Derbyshire’s Barmote Court – The oldest court in England

Derbyshire’s barmote courts are unique and ancient. To find out more, take a look at this great blog by Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Here at Buxton Museum, we display many aspects of Derbyshire’s mining history, whether it be our unique Blue John window, mining artifacts or our mineral collection. Due to its long mining history, Derbyshire is also the home of the Barmote Court, a mining court which is the oldest surviving court in England, having been created by the Duke of Lancaster in the 13th Century.

To understand why the Duchy of Lancaster has a say in the courts of Derbyshire, we must look back to the Second Barons War (1262-7) in which King Henry III’s favourite, Simon De Montefort, rebelled against the King, aided by other English nobles. One of these nobles was Robert Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby, whose Derbyshire lands had been held since the Conquest. Ferrers was married to Henry III’s half-niece and used the political turmoil and his position during the war to lay claim…

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Maritime History Research Guide

A guide to archives and published sources relating to maritime history. Although a land-locked county, Derbyshire Record Office does hold maritime records created or collected by Derbyshire people.  Ships and boats Material relating to ships and boats has all been subject indexed in our online catalogue under the term ‘seagoing vessels’.  You can also search … Continue reading Maritime History Research Guide

Mining the Seams workshop recordings

On 13 October we held a workshop aimed particularly at students and academics to talk about the archives of the coal industry in Derbyshire and Warwickshire, catalogued with Wellcome Trust funding. As not everyone who wanted to attend was able to come, we are sharing recordings of the presentations. Warwickshire County Record Office - … Continue reading Mining the Seams workshop recordings

Industrial Revolution Conference 2021

The Arkwright Society's 7th Industrial Revolution Conference will be on Zoom on Saturday 13 November and is a great opportunity to hear leading international academics discuss innovation in the first Industrial Revolution. The speakers are: Professor Joel Mokyr (Northwestern University, Illinois) talking about the role of taxation, patents, the poor law, apprenticeship and policing in … Continue reading Industrial Revolution Conference 2021

Miniature masterpieces – the world of Akan gold weights

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

As part of Black History Month, I am going to talk about something that could be perceived as being a bit mundane – weights. Not the kind you lift in the gym, but specifically weights used to measure out gold. These weights once formed part of the Derbyshire School Library Service, and were used by school children as handling objects. They have now been transferred to the permanent collection at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

These weights (known as mrammou) were used by the Akan, a diverse grouping of people inhabiting the present-day countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast. The weights first began to be used in the early 15th century and continued until the early 20th. This part of Africa is extremely rich in gold, and became known to Europeans, unsurprisingly, as the Gold Coast. This part of Africa was at the hub of…

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Limestone Quarry, Derbyshire

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The earliest picture of quarrying in Derbyshire?

In February the museum bought a small eighteenth-century watercolour from Chiswick Auctions in London. We don’t know who painted it or when, and its title, ‘Limestone Quarry, Derbyshire’ is somewhat ambiguous.

It is however, the earliest picture of limestone quarrying that the museum owns. It is perhaps the earliest picture of Derbyshire quarrying in existence.

Limestone quarry, Derbyshire. Unknown artist, late 1700s

Limestone quarrying was, and still is, an important industry for Derbyshire and the landscape is littered with the remains of old quarries. Although ubiquitous across the county, quarries very rarely make it into early topographical views of the area. The watercolour shows quarry workers, complete with pick-axes, chiselling away at the cliff face on the right hand side. In the centre, smoke can be seen billowing from a small lime kiln.

Detail from Limestone Quarry, Derbyshire

In the eighteenth-century artists had…

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