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Tale of Crich

A History of Our Parish

by Geoffrey Dawes

Chapter 2    Aristocrats, Squires and Landowners

2.0 Précis

For readers who find genealogies and the succession of inheritance and the purchase less than fascinating, this section presents a brief outline of the material recorded in detail in the remaining nine sections of this chapter - which such readers may prefer to but skip through or over!

Before the Norman Conquest, Crich was one of the Manors held by the family of Godwin the Saxon Earl of Wessex and at the time of Domesday it had passed to Ralph FitzHubert. The first Baron of Crich was Ralph's son, Ralph FitzRalph who was succeeded by his nephew, Hubert FitzRalph, Hubert's daughter, who inherited Crich, married a Frecheville and it stayed with the Frechevilles until Ralph (Hubert's great-grandson) sold out to Sir Roger Beler. This Roger was succeeded by his son, also Roger, whose daughter married a Swillington who became Lord of the Manor of South Wingfield. Her son left both Crich and South Wingfield Manors to his sister and from thence it passed by marriage into the hands of the Cromwell family - to Ralph, Lord Cromwell, who was Treasurer to Henry IV. Cromwell sold Crich and South Wingfield Manors to the Talbots, who held title as the Earls of Shrewsbury. On the death of Gilbert, the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, the rights of the Manors were divided amongst his three daughters who eventually sold out, mostly to commoners.

The Manor of Wakebridge and its distinguished Lord at the time of the Black Death, Sir William de Wakebridge, was subordinate to the Manor of Crich. Through Sir John Pole, whose mother was Sir William's only surviving sister and relative, and Pole's descendant German Pole, whose widow married John Claye, the Claye family acquired an important role in the village in Tudor times. John Claye's daughters, by marriage, brought the Willoughbys of Wollaton, the Curzon's of Kedleston and the Dixies of Bosworth into Crich affairs and they were joined later by the Wilmots of Chaddesden. After the Civil War these families and the yeoman like the Smiths, the Bennetts, and the Wrights who had purchased parcels of rights in the Manor exercised power in the village and they, in due course, were joined by the Turtons, Travis's and the Towndrow's and by such neighbouring 'Squires' as Richard Arkwright of Cromford, Peter Nightingale of Lea and the Strutts of Belper who all owned tracts of land in the village.

Another local squire - the Lord of the Manor of Alderwasley - also had a considerable influence in the village. The Hurts of Alderwasley - over two centuries, both by their benefactions and by their ownership of property in the parish were long regarded in Crich with great respect. Indeed the man spoken of locally as the last real "Squire of Crich" was Francis Cecil Albert Hurt of Alderwasley who was born in 1878. After his death in 1930, his successors emigrated to Africa and so the last of the local "aristocrats and squires" left the parish scene.

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2.1 The Manor of Crich

An early written reference to Crich is in the 'Domesday' survey of 1086 A.D. where it says that Ralph, son of Hubert, (Ralph FitzHubert) held the land which had a plough in the lordship and which also had a lead mine - being of value 40s 0d before 1066 and, in 1086, of value 30s 0d. Ralph FitzHubert became involved in the civil war between Matilda (the Empress Maud) and Stephen and was hanged by a partisan of Matilda in 1140. He had a son Ralph FitzRalph, who became the first Baron of Crich, and two daughters. One, Matilda married Ralph FitzEudo; the other daughter married Edward of Salisbury.

Ralph FitzRalph, in the reign of Stephen (1135-1154), gave lands at Hartshorn, south of the Trent, to the Knights Templers of Jerusalem whose order had been founded in 1118. In 1154-1159, Ralph FitzEudo - one of the wealthiest magnates in Derbyshire - gave Crich Church and its appendages at Lea, Dethick, Ible, Tansley, Wessington, Ogston and Succhethorn (Shuckstone) to the Canons of Darley Abbey - with the consent of Earl Robert Ferrers.

Hubert FitzRalph, son of Matilda and Ralph FitzEudo, succeeded as Baron of Crich and is on record as having paid, in 1166, the levy on 30 Knights fees* for his rights in the Manor of Crich.

In 1175 Hubert FitzRalph, as the result of a well-documented lawsuit tried before Roger, the Bishop of Worcester (who had been appointed by Pope Alexander III) confirmed his gifts to Darley Abbey and in addition granted the Canons rights in part of Crich Wood - all in exchange for the renunciation by the Canons of their claim to payment for the pasturage of swine (pannage) and from the profit for doing this (agistment), throughout all the woods of the Manor. Albinus, the Abbot of Darley, accepted the ruling.

In 1200 Hubert FitzRalph paid 30 marks (£20) to King John to be allowed to make his woods in Crich a free chase and to have hounds and deer of his own. To this day, the area is still called Crich Chase.

In 1204 Leonia, widow of Robert de Stuteville, daughter of the Earl of Salisbury and granddaughter of Edward of Salisbury (who had married a sister of the first Baron of Crich), paid 200 marks to Hubert for the rights in the Barony of Crich. When, in 1205, there was a levy from the Crown of 2 marks for each knight under the control of the Barony in lieu of personal service (scutage), Hubert paid for 15 and Leonia covered the remaining 15. Two marks was, in value, equal to £1-6s-8d perhaps about a year's pay for a labourer.

Apart from giving Darley Abbey rights in part of the Wood of Crich Hubert FitzRalph gave the Canons numerous parcels of land and facilities in Crich for "the safety of his soul" and for the souls of his first wife Edeline and of his second wife Sara.

Hubert died before 1219. His daughter Juliana, who had married Anker (Anthony) de Frecheville (who was also dead by 1219), lived until 1221. Her son, Ralph de Frecheville, succeeded as Lord of the Manor of Crich. In 1229 he still retained 15 of the Knights fees - and was summoned to Parliament as representative of Crich in 1241. Over the period from 1242 to 1258 he was involved in a long series of court cases - both Royal and Ecclesiastical. In the King's Court in 1242 he disputed the rights of two Knights fees held by the Abbot of Darley and another case on this was heard in 1258. In 1244 and 1254 he confirmed the gifts of his predecessors to the Canons of Darley and made agreements with Abbot Walter on the Canons rights in Crich.

In 1260 Ralph de Frecheville died and was succeeded by his son Anker who lived until 1268 being succeeded by his son Ralph de Frecheville. This Ralph - who was 22 in 1287 - was involved that year in a legal contest about homage and service for a tenement in Wessington and in 1297 was summoned to Parliament to represent Crich. In 1309 Ralph II lost a law contest with the Abbot of Darley who recovered the freehold of common pasture in Crich which Ralph had enclosed. He was in the King's court again in 1315 and was required to acquit the Canons of Darley Abbey of the services of two Knights fees which they held in the Manor of Crich: this was an old dispute which had started in his grandfather's day.

In the 1320's Ralph II, in a contest with the family of Thomas Lord Beler of Kirby Bellars in Leicestershire about the Manor of Boney in Nottinghamshire, acknowledged that it - with its 'appurtenances', but with the exception of the homage's and services of the Abbot of Darley - belong to Sir Roger Beler. As the result of the fine levied by the King's Court, and at the command of the King (Edward II), Ralph II in 1325, and for a consideration of 200 marks, transferred the ownership to Sir Roger Beler, not only of the dues from the Abbey of Darley but also his rights in his part of the Manor of Crich. The Belers were directly descended, on the female side, from William the Conqueror.

In 1325 too, the rights of Sir Roger Beler - the new Lord of the Manor - in the King's lead mine at Crich, were confirmed by Edward II. Thus Crich became a 'Liberty ', i.e. a lead-ore field outside the jurisdiction of the Crown and able to establish its own rules. In 1326 Sir Roger Beler was murdered; his son Roger then being only 7 years old.

Sir Roger Beler II reached his majority 1339 and then inherited full rights in the Manor of Crich. This Roger lived until 1380. Before them he had enclosed a park stretching from Plaistow along Edge Moor to Culland and embracing Parkhead. It was Sir Roger who sanctioned, in 1368, the Chantry in Crich Church dedicated to the friends, servants and parishioners of Sir William de Wakebridge who founded it (his second donation of the Chantry to the Church).

By this time it was not only the senior gentry who were making gifts to Darley Abbey - "for the safety of the souls". Quite a number of bequests were made to the Canons by less exalted families. Thus Peter, son of Geoffrey of Crich granted to the Canons his rights in toft and croft, which his father held in Crich.

Another typical gift was by Richard, son of William Bylbot to the Canons of "4 1/2 acres in le Lewes in Crich with the adjoining meadow lying between the land which John Culbil held and that of Ralph of Wakebridge towards le Dumpel" (the Dimple - deep, shady dell). Although some properties were worked by their servants (probably based on their Court near St Thomas' Mount) who also exercised the rights of gathering wood for building, edging and fuel in parts of Crich Wood - a large part, probably the greater part, of the revenues of the Canons derived from the various bequests to them were in the form of money rents.

* One Knights fee was basically a unit of land sufficient to keep one Knight fully armed and supported in the field for one campaigning season. The number of Knights fees for which a tenant-in-chief was responsible, was, therefore, related to the extent and value of his holding. If the services of the Knights were not called on the levies (in money) exacted by the Crown were used to finance the Kings Court.

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2.2 The Manor of South Wingfield

Sir Roger Beler II left the Manor of Crich to his daughter Margaret. She had married Robert de Swillington who was Lord of the Manor of South Wingfield. Their son, Sir John Swillington, who died in 1405, left it to his sister. There had been much intermarriage between the local aristocratic families (at several levels of seniority in each family) and detail of the conveyance of manorial rights is cloudy. Over 100 years earlier Ralph de Cromwell who had served with the army of Edward I - (when he returned from the Crusades and spent the period 1275-1285 contesting sovereignty with the Scots and especially the Welsh) had a daughter Joan who married Alexander of the Frecheville family which held Crich Manor until, in the 1320's, the rights passed to the Beler family. Through this link, and after the Swillington's, the manorial rights in both Crich and South Wingfield passed eventually to Ralph, Lord Cromwell - Treasurer to Henry IV. This Ralph was not only Chancellor of the Exchequer (in modern parlance) but also master of the Royal Hounds and Falcons and Steward and Keeper of Sherwood Forest. In 1440 he started to rebuild the Manor House at South Wingfield and then in 1455 the Cromwell Estates at Crich and Wingfield were sold to John Talbot, the second Earl Shrewsbury who was living at Wingfield in 1458-1459, and who was succeeded by his son in 1474. Eventually the Manor's passed to George Talbot, the 6th Earl Shrewsbury and husband of Bess of Hardwick. Queen Elizabeth I charged George with the custody of Mary Queen of Scots and for a time Mary was held prisoner in the Manor at South Wingfield. On the death of Gilbert, 7th Earl Shrewsbury, the rights of the Manors of Crich and Wingfield were divided up amongst his three daughters and co-heiresses Mary, Countess of Pembroke; Elizabeth, Countess of Kent and Althea, Countess of Arundel.

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2.3 The Manor of Wakebridge

The 2nd Baron of Crich Hubert FitzRalph had, in addition to Juliana whose Son Ralph of the Frecheville became Lord of the Manor of Crich, another daughter (Alice or Emma - there is some confusion) who married Peter de Wakebridge. He was a Knight of the Shire with a Manor at Wakebridge (on the site of the present-day Wakebridge farm) and was summoned to Edward III's parliaments.

His son, Sir William de Wakebridge fought with Edward III in the 100 Years War with France, possibly at Crecy. He was not only a soldier however. In his later years he was also a busy administrator. He became 'Commissioner of Oyer and Terminer' for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, i.e., a Judge on circuit dealing with criminal cases and boundary disputes. He was Cloth Trade Commissioner for Nottinghamshire and was also appointed a Justice to deal with cases arising from the Statute of Labourers in 1349. He served Parliament as a Knight of the Shire at times between 1353 and 1363 and not only served Edward III and Queen Philippa as an official but was appointed in 1353 as Sergeant at Law to the 'Black Prince' in Cheshire, Flint and elsewhere (at an annual fee of five pounds). He was still active in the service of the Black Prince in 1364 and he received a bonus of £4 out of the profits of the circuit court (the eyre) held in 1358 in the forest in Cheshire. Probably the most traumatic event in Sir William's life was the decimation of his family in the Black Death of 1348. Within three months he lost his father, his wife, three brothers, two sisters and a sister-in-law. Only his sister Cecilia was left. In the years following Sir William enriched Crich Church by endowing two chantries there. He was not able; it seems, to use much of his Manor of Wakebridge as the basis of his endowment but instead was able to purchase lands in Crich and nearby settlements for that purpose. It is likely that, from his public services, he had accumulated quite a fund of 'liquid assets' and when, after the Black Death land values became very depressed he was able to pick up a number of bargains to sustain his chantries. He needed permission from the Crown to do this and indeed obtained it - paying a fine of 10 marks to the King to transfer ownership of the lands involved for the purpose of endowment. Sir William's tomb is in the north aisle of Crich Church and has been frequently described.

Sir William de Wakebridge's sister Cecilia married Sir John de Pole of Hartington and on William's death, the Manor of Wakebridge passed to Sir John and his son eventually succeeded him.

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2.4 Tudor Times

Another son of Cecilia, Sir Peter, founded the Poles of Radbourne one of whom, Reginald, became Cardinal*. Sir Peter was ward of the daughters of Robert Dethick of Dethick and one of those married Sir Thomas Babington - who took over the Manor of Dethick. After the dissolution of the Monasteries Henry Vlll granted the "Great Tithes" of Crich to the Babington's of Dethick and the 16th Century barn at Dethick may have been built to hold the offerings.

In 1584 Anthony Babington - a descendant of Sir Thomas, sold to John Claye of Crich, his land in Crich, Plaistow Green and Edge Moor and also the tithes, to support his attempt to free Mary, Queen of Scots, who was held a prisoner in Wingfield Manor for a total of about six months after 1569 - the last occasion in 1584, before she was taken to Tutbury by Sir Ralph Sadler. Before setting out Sadler sent off a scouting party of two men "to see if there were any way passable with coach and carriage" if he went by Mercaston. They reported "there was no other possible way for a coach but the common way and scant that at that time of the year by reason of hills, rocks and woods". Sadler then explored the way himself and actually built some bridges "to avoid many evil passages" but he was driven to use the road by Derby that was very little better.

There is a local legend that in order to get Mary out of Wingfield Manor, Anthony Babington and his accomplices started to dig a tunnel some distance away from the Manor with the object of burrowing under the walls and coming up into the suite where Mary was being kept. The Crich Manor House Just below Edge Moor, known in more recent times as the "Pot House" had a room in it called the "Queen's Room". This had an ornate plaster ceiling and elaborate wall panelling and, it was said, was prepared to receive Mary when she escaped from Wingfield Manor. No evidence for the existence of Babington's tunnel to Wingfield Manor has been found. Nevertheless when the Pot House was being demolished in the late 1950's the workmen thought they'd found a tunnel heading towards Wingfield Manor. This tunnel turned out to be a large drain or sough passing under the house. At a later stage in the demolition when the part of the Queen's Room was being knocked down, the workmen found steps leading downwards to a passage heading towards Edge Moor. It was blocked by a fall before it reached the line of Dark Lane and its exit on the hillside has not been discovered. Had Mary been in the Pot House (the Crich Manor house) and had it been surrounded by the Earl of Shrewsbury's men it would have been possible - if the passage towards Edge Moor emerged in the shrub and trees under the Edge - to escape along this route. It is possible that this passage was the source of the legend of Babington's escape tunnel. Whatever the historical foundation of the legend what is known is that Babington's conspiracy was discovered and it failed. Anthony Babington and six others were executed for high treason in September 1586. As is recorded on a memorial in Dethick Church, the traitors were hung, drawn and quartered. Mary, Queen of Scots, was herself executed in February 1587.

When Anthony Babington's estate was a sequestrated at the time of his execution two farms at Crich were granted to Sir Walter Raleigh (they had been omitted from Babington's sale to Claye) but Raleigh sold them quite soon.

A descendant of William de Wakebridge's heir, Sir John Pole, was German** Pole. He married Margaret, daughter of Edward de Ferrars (a member of the same family as the Earls of Derby). German Pole died in 1588 and Margaret married John Claye whose first wife Mary had died 1583 and whose father had been ' Chief Cock Matcher and Servant of the Hawks' to Henry Vlll. Nevertheless, when Margaret died she was buried in Crich Church in the same tomb as German. A plaque showing both German and Margaret dressed in Tudor gowns and ruffs is fixed to the north wall of the chancel at the east end: it was originally part of their tomb.

John Claye (whose grandfather John came from Chapel-en-le Frith and had also lived in Crich) built a Manor house next to the Northwest corner of the churchyard. In 1597, John Claye (then said to be ' of Wakebridge') was one of the gentleman of Derbyshire who was 'requested' to make a 'loan' to the Crown. These loans were requested from Counties by the Privy Council acting on behalf of Elizabeth. The Earl of Shrewsbury delegated the job of collecting the money from Derbyshire to John Manners and on an earlier occasion in 1589 he had written to John Manners (his brother-in-law) to say that he was "troubled to hear of slackness of those gentleman who ought to be most favoured to do the Queen's pleasure" - and he recommended that new 'privy seals' be delivered to those in arrear and warning them of the need to make payment by an early date. The 'privy seal' was the official document demanding the particular share of the 'loan' assigned to a particular person, sealed with the royal privy-seal, and sent down to their local agent in the provinces by the Council. John Manners was beset with requests from many of those to whom privy-seals had been addressed - one such being John Claye. Later that year (1589) the Earl of Shrewsbury was informed from the Court that "sums of £50 imposed under a Privy Seal on John Claye of Crich be reduced to £25 - as they have large families and are in debt". Building the Manor House and buying the tithes from Anthony Babington must have upset Clayes 'cash-flow'.

In 1606 there is, in the Talbot Papers, a record of an examination of one John Dakin concerning a report that John Claye of Crich, Gentleman, had made certain slanderous speeches accusing the Earl of Shrewsbury of being forewarned of the Gunpowder Plot and of absenting himself from Parliament "under cover of his happy gout".

Claye had three daughters Susanna, Mary and Elizabeth on whom, in 1612, he settled his estates: he lived until 1632. He was a man of great local reputation: about 30 years later a building used to house a party of 41 'Friends' (Quakers) from Eyam being taken to Derby jail was referred to as Squire Claye's barn: it could have been the barn to the north of the early 20th-century graveyard.

Each of Claye's daughters married. Susannah married Robert Clark of Mansfield, and Mary, Timothy Pusey of Selston. The third daughter Elizabeth married Sir William Willoughby of Wollaton Hall in Nottingham. (An earlier Sir William Willoughby had married Alice, the daughter of Richard Curzon of Kedleston in the mid-15th Century).

Elizabeth and William Willoughby had two children. One, Sir William, the heir to the baronety, died without issue and his estates passed to his sister Mary Willoughby who, in 1652 married Beaumont Dixie. Sir Beaumont - the second Baronet and Son of a former Sheriff of Leicestershire - had a son Wolstan who was father of the notorious fourth baronet Sir Wolstan Dixie who, in 1731, briefly employed Samuel Johnson as an 'undermaster' in the school of his estate - Bosworth Park near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.

* Reginald Pole was opposed to Henry Vlll's divorce and fled the country to Rome. His mother, Margaret, Countess of Salisbury was beheaded - together with other relations - by Henry Vlll - for conspiracy against Henry; but when Mary Tudor ascended the throne Reginald returned to England to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

** Now Jermyn.

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2.5 The Civil War and Afterwards

Crich was not directly involved in the Civil War although many of the local families were. With their 'Roman' sympathies it is not surprising that the Babington's of Dethick and the Pole's of Wakebridge were on the side of the Royalists. So to were the heirs of John Claye. Beaumont Dixie's father, the first baronet - Sir Wolstan Dixie - was especially so and "zealously espoused the royal cause at the breaking out of the rebellion of 1641". It may have been their influence, which resulted in the naming of two local public houses - "the King's Arms" and the "Royal Oak". Certainly some of the local gentry were punished "for malignancy" by the Puritan Parliament for their support of King Charles.

German Pole of Wakebridge had a comparatively small fine of £255. Timothy Pusey - who had married Mary Claye was charged £967 - which he was allowed to reduce by £500 on condition he paid £50 a year to Crich Church 'forever'. Sir Wolstan Dixie the first baronet - who was father-in-law of Mary Willoughby (Elizabeth Claye's daughter) was fined £1835.

Not all the local aristocrats where on the side of the Royalists however. Mary the eldest daughter of the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury had married Philip, the 4th Earl of Pembroke, and it was she, who on Gilbert's death inherited Wingfield Manor. Pembroke supported Parliament in the Civil War and often represented it in negotiations with the King. He defended Wingfield Manor but it was taken by the Earl of Newcastle in December 1643 and then retaken in the following year for Parliament by Sir John Gell of Hopton Hall. Great damage was caused by the four 36-pound canons with which Gell bombarded the Manor and it was dismantled for military use in 1646.

After the restoration of Charles II Wingfield Manor passed to Immanuel Halton in 1678. He had been at one time, Auditor to the Earl of Arundel, and after a fashion repaired and refitted part of it. Eventually - much to the disdain of antiquarians - The Halton's used much of the masonry from the site to build a large house in the valley below the Manor. Immanuel Halton, who was both an astronomer and mathematician, was living at the Manor in 1666 and 1675 he observed a solar eclipse about which he wrote a treatise. It was he, who encouraged John Flamsteed of Denby by trying to teach him mathematics. Flamsteed became one of the most notable astronomers of his day.

At the time of the restoration of Charles II the families of the three Shrewsbury heiresses - presumably to meet their losses Civil War and its aftermath - in 1660 began to sell their lands and manorial rights in Wingfield and Crich.

The Hon. Henry Howard, Son of the Earl of Arundel sold his share, in 1660, to Anthony Bennet and Ralph Smith for £3270. The deed of sale mentions the property as including one-third of each of:

the chase of Crich

Culland Park

a limestone Quarry

a red-lead mill

a water corn mill

Bennet and Smith sold two-thirds of their mineral rights - which were divided up into many shares then owned by separate individuals including Thomas Wright of Fritchley.

The Countess of Kent passed her share to her Uncle Edward, the 8th Earl of Shrewsbury. The lands were sold in 1710 and then soon afterwards were resold in comparatively small lots of local people. The manorial rights were sold - one-third of the Manor of Crich - in 1711 to a William Sudbury and others. In 1841 they were in the possession of, amongst others Samuel Travis of Crich, Gentleman; Richard Arkwright Esquire of Willersley Castle; Samuel Towndrow of Crich, Yeoman; Thomas Towndrow of Crich, Farmer and the Topham families of Ripley and Belper.

The Countess of Pembroke's one-third share of her father's estate passed to the Earls of Thanet, who held some mineral rights in Crich at least until 1841. They, at the time of the Enclosure Award in Crich, in 1784, also retained some lands in the parish (in the Thorpe Hill - Culland area).

In 1724 the then Lord of the Manor of Wakebridge, John Pole, died and the Manor passed to his great-nephew, whose brother and heir Edward, sold it to Peter Nightingale of Lea (a forbear the famous Florence).

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2.6 The Manor of Alderwasley

There was another local family, which had great influence in Crich - the Lords of the Manor Alderwasley. In Alderwasley, part of the Colebrook Ward in Duffield Frith, had been given, in the 13th Century, as a dowry to Margaret de Ferrars and after the Simon de Montfort rebellion, where the Ferrars were dispossessed, it went to John of Gaunt, Earl of Lancaster and so to the Crown.

Anthony Lowe I, who died in 1555 and who had then served Henry VII, Henry Vlll, Edward VI and Queen Mary was made Lord of the Manor of Alderwasley by Henry Vlll as a reward for services rendered. Anthony Lowe was a descendant of Thomas Lowe who had married the heiresse of the Fawne family in 1471. The Fawnes were Lords of the Manor of Shining Cliff - which was originally granted to William Fawne in 1285 by Edmund, Earl of Lancaster. Thus Anthony became Lord to the two adjacent Manors of Alderwasley and of Shining Cliff*. Just below Shining Cliff there is a survival of one of the ancient forges of Duffield Frith which were common, at places not far from Belper and which gave rise to the industry of the Belper Nailers.

One of Anthony Lowe's descendants, Elizabeth Lowe, who had married Nicolas Hurt of Casterne in Staffordshire, inherited the Manor of Alderwasley from her father John Lowe after the death of her brother John in 1690 (he was 39 years old). Elizabeth died in 1713 aged 62 and was succeeded as Lord of the Manor of Alderwasley by Charles Hurt. Thereafter the Manor stayed in the hands of the Hurt family until in 1930's - the heirs sold their property and emigrated to Kenya.

It was the Hurt family who established "Crich Stand". It was, originally, a wooden structure with a platform from which the countryside could be viewed. Then in 1785, Francis Hurt of that time (there were, between 1722 and 1878 five Francis Hurt's in the family succession), rebuilt it as a stone conical tower with a wooden platform on top. This was in ruins by 1843 and it was dismantled six years later and rebuilt in 1851, at a cost of £210 as a round stone tower (photographs of which exist today). This was struck by lightning in 1908 and was badly damaged. The present Sherwood Foresters Regimental Memorial was built in 1923.

Not far from the peak of Haytop and between it and the Deercote in Alderwasley Park there are, today, the remains of an ancient yew tree - known as "Betty Kenny's Tree".

In the late 18th Century, Luke Kenyon - locally pronounced as Kenny, built a cabin roofed with turf (which was used as a bedroom) near the hollow yew tree which served as living space, he and his wife Kate - also known as Betty - brought eight children into the world in this 'home'. It is said that a hollowed-out section of one of the branches was used as a crib by each of the babies in turn (one of whom died in infancy and was buried nearby in the Wood). Luke was charcoal burner from Papplewick in Nottinghamshire and, according to an 18th-Century account book (held by an Ambergate farmer who recorded charges for moving Luke's equipment and goods about the countryside) he operated both in Alderwasley Woods and in Crich Chase. It is likely that one of his principal customers was Hurts ironworks at the "Forge"alongside the Derwent.

Early in the 19th-Century the Hurt's arranged for James Ward R.A. to paint portraits of both Luke and Betty. Luke - who was then 96 - complained that he found the room in the Hall where he was sitting for his portrait to be "draughty". Luke died after he and his wife had been assaulted - whilst still living in the tree - and robbed of their life savings of £10. Betty is supposed to have taken part in a dance at the Hall after her hundredth birthday.

The Hurts were considerable benefactors to Crich, contributing to the restoration of the Church in 1861 and the erection of the Fritchley Mission Church and school in 1870. In 1859 the demolished the old "Hob Hall" and erected the present house "Chase Cliffe" on the site**. The Misses Hurt, who were so active in 'good deeds' in the parish lived there - and are commemorated by a stained-glass window in the south wall of the chancel at Crich Church. The house is the nearest modern equivalent in the village to a Manor House.

Even after the Hurts left Alderwasley Hall in the 1930's and until the 1939-1945 war there were deer roaming in Alderwasley Park.

The present owner, who uses Alderwasley Hall is a school for children with speech and other difficulties, was reported to have stated that they have plans to reintroduce a herd of deer to the Park. The Deercote is being rebuilt, in the old foundations, with labour subsidised by the Manpower Services Commission.

Nowadays there are not many rhododendron on Shining Cliffe and Haytop but, before world war II - when there was a disastrous fire - the whole of the east bank of the Derwent to Alderwasley Park was a glorious sight in early summer when the rhododendron, covering the whole area, were in bloom.

* Shining Cliffe - in the early 20th-Century - was notable for being covered with rhododendron. In spring it really did shine, but it must have shone for some other reason long before rhododendron were introduced into United Kingdom in 1656. The Himalayan types of rhododendron were not brought to England until the introduction by Sir Joseph Hooker in 1849-1851.

** There is a figure on a gable at Chase Cliffe representing a stag pierced by an arrow. The legend is the first member of the family to be called Hurt was so called because when out hunting with the King, the King claimed a kill and his equerry said "No Sire - tis only Hurt". He was, on the spot dubbed "Hurt".

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2.7 The Manor Houses of Crich

As is to be expected, with many links over the centuries between aristocratic families and what is now the Parish of Crich there have been, at one time and another, several important "houses" in the area.

Information on FitzRalph's Manor (later occupied by Ralph de Frecheville) and the Canons Court - which was, clearly, not far away from it - is given in the Darley Abbey Cartulary. Other useful information such as field names are listed in the schedule to the 1839 Crich Rating Survey.

A starting point trying to determine where the 13th Century Manor and Court were is the location of St. Thomas's Mount - so named in the late 12th or early 13th Century after Thomas a Beckett had been assassinated in 1170. It is reasonable to suppose (and such an assumption fits in well with the 'picture' developed below) that the small hill on which the Church is built is St Thomas' Mount. It is clearly identifiable as a separate 'hillock' from several directions - for instance from Hog Nick for from Stones.

According to the Cartulary, FitzRalph's demesne (or home farm) included a 'furlong' stretching from St Thomas's Mount to the front of the Grange of the Canons of Darley Abbey. This was adjacent to the Canons furlong which stretched from St Thomas's Mount to the Merewelsiche. The word ending 'siche' (perhaps attached to a well on the way to Mor-Wood) indicates a piece of land beside a stream ('sick' is the modern equivalent and is not uncommon on Ordnance Survey maps of North Derbyshire). It is consistent with other data to suppose that the stream concerned* is the one which drains the land to the east of Crich Hill and flows down to the Dimple Valley by the eastern edge of the Old Quarry.

It could have been this stream which fed the 'fish pond' commemorated in the name of Fishpond House. It was the habit of religious houses in medieval times to cultivate carp and other fish in ponds or stews (which were tanks for keeping live fish for the table - the Canons being fond of tasty protein on Fridays!). It is reasonable, then, to suppose that the Canons Court was not far from Fishpond House - if not actually on its site.

Until the 1786 Enclosures there were areas along the route of the old Ridgeway that were common ground and which were not, until then, enclosed. There is also evidence that the area to the north of the present day 'Ten-Acre-Lane' (running from the bottom of the lane, up the hill to the Stand on to Sycamore House) was a common field of strip-holdings between Cliffside and Plaistow Green. Along each of the boundaries of the land being enclosed in 1786 are shown, on the Enclosure Map, the names of the proprietors of the adjacent lands. There are many such - and at frequent intervals - as indeed would happen if there had been, in the area, a 'strip-field-common', which had already been enclosed before 1786. Thus the name of Nathaniel Curzon appears five times between Sycamore House and Plaistow. It also appears five times on the boundary to the east of the land enclosed in 1786 on the Cliffside between Wakebridge and the Cliff Inn. On the South side of the Ten-Acre-Lane there ae two 'Town Fields' and Wig Meadow. Wig Meadow could be the Wigesbuttes mentioned in Cartulary 554. 'Wiges' may have been corrupted elsewhere to 'Wicks' which, in more recent times, is the word used to describethe outlying part of a farm and the 'buttes' was a site for practicing archery - which would probably be on the edge of the common ground of the village. Again, on the other side of the stream, shown as the boundary of Hays Land there are two fields known as 'Undertown Field'. Hays land is a more modern version of the medieval 'Le Hey' which meant a fenced-in piece of land, or a part of a forest enclosed for preserving game. Le Hey (perhaps owned by Hubert FitzRalph) would stand between the 'village pastures' (Undertown Field) and the 'common pastures' (Wig Meadow and the Town Fields adjacent to the medieval village strip holdings to the east of Stand Lane) mentioned in Cartulary 551.

The 'road to Wessington' (Cartulary 543) is most probably the path used by Wessington villagers coming through Hog Nick to Crich Church - which still exists and on part of which the remains of a 'causeway' can still be clearly seen.

In considering the field systems around the Church, is is supposed that:

the three Parsons Closes are the 6 acres given by Hubert FitzRalph to the Canons - (Cartulary 543)

the Canon's Furlong included Bottom Piece and Hall Croft - (Cartulary 545)

the 'Three Acres' is Ralph's furlong abutting his garden and running from St. Thomas' Mount to Merewelsiche (Cartulary 554)

the two fields named Hall Croft suggest the presence of at least one important building nearby

it must surely then be implied that this Manor was just to the north of the Church

The position of the Canon's Court cannot be postulated with the same confidence. It could have been on the site of the present day Fishpond-House for the exchange of land in Cartulary 554 for part of what is now Fishpond Close for land in the Wig Meadow Pingle would have been reasonable if the Canons wanted to enlarge their Court on the site of Fishpond House: also, of course, a site favourable for building tends to get re-used if it is not too remote. No traces of another building in the same area are known that if the Canon's Court was not at Fishpond House it can reasonably safely be assumed that it was somewhere near "Near or in Parsons Close".

To revert to FitzRalph's Manor. The building of Crich Church started in the 12th Century probably while FitzRalph was living in his 'Manor'. Until at least the early 18th Century (recorded by Bassano) there was a door** in the north wall of the Church opposite to that now covered by the present-day porch on the south wall.

Such a door would be a preferred entrance to the Church from buildings between it and the present-day 'Folds Yard'. It would be made during the building and rebuilding of the church in the 13th Century. This was long before John Claye - in in the later part of the 16th Century had his Manor*** near or on the same site as the FitzRalph and Frecheville Manor. If this was indeed the site of the original Crich Manor House - the core of the Lord of the Manor's demesne - it would not be unexpected that there would be a sheepfold nearby (Folds Yard) nor that in the ground running down the Mount towards the Merewelsiche there would be a dovecote and calf croft.

The fact that the FitzRalph Manor could be on such a prime site should not be surprising. It had easy access to water at the Holywell (vandalised and destroyed in the 1970's) - even if it hadn't its own Well - and it was near to the Church.

From a Manor on that site it would be possible to take long views over the surrounding countryside with aspects open to the Tors (and to Canons Wood, to Culland Park, to Plaistow and Edge Moor and to Crich Hill which would be a good look-out post in time of trouble - and westwards over Benthill. It would also be possible to overlook most of the common land in the village - before the were any significant enclosures at all.

There was also, in the immediate vicinity to the north and area of comparatively level and well-drained ground between it and the foot of Crich Hill. This could have formed the basis of the demesne's arable land and, overall, it was not too exposed. A minor consideration was that there would be a fairly easy journey around the edge of the Common Land to the east of Crich Hill on to the Manor of Wakebridge.

All these reasons then, it is deduced that FitzRalph's Manor was located within the area previously described.

When Ralph de Frecheville II parted with his manorial rights in the parish of Crich to Sir Roger Beler in about 1325 it is possible that he retained his residence in the village. This could have been the reason why Sir Roger Beler built a new Manor House in a more sheltered and separate place down on what is now the Market Place - a short distance out of what was then the centre of the village.

The picture of Sir Roger Belers Manor House (on the site of the present-day Baptist Chapel was painted in about 1728 and remained in the Manor House - then called Wheeldon House until the property was sold to the Baptists in the latter part of the 19th century. The picture - once owned by Dennis Bower of Crich - is now in Chiddingstone Castle in Kent. It shows the 'cliff' at the north end of the Tors, what is now Bown's Hill, the building itself, its gardens and roads in the vicinity at the time. In the present context, particularly, it indicates that most of the buildings in the village were located around the Church, which, even as late as the beginning of the 18th century was still, obviously, the 'centre of the village'.

Years after Beler had built his Manor House and after the Frechevilles had left the Crich scene it is within belief, when John Claye came to establish himself as a 'local squire' and married into the family owning the Wakebridge Manor Estates, that he should build on the site of FitzRalph's original Manor House at the north-west corner of the churchyard. He might, indeed, have incorporated parts of the older Manor House in his own.

There is no doubt about the location of Sir William de Wakebridge's Manor House. The foundations of the old Manor House can be traced in the turf behind the present-day Wakebridge farm. After the Black Death when Sir William devoted himself to religious activities he built a chapel at his Manor House "garnished" with an "orgayne and other costly devices" and an inventory of the Chapels possessions is given in the Crich Cartulary under the date 1368. The east window of the Chapel which had been incorporated into a barn was still in place in 1818 but about 1850 it was taken out and taken to the Nightingale residence at Lea. Peter Nightingale had brought the Wakebridge estate in 1717 and had demolished the old Manor but had left the Chapel intact. There was however the relic of the Manor House in the Wakebridge farm building at least as late as the 1920's. This was a 15th century door made out of oak which was then in use in the farm kitchen. It was panelled in the linen-fold pattern and had a band of ornament resembling that on the tower parapet of Crich Church. A drawing of the door is given by Tudor.

A modern House has been built on the site of Crich Manor House on Dark Lane below Wheatcroft. This curious-looking house (again a drawing is given by Tudor) was obviously constructed over several periods of time - the levels of the windows on the upper floors are quite different on the two sides of the facade on each side of the main doorway. The earlier-built unit may have been the house prepared to receive Mary Queen of Scots - had she been able to get out of Wingfield Manor. The ceiling of the "Queen's Room" is also illustrated by Tudor, in the mid a 19th century the building, then known as the "Pot House" was bequeathed to Mary Marshall.

There was another, minor, house of importance and still occupied, at the north side of the Dimple Green. It was built as the croft house to the Beler Manor and a lintel dates it as of 1667. The inscription on the lintel says:

"Remember thy time all flesh must die"

And there is a similar motto on the stone overmantel on the fireplace in the sitting room of the House. Attached to the end of the house was the original, Victorian, Chapel Sunday School Reading Room - which is now a Greengrocers shop.

Again: at the foot of Bown's Hill is a building known as the "Mansion House" which dates from the 17th-century and, at the top of Bown's Hill a house called "The Mount" - both of these houses are to be seen on the 1728 painting now in Chiddingstone Castle.

* It is, nowadays, much less vigorous than it was before the Hollins Sough and the Fritchley Sough took away water from Crich Hill.

** The northern doorway could be traced in the masonry until the 1980's when an annex to the Church was erected just outside it with access from the main body of the church through the wall at its position.

*** Parts of a building of the 16th Century can be identified in the dwelling at present on the site.

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2.8 Important Landowners

After the sales of land and manorial rights in Crich Parish in the late 17th-Century there were many resales, divisions and amalgamations of holdings. Landowners of note:

        The Duke of Devonshire

        The Hurts of Alderwasley

        The Smiths

        The Bowmers

        Sir Robert Meade Wilmot

        Hon. Nathaniel Curzon

The Duke of Devonshire had inherited land through the Shrewsbury's; the Hurts had 'bought-into' Crich from the neighbouring Manor of Alderwasley; the Smiths - through Ralph - had purchased land and rights from the Howards in 1660 and the Bowmers had been yeoman farmers in the Wingfield Park and Fritchley areas for generations (there was a Thomas Bowmer at Barn Close Farm, Fritchley in 1661).

Sir Robert Meade Wilmot, the 2nd Baronet, was the owner of what was formerly known as "Dixie-land". This was an area along Edge Moor and Plaistow Green. It had passed into the hands of Dame Mary Dixie who had inherited through her mother (also Mary) who was Elizabeth Willoughby's daughter (Elizabeth was daughter of John Claye). Dame Mary was great-grandmother of Sir Wolstan Dixie the 5th Baronet (1737-1806) who retained the grant of the living, or 'benefice' (the advowson) of Crich Church. Lady Dixie sold her estate in Crich to a Thomas Morley - a potter. In turn Morley sold several parcels of land to various people and the remainder to a Mrs. Millicent Fuller of Nottingham, who was a widow. She left it to her grandson Robert Musters also of Nottingham. Musters and his wife - around 1747 - sold part of their property to an officer of excise, the Dehurst Bilsborough and the remainder to Edward Wilmot - the Dr. Wilmot who was to become Sir Edward Wilmot Bart in 1759.

The other notable landlord in 1786, the Hon. Nathaniel Curzon, was a member of the old Derbyshire family descended from John Curzon of Kedleston who was High Sheriff of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in 1437. His son, Richard of Kedleston (d. 1496) married Alice, a daughter of Sir Robert Willoughby of Wollaton in Nottinghamshire. His daughter Elizabeth was Prioress of Kings Mead (St. Mary de Pratis) in Derby from 1514 to her death in 1525. The convent, not far from present-day Friargate, was small - but famed for its School were youn Derbyshire ladies were educated. In 1514 Elizabeth leased, for 60 years, to John Pole (Son and heir of Ralph Pole of Wakebridge) the field called "Nunsfield" above Mill Green on the Dimple. After the dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry Vlll granted the field to John Bellowe and Robert Bygot*.

It is, perhaps, of some relevance that Alice Curzon's grandson - also a Richard - married, in the 1520's, Helena a daughter of German Pole of Radboune. German Pole of Wakebridge - first husband of Margaret Claye had, for his first wife married his relative Jane, daughter of German Pole of Radbourne. This was another link with the Claye family!

Altogether then there were several associations between Crich and the Curzons of Kedleston. Furthermore, junior branches of the Curzon family were also linked with the Parish. One connection was with George Curzon of Croxell. He was the brother of Joan Curzon who was burnt at the stakein 1557 by Queen Mary who abhorred her 'Protestantism'. George married Katherine Babington - sister of Anthony, the archetypal Catholic who had owned the Great Tithes and much property in Crich Parish. After Babington's properties were sequestrated some remnants were 'enjoyed' by Francis Babington - either a brother or nephew of Anthony - who settled in Leicestershire. Property in Crich may have reached the Curzon family thereby. The Nathaniel Curzon shown as owner of much land, in various parts of Crich Parish in 1786 Enclosure Award was to become Baron Scarsdale. He appears as Lord Scarsdale in the 1847 Tithe Apportionment. Of course Crich had very old connections with the Hundred of Scarsdale. Although in Morleystone and Litchurch, Crich is in the border of Scarsdale and as early as 1215-1222 Hubert FitzRalph had given the Advowson of Scarcliff to the canons of Darley Abbey "for the souls of himself, Edelina his first wife and Sara his second wife". Again, in 1569 Wryley noted that Amicia Musard had married Anker de Frecheville and that Anker who held the Manor of Crich in the 13th century (he died in 1268) also held the Barony of Staveley in the Hundred of Scarsdale in his wife's right. Eventually the Hundred of Scarsdale passed to the Countess of Kent, Joanna, and when she died without issue in 1442 it passed to Richard Nevile the Earl of Salisbury through his wife Alice. Their line also failed and in the reign of Edward IV, Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Anne, his wife (who was cousin and heir to Alice) gave Scarsdale to the King in exchange for property in Yorkshire (which included Scarborough Castle). By exchange again, the Hundred of Scarsdale passed to George the Earl of Shrewsbury - who had it when he died in 1592. Once again then, the manners of Crich and the Scarsdale were in the same hands. George's Son Gilbert - the 7th Earl, sold the Manor of Chesterfield and the rights of the Scarsdale Hundred to William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle in 1612.

There is another noble family linked with the Cavendish's who are recorded as holding rights in Crich Parish. The Earl of Thanet appears as 'Lord of the Manor' in the 1786 Crich Enclosure Award and he was granted an allotment on the Cliff. He also was joint owner of some land down the Dimple. The Earls of Thanet were mostly associated with Westmoreland - although Thomas Tufton, Earl of Thanet and Lord Clifford, married, probably at Welbeck in 1684, Catharine a daughter and co-heir of Henry Cavendish - who was associated with the Shrewsbury's through Bess of Hardwick whose second husband was a Cavendish.

The line became extinct 1849 with the death of Henry Tufton. Before then, however, he had sold his mineral rights on Crich Cliff 1841 (together with Samuel Travis, Richard Arkwright, Samuel, Thomas and David Towndrow, John Topham and others) to the consortium including George and Robert Stevens, Sir Joshua Walmsley and George Hudson.

* In both the 1839 Rating Survey and the 1849 Tithe Apportionment Nunfield Close is shown as owned by John Bowmer. The 1839 there was a house and garden occupied by one William Peat about halfway up the field from Mill Green.

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2.9 Humbler Crich People

With the exception of the Hurts - who acquired land and manorial rights in the Parish, in the Hundred years on from the Civil War and possibly as a result of it, the influence locally of the old aristocratic families, based on their 'Manors'and inherited rights, with their records of succession and possession, began to wane; even though they retained some mineral rights and some church patronage. Control of village life by the Established Church also became less comprehensive as non-conformism became more widespread and more acceptable.

From about the beginning of the 18th century local initiatives increasingly passed to the humbler local people engaged directly, either as 'owner-managers' or 'workers' in farming, in the lead mining and stoneworking and eventually in manufacture. Their story is more diffuse and anonymous even though baptisms, marriages and burials are recorded in Church Registers. In Crich the Registers date from 1564. Between 1572 and 1587 and again from 1593 to 1600 pages of the register are missing. Even when records are available the peculiar style of writing means that they are not easily decipherable. Nevertheless, names appear which - in recent times - still identify local families.

Such are:

Babington        Flynte (Flint)  

Bunting            Daws (Dawes)

Curzon            Wetton (sometines written Wotton)

Claye              Wylde

Bryan               Poole

Smith               Redfern

Radford (sometimes written Redfort or Redford)

The Registers from 1600 to 1654 are almost complete but the entries on the parchment pages, from age and exposure, are now almost indecipherable. However, some of the entries at intervals may still be read and the following the names still appear:

Bollington          Boamer (Bowmer)

Bembridge         Sellars

Ludlam               Holmes

Haslam               Allyn (Allen

Martyn (Martin) Berrisford

Piggin                 Fritchley

Cowlishaw        Greener (or Greenhough)

Families with these names were still resident in Crich Parish in the first half of the 20th century.

By a happy chance a copy of a diary kept by one Denman Mason has become available and it gives some insight into middle-class affairs in Crich in the mid-19th century. Denman's father Edwin Mason was, it seems an easy-living man who had fritted away his property. In a diary note of March 20th 1868 Denman recorded that his father was just recovering from a drinking bout that had lasted about three weeks. (Such bouts were not at all uncommon in Victorian and Edwardian times and - various local people have confirmed that it was still occurring in the 1920's and the 1930's). Moreover Edwin had sold to cows, his pony and trap and other things - "for a supply of drink". Denman said of his father that he had been "nothing but a scatterer during the whole of his life". Denman's mother was Julia. Her father had been Ralph Wheeldon Smith, who was a direct descendant of the Ralph Smith who, in 1660, had acquired part of the property and some of the manorial rights in Crich from Henry Howard - of the House of Arundel.

Two of Julia's brothers, Rupert and Thomas, emigrated to Australia and it seems that Julia had sent Denman out to Australia to live with his uncles hoping to give him a better start in life than he might expect in Crich. But times in Australia were hard. The uncles were farmers and butchers and on April 8th 1868 Denman recorded in his diary that although butchers in Crich could sell second quality beef at 8d a pound and mutton at 7 1/2d a pound, in Melbourne Australia it was reported that good mutton was only fetching 1d or 2d a pound. In the hope of restoring their fortunes, uncles Rupert and Thomas sent Denman back to England to progress the settlement of his grandfather's estate. He arrived in Crich on August 31st 1866 and his diary covers the period from then to July 1869.

His grandmother, now Mary Marshall, was a widow and in her eighties and was living in a cottage near Dial Farm. Mary had married William Marshall after the deaths of her two previous husband's; John Mason (father of Edwin) and Samuel - brother of Ralph Wheeldon Smith. Denman also had an uncle Ralph W. Smith living in Crich - at Fishpond House which is at the foot of the last peak of Crich Hill.

William Marshall had bequeathed the Crich Manor House below Edge Moor - the "Pot House" - to Grandmother Mary. When this was put up for sale on October 16 1866 Denman Mason was given authority, as her agent, to receive the monies from the sale.

Ralph Wheeldon Smith had owned much property in Crich and at one-time lived in Ralph Beler's 14th century Manor House on what is now Crich Market Place, and which later was renamed Wheeldon House. The Smiths also owned Fishpond House; "the Common House", where Aunt Smith had entertained John Wesley a century earlier: land on the Nether, the Upper and the Middle Cliff as well as rights in a local lead mine, fishing rights on the Derwent and so on. Some of these were sold - as a step towards settling Ralph Wheeldon Smith's estate - on February 25th 1867 at the 'Jovial Dutchman' at Crich Cross. The last sale of R.W. Smith's property also took place at the 'Dutchman' about a year later, on January 14th 1868. On that occasion the Butterley Company bought the Cliff Land for £62 per acre and S. Radford of Bullbridge bought the Common Farm for £ 751.

Ralph Smith, who had been living at Fishpond House when his son, and Denman's cousin Joseph Smith had died there (aged 18) on August 29th 1867, moved to Wheeldon House in February 1868. (it had been standing empty for over 3 years). Denman Mason helped his cousin Susannah to tidy-up the old front garden, which was in a very bad state. He contrasted it with its condition when his Grandmother - as wife of Sam Smith - took pride and tended it with so much care.

Ralph Smith owned the 'Jovial Dutchman' and on March 23rd 1868 Denman drew up an agreement for letting the Inn to a Mr. Boole from Sheffield. Ralph also had the rent from Fishpond House and he received an income of £1 a week (and travelling expenses) from the Crich Co-operative Society - a company of butchers - for "buying in and selling out". Denman thought this to be good pay for about three days work. Later, property-owner Ralph began working 'physically'. He started slaughtering cattle for the Co-operative Society, and Denman used to help his uncle. For instance on March 5th 1868 together they killed acow and two sheep, and on March 12th 1868 they killed a calf and a sheep. Denman must have felt he had aquired skill as a butcher for, on May 25th 1868, he "wrote to Messr. Money Wigram and Sons for a situation as butvher for the voyage out to the Colony".

He was ready to return to Australia but before he went he, on September 30th 1868, helped his Uncle Ralph by painting at the "old house on the green" (i.e., the Market Place) and he noted that Ralph had given-up butchering for the Crich Co-operative Society and was now in business for himself" in the old shop on the green". On October 9th 1868 Denman and Ralph slaughtered two cows and five sheep for Crich Fair. Ralph "sold out all the Wakes beef and has killed another cow, making his share three. I think Crich people are noted for beef eating, especially at the Wakes for this time there was 16 slaughtered in all".

In an earlier part of his diary, Denman noted, on September 2nd 1867, that Squire Hurt (of Alderwasley) and Squire Wass (of Holloway) had spent today shooting on Crich Common and had called at the Mason house for refreshment - giving Denman "full permission to fish their rivers any time I thought well". The next day, September 3rd 1867, he recorded that he and his brother had good days sport - fishing on Gregory Pond (nowadays called the Gregory Widehole on the Cromford Canal on Squire Nightingale's land. They caught 32 roach and several perch. A few days later Denman "received at present of three brace of birds and one rabbit from Sir H.. F. Every, Egginton Hall as a return for the privilege of shooting over the Inkermill land" and on September 13th 1867 he had "a hare and brace of birds from Squire Buxton, being his annual present for the privilege of sporting over the Hilton Common land - now in the occupation of Mr. Blood". Both these were family properties.

So, although the Smith's and the Mason's were no longer so prosperous as formerly, they were obviously in easy social contact with the local squirearchy - and recognised as 'gentry'.

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