The History and Antiquities of Eyam

By William Wood (1903)

Transcriptions by Andrew McCann, © Copyright 1999


The following list of names of Rectors of Eyam, with the respective dates of their resignation or death, is as complete as the parish Register affords, excepting the four first named.

Colyn Richard, Rector 1481        
Mockson Robert, Chaplain 1481        
Cheney Patrick, Rector 1584   Died or
Middleton Thomas, ditto. 1613 Died Suspended Resigned
Rev. Robert Talbot   1630      
Rev. Shoreland Adams       1644  
Rev. Thomas Stanley         1662
Rev. Shoreland Adams (again)   1664      
Rev. William Mompesson         1669
Rev. William Adams or Oldham     1675    
Rev. ____ Ferns     1679    
Rev. ____ Carver          
Rev. Joseph Hunt   1709      
Rev. ____ Hawkins         1711
Rev. Alexander Hamilton   1717      
Rev. Dr. Edmund Finch   1737      
Rev. ______ Bruce   1739      
Rev. Thomas Seward   1790      
Rev. Charles Hargrave   1822      
Hon. and Rev. Robert Eden         1826
Rev. E.B. Bagshawe         1862
Rev. J. Green         Oct. 1884
Rev. E. Hacking         March 1888
Rev. H.J. Longsdon         April 1891
Rev. H.J. Freeman          

The Rev. Shoreland Adams was Rector of Eyam and also of Treeton, in Yorkshire. His numerous and vexatious suits at law with the parishioners of Eyam rendered him extremely hated, and his conduct at Treeton, where he chiefly resided, was no less disreputable.

When the war broke out between King Charles and the Parliament, his tolerance and party spirit became ungovernable; and his furious loyalty assumed such an aspect that he was regarded with disgust. The measures he took in favour of the Royal cause excited the notice of the partizans of the Parliament, and he was seized, deprived of his livings, and cast into prison. The charges preferred against him are embodied in a pamphlet written by one Nicholas Ardron, of Treeton, the only copy of which now known is in the British Museum. One of the accusations is as follows:-

“Further it is charged against him that he is a man much given to much trouble and suits at law, as is well-known at Eyam, in Derbyshire, where he was Rector, where they tasted this his turbulent spirit; that he gave tythe of lead ore to the King against the Parliament, delivered a man and musket against them, and sent a fat ox to the Earl of Newcastle, as a free gift to maintain the war against the Parliament”.

He was among the number of gentlemen who compounded for their estates. For a small estate at Woodlathes, near Conisbro,' he paid £198, where he resided until the Restoration, when he was reinstated in his livings again.

That this clergyman was a disgrace to his order may be satisfactorily seen from the following extra evidence:-

When the Rev. ____Fowler, Sheffield, gave up his living for Nonconformity, Adams said that “Fowler was a fool, for before he would have lost his living on that account, he would have sworn a crow was white”.[1]

How striking the contrast between this conforming hypocrite and the virtuous Nonconformist, Stanley.

Adams died April 11, 1664, and was buried in the chancel of the Church at Treeton, where a Latin epitaph commemorates his loyalty, virtues, and sufferings.

The Rev. Thomas Stanley, whose memory is still cherished in Eyam and its vicinity with a degree of adoration which rarely falls to the lot of any public man, was translated to the living of Eyam in the year 1644, immediately after the arrest of Shoreland Adams, the bona-fide Rector. He continued in his office, beloved and respected, until St. Bartholomew's Day, 1662. It was in the capacity of Curate, however, that he officiated from 1660 to 1662 - Shoreland Adams having obtained possession of his livings at the Restoration, in 1660.

After enduring for a few years the sneers and bickerings of a few bitter enemies, Stanley laid his head on the pillow of death, encircled with a halo of consolation arising from an uncorrupted heart, and an unviolated conscience.

“Dying he
Deposited upon that unknown shore-
Eternity - images and precious thoughts
That perish not - that cannot die”.

Stanley was buried at Eyam, where he died, August 1670.

During the time of this holy man's ministry at Eyam, he performed the part of lawyer in the making of wills, and in numerous other matters.

In his handwriting there are still extant numerous testamentary documents, and his signature is attached to many important deeds of conveyance, all tending to prove his high esteem, his honour, and unimpeachable probity.[2]

He was supported by the voluntary contributions of two-thirds of the parishioners.[3]

The Rev. Joseph Hunt has rendered his name somewhat particular by an ill-judged and disgraceful act during his ministry at Eyam.

A party of Miners had assembled at the Miners' Arms Inn, Eyam, the house now occupied by Mr. William Marples. It was then kept by a Matthew Ferns, and an infant child of his being suddenly taken ill, the Rector, Hunt, was sent for to baptize it immediately.

Having performed the ceremony, he was invited to sit and regale himself with the boozing bacchanalians - the miners.

This it appears he did until he was inebriated.

The landlord had a very handsome daughter about eighteen; and Hunt, inspired by Sir John Barleycorn, began to speak out in commendation of her charms. From one thing to another, it was at last agreed that Hunt should marry her; and the miners, not willing to trust him to fulfil his engagement another time, insisted that the ceremony should take place there and then.To this, after taking another glass or more, he unfortunately consented.

The Common Prayer Book was brought out, and one of the miners assuming a solemn aspect, read the whole ceremony; Hunt and the happy damsel performing their respective parts.

After the affair had spread round the neighbourhood, it at length reached the ears of the Bishop of the Diocese, who threatened to suspend him if he did not fulfil in earnest what he had done in jest.

He was therefore obliged to marry Miss Ferns legally.

This, however, was not the last of his misfortunes arising from the affair: he was under promise of marriage to a young lady near Derby, who immediately commenced an action against him for breach of promise.

Some years passed in litigation, which drained his purse and estranged his friends; and eventually he had to take shelter in the vestry (which some say was built for that purpose), where he resided the remainder of his life to keep the law hounds at bay.

He died in this humble appendage to the Church, where his bones and those of his wife lie buried.

He is represented to have been very social - the young men of the village visited him in his solitary abode, where they would sit round the fire telling alternate tales to while away the dreary winter nights.

THE LIVING, on account of the mines, varies in its annual amount. One penny for every dish of ore is due to the Rector, and two-pence-farthing for every load of hillock-stuff.

During some part of the last century the living was worth near £1,600 a year; and of late its value has greatly increased in consequence of successful mining operations. It is now worth near £300 per annum gross.[4]

[1] Vide Hunter's ‘History of Hallamshire’.
[2] John Stanley, whose name occurs so often in documents in the time of Thomas Stanley, was his brother, an attorney.
[3] The arms of the Stanleys may be seen on a stone over the front entrance of the house occupied by Mr. Britt, of Duckmanton, near Chesterfield, whose family are descendants of the Stanleys.
[4] Miss Seward in a letter to Mr. Newton, the Peak Minstrel, dated Lichfield, Dec. 17th., 1786, says “Thank you for your mineral intelligence unwelcome as in itself it proves. The value of Eyam living to my father, once near £700 per annum, is not now more than £150”. It must be taken into account the difference of the value of money near a century back.

Next Chapter => THE LEADMINES

This information was transcribed by Andrew McCann in May 1999.

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