Middleton? A surname of ‘Wigly’ suggests (to me) Middleton by Wirksworth]

[5] Sheriff (Shire-reeve) looked after the affairs of the shire, and girded a sword upon him when elected.


CASTLE HILL, an elevated oval-shaped eminence on the bank at Stoney Middleton, is supposed to be situated on an ancient earthwork, and was formerly called a Castle, similar to the Castle Hill, Bakewell. Roman coins have been found in the vicinity at varous times, but they were in some degree current with the Saxons. From an examination of the remaining wall and ditch, it would appear that a Watch Tower once stood here. Whether it was really a castle or the name of the residence of some great man in the county is still doubtful. About the year 1806, in the vicinity of Castle Hill, an old barn belonging to the Raggs, of Stoney Middleton Bank, was being demolished. An iron battle axe about 4ft. long was found in one of the side walls between the incised stones. The head of the axe was a barb made of iron. The shaft was 3ft. long, and to this was attached a horn handle 7 inches long.

The first Lord Denman, writing from Stoney Middleton about a visit to Derbyshire in 1798, says:-

“The morning we walked towards the extremity of my uncle’s estate, near which is a small eminence surrounded by much higher hills, supposed to have been artificially thrown up for the purpose of defence. It is related that on this spot some persons headed by a woman resisted the attack of an enemy, but who was attacked or who defended is a profound mystery, but that the bank was used for some military purposes seems probable from its name.”

KESTER DALE is derived from the Lat. Castra, a camp, Kester is another form of Cester (a softened form of Castra). In 1880, whilst workmen were cutting a sough, some warlike weapons, including spear head, halberd, etc., were found in the vicinity.

Kester Dale lies S. by S.W. of the village, in a field belonging to Lord Denman. The letter of Lord Denman continues:

“At about a miles distance behind the village of Stoney Middleton is a small hill called Kester Bank, and between these two places some connection has been fancied which I could not perceive.”

The site is behind Nook House, occupied by Mrs W. Mason. It occurs as “Castra Bank”, and is numbered 178 on the plan accompanying the lease executed in 1892.


Before Education received any national assistance the village had several private or “Dame Schools”. These were kept by:-

i.MR. BENJAMIN HALLAM, a Wesleyan preacher (whose son was Mayor of Sheffield some years ago). This was a day and night school, and was kept in a house in High Street. There were different approaches for boys and girls. The fees were 1d. per night and 1s. per session for coal.

ii.MISS JEMIMA WHITE kept a small or early kindergarten school at what is now known as “Spa Cottage”. It was an infant school, and was attended by children of any age. The fees were 2d. per week.

iii.MISS FURNESS came from Stanley Lodge, Hucklow, and kept a school at Verandah Cottage. Afterwards she married a Mr. Oldfield, and kept school at Brookside Cottage. She was a good teacher, and a good needlewoman. Her fees were 4d. and 6d. per week, and a quarterly account for fire, books, etc.

iv.MISS SPINK kept a private school in a house below the old Unitarian Chapel (since been converted into the Reading Room).

v.MRS. OLIVER kept a small school near the Post Office. She was a victim of the Blakelow murder.

vi.MR. DYER kept a school in the Unitarian Chapel for a short time. He was Dyer by name and dyer by trade.

In 1835 a NATIONAL SCHOOL was built on common land by public subscription. This was only a small room with a gallery at one end for the infants. In 1845 this room was enlarged at a cost of £200. The room then would accommodate about 100 children. There was a stone floor in the school until 1887, and this had to be removed owing to it being detrimental to the health of the children. In 1893 a classroom and cloakroom and additional playground were added to the school. This classroom was for the infants. The school has now an accommodation for 120. The following are the names of the school-masters: -William Birks, 1835-1848; William Rawson, 1848-1853; Henry Jones, 1853-1864 (about); Henry Aldridge, 1864-1865; James W. Elliot, 1865-1867; Thos. J. Foster, 1867-1871; John R. Matthewman, 1872-1875; John Mansell, 1875-1877; Henry P. Battersby, 1877-1879; Henry J. Wadlow, 1879-1894; Henry Molineaux, 1894 (May 3rd, Sept. 10th 1894; Thomas Shearer, 1894-1896; Arthur Saunders, 1896-1902; Thos. E. Cowen, 1903-present time. An early school-master used to boast “I’m the master of Middleton”. A villager challenged the truth of this, and asked how it was. The Pedagogue answered, “I’m the master of the children, the children are masters of their mothers, the mothers are masters of the fathers, therefore I’m the master of Middleton”.

The inscription on the Tablets of 1835 and 1845 reveal the high ideals of the founders of the School:-

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

“Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.”


In a list of Alehouses, Innes, and Taverns of Derbyshire in 1577, made by Sir Frances Leek, Knight, Justice of Peace, the names of Thomas Barber, William Hill, Uxor Nicholai Haslam occur, and it is mentioned that there were two ale-houses in Stoney Middleton.

THE OLD MOON INN stood near the Post Office premises. In the old coaching days this inn was the principal posting station, where horses were changed on the way from Manchester to Sheffield. At one time there was no station nearer than Whaley Bridge or Chesterfield, so a chaise carriage with postillion was always available at this hostelry. This was the chief inn where soldiers were billeted when on. the march to and from Manchester. The old bugle was blown by a relative of the late Jonathan Hallam in the stage coach days at Stoney Middleton. It was to be seen recently at Mr. Froggatt’s shop at Eyam. It was in the out premises of this house that a Scotch pedlar was murdered, unknown to the landlord, and afterwards taken on horseback into the cavern at Cael’s Wark, in Middleton Dale, where the remains were found some 20 years lager, as stated in the “Tales and Traditions of the Peak”. At one time the house was kept by George Booth who afterwards went up to Highfield Farm. The license was transferred about 1842 to the present MOON INN, and William Moseley was the first who held the license. This was formerly the Dower House of the Shuttleworth’s, and the Rev. Urban Smith lived there before the Vicarage was built in 1836.

THE SUN INN was a public-house opposite Verandah Cottage in 1857, and kept by John Lancake, who was also a silk weaver.

THE STAG’S HEAD once stood between Sharman’s shop and the Cross. The building was demolished when the new road was made, and the license transferred to premises now known as the Stag’s Head up High Street. The old building was kept by Mrs. Hallam, an ancestor of the present licensee. She had to cross the yard to supply customers with refreshment, and needed a lantern on a dark night. George Gregory borrowed the lantern, but forgot to return it. At night Mrs. Hallam sent the following note to the offender:-

“Joshua Gregory my old friend, to thee a lantern I did lend.
Ou’ the d—l dost thou think that I can go afilling drink,
For neets are dark and roads are bad, I really think thou must be mad”.

THE ROYAL OAK INN formerly stood in the portion at present occupied by the kitchen end.

About the middle of April, A.D. 1758, the villagers were surprised very early in the morning by the arrival apparently in great speed of a tall young man and a fair damsel, richly attired. They dismounted, and the young man performed the office of hostler, and then went in to breakfast.

The adopted names of the visitors were “Allan” and “Clara”. The hostess discovered that they were lovers intent, on reaching the Peak Forest, there to tie the nuptial knot. After luncheon they remounted their horses, and were quickly out of sight. They were murdered by five miners in the Winnats, near Castleton. The saddle belonging to the horse ridden by Clara was kept for many years in the Royal Oak. It was bought at a sale of articles from the museum of the late Thomas Bateman, Middleton, near Youlgreave, and is now to be found in the Peak Cavern Museum. This is given in detail in “Tales and Traditions of the Peak”.

There was formerly bull baiting and bear baiting in the Royal Oak yard, and some of the older residents remember seeing the ring about a yard or so from the corner of the present premises. Mr W. Birks, the first school-master of the National School, lived in a house at the front of this licensed house, and his wife kept a small girls’ school there.

THE MINERS’ ARMS stood back from the road near the present police station. It was kept by Joseph Pursglove in 1857.

THE LOVERS’ LEAP INN is a neat and commodious house closely nestling under the rock of the same name, and renowned for the exploits of Hannah Baddeley in 1762. It was kept for many years by Mr. Samuel Mason, who in conversation told many stories of bye-gone days. When all the lime-kilns were in full swing, day after day 40 or 50 carters were to be seen waiting their turn to be supplied, as early as four and five o’clock in the morning. The carts came down from a wide district, Barlow, Brampton, Chesterfield, and Holymoorside being always represented. Many a battle royal was fought by the carters during their long wait. All this has changed, and the industry has disappeared with the exception of Mr. Henry Goddard’s kiln.


On passing the last house in the village a deep ravine opens to Middleton Dale, which in savage grandeur is inferior to few of the valleys of Derbyshire. The crags on the right of the Dale are boldly featured. Half-way up they are much broken, and present many projections and recesses having turrets and buttresses named Castle, High Tor, and Steeple Rocks. Above rise a lofty range of perpendicular rocks

“On whose veteran fronts
The storms that come at winter’s stern behest
Have beat for ages.”

The wild scenery of Middleton Dale was greatly enhanced by the fires of the many lime-kilns.

Meandering through the Dale is a brook that flows from Water Grove Mine. Some part of the course lies underground.

In the distance is the chasm through which the road winds to Tideswell and Buxton.

There were two cupolas for smelting lead ore, but they are now in ruins.

Whilst Lord Duncannon was riding in 1743 through Middleton Dale his horse stumbled against a piece of spar. He picked it up, and thought it a pretty ornament. He after wards sent it to Mr. H. Watson, the Bakewell statuary, suggesting it should be turned into a vase. Thus originated the manufacture of that beautiful fluor provincially known by the name of Blue John, into columns, vases, urns, and obelisks frequently to adorn the houses and the palaces of the wealthy.


Immediately on entering the Dale from the village on the right is a perpendicular rock, the “Lovers’ Leap”. From the summit of this precipice, about the year 1760 a love-stricken maiden, named Hannah Baddeley threw herself into the chasm below, but sustained little injury. Her face was slightly disfigrred and her body bruised by the brambles and rocky projections that interrupted her fall, but she was able to get home with little assistance. Her bonnet and ‘kerchief were left on the top of the rock, and some fragments of her torn garments marked the course of her descent. Her miraculous escape made an impression on her mind. Her fit of love subsided, and she died unmarried. The young man, whose heartlessness was the cause of this suicidal attempt, was William Barnsley. Hannah Baddeley, daughter of William and Joan Baddeley, baptized Feb. 22nd, 1738, buried Dec. 12th, 1764. – Parish Register, Stoney Middleton.


Near this rock is the Cael’s or Gael’s Wark Cavern, in which the body of the Scotch pedlar who was murdered in the Old Moon Inn yard was found about 1763. His clothes, shoes, and buckles assisted the work of identifying the decomposed remains. The bones, etc., were deposited in a large box, which stood in a corner of the north aisle of Eyam Church, in view of a more certain identification, later, however the bones were interred, but Matthew Hall, king of Eyam ringers, wore the shoes to the last. A woman, the principal of this dark deed, died miserably of cancer.

“For now the Scotchman issued from the cave
Of Caelswark dark, his sepulchre and grave,
Throat cut and gory, gaping, ghastly corse
Which passed him dangling on the murderer’s horse.
R. Furness.

It has been explored to the extent of about 200 paces, when a deep water prevented further progress. The roof is in some places so low that the cavern cannot be penetrated in an erect position; in others the passage is of considerable capacity, and it furnishes many beautiful crystalizations. It is a dreary hole, and the entrance into it is now nearly closed up by the falling of a mass of rubbish from above.

“About 44 years ago some workmen were clearing the rubbish from the rock near the noted cavern of Caelswark, in Middleton Dale. They discovered a pair of bracelets or Armillæ made of base silver covered with at least 8 feet of gravel. On examination they were found to be a very good base silver alloyed with copper, etc., and appeared to have been much worn, for a portion of the pattern is obliterated. Each termination of the bracelet has the same rude attempt at snake head ornamentation. We may safely assign these relics to the 2nd or 3rd centuries. Mr. Bagshaw purchased them, and doubtless presented them to Lomber Dale Museum, ;near Youlgreave”.
“The Reliquary”, 1867-8.

The Merlin Cavern is situated near Middleton Dale in Rock Gardens. This cavern, which is rich in stalacites and stalagmites. was re-opened a few years ago, but the roof has now fallen in places.

“Where Merlin’s Cave beneath a hanging shade
Stalagmi graced the encrusted marble roof,
Form’d here a prison, and here a crystal cone,
There bees impendent, round a hive of stone.”

Charleswark (Gaels Wark) is at the foot of a rock 93 yards yards high. The entrance is 6 yards high and 8 yards wide. The pedestrian can walk on 5½ yards and arrives at an impassable deep stagnant pool or lake, which opens into Eyam Dale, about half a mile distant. By another grotto it opens near Foolow about a mile and half away and passes under Eyam Church.

The highest rock is called Windy Torr, from the top of which, to the Mouth of BOSSEN HOLE (Bossen in this Country Dialect means Badger) is 55 yards in height, and from the Hole to the Brookside the distance is 30 yards. The entrance to the cavern is by a small foot road about a yard broad like a walk in the Middle of the Rock.. The entrance in is of the same breadth but 5 feet higher. This would form an excellent shelter for sheep.

Dr. Short, writing in 1734, says:

BAMFORTH HOLE (or the “Wonders”) is 49 yards from the, top of the rock. The entrance is 5 feet high, and the pedestrian goes on shoulder foremost for 40 yards, and then comes a rise of 13 yards (in all the way it is not a yard wide). Then there is a step to climb, 6 feet high, when the traveller enters the middle of a large cave, in which are vast stalacititious petrefactions. Leaving the Cave, go 25 yards forwards, you see a magnificent subterranean State Room, 9 yards wide and 2 yards high, the most stately and awful Dome I ever saw. There are numbers of various kinds of beautiful transparent statues with several regular ranks of fine pyramids and other curious figures, some on pedestals and others reaching the roof, as though wishing to support this ‘Reproach of Art’.

In the middle of this room is a basin 3 yards long and 2 wide. On each side of this is a statuary pillar of stalactites on finely polished marble, and another in the middle upon a pedestal. There is a small passage, a few feet down, leading to several eaves underneath. The roof is adorned with shells here generated and generating sundry colours.

I went 364 yards into the cave and saw no end, but the passages are going on under the whole mountain like coney burrows.


The Feast Sunday is the Sunday before Old Michaelmas Day. Formerly it was in September, but has been changed to October, so that the feast may be held as near the time of the feast of the Mother Church of Hathersage. In olden times the wakes lasted a week. The people indulged in idleness and extravagance. Before the railways were made the people that had migrated to the towns came back to their native village at the wakes to see relatives and friends, and the family circle was complete. The public-houses were thrown open, and the villagers and visitors sat with tankards of ale and talked over the good old days and things that had occurred since they last visited the village. They then visited the Church and other places that reminded them of former days. Sports were indulged in, and the people had a regular “good wakes”. Fights were a very common occurrence, but the rough sports that were indulged in formerly, are now abolished.

A correspondent informs us that a noteworthy antiquary was once on a visit to a relative not far from the Dale Mouth. He was awakened by a great noise, and on opening the window he saw the Dale Bottom was alive with people, interested in bear baiting. About the same time he saw a miller carrying an empty sack, and a sweep with his bag. They were engaged in an encounter, and at the close it was a matter of speculation which was the sweep and which the miller.


Before the new road was made, about 70 years ago, the main road was over Middleton Bank, through the Old Moon Inn yard, and part of the present stable yard of the Hall, to join Calver Lane, a few yards out the village.

A Mounting Block is still to be seen on the premises.

At this period Middleton was a posting town, and there was no nearer station than Whaley Bridge or Chesterfield, so relays of horses were kept at the Old Moon Inn. “Lucy Long” and the Market Coach used to make the journey to Sheffield every Tuesday and Saturday, via Calver, Baslow, Owler Bar; carriers’ carts also ran on these days. These were driven by Messrs. Peter Elliott and James Hallam.

The old TOLL BAR stood on the Bank near the Cliff Bottom. Owing to the death of a little child, who was knocked down by one of the coach horses, near Mill Street, a new road was opened about 1840. This was made by the Peak Forest men, who used jumpers for boring. It necessitated the removal of the Stag’s Head premises and the inclusion of part of the grounds occupied by the Mill Dam, known as the “Lomb”. It was opened by Lord and Lady Denman, who first rode through in their carriage. Dr. Pegge’s M.S. in the College of Arms says: “The hill in this town is so steep that when Mr. Ashton was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1664; he had no coach, and the Judge asked him why he did not bring one. He replied,

‘There were no such thing as having a coach where he lived, for ye town stood on one end’”.

It is often asserted by the older residents that the old stage coach used to go up the Town Gate, and one can still follow the track it appeared to take up the “Mostyn Knoll” and over Longstone Edge, ere the road through Eyam Dale was thought of. When the pipes were being laid for the water supply in 1902, the blue washed walls of a cottage and fireplace were discovered in the middle of the roadway in the Dale, near the Smithy, and about 30 years ago the ruins of a lime-kiln stood in the middle of the road near the end of the boundary wall of Rock Cottage. It is evident that the road must at one time have been much narrower than at present. Indeed it may have been a mere bridle or pack saddle road. These were branch roads traversed only by a saddle horse. One of these went from the Ball to Longstone, and a gate took the place of a stile. When the first Lord Denman was an under-graduate he paid a visit to Derbyshire. The first entry is dated Saturday, July 14th. 1798. Writing from Stoney Middleton he says:

“On Thursday morning I left London on the Derby coach, and, after a journey which I did not think very pleasant, arrived at New Haven yesterday before two. I then came across the country to this place in a post-chaise.”


  1. CAPPS was a gentleman of herculean strength. He was a wrestler, and invariably overthrew all comers. He was never thrown, nor ever known to fall. Many dashing feats of his superior horsemanship are still recorded. He was a great favourite with all who knew him, and died a bachelor. Only this remnant of his monument remained until the restoration in 1861:-

In Memory of Wm. Capps
Stoney Middleton
Who died Jan. 24, 1703.

“Deaths Harbinger with surprising wings
Summons poor souls before th’ Eternal kings
Death with his dart, Time will his glass combines
To bring poor mortal soules to th’ bar betimes
Cheer up Dear souls, These to your Spirit brings
Blest Hallalujas to the King of Kings”.

He was interred in the nave of the Church of Stoney Middleton. A mural monument of slate was erected, and above a white marble effigy of Capps on horseback. Owing to the delapidated state of the Church, the nave was taken down and rebuilt in 1758-9. The monument of Capps was removed and placed outside on the wall in front of the new building. The action of the air disintegrated the statuary marble, and in 1861 a “Restoration” of the Church took place, and the slab offended the public taste, and the last remnant of this handsome monument of the gallant, generous, and honoured Capps was cast to the ground. Furness in scornful tones, says:

“Most probably it will be utilised should any modern Vandal require a flagstone for his pigstie”.
(Mr. Peter Furness in the “Reliquary” of 1863-4.)

THE RAGGS, or Wragge, were a noted family of Stoney Middleton and Eyam. At Eyam their residence was called Rag House, and the field adjoining it was “Rag Garth” or Rag Croft. Matthew, second son of Richard Furness, of Eyam, married Ann, only daughter of Dennis Ragge, of the Bank, Stoney Middleton, who had a farm under the Morewoods of Alfreton. He afterwards went to reside at Stoney Middleton at Ragge’s farm, and from him the Furness’s of Middleton Bank are descended. The marriage must have taken place sometime about the year 1600 or immediately afterwards. James Furness, late of Sheffield and Middleton Bank, and the wife of Mr. Peter Furness, Eyam, were descended from this marriage. He purchased the principal part of the Morewood Estates which Rowland Morewood obtained by his marriage with Katherine, daughter of Humphry Stafford. By a will dated May 2nd, 1808, he left a sum of money to the poor widows and Sunday school at Eyam. The late Rev. John Furness, author of a “Life of Solomon”, an able controversialist, who died about 1837, also belonged to this family. George Furness, born at Middleton Bank, one of the contractors of the gigantic undertaking of the Thames Embankment was also a descendant. Dennis Ragge would be a collateral relation of the Furness family, and would either be a grocer, miller, or tallow chandler. These businesses were often followed by various members of the Furness family at Stoney Middleton. About 1670 a Dennis Ragg had a Trader’s Token, as was customary in Derbyshire in these times.

The following names are to be found in the Parish Register at Eyam relating to the family of Ragg:-

Joseph, ye son of Dennis and Alice Ragg, de Middleton, July 31st, 1653.
Enoch, ye son of Thomas and Alice Ragg, de Middleton, ap: Sept. 10, 1656.
Alice Ragg, bur: Oct. 23, 1665
These died of Thomas Ragg, bur: Aug. 18, 1666 the Plague.

Alice Ragg named above is buried beneath the floor of one of the residences of Mr. Peter Furness, of Eyam. The grave-stone inscribed to her memory is underneath the floor. It was boarded over about 1837. The following is the inscription on the gravestone, which is but one of the many sadly interesting memorials of the Plague of Eyam:-

Alice Ragg was
BVRIED the 23 Oct:
Ano Dni: 1665.

In the inscription itself the “A” and “l” in Alice, and “w” and “a” in was, in the first line, and the “the” in the second line are conjoined. (Llewellyn Jewitt in the “Reliquary” of 1867.)

PETER FURNESS, of Bank House, Middleton, was the son of Samuel Furness, and brother of Richard Furness, schoolmaster of Dore. He was a man of considerable taste and mental acquirements, and his letters indicate an educated and well-informed mind. He assisted Dr. Calvert Holland, of Sheffield, in compiling the “Life and Writings of Richard Furness”. He had the high and rare merit of having placed himself in independent circumstances by his industry, energy of character, and prudence.

The poet, Mr R. Furness, writing in 1857, the year in which he died, to his brother, Mr. P. Furness, of Stoney Middleton, then on a visit to London, expressed a wish that the change might restore Mrs. Furness to perfect health. He exclaimed: “‘Health’, that one word, is a jewel, and will be most highly esteemed by those who have lost it. Truly we perceive the blessing more by the want of it than by its enjoyment.”

He lived at “The Bank House”. The visitor would be surprised at the lavish way in which the interior has been fitted up.

A Sun-dial still stands in the garden as it did in former days.

RICHARD HANDLEY was a shoemaker, and probably occupied the post of sexton. When asked his age, even at 80, he was always 75. He has left one specimen of his handiwork in the form of a looking-glass set in the mantel piece in the house at the corner of Vicarage Lane. He made a pretty house of cork and exhibited it in the window. He was an inveterate card player, and on one occasion when the parson visited him he called out, “Full up”.

Richard was a keen sportsman, and upon one occasion Lord Denman encountered him at the top of Booth Hole. After enquiring the direction which the hounds had taken, his lordship remarked, “Well, Dickie, you’ve got your leggings on.” “Yes, my lord”, replied Handley. “Its to keep the dust out of the lace-holes”.

RICHARD GORDON was the village sexton and sweep. He was a diligent Sunday School teacher, but his imperfect education was a menace to his usefulness. When the children reached a difficult word, he would call out, “Call it Manchester”.

CORNELIUS CHAPMAN lived in a house in Chapman’s Croft. For many years he worked at Calver Cotton Mill, sold barm, and was, also, the village Pounder, and took charge of the pinfold with his wife Mary. Upon one occasion he fastened up some sheep in the pound, and then went to the owners to demand the charges. While on the errand someone went and untied the sheep, and when he reached the farmer’s house the sheep had arrived before him.

His widow, becoming reduced, was obliged to dispose of the house and croft, which is still called “Chapman’s Croft.”

MARY CARSON lived on the Dial. She had a basket containing cottons and tape, and on certain days visited the surrounding villages. The late Vicar, the Rev. Urban Smith, was often favoured with a visit from her. When he saluted her with

“Hello, Marie, and how art thou to-day?”

she frequently replied,

“Alright, my child, and how art thou?”

Her son went to New Zealand, and before he went she said,

“Let me bake thee a cake to take wi’ thee”.

On one occasion she remarked to Mrs. Goddard (wife of the chandler),

“Ay, what dost think, Shrove Tuesday’s goin’ to be on Wednesday this time”.

GEORGE BOOTH kept the old Moon Inn, and afterwards removed to Highfield Farm. He had four sons, John, George, Thomas, and Charles, John Booth, the Miller, lived on the nursery and the Weeping Willow, now standing in the garden of Mr. Barber, once occupied the centre of the lawn. It is commonly asserted that the three cottages below the Gateway were formerly the stables attached to his house. Thomas Booth, of Leam Hall, worked the Tannery at Goatcliffe, Grindleford, for some years, it having, been left by legacy from Mr. William Smith.

Charles was afterwards the eminent Dr. Booth, of Chesterfield.

REV. URBAN SMITH, M.A., educated at the Trinity College, Cambridge, was incumbent of the Parish of Stoney Middleton for 53 years. He was born 1804 A.D., and became first Vicar of this parish in 1834. He was a noted geologist, a fine Greek scholar, and held the position of Secretary to the Clerical Greek Testament Meeting. He was a very benevolent gentleman, and spent much of his time in the cottages of the inhabitants of the village.

The Vicarage was built in 1836, chiefly through the energy of the Vicar. It stands on an eminence, south-west of the church. At the side he had a schoolroom fitted up and had private pupils, amongst whom were Dr. P. Fentem, Rev. C. S. Cutler, and others. He died December 9th, 1887, aged 80, and was buried in Stoney Middleton Cemetery on Dec. 13th, amid much sorrow and sympathy of the villagers.

A tablet, made of beautiful Derbyshire marble, with specimens from his own collections, has been placed in the Church to his memory by the members of the Clerical Greek Testament Meeting:

“In Grateful Remembrance of his long and valued Services as Secretary”. This was designed by Dr. E. M. Wrench, who furnished the sexton of the church with the names of the marbles, which are not quarried now.


The mineral customs of Derbyshire are of great antiquity, and are admirably explained in the ‘Derbyshire Mining Customs and Mineral Courts Act of 1852’, by Thomas Tapping.

The lesser liberties within the Act are the manor or liberty of Stoney Middleton and Eyam. A small Barmote Court is held for the united Liberty of Stoney Middleton and Eyam. This court is held alternately at both villages within one month after the 25th of March each year,

The Grand Jury consists of 48, of which the miners, owners, and maintainers of mines may summon 24. The names of the Jury are affixed to the door of an outbuilding.

RIGHTS OF ALL SUBJECTS TO PROSPECT FOR LEAD. “It is lawful for all subjects of this realm to search for, sink and dig mines or veins of lead ore, upon, in, or under all manner of land of whose inheritance soever they may be (churches, churchyards, places for public worship, burial grounds, dwelling houses, orchards, gardens, pleasure grounds and highways excepted), but if no vein or ore be found, and it is abandoned for 14 days the land must he levelled and made good by those making the search”.

ROYALTIES were to be paid to the King and his successors. They were called the duties of ‘Lot and Cope’. The former was one-thirteenth part of all the ore raised, and the Cope was 4d. for every load of ore measured.

LORDS OF THE FIELD. “At the time of the passing of the Act of 1852 the Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, or the Marquis of Chandos, the only son and heir apparent of the last-named Duke and in his right Sir Richard Tufton, as tenant for life in possession, were entitled as tenants in common to the mineral duties, in the said manor or liberty of Stoney Middleton and Eyam”.

WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS. GIFT: setting out by the Barmaster of any ground in manner therein after provided.

FOUNDER: the point at which a vein of ore shall be first found.

FOUNDER MEERS is the name given to the two first meers to be set out to the finder the provision of the Act. Every meer or ground sball contain 32 yards.


1. WEDDINGS. A rope was often put across the roadway to impede the progress of those who had recently “been wed”. Old shoes, sods, and horse beans were hurled at them. According to some people these had a significance.

Sods denoted luck in the produce of the earth, Shoes denoted plenty of clothes. Rice denoted plenty of children.

A DONKEY WEDDING. On Christmas Day, 1853, a curious wedding took place at Stoney Middleton. Donkeys were gathered from the mines for miles around and dressed up with straw saddles. The bridal party were then escorted to the church amid a crowd of onlookers, After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom were conducted to their new home, and the donkeys set at liberty.

2. BARM FEAST was held on New Year’s Day. At one time people brewed their own beer. Publicans gave this feast to those who bought barm.

3. PLOUGH MONDAY (Collop Monday). Ploughs were drawn by 20 men, one of which carried a whip with a bladder at the end. If no drink was forthcoming, they would proceed to plough up the door.

4. COLLOP MONDAY (the day preceding Shrove Tuesday). Farmers were asked to give collops of bacon, eggs, or milk to the peasants for making pancakes.

5. MISCHIEF NIGHT (Collop Monday). Gates were taken off their hinges, neighbours’ carts were dragged down-hill to the water’s edge, and neighbours’ doors were tied by rope.

6. PANCAKE BELL is still rung at 11 11 o’clock on Shrove Tuesday at Stoney Middleton. It is a remnant of the Confession Bell of pre-Reformation time. Apprentices, according to the terms of their indentures, could leave their work at the ringing of this bell, All that now remains of the once popular “Barring out day” is the doggerel rhyme:

‘Pancake Day,
If you won’t give us holiday
We’ll all run away’.

SHROVE TUESDAY: “Barring out Day”. A former schoolmaster was once reminded of the custom of Barring out’, when the master quickly replied: “If your grandfathers ate porridge with a fork, you needn’t do it”.

7. ‘SHAKEN BOTTLE DAY’ (Easter Monday). Children poured water from ‘Betty Brewer’s well’ into a bottle containing broken sweetmeats. It was shaken to cleanse or purify the water.

8. ‘THARF CAKE JOIN’ was a custom on the 5th November. A number of persons joined together and raised a certain sum of money with which to provide Tharf Cake (or Parkin) and Toffey. Practical jokes were often indulged in by those who were not invited, and on one occasion. the toffey was spoiled by a hen being let down the chimney.

9. MAYPOLE DAY is still upheld in the village. The ‘May Queen’ is chosen by popular vote, and the children parade the village. Mr. Wood, the historian, states that ‘part of the ceremony of the great festival of the Druids consisted in carrying long poles of mountain ash festooned with flowers’.

10. ‘CLAY-DAUBIN’. Friends of a newly-wedded couple assembled and erected them a cottage usually in one day. The evening was spent in merrymaking.

SUPERSTITION dies hard in the Peak. The chattering of crows or owls is counted ominous. If a magpie crosses the path it denotes bad luck; if two magpies, good luck will follow; if three, it implies approaching marriage; and four magpies is a sign of a funeral. Other mortality signs are: the croaking of a raven; crowing cock at roosting time; howling dogs; ticking of a spider; and the sudden appearance of a white cricket.

Formerly if a young woman wished to divine who was to be her future husband, she was told to go into the Churchyard at midnight, and as the clock struck twelve she was to commence running round the Church repeating without intermission:

‘I sow hemp seed, hemp seed I sow,
He that loves me best,
Come after me and mow’.

Having performed the circuit twelve times without stopping, the figure of her lover was supposed to appear and follow her.


“A Fragment on the High Peak”, contributed to the Reliquary of 1861-2 by the Right Honourable Lord Denman, has been used with some alterations and addition:

TUN, TON; A.S. A fence or fenced place. It was originally applied to a plot of ground fenced round or enclosed by a hedge – a fortified place. Later it was the name of a town, farm or dwelling. In Scotland a farmhouse is still spoken of as the toun. In some parts of England the rickyard is still called the barton, i.e., the enclosure for the crops which the lane bears,

Middleton would appear to be a town with other towns on each side of it. Dr. Wrench, of Baslow, however, thinks Middleton takes its name from the township being in two parishes with a boundary in the middle.

SHIPPEN is a shortened form of Sheep-pen. This is a small barn, and is used in connection with a cowhouse or ox-stall.

PUND is the Anglo-Saxon form derived from the Latin pondus, weight, and, pondo, to pound. The word punch denotes the use of the fists, but not infrequently it is applied to a ‘kick in the ribs’.

PINFOLD is a contracted form of Pen-fold. It is a place in which cattle are enclosed or penned. Another name for it was the Pound, which was kept by the Pound-keeper or Pinder. This is doubtless the origin of the surname Pinder.

TOR is a Phœnician word for a rocky hill, Raven Tor, High Tor, and Steeple Tor occur in Middleton Dale.

LOMB implies a fall of water. Part of what was once the Lomb is included in the New Road, and the Waterfall is close at hand.

LUM; Welsh Llumon; a chimney. “It means a narrow ravine where the light enters from above as it did in the roof of a Saxon hut, for the escape of smoke from the fire in the centre”. Burns speaks of a “reeking lum”. This is often corrupted into Love Lane; Lumb Lane etc. (Dr. Wrench).

LOWE, bleau or law Gothic, a hill, heap, tomb or barrow. This occurs in Blakelow or Bleaklow. In the Ordnance Survey of 1878 the sites of tumuli, human remains, cist and cup are marked.

LOWE. A flame. A “Lilly lowe” is a flame or blaze.

CUPEL; Latin, cups, a tub; is a melting pot.

CUPOLA or CUPEL-LOWE. Lord Denman thought it ought still to be written in the latter form.

Cupel-lows was a Saxon word for a wind furnace for smelting ore, i.e., a smelting house. There were formerly two such furnaces in Middleton Dale.

‘As they came from the moorlands, from heath and bent,
The Jagger and horses half frozen and spent; Hit hard, and their loadings all covered with snow,
‘Twixt the wild mountain crags by the old Cupel-lowe.’

Jagger was the name of a pack-horse driver.

BELLAND was the complaint caused by imbibing vapour or particles of lead on grass or in water. The animals were said to be bellanded.

CALC (Latin, calx lime) was the name of chalk or limestone. Calc spar is obtained in Middleton.

CROZZIL means to harden. When it is used as a noun it means a coke or cinder. People frequently say, “The coal crozzils well”. A gnarled stick is said to be crozzled.

NESH (Saxon, nasc, tender) means to make tender.

WHO is constantly used in place of she, as the Feminine Personal Pronoun, e.g.:-“Who is a good lady, who gives food and clothing to the poor, and who visits them at their homes”.

[Ed: I can’t let this one go! The sound is more like ‘ow’ than ‘who’, and from its sound, and my understanding, I believe it derives (in this context) from ‘her’ – in other words, ‘Her is a good lady’.]

“FETCH BAG” is often used for “If you please fetch the bag”. “Had dinner, and at after walked” is employed instead of “I had my dinner and afterwards walked”.

HOW ART TH’ is used for How art thou? Lord Denman thinks “people in the cold North pronounce their words rapidly and frequently leave out the article and shorten every word. They scarcely open their mouths lest the cold air should enter.” In Yorkshire we often hear ‘Who art ta?’

CANNA, SHANNA, WUNNA, SHOULDNA, HANNA is constantly used for Cannot, Shall not, Will not, Should not, and Have not.

BOWN is a contracted form of bound.

NOUGHT occurs in the sentence, ‘It means nought’ I (it matters little).

WELLY means well-nigh, nearly, almost. This is a common word in Staffordshire.

OSSE implies to offer, to aim to do. It occurs in the following, “The landlord talked of repairs, but did not osse to do them”.

TIT (Icelandic titte, a little bird) is applied also to a small horse. It occurs in compound words, as in Titmouse, Titlark, Titling (the hedge sparrow), and also in phrases. e.g., ‘Tit for tat’ (an equivalent in return), ‘Tit-bit’, ‘Tittle tattle’ (idle trifling talk).

SUP, to drink little by little; e.g., “Let’s sup”.

GIMMER is a young sheep.

WHOKE, WHOTES are merely broadened forms of Oak and Oats.

POTTER, doing something to kill time, such as “What are you doing?” On pottering about.

OWN is colloquial form of oven.

CLAM, to starve, occurs in the following, “She was welly clammed to death”.

THRONG, very busy. “I am very throng just now”.

SAM UP, to finish. This is applied to collecting tools, etc., e.g., “You ‘ad better sam up your tools and go”.

CAWK or Sulphate of Baryates is a heavy white mineral.

JENNEL (Latin, Janua, a door) is a channel, passage, or doorway, A porter or door-keeper was called a janitor.

JAMB (French, jambe, a leg) is the side-post or side of a doorway.

PUDDLE (M.E., podol, a pool) is the term applied to the washing of the lead ore; to work with water to a thick paste. The man who performed this work was called a puddler.

AGATE means doing, or “in the act of”. This occurs in the sentences, “He is agate of mending a road”; “What are you agate of?”

GAINER, nearer, such as “Which is the gainer road?”


Some names of places have doubtless been derived from persons, who have either farmed or occupied the land or buildings in the vicinity.

CAPS CLOSE AND BIG CAPS CLOSE (Nos. 217 and 214 on the Ordnance Map) is named from William Capps, a celebrated wrestler and equestrian, who died on Jan. 24th, 1703. A mural monument once stood in the nave of the Church, but it was afterwards removed outside the Church, and eventually destroyed at the Restoration(?) of 1861.

BOWER CLOSE, near the Moon Inn, belonged to William Bower, who died on the 24th November, 1788, at the age of 76. He doubtless lived at a private house since licensed. A tablet to his memory is to be seen in the Church.

HEATON FOLD (Fold, a place fenced in by felled trees) is in close proximity to Vicarage Lane. According to an old record James Heaton was a singer in the choir of Middleton Church in 1717.

BUXTON CLOSE lies near the Vicarage. In the Churchyard there is a tombstone erected to the memory of Anthony Buxton, carpenter, who died May 28th, 1821.

CHAPMAN CROFT stands near the top of the Dale Mouth. Here at one time stood a house belonging to Cornelius Chapman, the village Pounder. His widow, becoming somewhat reduced, was obliged to dispose of this property.

The ‘PINFOLD’ is still to be seen near the Stag’s Head Inn.

BLACK HARRY or Blagden Farm. The latter name is derived from the mine to be found in the vicinity.

JANE CLOSE, JINNY SIDE is close to the Vicarage. It owes its name to the mother of Mr. Henry Goddard, lime burner, whose Christian name was ‘Jane’.

OWEN FRITH had probably a similar origin.

It would appear that other place-names are derived from objects in close proximity, thus:

MILL LANE was the old road from Eyam to Calver through Stoney Middleton, probably before the road through Middleton Dale was fit for vehicular traffic. Doubtless this was the way to the Corn Mill, which stood on the Bank. Carters traversed this road so as to avoid the toll bar near the Grouse Inn. At one time large quantities of grain were stored at the MALTHOUSE, which borders on MILL STREET.

SCOTCH BANK is the name of one side of Coombe’s Dale (Coombe, a valley). It is probably named from the Scotch Firs which grow in the plantation on the summit.

FARNLEY LANE (Fern-lea). A Lea is the name of meadow or sward-land. The fern grows in profusion in the shady lane. This road leads to the top of Middleton.

OAKEN-EDGE. As a rule the Oak does not grow on limestone soil, yet a few oaks are to be found in this neighbourhood.

“Up Oaken-edge by Saxon Odin’s dam,
Black harry house, above the dale of Cam,
Across the Rake once wrought by Roman bands.”
R Furness.

THE FRITH (Frith, a woody place, a forest, a small field taken out of a common). It is situated on the right-hand of Coombe’s Dale.

CRAGSTEAD. A crag is a rough, broken, steep rock; a stead or stad is a dwelling or homestead. Hence a Cragstead is a dwelling on a steep rock.

Shape or Size has sometimes a bearing on the name of a place.

THE DIAL (Latin dies, a day) is the name of a crooked passage leading to the top of the Dale Mouth. A Dial is the name of anything similar to a sundial. Standing at a point half-way up The Dial, the crossways have the appearance of the graduated face of a Sundial. Whether there has been a

Sundial here formerly, as in the garden of Bank House, is only matter for speculation.

TRINKEY LANE leads from the Frith or hollow into Calver Lane. Trinkey may be derived from O.F., trencher, to cut; and may have been applied to a bye-lane. Dr. Wrench says this is probably a corruption of ‘Tinker Lane’, so-called because gipsies encamped there.

FIVE ACRES is situated at Highfields. On the Ordnance Map its extent is given as 5 acres 3 roods 39 perches.

Some places have been named from the character of the land.

BLAKELOW or ‘Bleak low’. Lowe (Gothic) was a hill heap, tomb, or barrow. Hence Blakelow means the bleak hill.

Sites of Tumuli, Human Remains, Cist and Cup have been discovered in the vicinity (vide Ordnance Survey, 1878).

MOSTYN KNOLL. A Knoll or Knowl (A.S., cnoll) was the top of a hill or rounded hillock. This is supposed to be the old coach road to Manchester.

THE NOOK. This is a Celtic word for a secluded place, a corner, or a narrow place formed by an angle. This road leads to the Roman Baths.

HALFWAY HOUSE stood between Stoney Middleton and Calver. It is supposed to have been a public-bouse, and the walls are still standing. This marked the limit of the Parish of Stoney Middleton.

BLIND LANE leads to Eyam New Road. Formerly a wood lay on one side of the road, rarely frequented before the Chinley Line was opened, and the stony road would be less inviting than it is at present.

HIGHFIELDS (or High Fields) is reached by way of High Street, and is situated at the ‘top of Middleton’.

TOWN GATE (A.S., geat a way) was the passage leading into the “tun” or enclosure. The way lead past the Village Cross up High Street, and was the venue of the old stage coach. The new road was only made in 1840.

BLAKEDON DUN (A.S., a mound). Among the Ancient Britons this was the name of a circular tower or a small fortress erected on the summit of a hill.

THE CLIFFE (A.S. clif, a rock) is the rising ground on the Bank which leads to Eyam.

Shining Cliffe is in Middleton Dale.

There is also Hay Cliffe Nook in the neighbouring village of Eyam.

OVARY BUTT (French boter, to push, strike) is the name of a field in Middleton Avenue.

A Butt is a mark to shoot at, so whether this the site of a Buttery is merely a matter of conjecture.

A FRITH is a woody place, a small field taken out of a common.

THE FRITH stands on the right of Coombe’s Dale.

FRITH GREEN lies near Middleton Avenue.

NETHER FRITH or Far Frith is used to distinguish it from Lower Frith.

THE PRAIRIE (Latin pratum, a meadow) is an extensive tract of fiat or rolling land, covered with tall grass, but destitute of trees.

This is the name of a field at the top of Middleton.

BOOTH HOLE, doubtless named from Booths, of Highfield Farm, is situated opposite Coombe’s Dale. It is reached via the Frith. A fine view of the Dale is obtained from this position.

[1] In the Ordinance Survey, 1878, we can frequently see “Site of Tumulus, Human Remains, Cist and Cup found”.


The Norman names in their conversion into surnames are largely altered by the addition of pet diminutions, as kin, cock, ot, et, as in Hancock, which is a contracted form of Johanncock (Johann, John), i.e., Little John).

Bennett (Little Ben).

Norman names still occur in

Robinson (Robert’s or Robin’s son).

Richardson (Richard’s son).

Hodgkinson (Hodges’s son).

Jackson (John’s son).

Harrison (Harry’s son).

Simpson (Sim’s son or Simon’s son).

Wilson (William’s son).

Eidson (Eades’ son).

Jones from John.

Surnames are sometimes the result of occupation:

Goddard or Goded is derived from Goat-herd, one who tends goats.

Sharman or Shearman, one whose occupation was to shear cloth.

Mason, Slater, Barber, Carter.

Palfreyman (Fr. palefroi, a small horse fit for ladies), hence a groom.

Pinder (pounder), the Keeper of the village pound.

Bailey (Fr. bailli : a bailiff, an officer of justice, an officer of the sheriff, who serves writs and executes arrests; a land steward.

Wall may be derived from “wealhas” (Teutonic), foreigners or from Waller (one who could build a wall).

Millward, A.S. weardian, to fend off, repel, to guard. He was doubtless caretaker of the corn mill.

Moseley or Mosley means land, and for generations the family have been occupied in agriculture. Motto on Crest is “Mos Legem Regit” (Custom governs law).

Surnames are sometimes derived from a place-name, e.g.:

Furness came from Barrow-in-Furness. It is supposed that a branch came over with William the Conquerer, and settled in that part of Lancashire called Furness.

The coat-of-arms is as follows: Ar. A talbot sejant sa in chief three crescents gu. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet a lion’s paw holding a lance ppr. Motto: Animo et Fide (By Courage and Faith).

Heginbotham or Heginbottom. They were all a Cheshire family, who lived at the bottom of a hill, The crest is a dexter and a sinisterarm shooting a bow all ppr. Motto: “By Aim and Effort”.

Hallam may be formed from Hallamshire.

Buxton (Buck’s Town), Morton, Mellor, Bonsall, Froggatt, Beeley.

Names of Persons sometimes suggest some peculiarity, as Larkin (or Larkey), Swift, Sharp, Young


THOMAS WHYTE by will dated 1692, gave land and premises, consisting of 32 acres old enclosed land at Booths, in the parish of Hathersage, to four trustees and their heirs on trust, viz.:-

Benjamin Ashton, of Hathersage, Gent.

William Fynney, of Little Longstone, Yeoman

James Fynney (his son and heir apparent).

Thomas Fynney (another son).

At the enclosure of 1808, nine acres were added.

Out of rents the trustees were to pay:-

1.- £6 yearly to the Curate of Stoney Middleton, providing that he came into “the cure” with the consent of Benj. Ashton and the majority of the trustees; otherwise it was to be applied to charitable purposes. This is paid in equal portions on St. Thomas’s Day and the Day of Pentecost.

2.- 10s yearly “to the Clerk of the Church or Chapel of Stoney Middleton” on St. Thomas’s Day.

3.- A Sixpenny Brown Loaf and a shillingsworth of Flesh meat to each of twenty poor people, resident in the chappelry of Stony Middleton, on the feast of St. Thomas and the Day of Pentecost.

4.- 10s. yearly, to the persons who distribute the Charity.

5- With the exception of some private bequests, the remainder of the rent and profits were to be divided equally amongst the trustees.

A wealthy gentleman of this name lived in “Nook House” 50 or 60 years ago, but whether he was a relative of this benefactor is not known. The well outside is still designated “White’s Well.”

ROBERT TRURIE by will in 1720 left a rent charge of £3 issuing out of two messuages in Derwent Dale, to be paid by the Vicar of Derwent for the education of poor children. This is the only school that receives it.

BENJAMIN ASHTON, great grandfather of the late Major Shuttleworth, left an annual sum of £10 to be paid by John Spencer Ashton Shuttleworth, Esq., of Hathersage, to the chapelwardens and overseers of Stoney Middleton chapelry, to be distributed on St. Thomas’s Day to the poor, in sums varying from 2s to 10s. This has not been paid for many years.

“REV. FRANCIS GISBORNE, Rector of Staveley, gave and bequeathed on trust (in 1818) certain sums of 3 per cent. Bank Annuities, the dividends whereof are to be laid out in the purchase of coarse Yorkshire Cloth and Flannel, which are to be given to the Poor of the several Rectories, Vicarages, and Curacies in Derbyshire nominated in the Trust Deed. The Minister or (should he be prevented) the churchwarden, who respectively are requested to take upon themselves that trouble, is to make the distribution at his discretion. The sum of £6 12s. 11d. is received annually, and the Flannel is distributed on St. Thomas’s day.


There is every evidence that the LEAD MINES were worked at the time the Romans had their station at Brough, and possibly the prisoners of war were obliged to work in the penal settlements. Roman coins, chiefly copper, but some with a thin silvery coating, were found as late as the summer of 1814, near where the road branches out of Middleton Dale. The coins bear the inscription of the Emperors Probus, Gallienus, etc., and of Victorinus (a successful usurper of imperial power). The chief lead mines are the Deep Rake, Salad Hole, Little Pastures, Blagden, Gin, White Coe, and Wren Park. The Great Barmote Court is still held alternately at the Moon Inn, Stoney Middleton, and Bull’s Head, Eyam. One Cupola or smelting house is still standing near the Ball Inn, and a huge heap of slag serves to “adorn the tale”.

One of the PAINT MILLS is still to be seen in Middleton Dale, where the Cawk is washed, the lead sorted out and ground. The residue is then bleached by Vitrol, and Barytes prepared for the adulteration of paint. For many years the staple industry was QUARRYING, and the workman would sometimes come across a vein of lead that would be worth following. TALLOW CANDLE MAKING was also a busy trade, especially in the busy days of lead-mining. The Tallow Press used by Chandler Goddard, of the Bank, may still be seen at the Smithy. Thomas Furness was also a Chandler in 1857.

WEAVING LOOMS were once to be found in the cottages, and it would appear to have been a flourishing trade once. A cottage opposite Vicarage Lane has a large number of windows at the rear, and this was at one time a weaving shed.

THE CORN MILL has been utilized at various times by the families of Hinch and Booth. ‘Miller Carter’ is no longer employed at the Mill, and the great wheel and shuttle have long since passed into disuse. If some enterprising gentleman could be found with sufficient capital, the power otherwise running to waste at the Waterfall could be used for lighting the whole village with electric light.

Large quantities of grain were stored in sacks in the low rooms of the Malthouse on the Bank, and a Malting Tub once stood in the building. It is thought by some that the Smithy was formerly a Malthouse.

The old stable at the bottom of the Bank was once the workshop Benjamin Cooper – a Cooper by name and trade or tub-thumper. The wood was stored by the side of the Brook, and placed in a boiler when making hoops for Dolly Tubs, Churns, Buckets, etc.

BESOM MAKING was another pursuit. These were made in one part of the Smithy, now occupied by Mr. Charles Furness as a cottage. Mr, William Jupp also made besoms in the building now used by Messrs. F. and A. Cocker’s as a store-room.

Besoms were also made in the chamber over the Smithy by Messrs. Daniel Jackson and Johnson, and the enclosed ground is still designated “the Besom Shop Yard”.

The principal industry at the present time is the BOOT AND SHOE trade. The first factory was opened over 60 years ago by Mr. Thomas Ashton on the site of Mr. H. Heginbotham’s shop. Afterwards Messrs. Benjamin Hallam and Archelaus Hancock went into the business, and for some time were very successful. The firm Heginbotham Bros. were the first to utilise power to work the machinery. Competition is now so keen that this industry is not so good as formerly.

Besides the SMITHY, is the Dale occupied by the veteran Blacksmith, William Barnes (83 years of age), who early in the fifties succeeded to the business of John Froggatt. There was once a Blacksmith’s shop near the Toll Bar House occupied by George Marsden. Another Smithy stood in part of the cottage now occupied by Mr. Charles Furness. One hot May day the blacksmith, Benjamin Widdowson, was hooping by a heath fire, when a spark fired the thatched roof of John Wood’s house opposite and destroyed it. Another house was afterwards found for them by Lord Denman.

A SADDLER’S Shop was formerly kept by Isaac Marples opposite Verandah Cottage.

Stoney Middleton is not so prosperous a village as it was in the palmy days of the mining, lead smelting, weaving, and lime burning industries, when it is often asserted there were about a thousand inhabitants in Stoney Middleton and the Bank.


‘Stoney Middleton is not likely to be a place for trade, but for many reasons it may be a place to visit, for health, for rest, for scenery, and for the study of Nature in hill and dale, mountain and moor in the district. So the antiquary may here have ample grounds for the study of prehistoric houses, and tors, and of Saxon haunts.

‘In fact, Stoney Middleton is a place well worthy of a visit, and a sojourn. Geologists know that well, for here is the first and oldest seam of coal known, betwixt two limestone beds. It occurs in a fault found near to the Ball Inn.’

The Village can be approached from Calver either through the leafy ‘Middleton Avenue’ or through the Meadows that enclose The Hall. A turn to the right in the third meadow, through the gorse, locally called ‘Cobbler Patch’, will bring the tourist to Knouchley Farm, from whence a good view of the surrounding country can be obtained. We may, however, continue our way through the meadows by the brook side, past the Roman Baths, and into the Nook, Another venue is from Eyam New Road via the Old Lane.

‘COOMBES’ DALE’, a lovely valley, S.W. of the village, is the rendezvous of tourist and botanist in the Summer. It is approached by way of Vicarage Lane. A turn on the right near Dimple Pump leads through three fields, and the last stile opens out a pretty dale to our view. On the opposite side is Scotch Bank. We can descend the valley and proceed up the Dale to the Sandhills (the residue of the Salade Hole mine), or we can turn to the left and come down the lane, unfortunately cut up by carts, which have been removing sands for shipment to America. This lane leads into Calver Lane.

LONGSTONE MOOR is worthy of notice, and is approached by way of Highfields. We pass a Lime Kiln on the left, and there is abundant evidence of lead mining in the vicinity. A road on the right leads down Farnley Lane, which comes into the turnpike roan between Stoney Middleton and Tideswell. If, however, we continue the road by Longstone Edge we may reach Blakelow, Black Harry, Longstone, or Millers’ Dale.

FROGGATT is worthy of a visit, and can be approached by way of the Old Lane, Cow Ease, and by Froggatt Lane. A walk by the side of the Derwent, across the bridge, through the fields and meadows brings the pedestrian back to Middleton. The tourist might continue his course along the Derwent side to Grindleford.

EYAM, historic through the plague of 1666, can be reached either by way of a pass between the rocks in Middleton Dale, called ‘the Grip’, or over a small eminence on the Bank called ‘the Cliffe’ and by Cliffe Stile. A large stone trough is supposed to have stood here for money, etc., to be deposited for purification during the time that Eyam was in quarantine. It can also be approached via Mill Lane, a road doubtless much traversed by carters desirous of avoiding the Toll Bar.

If the tourist, however, is in Middleton Dale, a turn on the right, called Eyam Dale, will lead to the same village.


The VILLAGE CROSS. In most villages the Cross was only a name, usually the place of public meetings. Many of the ancient crosses were swept away at the Reformation, and this may have been the case at Stoney Middleton. The older residents can recall the time when there was no top to the Cross only two circular stones. A garden once stood to the right near the Butcher’s shop.

In 1846 a plain Cross was erected probably on the site of an earlier one by Robert Pinder, through the benevolence of Robert Thompson. Whether the Cross was erected to commemorate the ‘Repeal of the Corn Laws’, which was passed in the same year, is not evident.

A UNITARIAN CHAPEL stood on the site of the Reading Room. The aged preacher came from Great Hucklow to Middleton every Sunday until the congregation gradually dwindled away. The building was then sold to Lord Denman. A private school was afterwards kept in the Chapel for a time by Mr. Dyer, one of the congregation, who was ‘a Dyer by name and by trade’.

THE POST OFFICE was at one time located at Bank House. Mr. Peter Furness was the sub-postmaster, and also occupied the position of Relieving Officer. The letters were delivered by Samuel Marsden. At one time there was no Post Office at Calver, Curbar, and Froggatt, so letters were carried there from Middleton.

POOR HOUSES. Before the Bakewell Union was established the village looked after its own poor. Some years ago four poor houses stood up the Dale Mouth.

THE FIRST CLOCK AT STONEY MIDDLETON. At the beginning of last century household clocks were not known in small farmer’s houses at Stoney Middleton. One of the farmers,[1] however, had purchased one. One day a neighbour’s wife went in to ask what time it was by the new clock. The good wife of the house replied, “Well, I canna tell you correctly, for I dunna reightly underston the thing myself, but I’ll tell you what, if you’ll just sit you down a bit and wait till you hear it smite and then count, yell kno’ t’ reight time.” (One of Old Butcher’s Stories).

In the Religious Census of Derbyshire made in 1676 the number of Conformists at Stoney Middleton is given as 236 – of Papists as 3 – and of Nonconformists none.

The following is a copy of an interesting document in the possession of Mrs. W. Mason, Nook House, Stoney Middleton.

Received the Eleventh Day of October, 1787, of Anthony Beeley[2]

the Sum of Two Pounds fifteen shillings,

being half a year’s Rent due to the Right Honourable

Lord George Henry Cavendish at Lady Day last.

£2 15s. 0d. A. L. Maynard.

Deaths from accident were not infrequent. The following have been extracted from Eyam Parish Registers:

Buried Feb. 28th, 1686, Thomas Carnal, killed from a rock in the Dale.

Buried May 16th, 1748, Hannah Milward, killed from a rock in the Dale.

Buried Oct. 14th, 1784, Joseph Archer, drowned in Middleton Mill Dam.

STONEY MIDDLETON READING ROOM began its existence thirty years ago in an inconvenient room at the bottom of the village Eventually this room was closed, and efforts were made to erect a building suitable for the requirements. Subscriptions were solicited, and together with the proceeds of a Bazaar held in Derby, a larger room was erected on the site of the old Unitarian Chapel. Unfortunately this room is not in the Parish of Stoney Middleton.

The Tablet in the front of the Reading Room is inscribed:
In Loving Memory
of the
2nd Baron Denman
of Dovedale.

The building was in the hands of the Southwell Diocesan Finance Association. Mainly through the interest of the present Lord Denman the room was transferred to the Charity Commissioners, who appointed “the Vicar of the Parish and the Members of the Parish Council” trustees. In October, 1909, a Bazaar was opened by Lady Denman, and the building is now being re-roofed and enlarged on land given by Lord Denman, who also gave a donation of £100 towards this worthy object.


Nonconformity in the early part of the 19th century had to run the gauntlet of insult and personal violence.

The Wesleyans formerly held their meetings in a cottage at the Dale Bottom, where the ruffians of the village frequently interrupted their devotions, at one time building up the chimney and at another dropping stones down.

A plot of ground near Cliff Bottom was generously given by Mr. Furness of High Wycombe, and with a number of worshippers, who rallied round Mr. Benjamin Hallam (grand-father of Mr. Joseph Bradshaw), a new Chapel was built a little below the old Unitarian Chapel.

Dr. Joseph Denman (uncle of the first baron) wrote in answer to a letter he had received that he was surprised to find anyone staying in Stoney Middleton after he could indite [Ed: sic] a letter, and offered to assist the writer to become a Minister of the Church of England. His lordship was subsequently informed that the writer wished one day to become a Wesleyan Minister.

Much of the land in the vicinity once belonged to the Morewoods of Alfreton, and in connection with the sale there was an endowment of £3 per annum to be paid to the nearest place of worship. This Charity was received for many years by the Unitarian body, who held a service annually in the ruined building, and so the Charity was paid to them.

The Unitarian Chapel was subsequently sold to Lord Denman, and for a time nothing was heard of the endowment, until his Lordship kindly informed the officials of the Wesleyan body of it, and generously assisted them to obtain the Charity and also the arrears.


The Moseley Family has been resident in Eyam, Grindleford, and Stoney Middleton for the last three centuries. They, are a branch of the Moseleys of Manchester and Rolleston, and are descended from the Moseleys of Moseley, near Wolverhampton, Staffs.

The original arms of the Moseley family were described as “Sable a chevron between three mill picks argent”.

Nicholas Moseley was Lord Mayor of London in 1599 at the time of a threatened Spanish invasion, and for his services Queen Elizabeth conferred upon him the honour of knighthood, and he was granted a crest described as

“An eagle displayed ermynes mantiled gules, doubled silver”. In the patent it is described as “1st and 4th sables a chevron between three battleaxed silver; 2nd and 3rd Gold a fesse between three eaglets displayed sables”.

The motto was assumed as a compliment to the son of Sir Nicholas Moseley, who was a rising barrister.

“Mos Legem regit” (custom governs the law).

The Macclesfield Moseleys are a branch of the Stoney Middleton family.

BULL PARK WALL was the name of a wall erected round the Old Moon Inn.

The VILLAGE CONSTABLE was an officer charged with the preservation of the peace. He was appointed annually, and received a Staff stamped with the Crown – the emblem of his office.

In the Overseers’ Account, dated 29th Sept., 1868, the following entry occurs:-

“Constable’s appointment, 17s. 0d.; Constable’s expenses per order, 9s. 6d.” The last entry was dated 1872.

The author has had given to him a doggerel rhyme, which probably refers to several public houses at one time situated in Middleton Dale.

“The BALL and the BARREL, they each had a quarrel, And fought with the BOOT AND THE SHOE.”

The former is still a licensed house, while the latter have fallen into disuse.

[1] We are informed that this incident occurred at the house of Anthony Beeley, grandfather of Mrs. W. Mason, Nook House.

[2] The author is informed that this Anthony Beeley was formerly the Barmaster.

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