Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire

by Joseph Tilley

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 1999-2008

Volume I, The High Peak Hundred
Whitehough and Bradshaw Halls

Transcriber's Note: Tilley's lack of paragraphing to break up the text is quite tiresome generally, but seems even more so in this one. In this respect it is however as per the original.

WHY cannot the assertions of certain historians, which tend to filch away the honours of Derbyshire families, be taken issue with, be exposed, denounced? Why should there be any lethargy in such matters? Is it creditable to any of us? Warburton, in his Conquest of Canada, deliberately declares that the naval commander, David Kyrke, whose defeat of Admiral Roguemont and capture of Quebec gained him a knighthood from Charles I., was a French Calvanist Refugee. Thus are our old families robbed of their glory, their old homesteads stripped of their associations, and, what is so inexplicable, without one voice being lifted to oppose such inaccuracies or vindicate the memory of men whose brilliant achievements added honour to the county. If Warburton had referred to the Heralds Visitations he would have seen his error. The mother of David Kyrke was a lady of Normandy, - Elizabeth Goudon - and so the learned author confuses the line maternal with the paternal.

“In 1628”, says this writer, “Sir David Kertk, a French Calvanist Refugee in the British service, reached Tadoussac with a squadron, burned the fur houses of the free traders, and did other damage; thence he sent to Quebec, summoning Champlain to surrender”. Stop! This assertion contains three untruths, against which we will raise our voice, if no one else has thought proper to do so. The year was 1629; Kyrke was not knighted till 1631; and, so far from being “a French Calvanist Refugee”, his father was born at Greenhill, Norton; his grandfather was Thurstan, of Whitehough, Chapel-en-le-Frith, where his sires had been located for three hundred years anyway.

The homestead of the Kyrkes was at Whitehough Hall, where they were seated very remotely, which is evidenced by the earliest documents of the Forest, and which they retained for fifteen generations. They were not officials until a later period, but among those Freeman who attended the Inquisition at Wormhill in 1318 was William del Kyrke. The present structure is undoubtedly Elizabethan, and was formerly a goodly specimen of the sixteenth century architecture as a yeomen dwelling, though now hideously disfigured. The oaken beams, with which the building abounds, are covered with whitewash, so are the mullions of the windows within, and the massive door of the Hall has been unhinged and lies buried beneath a heap of rubbish in the back premises. From whitewash and improvers, Good Lord, deliver us! A glance at this family, whose names are written with such indelible ink on the Rolls of England, from the fame and infamy of some of its sons and daughters, is interesting to the general reader as well as the historical student. It was from the threshold at Whitehough that the Kyrkes, of Cookadge, in Yorkshire, of East Ham, in Essex, of Martinside, Eaves, and Coombs, went forth. Very early in the reign of Elizabeth, say 1559, Arnold Kyrke was living at Whitehough Hall with his three sons, Edward, Arnold, and Thurstan, which his wife, Agnes Tunstead, had given him. Edward succeeded to the paternal estates; Arnold became possessed of property at Martinside, where his descendants were living until some time in last century; and Thurstan acquired wife and land, by finding his way to Birchet, among the Blythes. The Blythes held Birchet in the time of Henry VIII., from Richard (the younger brother of the two bishops) espousing the heiress. They were at Greenhill (Norton) in the next generation, from whom it passed to Thurstan Kyrke. Now it appears that Edward, of Whitehough, came courting to Norton at the same time, and from thence he took his bride. We mention this because a very learned and able writer in Vol. II. of the Derbyshire Archæological and Natural History Transactions, says she was Margaret Bagshawe, of the Ridge. We say she was Ellen Camme, of Norton. The proof must have escaped the notice of the gentleman (whom we admire both for his erudition and courtesy), for the Bagshawe pedigree shews Margaret to have married William Wright, of Longstone. The pedigree, in Vol. VIII. of The Reliquary, of a branch of the Kyrke family (by a Kyrke), states her to be Ellen Camme (place not given), while reference to the Norton register gives the fact that the Cammes were an old family of that ilk, doing a neat business in the scythe and sickle line. Why this same writer ignores Joan Kyrke, one of the daughters of Gervase, it is difficult to conceive. Her husband was Richard Shuttleworth, of Gawthorpe, and on the Shuttleworth genealogy she is distinctly acknowledged. Sir Bernard Burke begins the pedigree with Arnold, in the reign of Henry IV., whose granddaughter married Sir Richard Salisbury. We prefer to begin with Gervase, who espoused Elizabeth Goudon, because from this union spring those men whose deeds are recorded by Hume and Macaulay; and those women whose loveliness is still preserved to us by the brushes of Vandyke, Lely, and Holkar. The career of Gervase Kyrke points to a bitter romance, which will never be told. In his will there is no mention of his parents, no allusion to his birthplace or ancestors. To gather such information we have to turn to the tomb of one of his children. In the West's Chapel, St. Aldate's Church, Oxford, there is a monument setting forth that Mary, the wife of John West, was the daughter of Gervase Kyrke, “of Greenhill, in the parish of Norton, County Derby”. We know, too, that when he left the meadows of Beauchief Abbey behind him he went on to Dieppe, in Normandy, where he was located for forty years - so says Mr. S. O. Addy, in his Norton, - and where he married his wife, Elizabeth Goudon. It needs no stretch of imagination to perceive a cruel wrong here. He was his father's heir, but his brother succeeded to the estates, while he passes his life in Dieppe, and ends it in London; for he was buried in that church where Milton had been baptized some three years previously. He had a long line of ancestors, famous both paternally and maternally, but he never mentions them. There were his cousins, the Seliokes, of Hazelborough; the old church at Norton, where he had knelt and prayed as a child, yet no syllable about his boyhood. His mother was Francesca Blyth, of Greenhill, whose great-grandfather was Richard, the brother of the two Bishops of Lichfield and Salisbury, but all is silent, even about those men from whom he immediately sprang, who were Forest officials. Will the ingenuity of an Edison ever conceive a phonograph that shall extract from the glorious old wainscoting of the Derbyshire homesteads those scenes between father and son which ended in the disinheritance and the severance of human ties? His mother died when he was but seventeen, which must have been the age at which he left Green hill, or there would be no accounting for his residence in Basing Lane, London, seeing he died when sixty-one. Had the death of his mother ought to do with his going forth? Just then the Blythes were purchasing the last moiety of Norton from the Eyres and becoming lords of the manor. In the year 1629 Sir William Alexander (subsequently Earl of Stirling), Richard Charlton, William Berkeley, and Gervase Kyrke, started a company in London, and procured a charter from Charles I. to trade and fish “the south side of the River Canada”. An expedition was fitted out and the command given to David Kyrke, together with his brothers Thomas and Lewis, all sons of Gervase, to trade with the Iroqois Indians for their furs and peltries. David had been twice before and was aware of the prosperity of the colonists. It appears that towards the close of the sixteenth century, the French Protestants began to settle themselves in this part of the New World; and in 1603 a navy captain of France, named Samuel Champlain, took possession of the territory in the name of his monarch, establishing a description of government among those of his countrymen who had fled from religious intolerance. Their transactions with the natives for furs were yielding them a rich harvest until a Company of Merchants was formed by Cardinal Richelieu, and given the charge of the Colony. The Company consisted of one hundred members, with a capital of one hundred thousand crowns: “To be proprietors of Canada”, - so ran their charter - “to govern in peace and war; to enjoy the whole trade for fifteen years (except the cod and whale fishery), and the fur trade in perpetuity; untaxed imports and exports. The Ding gave them two ships of three hundred tons burden each, and raised twelve of the principal members to the rank of nobility”. This was in 1627. When the English expedition under David Kyrke reached Canadian waters, the ship of Kyrke was attacked by the French Admiral. This was a contest between a war vessel and a trader, but the victory was with the English, and the Admiral was brought a prisoner to England. By the bravery of Kyrke were the French ousted from their Canadian settlements (this was an age when piracy with gallantry had a respectable show), and the English put in possession. The Company throve, while he was given the Governorship of Newfoundland. After he had been knighted, given an augmentation of arms, which were the arms of the French Admiral he had conquered, and appointed a Governor, he married Sara, daughter of Sir John Andrews, of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, whom he took out to the regions of the seal and the cod. His father, Gervase, did not live to see the success of the Company he had founded; from which the Earls of Holland and Pembroke, with other noblemen benefited; nor to see his son David bring the French Admiral a prisoner, and knighted by the King for his services; yet the simple inscription on the tomb in St. Aldate's plainly tells us that his heart went out at times to his old Derbyshire home, or the fact would not have been recorded. The Governorship of Sir David (of Newfoundland) is memorable from a fisheries question having then first arisen. In one of his letters written from, here to Archbishop Laud, there is a sentence which is very quaint. He says that the climate agrees “with all God's creatures except Jesuits and Schismatics”. His brother Lewis during the Great Rebellion fought under the standard of the King, and for his bravery at the battle of Roundaway Down was rewarded with a knighthood. Thomas became Vice-Admiral. But there is a question which every lover of history would wish to see definitely answered, and which naturally attracted the attention of the writer in Vol. II. of the Derbyshire Archæological. Had Sir David Kyrke a brother George or no? That able antiquarian, Mr. John Sleigh, J.P., in an article he contributed to Vol. VI. of The Reliquary, says he had, and further, that he was the fourth son of Gervase. We are informed by Mr. S. O. Addy that Colonel Chester (a very great authority on the point) is of a contrary opinion. George Kyrke was the Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles I.; he attended that monarch to the block, and stood by his side when the Royal head was severed from the body. His wife was the Court beauty, Anne Killegrew, Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Henrietta, and whom Lely and Grammont have immortalised. The careers of his three children, Percy, Mary, and Diana, have given to the house of Kyrke an entry on the roll of time, and associated the name with cruelty and infamy. From the Memoirs of Grammont (as well as from the pencil of Lely) we have a picture of Mary. She was Maid of Honour to the Queen of Charles II (Catherine of Braganza). “Very sparkling eyes, tempting looks, which spared nothing that might engage a lover, and promised everything which could preserve him. In the end, it very plainly appeared that her consent went along with her eyes to the last degree of indiscretion.” Grammont acknowledges that he was one of her lovers, and made her presents of “perfumed gloves, pocket looking-glasses, elegant boxes, apricot paste, essences, and other smallwares of love”. It appears from both the pages of Pepy's diary and Grammont's Memoirs that there was a ball given at Court in January, 1663, in honour of the Queen's maids, and that during the evening an infant was found on the carpet, but to whom it belonged no one knew. The next day Mary Kyrke disappeared, and when heard of she had assumed the name of Warmestré, together with widow's weeds. In her loneliness she was found by Sir Thomas Vernon, of Salop; who married her; but from his halls she was discarded, and died in great poverty at Greenwich. Her sister, Diana, was also Maid of Honour, but somewhat more discreet. She actually espoused the “senior subject of Europe”, Aubrey de Vere, the twentieth and last Earl of Oxford, whose ancestors, says Macaulay, were nobles of the realm, “when the family of Howard and Seymour were still obscure; when the Nevilles and Percys enjoyed only a provincial celebrity, and when the great name of Plantagenet had not yet been heard in England”. The daughter of this union became the wife of Charles Beauclerc, first Duke of St. Albans; and thus the blood of a Kryke, of a De Vere, and of Royalty become commingled. Percy Kyrke, the brother of these Maids of Honour, covered himself with infamy by the horrible attrocities after the battle of Sedgmoor. He was colonel of a regiment then called the 1st Tangiers - now the Second of the line - on whose colours there was borne, and still (we believe) is, a paschal lamb. He strung up his prisoners at Taunton without the least semblance of a trial. “He ordered the wretches to be hanged at his door, while he caroused with his companies to the health of the King, the Queen, or his colleague, the Chief justice; and as he observed the convulsive agonies of the dying he ordered the trumpets to sound, so that they could have music to their dancing”. Hume speaks of him as a fiend, and tells a story of him so revolting and cruel that we can only refer the reader to the historian. We believe, however, with Macaulay, that the most hideous of the crimes attributed to Percy Kyrke have no foundation. The great blot on his memory - worse than his Taunton massacre - lies in his not relieving Londonderry six weeks earlier than he did. Why did he lie off and allow its brave defenders to subsist upon tallow and dead dogs? No reasoning in this world can exonerate him. We can only see a fiendish delight on his part of revelling in the fact that such accumulated horrors were contributed by his inactivity. He married Lady Mary Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, and lies buried in the Abbey at Westminster.

Whitehough Hall ceased to be a residence of the Kyrkes at the end of the last century, but, if we mistake not, there is a very distinguished member of this family living close by, or at least holding the Eaves. This gentleman is well known in both literary and legal circles, and still holds Government appointments. His grandmother, Mary, was daughter and heiress of Edward Vernon, of Small Dale, the last scion of the Hazelbadge branch of that famous house. The disinclination to recognise George Kyrke as the son of Gervase, of Norton, and grandson of Thurstan, of Whitehough, appears to us to arise from his being the father of the being who was friend of judge Jeffreys, and through whose inactivity or idleness the brave defenders of Londonderry subsisted upon such shabby rations.

On the slope of Eccles Pike stands a gable of the ancestral home of the Derbyshire Bradshaws. When the Bradshaws first branched off from the parent stock of Lancashire; when they first located themselves around Chapel-en-le-Frith; when the Bradshaws, of Windley, left the Peak behind them; are questions which ought to have answers somewhere. The researches of the Historical Manuscripts Commission have convinced us that many of the Peak families have sojourned in the Derwent Valley for a longer period than any compiler has ever stated. From the courtesy of Mr. C. E. Bradshaw Bowies, M.A., of Aston Lodge, Derby, who is the senior representative of the Peak house, we have before us a correct and authenticated pedigree of his sires for more than five hundred years. This gentleman has many of the old deeds, charters, conveyances of the Bradshaws in his possession, which go back to 1333. The items of interest are legion. John de Bradshaw, of Bradshawe, was living here with his wife, Cicely Foljambe, before Henry IV. had assumed his right to the throne of England, and divided the nation into the factions of York and Lancaster. This would be five hundred years ago. Fifth in descent from John and Cicely was Francis (Sheriff in 1630), the last of his race who resided at the Old Hall. His father was of the Inner Temple, London; had espoused Anne Stafford, of Eyam, the wealthy heiress; had purchased the Manor of Abney from the Bagshawes in 1593; had succeeded to the Eyam residence of the Staffords. The wife of the Sheriff was Barbara, daughter of Sir John Davenport, but he died without issue, and so his brother George came in for the Bradshaw, Abney, and Eyam estates. This gentleman selected Eyam as his residence, but when the plague broke out in this village he fled to the house of his son at Brampton, County York, where he died.[1] This son mated with Elizabeth, heiress of the Vescis, and had two sons - Francis, who predeceased his father, and John, High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1717, whose daughter (his son George, Recorder of Doncaster, died without issue) and heiress Elizabeth married Joshua Galliard, of Bury Hall, County Middlesex, descended from Henry Galliard, Sheriff for Norwich in 1599. There was one son of this union, whose two daughters became his co-heiresses. Anna inherited the Eyam estate, and brought it to Eaglesfield Smith; and Mary came in for Bradshaw and Abney, which she took to Charles Bowles, of East Sheen, County Surrey, Sheriff of that County in 1794. We believe this family were originally of Haigh and High Thorp, County Lincoln, and afterwards of Kent; of which shire one was Sheriff in 1658. In the last century one of the lads became a wealthy city merchant, and purchased Wanstead Grove, Essex, and the Manor of Burford, Salop. Humphrey, the son of Charles and Mary Bradhaw, married Harriet, natural daughter of the second Earl of Onslow, whose son Charles (Vicar of Woking) espoused Mary, daughter of Sir George Eyre, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Vice-Admiral of the Red; whose son, Charles Eyre Bradshaw Bowles, has in his possession the actual deed of Conveyance of Abney from the Bagshawes to the Bradshaws, in 1593. He has also among other precious relics the Bible of George, who fled from Eyam. We have given the heraldic coat of Squire Bowles, showing the quarterings of Bradshaw, Stafford, Rowland, Vesey, Francis, Galliard, Huxley, Wakefield.

Not a century ago there were eleven Old Halls within a radius of three miles from the Church of Chapel-en-le-Frith, that had been the homesteads of the Forest officials, while yet the chase was in its glory, and the lairs of the beasts not far distant - Bowden, Bank, Bradshaw, Slack, Stoddard, Ford, Lightbirch, Marsh, Martinside, Ridge, Whitehough. Only three remain - Ford, Slack, and Whitehough, though as gables or wings we have Bradshaw, Marsh, and The Ridge. All knowledge of this portion of the old Forest must radiate from the Church dedicated to Thomas à Becket. Six hundred and seventy years have gone by since the voice of prayer first arose from its precincts, and, though misshapen by the despicable taste of some of its vicars (lancet windows being replaced by hideous square ones, frescoes covered with unseemly whitewash), still from the memory of those men who built it do we gather the only glimmer of light that exists to assist us in pursuit of the required knowledge. Their repeated protests against the claims of the Priory of Lenton enable us to perceive a fraud. Whether they purchased the land from, or had it granted by William de Ferrars, there was a fraud. Who gave the De Ferrars any such right to sell or bestow? Such right belonged to the Peverells, but this being forfeited, the land had either reverted to the Crown or remained with the Priory, to whom the Peverells had given it. Yet the protest was a just one, and when the case was heard at Derby, in the year 1241, the King (Henry III.) must have acknowledged it, or the advowson would never have remained with the Foresters. From their being a community of freeholders, with homesteads situated in the Forest, holding their own advowson, it is very singular that to learn anything of these men should require such diligent search. Then, again, the Forest absorbed four of the twelve parishes of the High Peak Hundred. Still we know so little about it. If the Hundred Rolls of Edward I. showed the mesne tenants as well as those in capit&eacut;, what interesting facts we then should have. This much at least we do know. In the thirteenth century the principal freeholders were the Bagshawes and Foljambes; later on we meet with the Bradshaws, Shalcrosses, and Browns; and then come in the Bowdens, Kyrkes, Bradburys, Taylors, and Mosleys. Of these families the only ones which remain to us, having their homesteads and holding positions of distinction, are the Bagshawes and the Kyrkes. Thus the old halls and individuals have kept touch. True, with the gentleman resident at Ford Hall, one can look back through a vista of seven centuries, along a line of twenty-five generations-even before the Hundred Rolls were conceived-and then find his ancestors among the freeholders of Chapel-en-le-Frith.

The Manor of Abney, at the Survey of 1086, was Royal demesne; in the reign of Edward II., it was with the Archers, of Highlow; and soon after it was with the Bagshawes, who were the senior line of the Ridge family. In 1593 it was purchased, as we have stated, by the Bradshaws, of Bradshaw and Eyam. In 1735 it passed by heiress to the Galliards; and again by heiress, in 1789, to the Bowles.

[1] [Ed: Research into actual events indicates this is incorrect. ‘Squire’ George BRADSHAW was long dead by 1665 (buried at Eyam, 25 June 1646). His son Francis was already established at his wife's estate at Brampton, Yorkshire, and his daughter Ann BRADSHAW had also left the village after her marriage to Michael ADAMS, son of the Rector of Eyam, Shoreland ADAMS at Eyam on 20th April 1665 to take up residence in Treeton in Yorkshire (information supplied to me by Neil Ayres, 22 Jan 2003)]

Extract from Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire, 1892.
Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in January 2003.

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