Pigot & Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835
Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2012
THIS county is situate nearly in the middle of the Island, at an equal distance from the east and west seas. On the north, its boundaries are Yorkshire and part of Cheshire - the river Etherow separating it from the latter; on the west, it is divided front Cheshire and Staffordshire by the Goyt, the Dove, and the Trent; on the south, it is skirted by Leicestershire; and on the east, it is bounded by Nottinghamshire - its dividing limits on this and the north side being mostly artificial. Its greatest extent from north to south is nearly fifty-five miles; its breadth, at the northern extremity, is about thirty-three, contracting as it advances south, and when near its junction with Leicestershire narrowing almost to an apex; its circumference is 130 miles, containing 1,026 square miles and 656,640 statute acres. In size it ranks as the twenty-first county in England, and in population as the twentieth.
NAME and ANCIENT HISTORY.- The derivation of the word ‘Derby’, from which the shire takes its name, has given rise to much altercation amongst etymologists and antiquarians. By the Saxons it is said to have been called Northworthig, - which name was rejected by the Danes, who styled it Deoraby, of which ‘Derby’ appears a contraction. The most generally received opinion, however, is that the town derives its name from its situation on the river Derwent, and that it was originally called Derwent-by, which in course of time became corrupted into Deoraby, Deroby, and ‘Derby’. The tract of country now forming the county of Derby, was in the time of the Britons part of the territory occupied by the Coritani, and under the government of the Romans was included in Britannia Prima. During the Heptarchy it formed part of the kingdom of Mercia; and the inhabitants of the counties of Derby and Nottingham were designated North Mercians. This county was the place of captivity of Mary Queen of Scots, while in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury, at whose seats the ill-fated princess resided. Charles I., after erecting his standard at Nottingham, marched to Derby, at which period, it is said, the whole county declared for him. On the 4th Dec. 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, commonly called the pretender, entered Derby with his army, but in consequence of the little encouragement he met with, commenced his retreat northward on the sixth of the same mouth.
SOIL, CLIMATE, &c.- The most common soil in this county is a reddish clay or marl; the southern district is in general composed of it, having little or no stone near the surface, but interspersed with small beds of sand or gravel; and in moist situations is found land of a blackish colour and loose texture: this kind of soil is likewise seen on the north-west of the county, where extensive beds of lime-stone abound. The large tract on the east side, extending from Stanton-dale and Morley to the borders of Yorkshire, is rich in coal, which is covered with clay of various colours - black, grey, brown, and yellow, the last colour prevailing; similar soil is also met with in the north extremity of the county. In the vallies, near the banks of the larger rivers, the soil is very different from that of the adjacent parts, and has been evidently varied by the depositions from inundations. Peat bogs exist in the north parts of the county, even on the highest mountains; and in some of them trees have been found, nearly perfect. The southern part of Derbyshire is appropriated both to pasture and tillage, in nearly equal proportions; but as the dairy is as much an object of attention as the production of corn, the same land seldom remains long in tillage. The general appearance of Derbyshire is exceedingly dissimilar, its south and north parts exhibiting a striking contrast; the former not being remarkable for hill, or vallies, while the latter is eminently marked by a continued succession of both. The upper and middle parts of the county are denominated the ‘High Peak’, and the ‘Wapentake’ or ‘Low Peak’, but the south part has no particular appellation. The most considerable eminences in the tract of the High Peak are the mountains Ax-Edge and Kinder-Scout: the former is situate near Buxton, and is said to be 2,100 feet higher than the town of Derby, and 1,000 feet above the valley in which Buxton-hall stands; the latter rises near the centre of the north-west angle, and overlooks all the neighbouring eminences. The High Peak is a region of bleak barren heights; but the scenery is in many parts romantic and sublime, yet not partaking of picturesque effect, beauty being resident only in the valleys - the high grounds appearing dreary and sterile, without a tree, or verdant sward, to relieve the wearied sight of the traveller. Barren and unpleasing as these highlands are, still they are not destitute of usefulness to the contemplative lover of nature - serving, by contrast, to heighten the beauty of the dales, valleys and streams by which they are intersected. The Low Peak abounds with eminences of various heights and extent: Brassington-moor, Alport, near Wirksworth, and Crick-cliffe, are the must elevated, and command very extensive prospects; from Alport, the Wrekin, in Shropshire, may be clearly distinguished in an open day. On the east side of the county there is also a high ridge, beginning to the south of Hardwick, and continuing to the extremity of the county, where it enters Yorkshire. The south part is in general pleasant and well cultivated, presenting no particular variety of scenery. The CLIMATE of Derbyshire may be considered healthful: the atmosphere is pure, and the higher situations generally free from epidemic diseases, though agues and fevers sometimes prevail in the vallies. The High Peak is peculiarly liable to violent storms, in which the rain descends in torrents, so as frequently to occasion great ravages in the lands; it is also subject to very high winds; which causes, with the elevation of the country, render it cold, so that vegetation is backward and unkindly; some kinds of grain will not grow at all in the Peak, and others seldom ripen, until very late in the year.
MANUFACTURES and PRODUCE, MINES and MINERALS.- The manufactures which are carried on in this county are various and extensive. With Lancashire it partakes in the manufactureof cotton; with Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, in the wearing stockings; with Cheshire, in the various textures of silk; with Yorkshire, in woollen cloths and iron; and to these may be added a branch is which it stauds unrivalled, viz. the forming numberless beautiful ornaments of Derbyshire spar. The neighbourhood of Church Gresley is deriving considerable importance, from the manufacture of stone-ware and the opening of coal mines. Besides the wealth derived from these several branches of trade, the profits arising from agricultural produce are by no means inconsiderable. Upon the banks of the Dove are rich dairy farms; many are large, and produce excellent cheese, about 2,000 tons of which are supposed to be sent annually to London. Wheat is particularly fine from many lands, but in no part more so than in the extensive fields of Chaddesden and Chelleston, and barley is much cultivated in many districts. The inclosures of Derbyshire, have been to a wonderful extent, and this laudable system is still going on. An uncommon species of culture, as a field crop, is practised in this county, viz. camomile, upwards of 200 acres being devoted to the growth of this physical herb. The MINERAL sources of wealth in Derbyshire comprise mines of lead, copper and iron ores; antimony, alabaster, mill-stone, lime-stone, various beautiful spars peculiar to this county, and coal. The principal tract containing lead is called Kingsfield; under this denomination the whole Wapentake of Wirksworth is comprised, as well as part of the High Peak. Iron-stone is found in great abundance throughout the whole district in which coal has been discovered, the Chinley hills excepted. Calamine is obtained at Castleton, Cromford, Bonsall and Wirksworth; coal in the liberties of Norton, Alfreton and many other places. Lime-Stone exists in abundance and variety; the marbles formed by it are extremely variegated and beautiful; the best are at Hopton, Money-Ash, Ashford, Matlock and Monsaldale. The flour-spar, or ‘Blue John’, is obtained in a mountain to the west of Castleton; and gypsum is found at Elvaston and Chellarton.
RIVERS, CANALS and MINERAL SPRINGS: The principal rivers of this county are the TRENT, the DOVE, the DERWENT, the WYE, the EREWASH and the ROTHER: all these rivers are enriched either by the mountain torrents, or by small rivulets, as they meander through the vales and animate the scenery, until they are lost in larger waters. The CANALS that are connected with this county are the TRENT and MERSEY or GRAND TRUNK, the ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH, the CHESTERFIELD, the CROMFORD, the DERBY, the EREWASH, the PEAK FOREST, and the NUTBROOK canal. As might be expected in a county abounding with fossils, the MINERAL and MEDICINAL WATERS are numerous: the most celebrated tepid springs are those at Matlock, Buxton and Bakewell; those of sulphureous property rise at Keddleston. The chalybeate waters are numerous; those in most repute are at Quarndon, about three miles from Derby. A martial vitriolic spring, the only one that has yet been found in this county, is in the liberty of Heage, about midway between Crich & Belper.
CIVIL and ECCLESIASTICAL DIVISIONS, and REPRESENTATION.- Derbyshire is in the Province of Canterbury and Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, and is included in the Northern Circuit. It is divided into six hundreds, viz. APPLETREE, HIGH PEAK, MORLESTON and LITCHURCH, REPTON and GRESLEY, SCARSDALE, and WIRKSWORTH; these contain two borough towns (Derby and Chesterfield), one county town (Derby), eleven other market towns, and one hundred and thirty-nine parishes.- Previous to the passing of the Reform Bill, this county sent four members to Parliament, viz. two for the town of Derby, and two for the Shire. The new Bill conferred two additional members upon the county; and divided it, under the new Boundary Act, into two parts, respectively denominated the Northern Division, and the Southern Division, the former includes the hundreds of High Peak and Scarsdale, and so much of the wapentake of Wirksworth, as by virtue of the order made at the quarter sessions for the county, held at the borough of Derby, the 28th June, 1831, is comprised in the Bakewell division, as established by such order: the southern division includes the whole of the several hundreds of Appletree, Morleston and Litchurch, and Repton and Gresley, also all such parts of the wapentake of Wirksworth as are not included in the northern division last described. The election of members for the northern division of the county is held at Bakewell, and for the southern at Derby: besides the place of election for the northern division, the polling takes place at CHESTERFIELD, CHAPEL-EN-LE-FRITH, ALFRETON, and GLOSSOP; and for the southern division (besides the place of election), at ASHBOURN, WIRKSWORTH, MELBOURNE, and BELPER. The members returned at the general election in 1832, for the northern division of the county, were Lord William Cavendish, and Thomas Gisborne, Esq.; those for the southern division, were the Hon. George John Venables Vernon, and Lord Waterpark.
POPULATION: By the census for 1831, this county contained 117,740 males, and 119,430 females, total 237,170; being an increase since the returns made in the year 1821 of 23,837 inhabitants; and from the census of 1801 to that of 1831, the augmentation amounted to 76,028 persons.
Index of Distances from Town to Town in the County of Derby.
The Asterisks (*) attached to the name of the Town denote the number of Representatives returned to Parliament, and the Italic letters signify the Market Days.
The names of the respective towns are on the top and side, and the square where both meet gives the distance.
Description(s) from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835.