Notes from a Peakland Parish

An Account of the Church and Parish of Hope in the County of Derby,
by William Smith Porter (1923)

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 1999-2000


“TIME which antiquates antiquities, and hath an art to make dust of all things”, wrote Sir Thomas Browne in his ‘Hydriotaphia’; and although recent discoveries in Egypt would seem to indicate a successful defiance of the ravages of time, time has laid a destructive hand on many records of the past, stored in muniment rooms and church vestries. Fire has in some cases acted more precipitately. It behoves us to preserve and copy, or still better to publish, what remains to us of the earlier parish records; especially in out of the way country parishes, where they have often been treated with scant respect and care, due to failure to realize their importance and interest for future generations.

With the desire to preserve them from the uncertain fate of manuscript, I have, in the following pages, committed to print some facts concerning Hope and its inhabitants in the past, gleaned for the most part from such local records as have been preserved in connexion with the church and parish, as a humble contribution to parochial history.

A residence of nineteen years in the parish of Hope, and access as Churchwarden to such records, afforded me some facilities for my purpose. Through the courtesy of the ‘Derbyshire Archaeological Society’ I have been able to add some material from the pages of their valuable ‘Journal’, for which I desire gratefully to acknowledge my indebtedness; as also my obligation to Mr. E. Willoughby Firth of Birchfield in the parish of Hope, to the Vicar of Hope, the Rev. E.C. Vincent, and to Mr. W.D. Chadwick, the Chairman of the Parish Council, for the assistance they have kindly given me. I must also the valuable assurance I have received from Mr. E. G. Bagshawe of Sheffield in permitting me to examine certain documents relating to the Hope valley, and for information which his inherited interest in Derbyshire history enabled him to supply.

For access to the Chapter Records at Lichfield I am indebted to the Chapter Clerk, Mr. G. J. Murray-Atkins; and to the Rev. E. Bradley, the Librarian, for assistance and information in connexion with my search.

The illustrations of Hope Church are reproduced from photographs taken before the Chancel was rebuilt in 1882. These photographs are now in the Central Reference Library in Sheffield, and I am indebted to the Chief Librarian for permission to use them. My daughter re-photographed them at the Library, and also photographed the Saxon Cross and pages from the Churchwardens' Book at Hope, making a sketch of the 13th century tomb slabs in the Church.

8 Sale Hill, Sheffield,
May 1st, 1923.

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in July 1999.

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