Treasure 28: A settlement of disputes, 1310

This Treasure has been nominated by Miriam Wood, who worked at Derbyshire Record Office as an archivist for many years. In her time here, she catalogued a vast array of records, drawing on her skills as a patient palaeographer and reader of Latin. Many of the current staff enjoyed regular “palaeography club” lunchtime sessions led by Miriam in 2012, when we were working out of temporary premises in County Hall as extension and refurbishment works were being carried out.

D779 T 131 (full)

Here is Miriam’s own explanation of the document (D779/T/131):

This is a settlement of disputes between Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who had lands at Castle Donington in Leicestershire, and Thomas the Abbot and the convent of the Abbey of St Werburgh’s in Chester with lands in the manor of Weston and the hamlets of Shardlow and Wilne in Derbyshire. They agree that the Abbot and convent may have one third of the profit from the barge and boat of the Earl crossing the Trent between Leicestershire and Derbyshire at the Bargeford and shall provide one third of the materials and expenses in building new, and repairing, boats and barges.

D779 T 131 (close up)

It specifically refers to landing near Wilne and the provision of a way from the landing at Wilne to the highway to Derby. Although the term “ferry” is not used here, this may well be the ferry belonging to the manor of Weston, mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) and is undoubtedly the forerunner of what was later known as Wilden Ferry. This was an integral part of the road from Loughborough and the south to Derby and beyond and remained in use until Cavendish Bridge was opened nearby in 1761.

A week in the life of a work experience student…

As a student with an interest in history (hoping to go on to studying this at university), I chose the archives as the ideal work placement for my year 12 work experience. With this in mind I applied to the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock and have been spending a week here observing the work that is done.

On Monday morning I began my week of work experience at 9 o’clock starting with a tour of the record office itself (including archives and local studies). I was surprised by the amount of resources available especially in terms of the number of documents kept at the record office; with almost five miles of shelving to boast of throughout one can only imagine the amount of information available. Then there are the documents themselves. It was amazing to see the original and unique documents kept at the record office as well as how well they have been preserved. My first afternoon was spent in conservation, something I was eager to see; as well as being made aware of the different dangers posed to the documents kept at the record office (including temperature, humidity, insect damage, wear and possible fire damage) and how these risks are managed (for example through carefully monitoring the environment), I was also shown the different methods of repairing documents that have been damaged. I was even able to try a preservation technique for myself in the form of cleaning some documents.

On my second day I helped in a year five school session, in order to complete a project on local history they wished to use the facilities at the record office. The areas of interest included John Smedley, the hydros of Matlock, and begin to look at how leisure has changed from the industrial revolution. In order to fulfil this a session had been planned in which the children would look at documents relating to John Smedley, use documents to create their own exhibition on hydros, and create a timeline of leisure activities which had been sourced from the information available from the archives. There were two groups of students; those who weren’t at the record office were taken into Matlock in order to see how the town has changed from past photos to the present day. I found it enjoyable to work with the children and see how enthusiastic most were about the activities that had been planned for them. They seemed pleased to be able to use primary sources to find out more about figures they had studied (such as John Smedley).

Wednesday morning was spent in local studies which houses books relating to Derbyshire and also has computers where people can begin to research their family history. I was given a tour of the facilities offered then using was able to look at different types of census data (for example how the census changed between 1911 and 1841). Then, using the available facilities, I was given an example enquiry and had to find information about the given person – this included looking at their family through different censuses and finding baptism records to place approximate dates of birth. Although I did attempt some family history the fact that my surname is so common made it difficult. After lunch the project work began and my first task was re-cataloguing documents relating to Derbyshire sent from Sheffield Archives, this was a rather broad collection (ranging from a deed from 1386 to accounts). Admittedly some of the text was difficult to read (especially the older documents), however it became much easier over time to provide a description and locate a date. The information will soon be input into the online catalogue. The documents also needed to be numbered so that they worked with the system employed at the record office. Part of what I enjoyed most about the placement was the fact that I was able to get so close to the original documents therefore the project work was some of my favourite that I completed over the week.

Another part of the record office I experienced on my placement was the search room, this was on Thursday morning. After a tour and introduction to the services offered (including how specific documents could be found), I was able to order recipe books so that the second project could begin. This involved typing up the contents of recipe books which would then be available on the online catalogue. Whilst some of the recipes were familiar to me (including Bakewell pudding and gingerbread), others were not for example the extraordinary variety of wine. As these had been hand written it was often difficult to decipher exactly what the recipe was of, especially due to the fact that multiple authors were sometimes involved, although eventually the meaning could be found resulting in a lovely sense of accomplishment. The afternoon was then spent with ‘Picture the Past’, a project involving Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby City and Nottingham City aiming to digitise original photographs of the areas. These could be from libraries sent by the local authority or donated by the public and, as a result, there are photos of most areas on the website. Work here included checking links on the website and discussing how the services offered by ‘Picture the Past’ could be used in schools. To see the work done by the ‘Picture the Past’ project please see From searching the area in which I live I was able to see images of the railway and factories that had been present. It was fascinating to see how much the local area has changed even if there was some sense of familiarity in the landscape.

On my final day at the record office I continued with the work sent from Sheffield Archives (as several boxes were to be catalogued). Handling the documents myself made me aware of the huge amount of information held by the record office not only including legal documents but also personal letters and pedigree charts.

My week spent at the record office has been a truly interesting one, I have been fascinated by the documents I have seen and also the amount of resources that the record office and local studies offers to the public. As a result of my interest in history it has been remarkable to view and touch the documents that have evident historical importance.

Anna Burton




Mini Explore! Magna Carta – the road to democracy

The Explore Your Archive campaign, coordinated by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association, is entering its third year in 2015.  The main campaign takes place in November, however, a mini campaign has been launched for June to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

TNA Magna Carta

Magna Carta, meaning ‘The Great Charter’ is one of the world’s most famous and important constitutional documents in the rise of democracy and human rights.

Issued and sealed by King John in June 1215, Magna Carta established for the first time the principle that everybody, including the King, was subject to the law.

The document is essentially a list made up of 63 clauses, the 39th clause stating that all ‘free men’ had the right to justice and a fair trail.  Some of Magna Carta’s principles directly influenced subsequent constitutional documents including the United States Bill of Rights (1791), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the European Convention of Human Rights (1950).

Sadly we don’t hold Magna Carta here at the record office – only four survive, with amendments of various dates, and are held at Salisbury Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral and two at the British Library.

In our collections, however, we do hold a copy with translation from 1951 (Ref: D2331/1).

Magna Carta

Along with this we hold a wealth of material relating to democracy, our legal system and access to rights as a human being.

Over the next coming weeks we will be adding posts featuring specially chosen items from our archives and local studies collections so join us as we travel from Magna Carta to the Miners’ Strike in our online exhibition Magna Carta – the road to democracy.

Potter & Co Collection: Photographs

After tackling Box 13, I decided that I needed to finally sort out the photographs that are in the collection.

When the collection had first been deposited  in the Derbyshire Record Office, the photographs had been grouped together but not in any particular order. Therefore, to make it easier for users, I grouped the photographs in the following categories: workforce within printworks; management; fire at the Hurst Mill; images of Glossop etc. (I hope you enjoy the images of Glossop particularly of the snow photographs which are very pretty).

Now grouped together and safely packaged back in their box, the collection is finally ready to be organised into series and subseries, which I was doing before I decided my miscellaneous items needed to be organised.

Wish me good luck!

Treasure 27: Ockbrook glebe terriers

A glebe terrier is a formal record of the property and assets of an ecclesiastical parish. They vary a lot in their format and contents, and often mention intangible assets such as tithes on wool, corn and (in some parts of the county) lead ore.

These particular terriers have been selected by the historian Richard Clark and relate to the parish of Ockbrook.  The vicar who drew them up was a Huguenot by the name of Stephen Grongnet, who had been educated at Montaubon and left France for England some time after the Edict of Nantes was revoked, in 1685. The Edict had afforded French Protestants certain rights and protections, and its revocation prompted many other Huguenots to take the same decision. After taking up his post as vicar of Ockbrook, Grongnet worked for almost four decades in the same parish, before his death in 1733. We hold a copy of Stephen Grongnet’s will and probate inventory dating from that year.

The terriers date from 1698, 1701, 1719, 1722 and 1726. Looking through the series, it is possible to detect changes reflecting the passage of years, in particular the deterioration of Grongnet’s eyesight, which caused his writing to grow ever smaller.

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Richard had his first encounter with the terriers shortly after their arrival at Derbyshire Record Office. He writes:

When I used the glebe terriers in the late 1970s, they had just come in from the Diocese of Southwell and had not been formally listed. A very brave archives assistant produced a temporary list, providing the date of each terrier under the parish heading, and for his pains got very dirty handling all those pieces of parchment. They weren’t much cleaner when I had the privilege of handling them in the office for a second time, but I was very grateful for his list. What attracted me to these Ockbrook terriers was seeing the process of aging, something apparent from the real documents and which cannot be conveyed by transcript. They capture the physical burdens of his position in an age before universal retirement pensions better than any historian’s description.

We can confirm that they are lovely and clean these days!

A note on the spelling of this surname: researchers find that until some point in the later 19th century, surnames were spelled according to the whim of the moment – people were not even consistent in the spelling of their own name. Our catalogue (drawing on the original documents) renders this surname as Grognet/Grongnet, whereas The Clergy Database (an invaluable resource for anyone researching a particular clergyman) spells it Grougmett or Gronginet. However, he signs himself Grongnet on these terriers, so we will stick with that. It’s also the spelling favoured by the author of a biography of the man, “A French parson at Ockbrook”, by Marion Johnson. The Derbyshire Libraries catalogue indicates that we have fifteen copies of it across our various branches, including our own local studies section.

Potter and Co Collection: No Longer a Miscellaneous Box

In my previous post I was battling with my miscellaneous box, and was required to tackle it when it came to my attention that the collection needed restructuring.

5 hours and 94 items later, the box has been sorted through and catalogued onto CALM ready to be arranged into categories (series and subseries) during my next visit to the DRO.

With the items now identified, the box is no longer a miscellaneous box, although not entirely linked with the Dinting Vale Print Works collection that it was deposited with. However, due to the items’ connection with Glossop and Manchester, the items can be kept within the collection in a separate series.

Many of the papers belonged to Mr Hurst, who the library belonged to, meaning that many items may have just been swept up from his desk, such as newspapers, which makes my job even more difficult.

Box 13 items

Box 13 items

Now I am ready to put all the items into subseries, such as papers relating to the day-to-day Dinting Vale and printed books. Once organised, I can focus on numbering all the items and placing them in boxes and recording the new location.

That’s me for another week.

Treasure 26: Ferodo’s imaginative advertising

This treasure is an extraordinary map of another world called Nevacantell – a world filled with motoring hazards, mitigated by brake linings manufactured in Chapel-en-le-Frith.



It has been nominated by a former archivist at Derbyshire Record Office, Gary Tuson, who is now County Archivist at Norfolk Record Office. He writes:

The business archive of Ferodo, brake-lining manufacturers, contains a superb collection of advertising and promotional material. Ferodo’s advertising was imaginative: in the inter-war years, one theme which seems to recur is that of driving off a cliff if you haven’t fitted your car with Ferodo brake-linings – just one of the many hazards identified on the map of Nevacantell.


There are many more scenes within this map, which may be seen in our searchroom as a high-resolution scan on CD/173 or in its original form by ordering item D4562/17/2. For instance, have a look at the groups of bikers in this image:


Did you also spot the satirical tribute to the League of Nations? And how about this for an accident waiting to happen?


We are grateful to Ferodo’s current owners, Federal-Mogul, for letting us use this image.

Drive safely, everyone!

Richard Clark’s new book on Derby

I recently blogged about a soon-to-be-launched book on Derby in a post about the DRS/VCH local history event happening in Matlock on 11 July. Now we have some details about the book, straight from the Derbyshire Record Society:

The Bailiffs of Derby: Urban Governors and their Governance 1513–1638
By Richard Clark

Derby has long had the doubtful distinction of being the least well studied major county town in early modern England, on which little work based on detailed archival research has been published. This new monograph goes a long way to rectifying this shortcoming. It provides a detailed picture of the bailiffs, chosen annually by their fellow burgesses, who headed the corporation between the early sixteenth century and the eve of the Civil War: who they were, what occupations they pursued, and the extent to which they formed a closed oligarchy. The second half of the book deals with their work: the maintenance of law and order, often in the face of incursions by county gentry; how they dealt with the plague and disputes over commons and enclosure; their response to the Reformation locally; and their role as benefactors. A final section considers how far a ‘civic culture’ developed in Derby. Appendices list the bailiffs, their occupations and wealth.

This study will be of great value to anyone interested in the history of Derby, and at the same time, because the author carefully contextualises his findings, is an important addition to case-studies of the larger provincial towns of Tudor and early Stuart England.

Richard Clark is a graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, where he completed a D.Phil. thesis in 1979 on the religious history of Derbyshire between 1603 and 1730. He now teaches part-time for the Open University. The author of a number of articles on early modern Derby, his edition of a churchwarden’s order book for All Saints, the principal parish church in the town, was published by the Derbyshire Record Society in 2010.

The Bailiffs of Derby will be published on 11 July 2015 as Derbyshire Record Society Occasional Paper No 11 (ISBN 0-978-0-946324-39-2), a section-sewn paperback of 128 pages, including a reproduction of John Speed’s map of Derby of 1611, at a recommended retail price of £15 (£18 by post). DRS members will be able to order copies at £10 post free.