Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire

by Joseph Tilley

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 1999-2008

Volume I, The High Peak Hundred
Bakewell Hall

BAKEWELL was among the possessions given by the Conqueror to his so-called illegitimate son Peverell. These possessions, we believe, consisted of one hundred and sixty-two Manors. This would be some two years after the victory of Hastings. Does the evidence of dates go for nothing? When the Conqueror landed on the coast of Sussex he was about thirty-nine years of age. If Peverell were the son of William I., he could only have been a stripling at the time; would scarcely have been entrusted with the governorship of the Midlands, nor have been given one hundred and sixty- two Lordships. There was a standard bearer to Robert, Duke of Normandy, (father of the Conqueror), named Randulph Peverell, whose wife was Maud, the daughter of Ingleric, the Saxon, to whom Robert, the Duke, was

A little less than kith, and a little more than kind.

This lady was undoubtedly the mother of Peverell, and we cannot help thinking that he was the brother, and not the son, of William I. Both were illegitimate. Dr. Cox, in his Derbyshire Churches, Vol. I., p. 99, piles up the difficulty by telling us that Peverell I. died “seventh year of the reign of Stephen, 1142”. What a jolly old man he must have been; how the Peak venison must have agreed with him. Only the year previously (1141) was fought the battle of Lincoln, and among the Barons of Stephen there was a Peverell - but surely this was not the doughty old buck with a hundred summers on his head? Were there not three Peverells - father, son, and grandson? One whose name is linked with, and who held the Castles of the Peak, Bolsover, and Nottingham; one who so richly endowed the Priory of Lenton; and one who hoodwinked the Earl of Chester. How the third one is said to have poisoned this nobleman, and formed a liaison with his wife, how he fled to the Continent and died in exile, and how his estates became forfeited, is known to every historical student; but how thoroughly contemptible was the character of the Earl he is said to have poisoned may be new. Randulph de Meschines was the Judas of his time. His sword was drawn for Stephen at the battle of the Standard, and he assisted to take this monarch prisoner on the field of Lincoln when Maud, the Empress, was victorious. When she, in her turn, was heroically defending Oxford, he was among the beseigers. Alike false to Norman and Plantagenet, he was despised by the adherents of both; and only within a few days of his assassination was excommunicated by the Church. His lady was granddaughter of Henry I., and cousin to Henry II.; hence Peverell's fear must have arisen from his amour with Royalty, and not from his mixing a sleeping draught.

The Lordship of Bakewell remained with the Crown for about fifty years, when King John gave it to Ralph de Gernon, whose son, or grandson, secured to Bakewell a market. Within the extensive Parish of Bakewell there are at least twenty Lordships, eight of which are, at this moment, with a lineal descendant of Old Ralph, who is one of the most illustrious Peers of Great Britain, whose sires have been Peers before him for ten generations. Whether as nobles or men, there are no nobler men than the House of Cavendish, Dukes of Devonshire. Bakewell remained with the de Gernons for about one hundred and eighty years, when (the last of the senior line - Sir John - dying without male issue in 1383) one of the daughters and co-heiresses (Joane) took it to her husband, John Botetourt. The brother of this gentlemen was created a Peer by Edward II. This nobleman died, leaving no son, and the offspring of John, and the heiress of the de Gernons, being a daughter, the title fell into abeyance, and remained so for three hundred and fifty-eight years. There was a John Botetourt of this family who was an admiral and warrior in the Scottish wars under Edward II.; but whether he was the Lord of Bakewell, we cannot trace. The daughter of the Bakewell Botetourt married Sir Richard Swynburne, whose daughter, Alice, brought Bakewell to John Helyon. Whether Helyon was a grandson of Walter, the Justice of King's Bench and Common Pleas under Edward I., no one has cared to tell us. Again, Bakewell was only held for one life; and passed with heiress (Isabel) to Humphrey Tyrell; whose daughter, and heiress, passed it to Sir Roger Wentworth, and joined with her husband in selling it to that splendid type of a courtier, Sir Henry Vernon, in 1502. From the death of Sir John de Gernon to the purchase by Vernon was a period of one hundred and nineteen years only, and the Manor of Bakewell changed hands six times, and each time, less one, by heiress, and some sixty-three years later, it finally passed by heiress, for it was in the pocket of the famous Dorothy. There is item about the Lordship of Bakewell in the Inquisitions Post Mortem for 1249, which is funny. John de Darley is shewn seized of it, while the positive Lord of the Manor was Sir Ralph de Gernon. We simply state two facts which we cannot reconcile.

About the time that the fourth Earl of Devonshire was thinking of pulling down old Chatsworth House, and employing Talmon to build him the magnificent Palace of the Peak, Thomas Bagshawe of The Ridge, determined upon rearing for himself a Hall by Bakewell, with grounds sloping down to the Wye. The Ridge Bagshawes were exclusively a Derbyshire family. With every successive generation, the firstborn of the lads (his younger brothers following suit) selected his wife from the girls of the shire: the lady never came north of the Mersey nor south of the Trent - either a Tunstead, of Tunstead; or Eyre, of Nether Hurst; or Blackwell, of Blackwell; or Shalcross, of Shalcross; or Cokayne of Ashbourne; or Greaves, of Beeley; or Brereton, of Hurdlow; or Allestree of Alvatston; or Ashton of Hathersage; or Statham, of Wigwell; or a daughter of some bona-fide Derbyshire house. Neither did the girls of the Ridge Bagshawes deviate from the example set them by their brothers. Their husbands were selected from the Staffords, or Poles, or Bradburys, of Bankhead; or Ollerenshaws, or Lynacres, or Wrights, of Longstone. As far back as the beginning of the fifteenth century, Edward Bagshawe, of The Ridge, espoused Agnes Jenkin, of Barlow. In 1739, Benjamin, the last of his line, husband of Catherine Statham, of Wigwell, was gathered to his fathers. We believe that the two sisters of the builder of Bakewell Hall did break through the rule - one mating with the Rev. John Clayton, of Little Harwood, Lancaster, and the other with Edmund Pott, of Prestbury.[1]

Thomas Bagshawe, who took up his residence at Bakewell in 1686, was “a lawyer of great repute”, and younger brother of Henry the barrister, of Chapel-en-le-Frith. Thomas had little hopes of succeeding to the paternal estates when he located himself here. His brother had five sons, but brother and sons died, and Thomas succeeded. He had married Mary Allestree, of Alvaston, who gave him nine sons and two daughters; yet all his sons predeceased him, and only one of them left issue, which issue (four sons) died childless. His youngest daughter, Rachel, who was baptised at Bakewell, 18th August, 1685, became the wife of William Fitzherbert, of Tissington, Recorder of Derby, and having survived her father, brothers, and nephews, passed the estates of the Ridge Bagshawes to the Fitzherberts. About two miles north-east of Chapel-en-le-Frith Church is the glen - once, undoubtedly, picturesque - where the Bagshawes were located before William the Conqueror, as a child, had mastered the rudiments of military theft. About the same distance east of the Church is The Ridge, where they had their homestead for six hundred years. When Thomas Bagshawe built Bakewell Hall the prosperity of his house perchance was never greater, nor the extinction of his race more remote, from the goodly number of children given him by his wife, and yet, some fifty years later, they were all gone, and their property too. The builder of this Hall earned for himself a most unenviable immortality by his representing to the College of Heralds as a truth what was a malicious falsehood. When his relative John, of Hucklow and Litton - whose sires were of Abney - (brother of the Apostle of the Peak), became High Sheriff of the County, in 1696, he asserted that the Abney had no right to their shield, and he endeavoured to bribe the heraldic painters to refuse to emblazon the Sheriff's carriage, or, failing this, to at least disfigure the charges. Some of our readers may not see the rascality of such all act - the explanation is simple. Society, in those days, said every gentleman had his escutcheon, and to be a Sheriff you must at least be a gentleman. The Sheriff applied to the College of Arms for proof of his coat, which was not only furnished, but was accompanied with the information that the Abney branch of the family was senior to that of The Ridge: - “Now you may affirm Bagshawe, of Abney, the first Bagshawe in Derbyshire - nay, I think, in England - that bore arms, and will not prove inferior to very many that bear up high of other names”. - Letter dated 3rd June, 1708, vide A Memoir of William Bagshawe, the Apostle of the Peak, by the same author. There is a copy of a letter written by the proud builder of Bakewell Hall to Mr. Samuel Eccles, of Clement Inn, London, in The Reliquary, Vol. VIII. p. 234, which portrays how he still adhered to his assertions:-

Bakewell, 10th February.
Mr. Eccles,

“I thank you for your great despatch with Mr. Bassano and the perfect account thereof, as also that you will attend the King at Armes. And I doubt not that on search of the office books you will find the coate of our family, allowed in all the visitacons of Norrey (as I take it) King at Armes in these parts. And in ye first visitacon after ye restoration of King Charles 2, the coate we clayme allowed to my elder brother, Mr. H. Bagshawe, and rejected or at least not allowed to Mr. Richard Bagshaw's grandfather. William Bagshaw, who, as I remember then, pretended to be descended from Bagshaw of Farewell, near Litchfield, who was no relation to us, nor was as Bagshaw of Abney of any such relation, nor could any of them shew any colour of title to the coate of our family or ever pretended to it. I find my great grandfather Henry Bagshawe marryed the daughter and heiress of Thomas Cokayne, 40 Eliz., and the coate quartered and depicted on glass on ye windows at the Ridge, with the coates into which my ancestors marryed, as the Poles, the Barlows of Barlow, Tunsted, Blackwall of Blackwall, Shallcross, Blackwall of Alton, Cokayne, and severall others. I could send you the Tymes of several of these marryages if necessary. And I find the coate in this manner, anucyently drawne with the motto and verses following:-

[Here is drawn the Arms and Motto:]
“Ut cornu fiatus minimo floresque rosarum,
Tempore sic pereunt formaque fama viruno.”

“Faile not by next to lett me know what money I shall order you in this matter and you shall instantly thereon have an order for your receiving of it.”

“From your very loving friend and servant,

The next tenants in the Hall, after the decease of Squire Bagshawe in April, 1721, were the Barkers, of Darley. We must not confuse the Barkers, of Dore and Glapwell, with those of Darley, for there was no relationship between them. Those of Glapwell were of a very ancient stock and held a baronetcy; while those of Darley who came to live at the Hall (Burke says he cannot trace them further back than four or five generations) will be remembered by posterity from the services of one of the sons, rendered to the nation at the most critical moment of the present century, and from another, whose knowledge of Oriental languages was found of great value during the Crimean War.

John Barker, who was the grandson of the gentleman who purchased the Hall from the Fitzherberts, first chose the avocation of a banker's clerk, and at the age of twenty he held the position of cashier in the great house of Thellusson, of Philpot Lane, London. He did not stop, however, to watch the millions - which his employer had piled up to compete with the Bank of England - disappear into the pockets of the Chancery lawyers; he preferred being Private Secretary to the English Ambassador in Turkey. Within eight years of his leaving Philpot Lane he became Pro-Consul of Aleppo, in Syria, and soon after was made full Consul. This was in the year 1803. His career is fraught with incident. He had to fly for his life, yet could safely entrust his wife and children with the Dervishes at Harissa. Two years later he re-entered Aleppo amid magnificent display, the flourish of drums and trumpets, and the shouts of an enthusiastic multitude. On the 1st of March, 1815, Napoleon escaped from Elba, and landed at Cannes. Barker was in possession of the fact, and acting upon it, before the news had sent a thrill through European society, with a speed almost worthy of the present day, he forwarded the startling intelligence on to India, and through his agency alone was Pondicherry not surrendered to the French. Whether his holding office under the East India Company as well as the nation prevented such distinguished services obtaining some cordon bleu, we cannot say; but surely his promotion to Consul-General in Egypt had nothing to do with it. Neale speaks of him as “a perfect gentleman, an accomplished scholar, a sagacious thinker, a philosopher, and a philanthropist”. His villa at Suldiah, near Antioch, on the river Orontes, most have been the delight of any botanist, for there he collected from all parts of the world a Specimen of any rare or choice plant, shrub, or tree. His introduction of rare Eastern trees into England was in 1844. Fifty-eight years of his life were spent in the East, principally in Syria; and it was at Betias, on Mount Rhosus, where he was struck down by apoplexy, on the 5th October, 1849, in the seventy-ninth year of his age, and there his bones lie, under the walls of the Armenian Church. His son, William, was a great Oriental linguist, and at Eton was Professor of Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Hindustani. During the Crimean campaign he was appointed by Government as Chief Superintendent of the Land Transport Depot at Sinope, where he died 28th January, 1856. He will be known to posterity from his History of the Crimea, Odessa and its Inhabitants, Turkish Tales, Lares and Penates, and his Grammar of the Turkish Language. Bakewell Hall is now held by the Rev. Leonard Slater, BA., who, we believe, is a scion of the old Barlborough family.

We believe that we have met with an item or two about the forgotten families of Bakewell Parish which will be of interest. We find that some of the descendants of Roger de Gernon, who left Bakewell behind him for Suffolk, did not take the name of Cavendish, but retained their own. In the reign of Elizabeth there was as a Sir Richard Gernon. father of another Richard (eighth in descent from Roger), M.P. for Denbigh in 1572, who played the principal character in an event of constitutional importance. He suggested to Her Majesty the necessity of a new office in the Court of Common Pleas, to make out writs of Supersedeas, which Bess created, and put him in it. But the judges ignored both him and the office. Gernon got the sign manual of the Queen. This they ignored. She sent an autograph letter. This they ignored; when Bess became furious. She sent again, and this time she selected the Lord Chancellor as messenger, when the Judges said the whole thing was not constitutional, and the Queen let it glide. We believe that the brother of de Gernon was Thomas, the famous navigator.

There was a mesne manor within the Manor of Over Haddon, and within the mesne manor stood the Hall of the Suttons, who were lords of the soil. Thomas Sutton, who feebly tottered down to Bakewell at the age of eighty-four, leaning upon the arm of a niece, three or four degrees removed, to declare his pedigree before St. George. Clarencieux King-at-Arms in 1611, was the last of his line. His ancestor was the founder of Brasennose College, in Oxford. The Suttons of Over Haddon, were from the Suttons in Cheshire, and, what is curious, both houses became extinct together; still, from the female branches, the blood of the Suttons runs in the veins of the Viscounts Galway and the Earls of Lucan. What finer subject for the lower line of the Academy than this old gentleman, in his low broad hat and ruffles, embroidered frock and hose, which dated front the days of Elizabeth, broken in fortune, but with all the pride of the great House of Sutton in his look, accompanied by a fair girl of sixteen, dressed in the Stuart abandon, confronting the starchy St. George. The manor passed to the Cokes, about whom a great deal can be learned from the Melbourne Papers and Gardiner's History, but they, too, are gone; then it came to the Lambs, Viscounts Melbourne; they all have passed away, and now it is held, or was but recently, by the Cowpers, Earls Cowper. its Inhabitants,

The paramount Manor of Over Haddon passed with the heiress of the Avenalls in 1195 to the Vernons, whose heiress Dorothy brought it about 1565 to the illustrious family of Manners.

[1]Vide “Bagshawes, of Ford”, by W.H.G. Bagshawe, Esq., for private circulation.

Extract from Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire, 1892.
Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in April 1999.

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