Three Maps, Three Men and One Town

From Roger, Cataloguing Volunteer

Recently I have been listing a collection of records that have been in the custody of the record office for several decades, although a few additions were made in the last couple of years (ref: D1622). The wide range of subjects, dates and locations of the documents in this collection can be fully appreciated only from the lists (not yet available online but soon). The items were assembled by Charles Blockley (1838-1927), a life-long resident of Chesterfield, variously employed as clerk at the County Court, clerk to the Town Clerk of Chesterfield, and clerk to the Chesterfield and Tapton Burial Board and High Bailiff of Chesterfield. He was an acquisitive antiquarian.

The most substantial component of the collection is documents relating to the Rotheram family of Dronfield, and to families associated through marriage.  The individuals and families principally involved are:

  • ROTHERAM: John Rotheram (ca 1620-1696); John Rotheram (1645-1720); John Rotherham (1671-1706); Samuel Rotheram (1680-1743) and John Rotheram (1717-1771).
  • FENTON of Gleadless, Handsworth and Little Sheffield, Yorkshire: Elizabeth Fenton married John Rotheram at Sheffield in 1748: this collection includes a substantial number and range of earlier documents of the Fenton family and of families associated through marriage; particularly William Fenton (ca 1602-1685/6) of Gleadless; Alexander Fenton (1638-1708/9) of Gleadless and Richard Fenton (father and son) of Handsworth
  • DRABLE[S] of Dronfield: Ellen Drable married John Rotheram at Dronfield in 1643
  • HANCOCKE of Dronfield: Elizabeth Hancocke married John Rotheram at Dronfield in 1668
  • HAYWOOD of Wallingwells, Nottinghamshire: Eliezer Haywood married Helen Rotheram at Northowram, Yorkshire in 1699
  • HOLLAND of Chesterfield: Thomas Holland married Hannah Rotheram at Dronfield in 1707
  • HOUNSFIELD of Dronfield: Francis Hounsfield married Helen Rotheram at Dronfield in 1670
  • UPPLEBY of Wootton, Lincolnshire: John Uppleby married Elizabeth Rotheram at Dronfield in 1701
  • WRIGHT of Hipperholme: Hannah Wright married Samuel Rotheram at Coley, Yorkshire in 1715.

There are also:

  • Manor Court records for Beighton, Bolsover, Calow, Chesterfield, Handsworth (Yorkshire), Ilkeston, Mansfield, Owlerton, Temple Normanton, plus a number of locations in Norfolk
  • a significant number of documents relating to the history of Chesterfield, including Chesterfield Corporation and Chesterfield parish church
  • a number of deeds relating to property in the parish of Dronfield refer, amongst others, to the following local families: Blyth, Burton, Fanshaw, Heathcote, Rossington.

 Amongst smaller but distinctive clusters there are:

  • Poor Law records such as bastardy and settlement examinations and one removal order
  • wills with probate certificates
  • correspondence and other documents of Wotton Byrchinshaw [Burkinshaw?] Thomas of Chesterfield (1769-1835), including letters from Sir George Sitwell in relation to the parliamentary election of 1832
  • terriers of Sutton cum Duckmanton

Of particular interest to me were three maps of Chesterfield that each have a personal connection to notable individuals.

1. D1622/36/2: This is the earliest of the map, bearing the date 1837. The streets of Chesterfield are shown in detail on a scale of 88 yards to one inch.  Particularly noticeable is a prominent double line running from north to south, marked at intervals with the words “excavation” and “embankment”. A clue to the significance of this line, if one were needed, is in the name shown on the map: Jonas Chapman.

Jonas Chapman (1814-?1880) was a land surveyor who undertook work for the North Midland Railway. Construction of this company’s line from Derby to Rotherham and Leeds was begun in 1837.  Perhaps Jonas Chapman anticipated that public interest in the construction of the railway would create a demand for his map. The Derbyshire Courier newspaper of 20 May 1837 contained a preliminary advertisement; and the map was published in August in a variety of formats: “price 7s [shillings] plain; 8s coloured; 9s coloured and stained and 12s 6d coloured and mounted on canvas”. The Courier offered unreserved praise: “Mr Chapman was determined to produce a work deserving the patronage of the public, it is needless to say that he has succeeded, and no eulogium of ours is necessary for its introduction”.

In subsequent years Chapman, land surveyor and engraver, met with ill-fortune. In 1840 he married a widowed mother, Hannah Ward, but in the census returns of 1851 and subsequent years her name is absent from Jonas Chapman’s entry. Chapman ceased to work as land surveyor, taking up his father’s trade, operating a fertiliser manufacturing enterprise, first in Chesterfield and then in his native Mansfield. This was not always successful: Chapman was brought before magistrates in Mansfield for causing unacceptable offence by the processing of animal bones; and in 1854 he had to face insolvency. It was said that at some point he was knocked down in the street, suffering a significant injury which so impeded his ability to earn a living that he was admitted to the Mansfield workhouse.

2. D1622/36/3: is essentially the same as the first, reprinted in 1890 for a different purpose. For many years, from a modest beginning in 1864 through to 1905, a Chesterfield wine and spirit merchant, Thomas Philpot Wood (1840-1911), published an annual almanac, freely distributed and highly regarded as a useful compendium of both local and general information. In 1890 T P Wood heard that someone living in Chesterfield held an old copper plate engraving of the town: this turned out to be an engraving of Chapman’s 1837 map. Wood had the map enclosed as a frontispiece in his 1891 almanac, to which he added a commentary emphasising changes and developments in the town in the years between 1837 and 1891. (Copies of the almanac are held at the Record Office and Chesterfield Local Studies Library.  Although the surviving 1891 edition no longer has the frontispiece map, you can see it in other editions, including 1890).

Thomas Philpot Wood was a life-long resident of Chesterfield. He served on Chesterfield Borough Council between 1863 and 1910; served three times as mayor and was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough. Amongst many contributions to public life he played a leading role in the campaign by the people of Chesterfield to raise money to purchase the land for Queen’s Park.

3. D1622/36/7: shows the boundary of the Chesterfield Parliamentary constituency. The title of the map indicates the purpose of its publication: “What Mr Byron (The Unionist Candidate) Has Done for the Chesterfield Division”. The sites of Byron’s supposed achievements are highlighted, as is the location of his home at Duckmanton Lodge. To add emphasis the map carries text describing Byron’s involvement with local agricultural organisations and with developments in mining and railway building. The map bears no date, but Byron was a candidate in the 1895 and 1900 Parliamentary elections.

Augustus William Byron (1856-1939) was born in Somerset and educated at Rugby School. By his mid-twenties he was employed as a land agent to William Arkwright, with homes in London and at Duckmanton Lodge near Chesterfield. Byron was unsuccessful in the Parliamentary election of 1895 and again in 1900 by which time he had become an officer in the Leicestershire Imperial Yeomanry, seeing action during the Boer War. He was involved in the promotion of the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway, opened from Chesterfield to Lincoln in 1897, and in the development of iron works and tube manufacture in Chesterfield, taking risks which led to bankruptcy in 1912. He died in 1939 in France where he had lived for some years.

Dronfield 1917 (in 2017)

Last night, while others spending an evening at school may have been watching the typical (or less typical) Christmas nativity, I was privileged to attend Stonelow Junior School to see the year 6 give a dramatic presentation for Dronfield 2017: Stories from the First World War.

For the last 12 months, the pupils have been researching the history of their town and it’s people, including some of soldiers who fought in the war. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by the brilliant Gertie and Paul Whitfield from Whitworks Adventures in Theatre, pupils visited different museums, businesses and organisations. In Feb 2017, I visited the school taking a selection of old Dronfield records, photographs and history books to help the pupils with their research.

Posters created by the pupils to show information found from Record Office sources

Informed and inspired by diaries, letters, newspapers, service records, church registers and many other sources, the pupils brought their local “ancestors” to life with poems, songs, a silent movie re-enactment, imagined postcards and letters and recollections from the past. Remembering facts and figures, stories and feelings, it was a fantastic way to present what they had learned – including a verse of Silent Night in the original German.

I couldn’t help but read the pupils project diaries and see what they thought of the Record Office visit…

“… it was a fascinating day I learnt a lot and hope she comes again” – Chloe

“When I was reading I noticed that the writing was squiggly in the log books” – Alexander

“My personal favourite is the church record book. It had in it all the names, birth and their jobs. I felt so privled [?privileged] and excited  to find out what jobs were in 1917. The writing kept going column after column and the writing was big and scary but some of it was so fancy”

You can soon see a copy of the book produced as part of the project in our Local Studies collection and in Dronfield Library.

Explore Your Archive – Reading, Writing and the Theatre Royal

Compare and Contrast – a selection of Derbyshire Record Office documents regarding Regency children and education.

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt1)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt1)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt2)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt2)

From 'Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope', 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From ‘Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope’, 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From 'Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope', 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From ‘Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope’, 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

D2375 M/84/24 Printed orders to parents on the admission of their children into charity schools, 18th cent

D2375 M/84/24 Printed orders to parents on the admission of their children into charity schools, 18th cent

D6948/15/2 Pages from Belper Mill Girls School admission register, 1820s

D6948/15/2 Pages from Belper Mill Girls School admission register, 1820s

Dronfield Academy advert, Derby Mercury, 11 July 1811

Dronfield Academy advert, Derby Mercury, 11 July 1811

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt1)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt1)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt2)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt2)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt1)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt1)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt2)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt2)

EYA-poster-story-boxes

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt1)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt1)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt2)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt2)

EYA-poster-poetry-workshop

D5459/1/35 Part of 'Sunday Morning', George M. Woodward.  On the back is written: 'GM Woodward sketches when a child.  These are evident proofs of his natural Genius he used to draw before he could speak plain (W.W.)' - the handwriting is that of his father, William Woodward.

D5459/1/35 Part of ‘Sunday Morning’, George M. Woodward. On the back is written:
‘GM Woodward sketches when a child. These are evident proofs of his natural Genius he used to draw before he could speak plain (W.W.)’ – the handwriting is that of his father, William Woodward.

Creepy House: creative models of Wingfield Manor

This week we have delivered the first of our 13 kids activity sessions as part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. In line with this year’s theme, Creepy House, the typically enthusiastic children and just as enthusiastic parents in New Mills and Glossop created some fantastic and eery models of Wingfield Manor.

All sessions are free of charge and the children are encouraged to enter their work into our competition to win a new book. All competition entries will be displayed in the gallery wall at the Record Office in Matlock from 2 September for visitors to vote for the best ones. Still to come…

Derbyshire’s own Creepy House – Wingfield Manor: 15th century mansion, 16th century prison, 17th century fort, 18th century ruin

Discover the secrets of Wingfield Manor ready to build and design your own model of this creepy house

                Newbold Library, Monday 12 August, 10.30am – 11.30am

                Creswell Library, Monday 12 August, 2.30pm-3.30pm

                Dronfield Library, Monday 19 August, 10.30am – 11.30am

                Alfreton Library, Thursday 29 August, 10.30am – 11.30am

Breaking News! Family histories jumbled in crash: Use the clues to put the families stories back together and create a history suitcase for the next generation

Craft session to get children thinking about their ancestry

                Long Eaton Library, Wednesday 14 August, 2.00pm-3.30pm

                Eckington Library, Monday 19 August, 2.00pm-3.30pm

                Chesterfield Library, Friday 23 August, 10.30am – 11.30am

                Ilkeston Library, Thursday 29 August, 2.00pm-3.30pm

A Century of My Village: What was your village like when Queen Victoria was on the throne?

Use old photographs to make your own pop-theatre of the village

                Melbourne Library, Wednesday 14 August, 10.30am – 11.30am

                Bolsover Library, Friday 23 August, 2.00pm-3.00pm

If you would like to book please contact the appropriate library. More information about the Summer Reading Challenge can be found at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/libraries or by contacting your local library.

On This Day: ‘A Struggle with a Thief’

From the Derbyshire Times, 30th April 1881:

UNSTONE

A STRUGGLE WITH A THIEF

On Monday noon an impudent till robbery was committed by a tramp, at the shop of Jabez H. Walker, grocer, Unstone.  Whilst Mr Walker was at dinner the tramp entered the shop without ringing the door bell, and took from the till its contents, amounting to £1 6s. 6d.  But on going out of the shop he accidentally rang the bell, and Mr Walker entered the shop as he was going out at the door.  He was asked what he wanted, and replied half an ounce of tobacco.  This was supplied, for which he tendered sixpence in payment and Mr Walker going to the till for change discovered the robbery, which he charged the prisoner with committing.

The prisoner went away to the Fleur de Lis Inn, where he was followed by Mr Walker.  He acknowledged taking the money, which he gave to Mr Walker,  but on being informed that he would not be allowed to leave the place he took out a large clasp knife, and made a violent attempt to force his way out of the room.  The door of the room was, however, secured, and finding his escape cut off, he attempted, after doing some damage in the room, to jump through the window, one or two of the panes of which he first destroyed.  Whilst attempting to jump out, a man on the road threw a cinder, which struck him on the head, knocking him down insensible.  He was then secured, his hands being tied with a rope, until the arrival of Inspector Spencer, of Dronfield, who took him to the Dronfield Police Station.  He gave the name of George Jones, but refused to give his address.

He had an accomplice, who stood outside Mr Walker’s shop at the time Jones went in and committed the robbery, and who it is said went to the Fleur de Lis Inn and asked to be admitted to the room where Jones had been secured.  Inspector Spencer, with praiseworthy promptitude, went in search for him, and ultimately apprehended him in Dronfield.  He gave the name of Jack Curtis, said he was an Irishman, but refused to say where he hailed from.  On being searched a large knife with long blade and sharp point, similar to the one taken from Jones, was found upon him.  He professed to have no knowledge of Jones.       

We hold the Derbyshire Times on microfilm; Chesterfield edition from 1854, all editions from 1963 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

Final pictures from our Summer Holiday events in Derbyshire Libraries

Here are the final installments of photos from the ‘History of You’ craft sessions we have hosted in Derbyshire Libraries over the school holidays as part of the Summer Reading Challenge.

Swadlincote Library, 7 August, Borrowash Library, 22 August and Matlock Library, 28 August

(Click image to enlarge)

We are very sorry to all the people who attended our sessions in Staveley and Dronfield on Thursday 16 August, unfortunately, all the photographs were accidentally deleted from the camera and we are not able to share the photographs from this day.

Florence and the Pumpkins

From a craft session to a creative writing session, we grabbed some lunch at Chesterfield Library and humbly awaited the arrival of our next group who were coming to write stories using old local photographs from Picture the Past as inspiration. Here are some of the fantastic results;-

Some photos from the afternoon…

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“Mary”: Victoria chose a picture of a very young Mary Milner in her pram in Dronfield (DCNE000743) and wrote a slightly sad story telling us about Mary’s first few years;-

“I never will like elephants”: Olivia’s story (with illustrations) was inspired  by an 1899 photograph of elephants parading down Chatsworth Road in Chesterfield (DCCC001392);-

Keep an eye out for more stories from this event as the young people finish their stories at home and send them in. In the meantime, here is the story written by our Conservator’s daughter, Rebecca, “Was it real?” inspired by the very white and snowy St John’s churchyard in Buxton (DCBM000010)

We’re looking forward to even more stories and poems from our session at Duffield Library on Wednesday 22 August and at Alfreton Library on Tuesday 28 August (both events are free but booking is essential; please contact the library concerned to book a place).