Ellis Crompton’s

History of Whittington Parish


The Rev. Ellis Arthur Crompton M.A. L.Th. is noted as being the Rector of St.Bartholomew’s Old Whittington from 1922 until 1946.


The Rev. Crompton wrote a ‘handbook’ 1935 titled ‘A History of Whittington Parish (Derbyshire). We have reproduced his text and illustrations here to quote ‘trusting that it may create in others an interest similar to that which has been given to the Author

Dr. PEGGE, Rector of Whittington 1751-1796

A History of Whittington Parish,



The person met with in life without a certain amount of pride or interest in one’s birthplace or abode of residence, is one, who is more deserving of our pity and sympathy than our blame. To live in a place for any length of time and not to enter into the sympathies, interests or aspirations of the place, is to be void of one of the most humane instincts planted within man: the sense of neighbourliness and citizenship. In most of the Parishes of this Country, there are points of interest which help to stimulate thought and call for emulation and admiration. Whittington with its long and varied history, can boast of much that deserves honourable mention, and of historical interest to those who live here, since it has the unique and historic house,the Revolution House, wherein measures were concerted for bringing over William, Prince of Orange, to lead in the upholding of the great cause of freedom, liberty and justice, necessitated in the seventeenth century by the action of the Sovereign of the Realm. It has also had as Residents, persons in the foremost ranks of Archaeologists, like Dr.Pegge; a great Engineer and Educationalist, in the person of Mr. Frederick Swanwick; a leading Philanthropist and Educationalist as Miss Mary Swanwick; a great Engineer and Benefactor, as Mr. Maurice Deacon, C.E.; a great Metallurgist and Benefactor as Mr. H. Brearley, the discoverer of Stainless Steel.

That one may take a deeper and more enlightened interest in the vicissitudes of the past in this parish, we send forth this handbook, trusting that it may create in others an interest similar to that which has been given to the Author, in bringing together the facts herein recorded.


We gratefully acknowledge the kindly help afforded us by Mr. T.Metcalfe, Mrs. Stones and “The Derbyshire Times.”


Whittington as a separate and distinct entity, comes very early in the notice of England. How early, one cannot truly say, but there is evidence to show of its record in Domesday Book, a work of William the Conqueror begun in 1068 A.D: it is recorded there together with other districts in the neighbourhood in the following order:-“Witintune, Brimintune, Tapetune, Cestrefeld, Bintorp, and Echintune.”

Its name seems to have been derived from the river upon which it stands, the Witting.

In the earliest records, it is joined with the Manor of Brimington; these two districts apparently being held as a single manor.This was originally a part of the King’s demesne, for we learn of his granting it to a subject at a rent of £20, to a family bearing the name of de Brimington and de Whittington. This family name comes before us in the fourth year of Edward I., and is recorded in the Hundred Rolls, as follows :-

“Be it remembered that the Jurors of that Wapentake present that the Manor of Brymington and Whittington, is an escheat of the King’s predecessors and King Henry, great grandfather of the Father (Abavus) of the new King, and gave that Manor to Peter de Brumpton the Elder for £20 rent, to be paid unto his own exchequer; afterwards they present that King John gave that Manor to William Briwere and that William, son of the same, released to the said Peter the said £20 as it lies in the verdict.”

From this William Briwere, who received it from King John, and who in turn had acknowledged the ownership in the paramount manor. As belonging to the Peverils, it passed to the Wakes, the Boythorps, the Bretons, the Foljambes.

In the days of Henry III. 1257, we learn of one Robert de Whittington, the grandson of Osbert de Whittington, who was Senescal of the Dean of Lincoln, and who had attested a Charter in 1195, being outlawed. His father Simon de Whittington granted a Charter to the Chapel of Whittington of a toft (an enclosed field with house) which Osbert, his father, formerly held in Whittington. From Simon de Whittington it passed to Robert fil Galfrey de Dethic, Geoffrey Dethic was seised of the manor in 1320.

In Edward II’s reign we learn of one Roger de Mablethorpe, 1302,-the first recorded Rector of Whittington giving to Gilbert, his brother, certain lands at Whittington. About the same period we read of one Isabella, ux John fil Roger fil Hore, granting lands at Whittington to John fil Ranulf fil Reginald de Hulywelgate de Chesterfield.

We learn that in about 1488 it passed to the family bearing the name of Pole, It remained with them to the 17th century, when it came in moieties to the families of Frith and Chaworth. Frith’s moiety eventually came to Sir Charles Sedley in marriage, and he in turn sold it to one Richard Gillet, from whom it passed by purchase to Henry Dixon in 1813. Chaworth’s molety passed to the family of Launder, who sold it to John Dixon. W.Parker, – the father of the present Duchess of Somerset, – eventually became Lord of the Manor and the chief landed proprietor. In the present church, a tablet is affixed to the south west wall, to the sacred memory of Mr. John Dixon. The inscription is as follows –

“Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth, wife of John Dixon, Esq., who died April 11th, 1789, aged 35 years. She was a truly pious, good Christian, an excellent neighbour and parishioner and beloved by all. Also in memory of John Dixon, Esq., who died Jan. 27th, 1816, aged 71 years.”

It was when Dixons were Lords of the Manor that the Whittington award for the inclosure of all lands in the Parish was given in 1821. The Rector being at that time the Rev. G. Gordon the Younger; holding the same under the Patronage of the Dean of Lichfield.

This Award is of very great interest to the parish, giving as it does, full details of every parcel of land. Two copies of this Award are existing: one held in the Rectory; the other by the Town Clerk of Chesterfield: the latter being the Churchwardens’ copy. The Commissioners, Messrs. Joseph Bishop of Bents Green, Yorks., and John Burcham of Coningsby, Lincoln, and Joseph Whitaker of Morton, Notts., Umpire; were appointed for the “setting and dividing inclosing assigning and allotting the open and common fields arable and pasture lands and also the several commons called Whittington Moor and Glass House Common as well as several other scattered parcels of waste ground situate within the Parish of Whittington in and by a certain Act of Parliament made and passed in the second year of the Reign of his present Majesty and in the year of our Lord, 1821, entitled, ‘An Act for inclosing lands in the Parish of Whittington in the County of Derby.'”

The enquiry was held on September 11th, 1821, in the Revolution House. George Glossop the Younger was appointed Surveyor, and the survey agreed upon amounted to 927a – 1r – 26p ancient inclosures; 612a – 1r – 39p common fields. Public Carriage Roads and Highways and private carriage Roads, included the following :-Pottery Road, Chesterfield Road, The New Road (High Street and Handley Road), Bramley Moor Road, New Bridge Lane, Broomhill Road, Burnbridge Road, Junction Road.

The net amount of Corn Rents was also ascertained, being declared the sum of Two hundred and ninety six pounds, two shillings, exclusive of Easter Offerings, Mortuaries, and surplus fees. The Commissioners further ascertained the average price of good marketable wheat in this district, and found that it was Nine shillings per Winchester Bushel. Also found that 650 Bushels of good and marketable wheat were equal in value to the sum of £296. The Rectory was valued at £6-13 -4 in 1291 when the “Taxation Roll” of Pope Nicholas 1V. was compiled. It was reckoned as being worth as a Benefice in 1650 at £ 60 in the Parliamentary Commission. Total acreage of the Parish, 1573 :2: 30 acres. In the 1845 Terrier, the Corn Rent was assessed as being 658 Bushels of Wheat at 6/10 1/2 per Bushel, amounting to £226- 17 -51/2

Dr. Pegge describing the Parish in his day, said of it :-

Whittington is a small parish of about 14 or 15 hundred acres, distant from the church and old market place of Chesterfield about two miles and a half. It lies on the road from Chesterfield to Sheffield and Rotherham, whose roads divide there at the well known inn The Cock and Magpye, commonly called The Revolution House.”

“The situation is exceedingly pleasant, in a pure and excellent air.  It Abounds with all kinds of conveniences for the use of the inhabitants, as coal, stone, timber, etc., besides its proximity to a good market to take  its products” 

In the foregoing description, Dr. Pegge makes reference to the Parish having within it an Historical House, the Revolution House. The Parish is proud of this fact and nothing gives greater pleasure to the Parishioners than to point it out to any stranger visiting the district. The Ownership of this House has passed through many changes since the important meeting held between those responsible for bringing over William lll. It is now vested in the Corporation of Chesterfield, it being turned over to them by the Trustees, who had received it from the Chesterfield Brewery Co. in 1893. It passed from the Duke of Devonshire by sale in 1850 to Mr. Mansfield F Mills of Tapton Grove, Chesterfield, the Duke reserving the right “to erect and maintain a stone to commemorate the site of the Revolution House” in the event of the House being taken down. The latter eventually transferred it to Trustees.

The possession of the Revolution House in the Parish, has awakened the interest of representatives almost of all the civilized world. An American is spoken of as saying of it, “I calculate we would gladly give you White House at Washington for this doll’s cottage.”

Lovers of liberty, justice, and freedom, have turned gladly to the turning point of English History, which this historic House speaks of, and revelled in the fact that the Protestant Faith found such champions in this County of Derbyshire, who crushed the foreign and alien power which had enthralled and held captive its King, James II. He had brought the country into a ferment of discontent and revolution by his Roman Catholic sympathies, and his slavish following of its tenets: factions and rivalries existed on all sides, and the Country could only be saved by strong, determined, faithful followers of the true faith. The climax came with the Revolution of 1688. This climax was hastened by two events,- the trial of the Bishops, owing to their refusal to accept the “Declaration of Indulgence,” and the birth of a Prince of Wales whom it was feared would be reared up in the Roman Catholic faith. The rendezvous of those who concerted measures for bringing over the Prince of Orange was in this historic House, and through it, our Parish has become so widely known.

History records the grateful thanks of the nation to the foreign Prince, and he together with his Queen, did not fail to pay their high tribute to the leader of this enterprise, for they decreed that the Marquis of Hartington should be created a Duke-the first Duke of Devonshire-the patent which conferred this title read;-“The King and Queen could do no less for one who deserved the best of them, one who in a corrupt age sinking into the basest flattery, had constantly retained the manners of the ancients, and would never suffer himself to be moved, either by the insinuations or threats of a deceitful court, but equally despising both like a true assertor of liberty stood always for the laws, and when he saw them violate past all other redress, he appealed to us, and, we advising with him to shake off that tyranny, he, with many other Peers drawn off to us by his example and advice, gave us the greatest assistance towards gaining an absolute victory without blood, and so restoring the ancient rights and religion, and so thorough was his Derbyshire spirit of independence that he did not scruple to tell the King who had created him a Duke that ‘he came over not to personate the Papists but to defend the Protestants’.”

Chatsworth, the beautiful and well known seat of the Duke of Devonshire, owes its foundation to this event for there is to be found on a marble tablet in the “Grand Hall” the inscription, “These well-beloved ancestral halls were begun in the year of English freedom, 1688.”

The four important personages, who formed the council in the Revolution House,-Earl of Devonshire, Earl Danby, John D’Arcy, and Lord Delamere,- invited William, the Prince, owing to his relationship to the throne and his great interest and affection for England. Having secured his own position in the Netherlands, he turned longing eyes to England, for possibilities in his favour were held out there, as the son of the Princess Royal of England. After his Uncles, Charles II. and James, Duke of York, the two daughters of James alone stood between him and the throne. He was, unless the Duke of York should have a son by his second marriage, actually the next male issue of the blood royal. “The further fact that the Duke of York had become a zealous convert to Roman Catholicism had aroused a strong feeling of aversion from his succession on the part of the large majority of the English nation, who naturally turned their eyes to the young Dutch Stadholder, the representative of a race which had done so much in defence of the Protestant cause.”

The Ecclesiastical Parish of Whittington is now smaller in area, though much greater in population, than it was in the days of Dr. Pegge. In 1783, when the Parish included a large area on Whittington Moor, the population was only about 605.  At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were about 627 inhabitants, and even at the middle of the same century it was only some 870 persons. When the Rev. J. Tomlinson was Rector, the area was reduced, the Whittington Moor side being turned over to Newbold. In 1927, New Whittington was created a separate district, reducing the population by nearly 4,000, and yet, over five thousand are still left in the ancient Parish. Whittington was incorporated in the Boro’ of Chesterfield, Nov.9th, 1920.


Rev. Crompton then lists the Rectors of Whittington. We have updated that list here


South Side
I. Richard Banks

II. Geo. Gilberthorpe

III. Henry Lowe. Godfrey Stubbing

IV. John Froggatt

V. The Christening Seat, & when no Christening, Martin Wolstenholme and Edward Nadin

VI. Thos. Gillot, Richard Stubbing, Nicholas Edge, Godfrey Hounsfield, Thomas Gervas, John Webster

VII. William Sprentall, Geo. Clayton

VIII.Thos. Renshaw, Thos. Gillot

IX. John Webster & George Plumtree, Tenant to Josuah Webster, Mr Sanderson, Saml. Thorpe
X. John Rogers and James Nailer, Samson Candlin, Geo. Holmes Jnr

XI. Wm. Sprentall, Henry Lowe, Thos. Gillot, Wm. Sprentall Jnr.

XII. John Froggatt, Widow Gilberthorpe, Robt. Reynold, Thos. Renshaw

XIII. Godfrey Stubbing, Henry Lowe (Solomon’s Lowes), Wm. Norledge, Geo. Plumtree, tenant to Josuah Webster

XIV. Widow Gilberthorpe, James Hewit, Saml. Thorpe, Alice Edge

XV. Saml. Thorpe. Alice Edge, John Renshaw, John Hall
North Side
XVI. Wm. Sprentall, Geo. Wright, James Belfield, Robert Reynold

XVII. Simon Glossop, John Cosen, Geo. Wood, Mary Holmes, John Belfield

XVIII. Geo. Gilberthorpe, James Nailor, James Worstenholme, Geo. Pearson, Wm. Nailor

XIX. Wm. Sprentall Snr., Wm. Sprentall Jnr., Geo. Edge, Antony Banks, John Turner.

XX. John Bower, Alice Edge, John Sykes, Snr., Widow Gilberthorpe, James Belfield.

XXI. Godfrey Hounsfield, Wm. Nailer, James Thorpe, Wm. Banks, Thos. Gillot.

XXII. John Froggatt, Sampson Candlin, Wm. Pearson, Godfrey Webster.
XXIII. Robt. Reynold, Wm. Norledge, Peter Webster, James Hewitt.

XXIV. Godfrey Stubbing, John Hall, Wm. Banks, Mrs Poles, Henry Lowe.

XXV. Wm. Sykes, Widow Lowe, Thos. Millard, Geo. Wright

XXVI. John Hind, Wm. Sykes, Robert Hewitt, Wm. Banks, Thos. Millard

XXVII. John Hall, Godfrey Webster, Peter Webster, Geo. Wright

XXVIII. Nicholas Sanderson, John Webster, Wm. Pearson, John Sykes.
The Minister’s seat or reading desk. The Clerk & Schoolmasters. These not mentioned in the Roll

XXIX. Henry Lowe

N.B.-The old Roll was wrote by Mr. John Akrode, who lived sometime in Brampton Parish and was signed by the following persons, viz :-

Thos. Callice, Rector. John Froggatt, John Hinde, Churchwardens. Henry Lowe, John Webster, Sidesmen. Robt. Hewit, Parish Clerk. Godfrey Stubbing, Nicholas Sanderson, James Hewit, John Bower, Wm. Sprentall, Senr., Wm. Sprentall, Junr., Godfrey Hounsfield, Schoolmaster. John Hall, Geo. Wright, John Sykes, Robt. Reynold, Thos. Gillot, James Thorp, John Key.

I, William, Lord Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, having perused this Plan of the seats and sitting plans in the Parish Church of Whittington in the County of Derby as they are appropriated to the several Freeholders and Inhabitants of the said Parish, do very much approve of it, and I do hereby (as much as in me lies and by law I am able) ratify and confirm the said seats and sitting places to the several Persons and Houses and their Heirs and Successors, as in this Plan, the year appropriated. In testimony whereof I have caused my Episcopal Seal to be hereunto affixed this second day of September, 1698 and in the sixth year of our translation.



The first mention of any religious life in this Parish is recorded as early as the Norman period. There seems to have been a Church and Rector as early as 1140 A.D. This Church stood nigh to the site of the present Church. About the year 1100 it seems to have been a Chapel of Ease to the rectorial manor of Chesterfield. It is recorded that the inhabitants of Whittington Parish were called upon to make oblations, and to supply in turn the sacramental bread for the Church of Chesterfield. The first known Rector was one Roger de Mablethorpe 1302 A.D. The original Norman Church of Whittington was very small, consisting of Nave, Chancel, south porch, and a low spire at the west end. It seems to have been considerably altered at a later period, or taken down and another one built, since Dr. Cox points out that this Church had pictures on the walls with small lancet windows in the south wall of the Nave, depicting the Early English period (1189-1272). Also it contained windows at the East and West ends and at each side of the porch, pointing distinctly to the Perpendicular period (1400-1547).

There was a Font preserved, until it perished in the fire of 1895, which seems distinctly to have been of the Norman period. Dr. Cox described this as being,–“Circular at the top, tapering into an octagon shape. Its diameter was two feet, the stone being nineteen inches high. Together with the base, its total height was about three feet. It was ornamented round the upper margin with an escalloped moulding.”

The original door of the Church was of the Norman style, and, until 1862, when the Church was taken down, was preserved by the porch. It is believed to be still in the Parish, at the Mansion House.

Dr. Pegge said of this Church,-

“The Church is now a little rectory in the gift of the  Dean of Lincoln. At first, it was a chapel of ease toChesterfield, a very large manor and parish, of which I will give the following but short convincing proof. The Dean of Lincoln, as I said, Patron of this rectory, and yet William Rufus gave no other church this part of Derbyshire to the Church of St. Mary at Lincoln, but the Church of Chesterfield; and, moreover, Whittington is at this day parcel of the great and extensive manor of Chesterfield; whence follows that Whittington must have been once a part both of the rectory and manor of Chesterfield.”

In the east window of the early Church was a small figure of a female saint. At the bottom of this window was an inscription in block letters,”Roger Cric.” Roger Criche was Rector and died 1413, and probably made this window. He was buried within the altar rails. On the alabaster slab dedicated to his memory there is described a figure of a priest in vestments with a chalice in the right corner and a book in the left. The greatest singularity in this gravestone is the portraiture of a little boy on the Rector’s left side, towards the bottom. It probably is the youth that rang the Sacring bell. Perhaps he might die at the same time as his master Cryche and be interred in the same grave, says Dr. Pegge. A more recent writer on Derbyshire antiquities, also gives an account of this remarkable stone:-

“In the middle of the pavement of the Chancel of the Church at this place is a very remarkable incised slab of alabaster, representing a priest in his canonicals, with a lesser figure on his left hand; probably intended for an acolyte. The head of the priest rests on a cushion with an embroidered border, to the right of which is a chalice, and on the let an open book. There is a defaced inscription of four lines above the figures, and a shorter one of two lines below them. There is every reason to believe that this slab covers the remains of Roger Criche, Vicar of Whittington, who died in 1414.”

In 1827 the Rev. G. Gordon had the Chancel rebuilt: the square tower and steeple being taken down and a small turret fixed, and the Sanctus Bell was removed to the west end. The roof hitherto being of lead was replaced with slates.

Just recently a stone recording this restoration has been found in the Parish with the date and Incumbent’s name inscribed thereon.

In 1851 a large tower was built and two old bells were rehung therein In the Chancel of this old Church, the body of Dr. Pegge was buried.

The slab on his grave was inscribed:-

At the north end of the Altar Table within the Rails

Lieth the Remains of


Who was inducted into the Rectory, Nov. 11th, 1751,

and died Feb. 14th, 1796,

In the 92nd Year of his age.

Dr. Pegge was a well known Antiquary, the Author of “The Life of Bishop Grossetete,” “History of Beauchief Abbey,” “Bolsover and Peak Castles.”

Christopher Pegge. =
Married 1702 at Chesterfield
Gertrude Stephenson
Christopher Pegge
Samuel Pegge
bap. Nov. 15/1704
bap. July 1713


At a Vestry Meeting held pursuant to notice, a copy of which is prefixed, in the Vestry room of the Parish Church of Whittington, in the County of Derby on Thursday the 26th day of November 1846, to take into consideration the propriety and necessity of applying to the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Lichfield for a Faculty for the demolition of the above said Church and further erection of a new and enlarged one on the site thereof.

Firstly, it was resolved that the order of the 10th July 1845 proposing a Church rate at tenpence in the pound for the repairs of the Parish Church of Whittington be rescinded and it is hereby cancelled. Mr. Rangeley proposes it and Mr. Marr seconds it and carried unanimously.

Secondly, it was resolved on the motion of Mr. Charles Steade and seconded by Mr. Rangeley that the Church is in such a dilapidated state as to be utterly impossible to be repaired and that it is the opinion of this meeting that it is necessary to be taken down and rebuilt. Carried unanimously.

Thirdly. It was resolved on the motion of Mr. Holmes and seconded by Mr. Clarke that the Churchwardens of this Parish be and are hereby authorised to apply to the Court of Lichfield for a faculty under which the said rebuilding of the Parish Church may take place. Agreed to unanimously.

Fourthly. It was resolved by the motion of Mr. George Bower and seconded by Mr. John Syddall that the Rev. Joseph Nodder, Rector of Ashover, Rev. Henry Hollingworth Pearson, Vicar of Norton, the Rev.William Peach, Perpetual Curate of Brampton, John Meynell, Esq., of Tapton Grove, Edmund Gilling Maynard, Esq., Chesterfield, John Gregory Cottingham, Esq., Chesterfield and G. H. Barrow, Esq. of Ringwood House be appointed commissioners under the powers of the faculty. Unanimously agreed.

Fifthly. It was resolved on the motion of Mr. George Thorpe and seconded by Mr. William Belfitt that the plans and estimates amounting to £1,000 exclusive of Architect’s Commission and Clerk of the Work’s salary, now submitted to the meeting, prepared by Mr. Joseph Mitchell of Sheffield Architect, be approved of and that Mr. Mitchell is appointed Architect for carrying the same into execution. Agreed to unanimously.

Sixthly. It was resolved on the motion of Mr. Sam Jenkinson and Mr.John Key that the Rev. Robert Robinson, the Churchwardens for the time being, Mr. Steade, Mr. Rangeley, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Edmund Smith, Mr. George Jenkinson, Mr. George Bower, Mr. Edward Marr, Mr. George Marr, do form a committee for the purpose of obtaining subscriptions and making all necessary arrangements for the rebuilding of this Church.

Seventhly. Mr. Steade having announeed at the meeting that he had collected subscriptions to the amount of £962-12-0, it was unanimously resolved that the cordial thanks of this meeting be presented to him for his great and successful exertions in the promotion of the object of this meeting.



It will be seen from the foregoing account, that the old Church was for many years in a most dilapidated condition and being beyond repair, it was decided to rebuild a new Church at a cost of £2,018 – 0 – 0. This was begun in 1862 and it was reopened on Feb. 10/1863. The Bishop of Lichfield preached at the morning service at 11-0 and the Rev. Thos. Moore, of St.Stephen’s, Liverpool, at 7-0. The collections during the day totalled £96 – 7 – 3. The Sunday following, the Archdeacon Hill preached the morning sermon; the Rev. C. B. Hodges of Byley at 3-0; and the Curate, the Rev. G. V. Wheeler at 6-30. The collections totalling for the day £130.

Wm. Fowler, Esq., of Whittington Hall, entertained a large party on the Opening Day.

The Church consisted of Nave, north and south Aisles, Chancel, with an organ (given by Mr. Fowler 1868) and chamber with Vestry on either side. The principal entrance was formed in the tower, situate in the south west corner of the Edifice: having a spire 100-ft. in height. Wingerworth stone was used for the Ashlar facings. The roofs were high pitched with stained timbers. The sittings were open benches with sloped backs and seats, and were stained and varnished. Encaustic tiles were used for the Chancel floor: the Aisles having blue, red and buff tiles. The Church was successfully heated, with accommodation for 600.

It had beautiful stained window, dedicated to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Steade of Broom House. It consisted of three openings or bays, surmounted by a large broken quarter-foil, two trefoils, and other parts, which constituted the tracery. In them were the symbols of the Holy Lamb

and the Pelican in piety; the larger one containing a medallion of the Ascension. The lower compartments consisted of three subjects. The centre the Crucifixion. St. Mary, St. John and the Magdalene at the foot of the Cross. On the left were the words, “On this rock I will build My Church.” On the right, “Feed My sheep.”

In 1887 a reredos was erected to the memory of Miss Catherine Aldam.



Nothing sadder in the history of the Parish is there than that which tells us of the sad catastrophe of the destruction of the 1863 Church by fire.This fire, which probably began in the neighbourhood of the heating apparatus, was supposed to have ignited a beam in the vestry.

A report written at the time in the “Derbyshire Times” said

“The pews were burning fiercely, the pitch pine roof was blazing away, and the organ was by this time reduced to a heap of ashes. Fireman Gaunt endeavoured to enter the Church, but was driven back, and a falling stone struck him on the back and slightly injured him. The Brigade devoted their attention to the tower, playing on it continuously, and the safe in the Vestry, which held all the registers, deeds and other documents connected with the Parish and the Church. But it was not fire proof, and when subsequently found in the debris and opened, contained enly a charred and burnt mass, only a few baptism and death registers, which were in the middle of the box, remaining of the slightest value.”

“Monuments split and fell with a crash from the sacred spots where they had so long pointed out good deeds done, the altar rails, at which so many had knelt and made vows, twisted into all forms, and the pipes of the organ were all running into a shapeless mass again. Not even the beautiful stained glass window at the east end was saved, and the altar had only assisted in increasing the flames which encircled the handsome reredos at the back of it. Of all that noble and sacred pile nothing remains but the tower and the bells. These have been saved, and will be the only connecting link between the old Parish Church and the new one that will have to be raised in its place.”

The ancient Font was split into fragments. The Altar Cross (loaned for use now at Sheepbridge Mission) and one of the Altar Candle Sticks very seriously injured and a Water Ewer were all that remained of the interior ornaments and vessels.

Under the splendid leadership of the Rector, the Rev. J. Tomlinson, steps were at once taken for rebuilding a new church.  On Feb. 5th, 1895, the resolution was carried as follows :-That a committee be formed of the following: the Rector, the Churchwardens (Dr. Palmer and Mr. D. Holford) and other officials, with power to add the names of all who are willing to volunteer their services, and that out of it a Collecting Committee, a Finance Committee, and a Building Committee be formed. Mr. Holford was appointed Secretary. Mr. Johnson Pearson voiced the opinions of the Nonconformists, remarking that in disasters like that one they were deploring, parties were forgotten. He would serve on the Collecting Committee, and do his best to assist in the work.

Subscriptions immediately began to come in and by the time the Church was reopened in September 1896, the whole of the money was found.  Amongst the early subscribers were the Bishop of Lichfield and the Duke of Devonshire; Mr. Jas. Hamilton of New Brighton, Mrs. W. Parker; One Hundred pounds each; and the Rector fifty pounds, Mr. D. Holford sixty pounds.

It consists of Nave, North and South Aisles, Chancel with Organ Chamber and Vestry.

It has a western tower and spire, containing five bells.

It contains in all nine stained glass windows.  The East end window dedicated to the memory of the Saint, Bartholomew, gives us the figure of Christ on Calvary, also representatíve scenes in the life of the Saint. The West Window is dedicated to the memory of 172 Fallen Soldiers who fell in the Great War; and was unveiled by Eric Swanwick, Esq., in July 1923. The other windows are dedicated to the memory of a former Curate, the Rev. A. W. Davies, Dorothy Deacon, the beloved daughter of Maurice Deacon, Esq., C.E., also his mother and wife; and to the three sisters Hibberd. All are illustrative of Church History, beginning with the two first British Bishops present at the Council of Arles, and the first British Martyr, St. Alban, they end with the first Bishop of Southwell, Dr. Ridding. Saints commemorated in addition are, Bishops Kentigern, David, Augustine, Paulinus, Hilda, Etheldreda, St. George, Kg. Alfred, Queen Margaret, the Black Prince, Cranmer, Latimer, Wesley, Milton, Gladstone, and Earl of Shaftesbury.

Two other Mission Churches belonged to the Parish until 1927. One of these, that of St. Barnabas, New Whittington, was consecrated and made into a District Chapelry on the 27th May. The Order in Council creating the district, read, that “Whereas it appears to us to be expedient that a District Chapelry should be assigned to the said Church of Saint Barnabas, New Whittington, it would, in our opinion, be expedient that all that part of the said Parish of Whittington which is described in the Schedule hereunder written, all which part, together with the boundaries thereof is delineated and set forth on the map or plan hereunto annexed, should be assigned as a District Chapelry to the said Church of Saint Barnabas, New Whittington situate as aforesaid, and that the same should be named, “The District Chapelry of Saint Barnabas, New Whittington.’ And with the like consent of the said Bernard Oliver Francis, Bishop of Southwell, we, the said Ecclesiastical Commissioners, further represent that it appears to us to be expedient that banns of matrimony should be published, and that marriages, baptisms, churchings and burials should be solemnized and performed at the said Church of St. Barnabas, New Whittington, and that the fees or dues to be received in respect of the publication of banns and of the solemnization or performance of marriages, churchings and burials should be paid and belong to the minister of the same church for the time being: provided always that, so long as the Reverend Ellis Arthur Crompton, Clerk in Holy Orders, the present Rector or Incumbent of the Rectory of the said Parish of Whittington, shall continue to be such Rector or Incumbent, all the fees or dues which may be received in respect of such publication, solemnization or performance at the said Church of Saint Barnabas,New Whittington, situate as aforesaid, shall be paid over by the Minister thereof to the said Ellis Arthur Crompton.”

The foundation stone of St. Barnabas Church was laid on June 11th 1884, when the Rev. G. W. Botham was Rector. It cost £1,690. St. Barnabas House, now the Vicarage, was given in endowment and built by Maurice Deacon, Esq., C.E., of Whitstandwell, to the Rector of Whittington, who in turn, conveyed it to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It cost upwards of twelve hundred pounds to build.

The old school called the Firth’s School, was conveyed by Messrs. Thos.Firth & Sons Ltd. on the 28th Feb. 1907 to the Rector of Whittington and five Trustees. Further lands adjutting on the same plot were bought by the Rector and these Trustees on 18th July 1907. During the Incumbency of the Reverend E. A. Crompton, a new building was erected on this land, at a cost of eleven hundred pounds, one thousand pounds of which had been found by the time of the assignment of the new Parish.

The organ in the St. Barnabas Church is a memorial one and was built to the memory of the Fallen who died during the great war. It cost about £250.

The Sheepbridge Iron Church, dedicated to the SS. Simon and Jude, was also built during the Incumbency of the Rev. G. W. Botham, in 1875.  It cost £548.

Registers. These date from the year 1567. Unfortunately many were badly charred in the fire of 1895. The change in growth in this Parish is shown by the remarkable number of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages, which have been taken in this Church since the Church was built in Sept. 1896.

Baptisms, 5,646.           Marriages, 1,551.          Burials, 4,087.

In the parish register is the following remarkable entry :-

Thomas Ashton, son of Mr. Arthur and Mrs. Jane Bulkeley was baptized July 1st/1644-Godfathers; Edward Downes, Esq., great-great-great-uncle; Dr. Charles Ashton, great-great-great-uncle; Joseph Ashton, Gent., great-great-great-uncle-Godmothers; Mrs. Wood, great-great-great-aunt;Mrs. Wainwright, great-great-grandmother; Mrs. Green great-grandmother. Registered at the request of Joseph Ashton, of London, Gent., who nominated the godfathers and godmothers, believing they are not to be paralleled in England.

Church Plate The Church Plate is most interesting; amongst which there is a very old Silver Chalice, probably of the 14th century.There is also an old Flagon and Paten, bearing date 1753, given by the Webster family, inscribed as follows :-

To God and ye Church of Whittington

Peter Webster of Croydon, Esq.,

the munificent Son & Grandson of

a munificent Father & Grandfather

both great Benefactors

to this Parish

gave this Flagon; also Plate A.D. 1753.

Another Silver Chalice given by the Young Men’s Bible Class, is dedicated to the memory of the Rev. G. Ford, M.A.

Churchyard. Burials in this Churchyard have probably been taken since the 12th century. With the population being under 800 until the middle of the nineteenth century and there being plenty of land available, no consecutive order of burying in rows took place; but with the increase of population, it became more and more important that full use should be made of the land available. It became necessary to consecrate an additional site in 1860.

It is interesting to note that when this consecration took place, the historical chair from the Revolution House was conveyed to Church and the Bishop of Lichfield read part of the service seated in this chair, placed within the Altar Rails. Again, it was found necessary to consecrate additional ground in 1889, which took place on Sept. 30th, 1889. The first interment on this new piece, taking place on New Year’s Day 1890. The last consecration took place by the Suffragan Bishop of Derby, Dr. Abrahams,in September, 1913.

A splendid and exceedingly fine Lyche Gate, and one that greatly improved the entrance to the Churchyard was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Daniel Holford in 1925. This was given by his daughters. It cost £320.

Five of the Clergy who have served the Parish are buried in the yard. Rev. Thomas Astley, M.A., Jan. 8, 1750, Rector for 35 years. Dr. Pegge, Rector, 1751-1796; Rev. Robert Robinson, M.A., Curate-in-Charge, 1816-1867. Rev. Richard Daintree Shaw, Curate, 1881. Rev. George Ford, M.A.,, 1898-1922. Interred in the yard we find a monument raised to the memory of Christopher Smith, Esq., of London, who died in 1752 and left £550 to the Corporation of that City, for the relief of disabled and wounded seamen.

Epitaph on a child, buried in Whittington Churchyard, 1776.

With loathsome boils, o'erspread my body lay,
My eyes were clothed, I could not see the day,
With pains acute, death found me, sore oppressed,
Pitied my grief and kindly gave me rest.

On one, bearing date, 1816.

My glass is run as you may see
No mortal man from Death is free
When I could stay no longer here
I left my Wife and Children dear,
And by kind providence of Heaven
I died, in hopes to be forgiven.

Another, bearing date, 1819.

An honest man lies buried here,
A worthy neighbour, friend sincere,
A tender husband, father dear,
This character is strictly true
Not only read, but imitate it too.

Found in an old book in the Rectory.

An Epitaph on Margaret Scot. Died at Dalkeith, Scotland, aged 125 years.

Five times five years I lived a Virgin's Life
Ten times five years I was a virtuous wife
Ten times five years I lived a widow-chaste
Now tired of this mortal life I rest.
Betwixt my cradle and my grave have seen
Eight mighty Kings of Scotland and a Queen
Once did I see old prelacy pull'd down
An end of steward's Race I say no more
I saw my Country sold for English Ore
Such desolation in my Time have been
I have an End of all perfection seen.

An Epitaph on a Child (composed by its own Father, 1764).

Come from thy Bed of Clay my Dear
See where thy Father stands
His soul he sheds out Tear by Tear
And wrings his wretched hands
But alas! thou canst not speak!
Alas! thou canst not hear!
Or else at thy dear Father's call
Thou surely would appear
But since, Alas! thou canst not hear!
Alas thou canst not see!
Rather than be without thy sight
I'll dig my way to thee!

Church Bells. The Church has a peal of five bells. The four bells were recast and a fifth added June 1925, at a cost of £209.  Two bells were in the Church Tower in 1785, but being badly cracked, they were recast in Lancashire. They were first rung on Christmas Day of that year. The old bells weighed 317-lbs. and were sold at 8d. per lb; the new ones weighed 413-lbs. and were bought at 1/4 per lb. Two bells were put into the tower in 1851. The four bells were cast in 1880 and rung in on Feast Monday, Aug. 24th.  They bear the names of the Rev. G. W. Botham, Rector, A. M. Palmer, W. D. Holford; Wardens: Also the names of E. Aldam, T. Hunt,  A. Mason, James Cooke, G. Warhurst. The new bell, bears the names of the Rev. E. A. Crompton, M.A., Rector; G. H. Ward, C. G. Durham, Wardens; A. H. Booth, Secretary; L. E. Lowe, Treasurer.

The Rectory. The site of the Rectory is very ancient: how old again it is impossible with accuracy to say. Many have been the changes here.  Sometimes in its history, the Rectory has been without resident. It had become so dilapidated, partly through having had at one long period of the history of the Parish no resident Rector; the Rev. R. Robinson being Curate-in-Charge for 49 years;-that when the Rev. G. W. Botham came as Rector, he was obliged to live in the Red House, until such times as he had made it habitable. Dr. Pegge, when Rector, interested himself greatly in this old place, and enlarged it in 1763, by pulling down the west end, making a cellar, a kitchen, a brew-house, and a pantry with chambers over them. He says, in his account of the building of it, “I take it, that it was erected by Rev. Thos. Callice.” He was Rector in 1685. The Rev. Geo. Ford, wrote to the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty during his Incumbency, and referring to the Rectory, said that portions of it were as early as the days of Queen Elizabeth. We should think Dr. Pegge’s reference the more accurate.  There is still in the kitchen an old clasp window.



The Primitive Methodist. One of the oldest Chapels is the one belonging to this communion, built in 1856, situate in Church Street, with seating accommodation for 250. It is now lit with electricity. The other place of worship, situate in the Sheepbridge district and belonging to this communion, has seating accommodation for 226. It was built in 1890.

Wesleyan. The foundation stone of this Chapel was laid in 1875. It is situate in Church Street. It has seating accommodation for 150.

United Methodist. This communion has also a place of worship, situate on Sheffield Road, Sheepbridge.


The Parish formerly had kind friends who considered it well to remember succeeding generations in their Wills. Amongst the Charities traced, we may mention the following. Some have been lost during the course of time :-

Nicholas Spentall’s Charity, 1636.

Hudgrove Meadow, later becoming the property of Henry Dixon. To Poor men and women of the Parish of Whittington, at Christmas, in sums usually varying from one shilling to three shillings. £1 -0- 0

Godfrey Wolstenholme’s Charity, June 26th, 1682.

Two gowns for two poor widows of Whittington. Land farmed by William Belfitt. £1 -5 – 0.

John Hind’s Charity, 1724.

Distributed to the poor on Good Friday, with the produce of the Poors’ Lands (Interest on 50/-). 2 – 0.

George Gilberthorpe’s Charity, 1729.

Twelve penny loaves, distributed at the Church, after divine service, on each Sunday in Lent to twelve poor persons of the Parish, including the Clerk (being a rent charge issuing out of a farm, belonging to Elizabeth Jenkinson) 6 – 0.

Elizabeth Burton’s Charity, 1757.

Six twopenny loaves, distributed on every Sunday in Lent, to six persons.  This is a rent charge on three cottages and gardens belonging to Mrs. Alice Belfitt.  6 – 0.


Poor persons, appointed by the minister and parish officers, on Good Friday, in sums varying from two shillings to three shillings and sixpence: amounting to £1-14- 0 per annum.   £12 – 19 – 0.

Three parcels of land called Poors Land. Another piece of land, containing 1A – 2R – 8P, let at 10/- a year was applied in apprenticing a lad.

Upon the inclosure the following allotments were made in lieu of these lands to the Churchwardens and Overseers.

1.         An allotment of 5A – 3R – 1P let to Thomas Gillet at the rent of £10-5-0. This includes 2A – 3R – 37P set out in lieu of the land, the rent of which was applied towards putting out an apprentice.

2.         An allotment of 5A – 19P, let to Isaac Hewitt at the rent of £1-10 – 0.

3.         An allotment of 1R 19P, let to William Belfitt, at the rent of £1-4-0.

The expenses of the inclosure in respect of the lands above mentioned and an allotment of woodland called “The Common Brushes” and containing 8A – 1R – 21P, set out for the poor to cut fuel thereon, amounted to £51 -3- 2, the sum of £21 – 2 -6 has been paid out of the above mentioned rents and the residue thereof has been distributed on Good Friday amongst poor person appointed by the Minister and parish officers in sums varying from 2/- to 3/6.

NOTE.-This Charity together with Wolstenholme’s, was later incorporated in the Whittington School Estates Charities.

Gisborne Charity.

Whittington, with other Parishes in the neighbourh0od, is a recipient under this Charity. Flannel is distributed on St. Thomas Day to about 35 persons. The amount received is £6 -12 – 0 per annum.

Joshua Webster’s Charity, July 15th, 1696.

He bequeathed Plumtree Farm, for the educating of ten poor children of the Parish of Whittington, which his son Peter Webster Junior by an Indenture of Lease, bearing date 15th October 1735 demised to Joseph and Benjamin Webster and their Executors a farm in Whittington, called Plumtree’s House and Farm, and several closes of land called the Two Crofts, adjoining to the House; the Well Close; the New Close; the Spark Wood Close; and the Car Gleave Close, containing by estimation 14 acres: and a dole in a field called Nether Field, containing by estimation 1 rood and 20 perches, all which were formerly in the possession of the said George Plumtree, and also an acre or thereabouts, lying in a mesne field in Whittington called the Carr Greave Field.

These premises were by indentures of lease and release bearing 2nd and 3rd February 1729, conveyed to Rev. Thomas Astley and three others of whom Roger Newham was the survivor, and later they were vested in John Newham his grandson.

The property consisted of :-

  1. A farm, situate at Unstone, in the parish of Dronfield, containing about 23 acres leased to Thomas and John Habbergan, rental £ 23 – 2 – 0. Name of farm, Toad Hole.
  2. A piece of land containing 1A – 1R – 34P in the occupation in 1822 of John Cook, rental £2-2 – 0.  At Whittington.
  3. A house, garden and yard, situate in Whittington, containing 28 perches, leased to John Maddock, the Schoolmaster, rental £2-2 – 0.
  4. Two fields in Whittington, containing 6A – 10P. The Schoolmaster held a small allotment as yearly tenant, rental 6/- per annum: the other part being leased to Elizabeth Green, rental £12 – 6 – 0. These lands are the messuage with the appurtenances devised in the will.
  5. Two allotments on Whittington Common containing together 3A – 1R – 30P, let to John Greaves, rental £3 per annum.

Dr. Pegge refers to a further gift under this Will of £20, in a meeting held between himself and the Churchwardens on August 1st, 1755.

“At a meeting of the Minister and Churchwardens of the Parish of Whittington, in order to consider of the method of beautifying and ornamenting the Parish Church there in pursuance of Mr. Peter Webster’s Will, who gave Twenty pounds for that purpose, it is agreed to put up a handsome Benefaction Table, to raise the Pulpit, to put up a new Sounding Board, and to buy a new Pulpit Cloth and Cushion. And we do hereby empower Mr. Pegge to talk with the proper people and to contract for the same.”

In the presence of
(Signed), SAMUEL PEGGE, Rector


In the Name of God Amen.  The 6th July, 1764.

I Peter Webster late of parish of St. Lawrence, Putney, Citizen and Clothworker of London, &c. Item, I do give unto Sarah Pearson the wife of Robt. Pearson the sum of five pounds of Lawful Money of England Item, I do will and design my Executors hereafter named to pay unto the right Worshipful Company of Clothworkers of the City of London the sum of Two hundred pounds of Lawful Money of England within twelve months next after my decease. If the said Company will give a Covenant under their common seal to pay unto James Henry Hewit of the Parish of Whittington in the County of Derby , Clerk. Thos. Stubbing Gent., Wm. Spintall, Thos. Gilberthorpe and George Plumtree Parishioners of the said Parish or their Assigns (whom I do make Trustees for the said Parish)

Every year and yearly for ever the Annual sum of Ten pounds of Lawful Money of England. But if the said Company shall refuse to take the said Two hundred pounds upon that Account Then I do order and appoint my said Executors to lay out the said Two hundred pounds on a purchase of Lands and to cause the Conveyances thereof to be made and executed by the said Trustees in their names to have and to hold to them the said Trustees their Heirs and Assigns for ever and for the use hereafter mentioned and expressed that is to say that the said Trustees their Heirs and Assigns shall for ever hereafter and with the consent of the Parishioners of the said Parish provide and keep an Homestead and able Schoolmaster in the Parish of Whittington that shall teach and instruct twenty of the meanest and poorest that shall be or born in the said Parish both in the English and Latin Tongue and also to write and Cast Accounts and for the said Schoolmaster’s pains my said Trustees their Heirs and Assigns shall every year and yearly pay unto him the annual sum of Ten pounds or the yearly rent of the Lands to be purchased as above is mentioned so long as he shall continue Master there and he shall not demand any other pay or satisfaction of the said Children’s parents or friends and my will is that the said Trustees their Heirs and Assigns shall not convert the same to any other use whatsoever. And if at any time there shall be a Schoolmaster which is an Idle Liver or Negligent or is abuseful to his Scholars if any of these things shall be plainly made to appear to the said Trustees and others of the Parishioners of the said Parish, then the said Trustees and other Parishioners of the Parish shall have power to dismiss him of the said place and to choose and entertain another in his stead. Item, I do give and devise and bequeath unto the said Trustees one Messuage or Tenement with the Appurtenances situate and being in the said parish of Whittington in the County of Derby aforesaid now in the Tenure an Occupation of Ephraim Holmes to have and to hold the said Messuage or Tenement with the Appurtenances unto the said Trustees their Heirs or Assigns for the uses hereafter expressed (That is to say) that the said Trustees their Heirs and Assigns out of their yearly rents issues and profits I will and desire to be given and distributed about Christmas every year unto some of the poorest of the said Parish by 2s. 6d. a piece. And also it is my will and true intent and meaning that when any of the said Trustees shall decease it shall be lawful for the surviving Trustees to grant and assign all their Estate Rights Title and Interest in the said annual sum of Ten pounds or the Lands above mentioned with the said Messuage or Tenement with the Appurtenances unto such other Trustees for the uses aforesaid as the Parson and Churchwardens and others of the Parishioners of the said Parish shall at a Vestry or other Meeting order and Appoint. Nevertheless always Subject and under the Proviso and Conditions (hereunder mentioned) that is to say (Provided always and it is my true intent and meaning, that if in case the said Trustees their Heirs or Assigns shall fail or neglect by the space of 2 years next after they shall enjoyed the said Annual Rent of Ten pounds or the said Land before mentioned and the Messuage or Tenement aforesaid to provide and procure such an Honest and able Schoolmaster for the purpose before expressed. Or if the said Trustees their Heirs and Assigns after the place aforesaid shall be supplied and becoming vacant shall Wilfully neglect and suffer the said place to be void Six months together that then in either of the said cases aforesaid the Gifts demises and bequests of all the promises before given or intended to be given for the use and benefits of the said Parish of Whittington and the said inhabitants thereof shall be null and void to all Intents and Constructions and purposes anything in this my Will contained to the contrary notwithstanding. And also I give and devise and bequeath the annual sum of Ten pounds or the Land before mentioned and the said Messuage or Tenements with the Appurtenances unto the said Master Wardens and Commonality of the Mistery of Clothworkers in London and to their Successors for ever to and for the benefit of six poor Artist Clothworkers that they may have and receive every year forever every one of them three yds and 1 qtr. of Broadcloth 3 ells of Lockram and a pair of shoes and stockings to be given and disposed of severally of them at such time in the year as the Master Wardens and assistants of the said Company shall order and appoint; the rest and residue of all and singular of my Lands and Tenements Money plates and Goods and Household Stuff and other Estate whatsoever to the Real and personal not in this my Last Will and Testament given and bequeathed I do wholly give and bequeath unto my said Son Joshua Webster whom I do make and ordain Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament and I do desire and appoint my said Son in Law Jno. Gray to be Overseer thereof and for his pains to be taken therein I do give him the sum of Ten pounds of Lawful Money of England. Item, my and mind is that my said Executor shall give such mourning apparel to my said Sons in Law and their wives and to all my Grandchildren as he in his good discretion shall judge most meet. In witness thereof to this my Last Will and Testament Contained in seven preceeding and in this present sheet of written paper I the said Peter Webster have hereunto set my Hand and Seal the day and year first above written.


Signed Sealed published and declared by the Testate

on the day of the date to be his Last Will and

Testament in the presence of :-



N.B.-Peter Webster died 29th December 1678: the Company of Clothworkers refused to accept the legacy of £200, and there was granted by Joshua Webster to Henry Hewit and others and their heirs, as Trustees, certain messuages, lands and tenements, situate in Unstone, Somerly and Dronfield called the Clay Lees, abutting upon Unstone Brook southward, and a dole or parcel of land, lying in a field called The Clay Oaks, in the Parish of Dronfield, and a close called Toad Hole, containing by estimation 2 acres, abutting westwards on a brook called Breareley, situate in the Parish of Whittington.


Peter Webster, by his will, bearing date 4th April 1750, gave to the minister, churchwardens, of Whittington, and their successors the sum of £600 on trust, to be placed out at interest, on good government security, and the dividends thereof to be by them paid to six such poor people of the

said parish as should be from time to time thought proper objects of charity, viz: three poor men and three poor women, not being husband and wife at that time, and to be paid to them half yearly, one half in money, and the other in clothes; and if at any time there should be any poor in the said parish of either the Christian name or surname of Webster, he directed that they should have a preference before any others in receiving the said charity.

In the year 1755 the sum of £585 – 7 -6 was laid out in the purchase of £600 stock in the new South Sea annuities, in the names of the Rev. Samuel Pegge, the Rector, and four others, the then Churchwardens and Overseers of Whittington.

This stock was transferred in 1809 into the names of the Rev. Silas Slater, John Dixon, Esq., Pym Denton, George Glossop and Richard Gillett.

The dividends amounting to £18 a year, are received through the bank of Messrs. Crompton & Co. at Chesterfield and are divided equally amongst three poor men and three poor women of the Parish of Whittington, who are appointed by the resident Curate and Churchwardens and Overseers.

It has not been the practice for many years, to distribute any portion of the dividends in clothing.

N.B.-The amount receiveable today is £30 per annum and is distributed to over a dozen recipients.


It will be noticed from the copies of the Wills of Joshua and Peter Webster given herein, that care was taken by them for the education of the children of Whittington. A Schoolmaster was to be always provided who should be held responsible for training certain children of the Parish. The Trusts have from time to time been indifferently administered in their early days. Although a certain number of Trustees were arranged for who should always manage these Trusts, it is found that they were at one time chiefly in the hands of one Trustee, Mr. Roger Newham. This is clear from the letter from Mr. John Newham, when in 1833, he appoints five Trustees to

execute the Trusts, as follows :-

I John Newham residing at Sheffield in the County of York Grandson of the late Roger Newham late of Staveley Forge and Whittington in the County of Derby, Gentm., and Nephew of the late John Newham of Whittington aforesaid Gentm., and the youngest Son of the late William Newham of Whittington aforesaid Gentm., being desirous that the Trusts of the Wills of the late Peter and Joshua Webster dated 1678 and 1696 should be duly administered, in the sundry gifts and charities under the said Wills, to the true intent and meaning thereof, and also according to the directions set forth on the Tablets in the Parish Church of Whittington and it being the will and wish of the Testators that there should be always five Trustees for the management of the said Charities, and the management having devolved solely upon my Predecessors and myself for a number of years I am desirous that the original number of five Trustees, shall be appointed, and to be filled up from time to time as a vacancy in the number shall occur, and for which purpose I hereby nominate and appoint the following persons Trustees, to act in conjunction with myself, in carrying into execution the trusts of the Wills of the said Testators, viz:-Henry Dixon, Esq., Charles Hughes May, Esq., George Jenkinson, Gentleman, and George Glossop, Junr, Land Surveyor, All of the Parish of Whittington in the County of Derby.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 4th day of February, 1833.




Again in l841 and in 1848, as can be read from the following extracts of minutes, difficulties about the administration had arisen :-

A meeting held at the School Room this 29th day of June 1841 pursuant to which Notice has been given, of which the following is a copy.


The Mastership of the Free Grammar School in the Parish of Whittington in the County of Derby being vacant;-Notice is hereby given that The Trustees for such Free Grammar School will meet at the School Room, in the said Parish of Whittington on Tuesday next, the twenty-ninth day of June, Inst. at 12 o’clock at noon to choose and appoint, with the consent of others of the Parishioners of the said Parish of Whittington a Schoolmaster to teach and instruct such of the Meanest and Poorest men’s Sons and Daughters that shall be and are Born in the said Parish that are and may be entitled under and by virtue of the bequests for that purpose so as to be taught and instructed both in the English and Latin Tongue and also to write and cast Accounts.

Dated this 29th June 1841.


Moved by Mr. Geo. Jenkinson and Seconded by Mr. Geo. Glossop that Mr. William Roe be appointed Schoolmaster on conditions that Mr. Roe leave the situation with one quarter’s notice if he dont give satisfaction to the Trustees and Parishioners.


At a meeting held on the 6th April 1848, the Rev. R. Robinson, in the Chair, the following propositions were carried.

  1. That a Vestry Meeting be convened upon proper notice for the purpose of appointing five or more of the Parishioners to be Trustees pursuant to the Wills of Peter Webster and Joshua Webster.
  2.  That the present Trustees defendants in the Chancery Suit, shall convey the School Estates and other Trust funds to the newly appointed Trustees.
  3. That Mr. Dixon with the sanction of a Vestry Meeting shall account to the newly appointed Trustees for the Rents received by him, and after deducting his disbursements on account of the Charity, and the costs to which he and his Co-defendants in the Suit have been put, shall pay over the balance in his hands to the newly appointed Trustees.
  4. That upon the Accounts being so rendered and the balance paid over and the Trust Estates conveyed to the new Trustees as above mentioned, they with the authority of the Vestry shall release Mr. Dixon and his Co-defendents and indemnify them against the consequences of carrying these propositions into effect.
  5. That Mr. Swanwick convey the site of the new school house (which he has offered to give for that purpose) either to the Minister, Churchwardens and Overseers of the poor or to the new Trustees of this Charity, as the Parishioners in Vestry may think most desirable, and the Committee of Counsel on Education may sanction, and that thereupon the Rents of the School Estate be appropriated to the future maintenance of the new School and towards the payment of the Salary of the Schoolmaster thereof, under the direction of the newly appointed Trustees.

It was moved by Mr. Swanwick and seconded by Mr. Geo. Jenkinson and carried unanimously:-

That this meeting approves of and adopts the propositions which have been now submitted for its consideration.

That this meeting doth order and appoint the following named Gentlemen (who have expressed their willingness to act) to be Trustees of the School and Charity Estates pursuant to the Wills of

Peter Webster and Joshua Webster, viz.,-

The Rev. ROBT. ROBINSON, Officiating Resident Minister of the Parish.


One of the leading gentlemen, mentioned in the names above, is that of Mr. Frederick Swanwick. He was a great educationalist, and ever in the foremost ranks to further the highest interests of those around him. One writing of him has said :-

“It was in connection with the elementary education of the parish of Whittington that Mr. Swanwick worked most assiduously, and with most tangible results. The field was an expanding one; and with the co-operation of his neighbours and the help of the Charity Commissioners, he was permitted to see the growing wants of the population in this important matter fully met. There existed an old charity, in the parish, left in the seventeenth century, part of which ought to have been employed in paying a Schoolmaster. There was also a school building, part of the same endowment; but it was shut up, and fast falling into ruin. The last entry of payment to a schoolmaster occurs in 1841. In 1848 a new schoolhouse was built, for which Mr. Swanwick gave the site and a very liberal contribution in money. He succeeded in getting a scheme sanctioned by the Master of the Rolls in 1857. By a new scheme in 1874, the Governors of the Charity were allowed to spend £5,000 in providing sites and buildings for schools at New Whittington, Whittington Moor, and adding to the school premises at Old Whittington.”

The Scheme of the Charity the first Trustees being, Frederick Swanwick, Thomas E. Fenwick, H. T. Twelves, John Green, Sampson Holland, which embraces Webster’s, the Poor Lands, Wolstenholme’s and the Bull Close, provides amongst other things for the following :-

To promote the education of boys and girls in Whittington.

In the event of an Upper Department for advanced or technical instruction being established in any of the Schools of the Trust or other Public Elementary Schools in the parish of Whittington, the Governors may apply a portion of the income of this Endowment in the support and improvement of such Department, in manner hereinafter prescribed; provided that such Upper Department shall fulfil the following conditions:-

  1. No scholar shall be admitted into such Department without satisfactorily passing an examination graduated according to the age of the scholar, and such examination shall never fall below the requirements Standard IV. as defined in the Code (1872) of Minutes of the Education Department, Art 28.
  2. Each Scholar in such Upper Department, except as hereinafter provided, shall pay a tuition fee of not less than 30s. a year.
  3. The subjects of instruction in such Upper Department shall be selected from the following :-English Grammar and Composition; Geography and History; Elements of Geometry and Algebra; Natural Science; Latin, or some modern language; Drawing and Vocal Music; Science in its application to trade and manufactures.

The Residue shall be applied for the education of boys and girls in the following ways :-

  • In providing for the repairs of property occupied for the purpose of the Schools of the Trust, such provision not exceeding £100 in any one year.
  • Providing free places or Exhibitions or other prizes to be given to meritorious scholars at any such School.
  • Providing Exhibitions tenable at some School of a higher grade, and to be awarded by competition among the scholars of the said Public Elementary Schools under such regulations as the Governors may prescribe.
  • Providing a Lending Library for the scholars.
  • Providing Maps for Physical Geography, Drawings, Scientific Apparatus, and the like articles, being more expensive than could be afforded without the aid of this Endowment.
  • Providing Lectures or Evening Classes for scholars in Whittington.
  • Providing gymnastic apparatus or aids to Industrial instruction; such as tools and a carpenter’s shed, field gardens or allotments for boys, or a kitchen or laundry for girls.
  • Providing for pupil teachers, on the termination of their engagement, with a satisfactory report from the Government Inspector of Schools,prizes or Exhibitions tenable in a training college for teachers.
  • Making payments to the teachers in any of the said Public Elementary Schools in respect of instruction given by them in subjects higher than those recognised by the regulations of the Education Department in force for the time being, according to the standards prescribed therein, as the ordinary subjects of Elementary Education, no such payment being at the rate of more than £1 in any one year for every scholar so instructed, or being made for any scholar who has not passed the Government Inspector’s last examination in such subjects.

The Trust is now calculated to be worth more than Eight thousand pounds.


It is very probable that this last Peter Webster is identical with the first mentioned as the Baronet’s family. He it was who founded Whittington School and was the father of Sir Godfrey Webster, the Ancestor of the Baronets of Battle Abbey. The latter bequeathed £1,100 to the Corporation of Chesterfield to be disposed of annually in gifts of £1 each to poor people of the town.



The only Sunday School which the Church has had until the building of the new Sunday School in 1928, has been this Webster School at Old Whittington. Owing to the greater demands made from time to time upon the Old School by the demands of the Board of Education, less and less convenience was available for the Sunday School Scholars. The children were allowed to have no musical instrument to accompany them in singing: every Summer during the holidays, the Scholars were not allowed to meet in the School, and when all things were taken into consideration a strong feeling was shown by the Church people to have a Sunday School which they could use without fear of inconvenience. Steps, therefore, were taken, and when a suitable site was available by the death of Mr. Lymn, instructions were given to purchase the site. Further steps were then taken to provide the school. No money was in hand prior to 1922 for this purpose. The fund was opened in 1924, and when the Contract was let in 1927, there was in hand £600. The building; together with furnishings, &c., cost upwards of £2,500. It is believed that the balance now needed, £200, to clear the debt, will be found this year.

In both Sunday Schools, Sheepbridge and Church Street, there are upwards of 250 scholars.


One of the greatest assets to the social life of the village, and one especially useful to Church people prior to the building of the Church Hall, is the Swanwick Memorial Hall. This was built as a memorial in 1915 by the Swanwick family in memory of Lieut. Russell Kenneth Swanwick, 1st Gloucester Regiment, killed in the battle of the Aisne, 1914.



During the Incumbency of the present Rector, the Church Workers and Friends have responded nobly to the many calls made upon them.

A great indebtedness facing New Whittington, owing to a large amount having accumulated upon certain lands was satisfactorily and amicably settled: also another debt on land bought years ago, but never paid for, was met.  A new School afterwards was built upon this land and is now free of debt. The Church, having been built in the Village in 1884, had never been consecrated.  This consecration took place in 1927 and a new Parish made.

A serious problem facing the Rector was that of the Glebe. Dilapidations, with high rates, took away much of the income of the Benefice, this being one of the highest parts of such income. Steps were taken to sell the glebe, and this ultimately took place, to the benefit of the Benefice.  A great work had been done by the Rev. George Ford to redeem the Corn Rents. This work was immediately followed up by the present Rector, with the result that there only remains Fifteen pounds of Corn Rents to be redeemed.

The Parish Church had raised upwards of Four hundred pounds to provide a memorial in the West Window to the memory of the Fallen. Steps were at once taken to see that this wish was carried out and a beautiful window designed by Messrs. Jones and Willis, Birmingham, was fixed.

A memorial tombstone was fixed by subscription on the late Incumbent. Cost over Fifty pounds.

The Church requiring cleaning, immediate steps were taken to see that this was done. This cost over £100. The Steeple Tower was repaired in 1925 at a cost of £57. The Organ was cleaned and some of the stops removed with an extra one added at a cost of £50.

The Dilapidations were assessed at £395. They cost nigh £500. The Parishioners paid £180 towards this amount, the Rector finding the balance.

The Churchyard Paths have had attention at a cost of over £20. It is hoped that these paths will be asphalted ere long.

A new Altar Frontal has been purchased for the Altar. Falls for the seasons have been provided for the Lectern and Pulpit.

Sheepbridge Mission has had the roof stripped and recovered, with the exterior painted, and electric light added.

In 1925 the four bells were recast and a fifth added at a cost of £209.

The construction of the new Sunday School and Church Hall at a cost of upwards of £2,500 has been the greatest venture of faith, but its success in clearing off the debt is now within sight.


One of the greatest landowners, mentioned at the time of the Whittington Award in 1821, was Mr. John Dixon. Tradition says he built Whittington Hall as a residence. Many changes have taken place to this property since he occupied it. Well known families like the Fowlers, Parkers and Claytons have since resided there. It passed from Mr. Clayton to the Rev. H. N. Burden, of Clevedon Hall, Somerset, who leased it for a period of twenty one years, for use as an Institution for an Inebriate Reformatory under the Home Office in 1902, being certified to house fifty. In 1912, it again changed its character in the residents, this time being licensed as a Home for the care of the feeble minded. It was not until 1914, that it was certified under the Board of Control.

In the early days of the reception of the mentally deficients, both sexes were received, but ultimately it was found advisable to use the Institution for female inmates only. From the first days in 1902 when the Hall was leased from Mr. Clayton, the Institution has been under the careful and wise supervision of the present Matron, Miss Smith. She has seen it grow in importance from the days of accommodating fifty women, to the present days when there are within its walls four hundred, including a Staff of over thirty. The Head Gardener, Mr. W. Parkes, has also been responsible during these many years,-and also prior to its conversion from a private residence to an Institution,-for the care of the grounds and providing the Inmates with the produce from the lands attached to the Hall.

Few Institutions in the Country are better managed and controlled. The Inmates have everything done to make them as comfortable as possible. They have a separate Chapel provided for services, twice every Sunday with a service midweek taken for the lowest grade, by the Rector of the Parish. All the Inmates are found useful occupations, so far as their mental abilities will allow. An Industries School is provided, where the girls are taught needlework, raffia work, sewing, &c. There is also a weaving room, where splendid carpets are woven for the Institutions. Handicraft, domesticity, gardening, cooking, &c., are also taught.

He who began this work in this Parish was “A Great Humanitarian,” and one who was widely regarded as amongst the most forward-looking Philanthropists. In 1902 he founded the national institutions for person requiring care and control. In Canada he built three churches, two schools and two parsonages. Returning to London he served a period in the East End of London. In 1904 he was appointed by the Government on a Royal Commission on the Control of the Feeble Minded.

He was a Freeman of the City of London and a liveryman of no fewer than seven city companies, including the Barber Surgeons of which he had been Master. He was one of the “Knights of the Round Table,” a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Empire Society. Mrs. Burden, his wife, now holds the Wardenship of the Hall in his succession.




(From a Correspondent).

Richard Dixon commenced the manufacture of glass at Glass-House Common about the year 1710, from which date the business was carried on continuously by the Dixon family until about 1850.

The range of their productions supplied all general requirements, comprising as it did table glass, drinking glasses, window glass, plain, crown and coloured glass, the finer sorts of drinking glasses in great variety of beautiful forms.

At this period it chiefly depended on the taste and skill of the glass-blower to provide the rich ornamentation on tall stem drinking glasses with their innumerable devices in detail of form, twist and colour, which give such a pleasing effect.

In this branch the Dixon productions were on a par with the best of their English contemporaries. They also turned out in the early days large quantities of sturdy bottles, almost black, in various shapes, for the holding of wine, sack and ale.

We may trace their gradual success as manufacturers as the family rose to prosperity. Their first residence was adjoining the Glass-House; later the Georgian mansion, Whittington Hall, was built by a Dixon, but the exact date of the erection I have not been able to discover. Here, however, was the family residence until the business ceased in 1850.

The success of the Dixons enabled them to undertake work on a large scale and of a high grade of workmanship, and they became prominent in supplying in cut glass the counterparts for the many and varied useful and ornamental articles with which, about 1770, the eminent craftsmen of Sheffield were making the town famous for its Plate.

These pieces, stands, frames, etc., produced by this process, combining as they did service with elegance, equal if not superior to their sterling silver forerunners, which formerly only the rich could afford to purchase, were now brought within the reach of those in the more ordinary walks of life-by this time a fairly numerous class-whose taste and moderate purse could both be thus accommodated.

That the Dixon family’s connection with this class of business became an important one is borne out by F. Bradley in his “History of Old Sheffield Plate.” It will be sufficient for my purpose if I quote their business dealings with one firm alone. From 1779 to 1807 the firm of Watson & Bradley paid over £2,000 to John Dixon for glass. This John Dixon was a grand-nephew of Richard Dixon, the founder.

At this time cut glass was greatly in vogue. It had taken the place of decorative blown glass, especially the drinking glasses previously alluded to.

We may notice that the road leading to Sheffield was a convenient one. Leaving the Glass House on the north side and proceeding along the west side of Mouse Park Wood, passing near West Handley and Moor Top, it ran through Coal Aston and Norton, and probably from here went by the old Derbyshire Lane into Sheffield.

There were other trade routes open, as for instance the Chesterfield & Stockwith Canal. Dixons availed themselves fully of this canal, as may be seen by an examination of the old canal books, which disclose a very extensive trade. The site of Dixon’s Wharf is still known to old residents in the district.

Not only did the canal offer to the Dixons the same facilities as those enjoyed by the potters of Chesterfield and Brampton, in the matter of cheap transit and opening up distant markets, but it also enabled them to obtain Lynn sand, so important in the production of high class glass.

It is interesting to observe that Whittington probably had the only glass house in the county prior to those of recent date. What evidence of any others occurs is so slight that investigations so far made leave the matter doubtful.

So far as one can obtain information, the only mention of glass makers occurs in “Farey’s Derbyshire Survey 1817.” In the list of manufacturers given under this entry there is only one, that of Glass House Common.

It is a matter of much regret that even with this flourishing concern there are not more ample records. What a source of enlightenment writings and account books relating to the Dixon’s work, trading as they did on such a scale, would have been!  Perforce we must pass in silence over this loss. The closing of the Glass House, the selling of Whittington Hall, and the departure of those members of the family who had been engaged in the business, probably led to the destruction of the books and records. When an undertaking such as this is difficult to trace, there need be no surprise if other and smaller glass houses worked in the county should have passed away unnoted and unrecorded.

There are prospects open to those sufficiently interested to search, and we should hail with pleasure anyone able and willing to give us further information.