Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire

by Joseph Tilley

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 1999-2008

Volume I, The High Peak Hundred
Buxton Hall

FROM those remote days when the Roman Legions were busy constructing their roads through the Peak of Derbyshire (making Buxton important as a centre from whence there was a divergence of great arteries), till the brain of Edward I. was busy conceiving the Hundred Rolls, information respecting the vicinity of Buxton cannot be gleaned, less a slight mention, by the Monkish Chroniclers, of the vast herds of deer in the Forest, or a Royal visit to the Peak Castle recorded on the Pipe Rolls. “At an Inquisition taken at Derby on the Wednesday after the Epiphany of 3 Edward I. (1274), the jurors say that the vill. of Buxton is held in capité of the King for 39s. 4d., by William de Buxton, Henry de Foxlowe, and four others”. If this historic fact be made a multiplication sum, the weekly rental of each of the gentlemen will be found to be about three halfpence. Some quarter of a century previously (1250), the Pipe Rolls inform us that “Matthew de Hathersage 20 marks fine for having Buckstall Forest by the pledge of Reginald de Fowlowe and four others”. These items are of considerable worth, for they establish the fact that the Buxtons and Foxlowes were no small change even then. Is it not singular that both Lysons, in his Derbyshire, and Burke, in his Armoury, ignore the heraldic coate of the Foxlowes? There was a family of Foxlowe living at Taddington (probably a descendant of old Reginald) in 1650: They had a residence at Tideswell, and their alliances - irrespective of their being lords of several manors - are evidence of their importance. William Fowlowe, of Tideswell, married Grace Longden, whose uncle was William Bagshawe, the Apostle of the Peak, and had Samuel of Staveley Hall, whose son William mated with Mary, daughter of Lord John Murray, of Banner Cross, whose heiress she was also. The sister of William succeeded to his estates. She had married William Bagshawe, M.A., Vicar of Wormhill, whose daughter Mary was the mother of W.H.G. Bagshawe, the present Squire of Ford Hall. We thus get at how this gentleman quarters the Murray arms. The village of Buxton of the thirteenth century would be just without the Forest; indeed in the Inquisition already quoted it is so stated. Whether the baths were of any repute cannot even be surmised, for the derivation of the word Buxton, according to Dr. Pegge, quashes such a supposition, though Lysons adheres to “Badestanes”, stone baths. The gentlemen who were located around Buxton in the thirteenth century - within a radius of five miles - were the Brownes, of Marsh Hall; the Bagshawes, of the Ridge; the Foljambes, of Wormhill; the Cotteralls, of Taddington; the Bradshawes, of Eccles Pike; the Dakeyns, of Fairfield; the Blackwalls, of Blackwell; the Shallcrosses, of Shallcross. Are there no vestiges of the old homesteads of the Buxtons and Dakeyns left?

The earliest correspondence, giving any particulars of Buxton, dates from the letter written by Sir William Bassett to Tom Cromwell, the Chancellor, Earl of Essex, recounting how he had sealed up the Baths, broken the images, taken away the crutches and other bequests of the charitable, for the use of those poor creatures who crawled to the Well of St. Ann in those days in the hope of restoring vitality to their limbs. This was when Henry VIII. had just assumed the supremacy of the Church - say 1538.

From that date particulars of Buxton are in abundance. Even as we should turn to the Buxton Advertiser to find the names of the visitors on a given day in July, 1891, so we can turn to Lodge's Illustrations (and other authorities) and find on a given day in July, 1577, Roger Manners, brother to Dorothy's John; Sir William Fitzwilliam and Lady Harrington, were among the visitors. The Old Hall, with which Dr. Jones - a Derby physician - was so delighted in 1572, its four stories, great chambers, offices, sleeping accommodation for thirty, had then but recently been erected by George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, husband of our famous Bess. Lysons has it that the Hall was “taken down” in 1670; Lewis (the Topographer) says it “underwent considerable alteration and enlargement in 1670”. The building, now denominated Old Hall Hotel, is evidently a portion of the Talbot edifice, encased with masonry of a subsequent period, with sundry additions. From the courtesy of the extremely obliging proprietor, Mr. J.H. Lawson, we were allowed to inspect certain apartments which confirm such a belief; and to descend to the vaults (in which this gentleman keeps his huge stores of rich old ports and sherries of fifty years maturity). Here all doubt and scepticism vanish; for the depressed arches and massive architecture suggest that they were portions of a structure prior to the Elizabethan age. The pillars of the entrance to the Hotel appear to be vestiges of the original structure; for weather and masonry have apparently conjoined to establish the fact; as we see the Elizabethan workmanship repudiating its being enfiled with the alterations of 1670. The spot is associated with Scotland's unfortunate Queen, her sufferings and indignity, for we have it from the Earl of Shrewsbury's own letters that she was not allowed. to be seen of anyone “more than her own pepell and suche as I appoynt to attende; she hathe nott come forthe of the house synce hur comynge, nor shall nott before hur departynge”. From the Talbot Papers and Lodge's Illustrations, many particulars, not wearisome from quotation and worn into shreds, may be gathered of this poor creature. On the last visit (if incarceration can be termed a visit) she wrote on one of the windows of the Hall (adapting a couplet. of Caesar's to her own use):-

Buxtona, quae calidae celebrabere nomine Lymphae.
Forti mihi posthac non adeunda vale.

Dr. Pearson, in his Observations on the Springs of Buxton, says “the old well was situated under the third pier from the corner of that part of the arcade which runs along the side of St. Ann's Hotel to the Bath Passage, the basin of which and the foundation of Sir Thomas Delve's arch are said to be buried beneath the pavement”. The truth of this assertion came to us very forcibly when in the vaults of the Old Hall, where the influence of the well can yet be felt. The Sir Thomas Delve who built the arch spoken of, in 1709, had come to Buxton with an infirmity, and had been cured, hence he built the arch over the spring of St. Ann's Well in gratitude. His ancestor was one of those four knights who, with Lord Audley, led the first charge at the glorious victory of Poictiers. The Delves were of Delve Hall, Uttoxeter, temp. Edward I., and of Dodington, Cheshire, temp. Henry IV.; one was knighted by Henry VI. and fell at Tewkesbury; one was beheaded by Edward IV.; one created a baronet by James I. in 1621. A sentence in Dr. Jones' Buxtones Bathes Benefyte (1572) curiously shews that the ladies of Buxton and visitors thereto had an opportunity of displaying their dexterity with the ball, though not in a tennis tournament or with rackets: “The ladyes, gentlewomen, wyves, maydes, maybe in one of the galleries walke; and if the weather be not agreeable to their expectation, they may have in the ende of a bench 11 holes made, into which to trowle pummetes or bowls of leade, bigge, little, or meane, or also of copper, tynne, wood, eyther violent or soft, after their own discretion; the pastyme, troule in madame is termed. Lykewise men feeble, the same may also practise in another gallery of the newe buyldinges”. “The Manor of Buxton”, says Lysons, “is parcel of the King's Manor of High Peak, on lease to the Duke of Devonshire”. This will introduce us to the Duchy of Lancaster (so far as Buxton, Castleton, and Chelmorton are concerned anyway), with which we shall deal when giving a conspectus of the Peak Manors, and from which we shall gather how Edmund Crouchback was given the immense possessions of the De Ferrars and De Montforts by Henry III. his father; how Edward II. dispossessed his relative and gave them to his favourites; how they reverted back under Edward III.; and how crafty old John of Gaunt got the blind side of Blanche Plantagenet and came in for the whole. To Buxton come the feeble, to be healed by its waters; to Buxton flew many a Christian (as we shall show in the case of one of the ladies of the house of Foljambe) in the worst days of religious persecution to escape death at the stake.

Extract from Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire, 1892.
Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in March 2008.

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