Bradwell: Ancient and Modern

A History of the Parish and of Incidents in the Hope Valley.

By Seth Evans (1912)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013

Chapter XVI.


The parish has not many charities, but those bequests it does enjoy have been left by natives of the place, other than the charity of Gisborne, which was common to a hundred Derbyshire parishes.

Outram's Charity.

The Outram family were settled in Bradwell several hundred years ago, and their burials are recorded in Hope Church registers. It is recorded on a board in Hope Church that “Mr. Artram” left to the poor of Bradwall 12s. to be paid every St. Thomas' Day. The family had extensive possessions at Grindleford, where they were settled for centuries, and still remain. It would seem as if the money came from that district, for in the account book of the overseers of the Lordship of Stoke, near Grindleford, for the years 1794 and 95, we have the item - “Paid to the poor of Bradda 7s. 6d.” The charity is still distributed.

THOMAS MIDDLETON. Nearly two centuries have gone by since Thomas Middleton died in 1729. He owned a field called the Bank Close, in the meadow on the road to Hope, and left a rent charge of five shillings a year to be paid out of it for ever to the poor of his native place. And it is paid yet.

An Old Weaver's Bequest.

THOMAS MIDDLETON. He was one of the old weavers when most of the cottages contained hand looms, and he was son of the above, and came into possession of his father's land. When be died in 1786 he followed in the footsteps of his father, and doubled the rent charge on Bank Close, and the 10s. is paid to the poor to this day.

Thomas Hallam's Charity.

THOMAS HALLAM, by will 1729, gave to the poor of Bradwell half an acre of land in a place called the Moor Hall, for ever, the rents thereof to be distributed to poor widows and fatherless children on St. Thomas' Day. George Barnsley, who for many years occupied this land at the rent of 12s. 6d., sold it about the year 1806 as his own property, subject to the above rent for the poor. About 1811 an allotment of seven perches on Bradwell Edge was awarded in respect of it, the whole of which was formerly let for £2 17s. per annum. A Commission of Inquiry reported that he had no title to the premises, and that the charity was entitled to the land, with the allotment set out in respect of it. The owner, at the time of the inquiry about 1830, paid 12s. 6d. to the overseer, who distributed it on St. Thomas' Day.

A Friend to Poor Children.

ELIAS MARSHALL, a churchwarden of Hope in 1759. This worthy, who died in 1765, gave a piece of land beneath the Long Meadow causeway, containing half an acre: another parcel of enclosed land in the town furlong,, with a barnstead at the east end, upon trust, but of the rents, to cause five of the poorest children in Bradwell to read. The property now consists of a close called the Molly Pingle, in Town Lane, containing 2r. 34p., and an allotment set out at the enclosure of 1r. 22p. in the Butts. Another small allotment, too trifling to enclose, was sold for £5. The land lets for £3 per

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annum, and since the abolition of school fees the trustees of the charity have divided the money between the Council School and the Church School for the purchase of prizes for the scholars.

Mary Hall's Charity.

MARY HALL, by will 1762, bequeathed to poor widows and fatherless children of Bradwell 15s. yearly, to be paid on St. Thomas' Day by her executor, George Barnsley, chargeable on a piece of land called “The Moor Law”. By an agreement with the overseers dated 16th December, 1799, the said George Barnsley gave to the poor of Bradwell two cottage houses on Bradwell Hills, each of them let at the rent of 18s. a year, on the payment of £5 to the said George Barnsley, and 15s. yearly on St. Thomas' Day. When the Charity Commissioners held an inquiry about 1830, the overseers of the township were in possession of the cottages, and the yearly sum of 15s. was paid out of the poor rates and distributed according to the donor's intention.

It would appear that George Barnsley was grandson of the lady who left this charity at least such may be surmised from the inscription on an ancient but very handsome tombstone near the Bradwell entrance to Hope churchyard, as follows:

“Godfrey Hall, died September the 26th, 1755, aged 78.
Also Mary, his wife, died May the 11th, 1762, aged 77”.

“Their lives exemplar were,
In death to heaven resigned.
May all survivors keep with care
Eternity in mind”.

“George Barnsley, of Hasslebadge, died the 3rd day of February, 1825, aged 82 years”.

“Also Mary, his wife, died the 25th of November, 1810, aged 67 years”.

We have the will of Mrs. Mary Hall. It reads:-

“In the Name of God. Amen. I Mary Hall of Bradwall, in the Parish of Hope, in the County of Darby, Widow and Executrix of Godfrey Hall, late of Bradwall, aforesaid, being Sick and Weak in Body, but of Sound Mind and Memory (Blessed be God for his Mercies), do hereby make, and Ordain this my Last Will and Testament, in Manner and form following: (That is to say) first and principally I commend my Soul into the Hands of Almighty God who gave it, and my Body to the earth to be decently Interred, at the discretion of my Executor herein after Named. And as touching my worldly Estate, I give and dispose thereof as followeth. Imprimis I will that all my just Depts, funeral expenses and Probat of this my last Will and Testament be Paid out of my Personal Estate; then I give, devise, and bequeath all my Real and Personal Estate whatsoever, to my Grandson George Barnsley, he paying such legacies as shall be herein after mentioned: viz., first I give and bequeath to my Granddaughter Mary the Wife of William Steeple of Aldwark and her Heirs the Sum of Seventy Pounds of Good and lawful Money of great Britain to paid in twelve Months after my decease: Item, I give and bequeath to my Granddaughter Catherine Barnsley and her Heirs the Sum of Seventy Pound of Good and lawful Money, of Great Britain to Paid likewise in twelve Months. Item, I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Barnsley the Sum of Seventy Pounds of Good and lawfull Money of Great Britain, to paid to her when She attains to the Age of twenty one Years, or to her Heirs or Assigns:

Item, I give and bequeath to Joshua the Son of John Barnsley late of Aldwark Grange, the Sum of forty Pounds, of good and lawfull Money of great Britain to be paid to him when he comes to the age of twenty one Years, if he so long live. Item, I give and bequeath to my Godson Martin Middleton the sum of five Pound, of good and lawful Money of great Britain, to be Paid in twelve Months after my decease. Item, I give and bequeath to the Poor Widows or Fatherless Children of the Town of Bradwall the Sum of fifteen Shillings Yearly, to be paid out of the Rents and Profits of a certain Piece of land Moorlow Torr, and distributed by the overseer and Principal Inhabitants on St. Thomas Day for ever.

Item, I will that whatever Charge or Loss shall attend getting or receiving a certain Sum of Money due to me upon Bond from John Barnsley his Executors, Admrs. or Assigns: the aforesaid George Catherine and Elizabeth Barnsley shall Bear or pay out of their fore mentioned Legacies each an equal share: Lastly I do hereby Nominate and apoint George Barnsley Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament, and I do hereby revoke all former Will and Wills made by me at any time heretofore: In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this fifth Day of May in the Year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Two.

MARY HALL, her X mark.
Signed, Sealed. Published, and Declared by the within Named Mary Hall as and for her Last Will and Testament, in the presence of us who have hereunto Subscribed our names as witness to the Same,


The charity is paid to the poor out of Moorlow Torr.

Built a School House for Poor Children.

JOHN BIRLEY was an old worthy of the early days of the last century, and a member of an old Presbyterian family. He was a Baptist, and owned the land on which the chapel was built. It was he who built the first day school. It stood on the lower

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side of the Baptist Chapel, and here the “free scholars” were taught by a schoolmistress who received the rent from Marshall's Charity land. But after the Baptists left and John Birley died the school fell into decay, and it was pulled down about 1864.

Endowed and Buried in the Old Chapel.

William Evans' name will be handed down to posterity as having endowed the old chapel of the Apostle of the Peak. A man of considerable means, derived from the business of hat making, he resided in Smalldale, and at his death in 1844, at the age of 72, he left certain lands the rents of which were to be paid to the preacher at the Old Chapel. He is buried inside the chapel at the foot of the pulpit, and at the funeral, there was a remarkable incident. There was a crowd round the open grave while the funeral service was going on, and a lady was accidentally pushed into the grave, from which she was with difficulty extricated. The “accident” caused quite a sensation among the crowd. On his monument inside the chapel is the passage “He being dead yet speaketh”.

Samuel Fox.
Bradwell Lad's Distinguished Career.
A World-Wide Celebrity.

Cottage where Samuel Fox was born
Cottage in Water Lane (now Church Street) where Samuel Fox was born.
This is one of the most interesting cottages in Derbyshire.

One of Bradwell's most distinguished sons was Samuel Fox, the founder of the extensive works at Stocksbridge, in Yorkshire, who died in February, 1887. This lad, born of humble parents, attained not merely local, but a world-wide reputation. He was the son of William Fox, a weaver's shuttle maker, who carried on his humble avocation and lived in a cottage in Water Lane. He was born in June, 1815, and served part of his apprenticeship to the wire trade at Hathersage and the remainder near Sheffield. Being an exceedingly sharp lad, he allowed no opportunity for advancement to escape him, and on attaining manhood commenced business on his own account in an old mill in a secluded valley with but few houses in the neighbourhood. For some years his operations were on a limited scale, but his energy and perseverance soon told, and one development succeeded another with such rapidity that his workmen were soon to be numbered by hundreds, and afterwards by thousands. This big concern

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was converted into a limited company, with Samuel Fox as chairman and managing director, and the name of this Bradwell lad is known the world over as the inventor of “Fox's Paragon Umbrellas”.

Samuel Fox, Inventor of the Umbrella Frame
Inventor of the Umbrella Frame, a native of
Bradwell and benefactor of the place.

A humorous scribe once wrote: “I should say that Mr. Fox had the Peak to thank for some of his commercial success. He was born in the Peak. There the rainclouds are always gathering. What more natural than that Mr. Fox should turn his attention to umbrellas? He was not one of the umbrella-making chiefs of Thibet, but he was the umbrella-making chief of the world - he was the world's friend, for his paragon frames have and do still shield people of all nations from the wet. They have served other useful purposes too - they have stopped mad bulls, beat dogs, and thrashed erring husbands; and an old Quakeress had such faith in them that, when one of her servants was emigrating, she gave the girl one of Fox's paragon frame umbrellas and a pair of thick boots, saying ‘Now, Martha, if thou must emigrate thou had better take these. Cling to thy umbrella. It will be a comfort to thee when it's wet, and when it's dry thou may want it to drive off some man’”.

With the anxiety attendant on the management of one of the biggest manufacturing concerns in England, Mr. Fox always took a kindly interest in his native place, and assisted many of the natives to good positions in life. A more hardworking couple than Mr. and Mrs. Fox in their early days it would be impossible to find.

He was a frequent visitor to his native place, took interest in most things connected with it, and for many years he regularly sent large sums of money which were expended at midwinter in household requisites for the poor. These charities were sent anonymously, and it was only a few years before his death the actual donor, though long suspected, became known to the people. In many ways he exhibited his attachment to the village under the shadow of the hills where he first saw the light, and at last bequeathed £1,000, the interest to be given to the poor of Bradwell for ever.

There are many memorials of several generations of the family in their old burial place at Hope, one of which this famous man erected to the memory of his parents. He also erected a memorial to his sister, Mrs. Adam Hill, in the Bradwell Wesleyan Cemetery. His only son, William Henry Fox, Esq., J.P., D.L., of Bradwell Grove, Oxfordshire, was High Sheriff of that county in 1883-4.

Benefactor and Benefactress.

Horatio Bradwell was a worthy son of the oldest family. He was one of three brothers - John, Edwin, and Horatio, sons of George Bradwell - who were all in business as grocers in Sheffield at one time. He took considerable interest in the lead mines of his native place, and invested a great deal of money in undertakings without much recompense. Mr. Bradwell died on the 5th of July, 1887, and his will proved that he never forgot the place of his nativity. He gave his wife a life interest in his property, and at her death bequeathed certain charitable legacies. He bequeathed £500 to the National Lifeboat Institution, as a donation towards the cost of building a lifeboat, with its necessary house, boat fittings, carriage, and rocket apparatus, to be named “Ann Fox”, and fixed on the coast between Lynn in Norfolk, and Berwick-on-Tweed. A legacy of £150 he gave to each of the following institutions: Sheffield Public Hospital, Sheffield General Infirmary, Jessop Hospital for Women, and the Totley Orphanage, with these conditions to the gifts - That each of these institutions should give to a committee representing the village of Bradwell, and consisting of the vicar for the time being, the Wesleyan minister and the Primitive Methodist minister for the time being, and of four parishioners to be appointed at the annual vestry meeting to be held at Bradwell, a certain number of tickets of admission to each of the before-mentioned institutions, corresponding to the annual

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value of the sum of £150, such tickets to be distributed by the committee as they may think fit; and if any of those institutions refuse to accept the legacy under the conditions named, such legacy was to fall in the residue of the estate. Among other legacies were £50 to the Redhill Sunday School, Sheffield, £200 to the Wesleyan Foreign Missionary Society, and £50 to the Wesleyan Worn-out Ministers' Fund.

Ann Bradwell, widow of the above gentleman, who survived him many years, also remembered her native place. She bequeathed £600 on mortgage to found “The Anne Fox Memorial Sick Poor Nursing Society for Bradwell”. She also bequeathed the following sums: Sheffield Royal Hospital £250, Sheffield Royal Infirmary £250, Children's Hospital £250, and Jessop's Hospital for Women £250.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in February 2013.

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