History of the Village of Stoney Middleton

By Thomas E. Cowen (1910)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2003

History of the Village of Stoney MiddletonMISCELLANEOUS


The VILLAGE CROSS. In most villages the Cross was only a name, usually the place of public meetings. Many of the ancient crosses were swept away at the Reformation, and this may have been the case at Stoney Middleton. The older residents can recall the time when there was no top to the Cross only two circular stones. A garden once stood to the right near the Butcher's shop.

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In 1846 a plain Cross was erected probably on the site of an earlier one by Robert Pinder, through the benevolence of Robert Thompson. Whether the Cross was erected to commemorate the 'Repeal of the Corn Laws', which was passed in the same year, is not evident.

A UNITARIAN CHAPEL stood on the site of the Reading Room. The aged preacher came from Great Hucklow to Middleton every Sunday until the congregation gradually dwindled away. The building was then sold to Lord Denman. A private school was afterwards kept in the Chapel for a time by Mr. Dyer, one of the congregation, who was ‘a Dyer by name and by trade’.

THE POST OFFICE was at one time located at Bank House. Mr. Peter Furness was the sub-postmaster, and also occupied the position of Relieving Officer. The letters were delivered by Samuel Marsden. At one time there was no Post Office at Calver, Curbar, and Froggatt, so letters were carried there from Middleton.

POOR HOUSES. Before the Bakewell Union was established the village looked after its own poor. Some years ago four poor houses stood up the Dale Mouth.

THE FIRST CLOCK AT STONEY MIDDLETON. At the beginning of last century household clocks were not known in small farmer's houses at Stoney Middleton. One of the farmers,[1] however, had purchased one. One day a neighbour's wife went in to ask what time it was by the new clock. The good wife of the house replied, “Well, I canna tell you correctly, for I dunna reightly underston the thing myself, but I'll tell you what, if you'll just sit you down a bit and wait till you hear it smite and then count, yell kno' t' reight time.” (One of Old Butcher's Stories).

In the Religious Census of Derbyshire made in 1676 the number of Conformists at Stoney Middleton is given as 236 - of Papists as 3 - and of Nonconformists none.

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The following is a copy of an interesting document in the possession of Mrs. W. Mason, Nook House, Stoney Middleton.

Received the Eleventh Day of October, 1787, of Anthony Beeley[2]
 the Sum of Two Pounds fifteen shillings,
 being half a year's Rent due to the Right Honourable
 Lord George Henry Cavendish at Lady Day last.
£2 15s. 0d.A. L. Maynard.

Deaths from accident were not infrequent. The following have been extracted from Eyam Parish Registers:

Buried Feb. 28th, 1686, Thomas Carnal, killed from a rock in the Dale.
Buried May 16th, 1748, Hannah Milward, killed from a rock in the Dale.
Buried Oct. 14th, 1784, Joseph Archer, drowned in Middleton Mill Dam.

STONEY MIDDLETON READING ROOM began its existence thirty years ago in an inconvenient room at the bottom of the village Eventually this room was closed, and efforts were made to erect a building suitable for the requirements. Subscriptions were solicited, and together with the proceeds of a Bazaar held in Derby, a larger room was erected on the site of the old Unitarian Chapel. Unfortunately this room is not in the Parish of Stoney Middleton.

The Tablet in the front of the Reading Room is inscribed:

In Loving Memory
of the
2nd Baron Denman
of Dovedale.

The building was in the hands of the Southwell Diocesan Finance Association. Mainly through the interest of the present Lord Denman the room was transferred to the Charity Commissioners, who appointed “the Vicar of the Parish and the Members of the Parish Council” trustees. In October, 1909, a Bazaar was opened by Lady Denman, and the building

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is now being re-roofed and enlarged on land given by Lord Denman, who also gave a donation of £100 towards this worthy object.


Nonconformity in the early part of the 19th century had to run the gauntlet of insult and personal violence.

The Wesleyans formerly held their meetings in a cottage at the Dale Bottom, where the ruffians of the village frequently interrupted their devotions, at one time building up the chimney and at another dropping stones down.

A plot of ground near Cliff Bottom was generously given by Mr. Furness of High Wycombe, and with a number of worshippers, who rallied round Mr. Benjamin Hallam (grand-father of Mr. Joseph Bradshaw), a new Chapel was built a little below the old Unitarian Chapel.

Dr. Joseph Denman (uncle of the first baron) wrote in answer to a letter he had received that he was surprised to find anyone staying in Stoney Middleton after he could indite [Ed: sic] a letter, and offered to assist the writer to become a Minister of the Church of England. His lordship was subsequently informed that the writer wished one day to become a Wesleyan Minister.

Much of the land in the vicinity once belonged to the Morewoods of Alfreton, and in connection with the sale there was an endowment of £3 per annum to be paid to the nearest place of worship. This Charity was received for many years by the Unitarian body, who held a service annually in the ruined building, and so the Charity was paid to them.

The Unitarian Chapel was subsequently sold to Lord Denman, and for a time nothing was heard of the endowment, until his Lordship kindly informed the officials of the Wesleyan body of it, and generously assisted them to obtain the Charity and also the arrears.


The Moseley Family has been resident in Eyam, Grindleford, and Stoney Middleton for the last three centuries. They, are a branch of the Moseleys of Manchester and Rolleston, and are descended from the Moseleys of Moseley, near Wolverhampton, Staffs.

The original arms of the Moseley family were described as “Sable a chevron between three mill picks argent”.

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Nicholas Moseley was Lord Mayor of London in 1599 at the time of a threatened Spanish invasion, and for his services Queen Elizabeth conferred upon him the honour of knighthood, and he was granted a crest described as “An eagle displayed ermynes mantiled gules, doubled silver”. In the patent it is described as “1st and 4th sables a chevron between three battleaxed silver; 2nd and 3rd Gold a fesse between three eaglets displayed sables”.

The motto was assumed as a compliment to the son of Sir Nicholas Moseley, who was a rising barrister.

“Mos Legem regit” (custom governs the law).

The Macclesfield Moseleys are a branch of the Stoney Middleton family.

BULL PARK WALL was the name of a wall erected round the Old Moon Inn.

The VILLAGE CONSTABLE was an officer charged with the preservation of the peace. He was appointed annually, and received a Staff stamped with the Crown - the emblem of his office.

In the Overseers' Account, dated 29th Sept., 1868, the following entry occurs:-

“Constable's appointment, 17s. 0d.; Constable's expenses per order, 9s. 6d.” The last entry was dated 1872.

The author has had given to him a doggerel rhyme, which probably refers to several public houses at one time situated in Middleton Dale.

“The BALL and the BARREL, they each had a quarrel, And fought with the BOOT AND THE SHOE.”

The former is still a licensed house, while the latter have fallen into disuse.

[1] We are informed that this incident occurred at the house of Anthony Beeley, grandfather of Mrs. W. Mason, Nook House.

[2] The author is informed that this Anthony Beeley was formerly the Barmaster.

End of Chapter XXV: => SUBJECT INDEX

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in February 2003.

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