Parwich & District Local History Society

Newsletter number 14 (September 2003)

Free to members (£1 to non-members)


Parwich Hall

Copyright © 2003 Brian Foden, Robert Shields, Rosemary Shields and Peter Trewhitt

There has been no systematic study of Parwich Hall, and the families that have lived there.  The following notes are an attempt to pull together what is published together with discussion from the visit to the Hall by the Society on Sunday 13th July 2003.  The tour was supported by Malcolm Burrows of the Architecture Section of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society.  The examination of the building perhaps raised more questions than it answered, but at least we have a clearer idea of what questions to ask.  Parwich Hall is a fine four story house with the brick front elevation surmounting a sandstone undercroft towering above the two story cottages in front of it.  The front door is reached through a pair of wrought iron gates and up an elegant flight of steps.  The rear elevation in limestone looking over the extensive gardens that run up the lower slopes of Parwich Hill.

A 1930s drawing of how the Hall may have looked after the Georgian re-build

Medieval Parwich

Little detail is known about medieval Parwich.  The manor court records are lost, though it is still possible that early records may have been taken to Ireland amongst the Levinge family papers.

In 966 Aelfhelm was granted an estate centred on Parwich (Turbutt, 1999).  He also had considerable estates elsewhere, and on his death in 1006 his Northamptonshire property went to his daughter Aelgifu, wife of King Cnut, but the rest was probably seized by the King.  By the reign of Edward the Confessor Parwich was part of a larger crown estate including Ashbourne, Wirksworth, Darley and Matlock administered as a single unit.

We do not know where the medieval manor house was, though if it existed it is likely to have been in the same area as the present house.  From the Domesday Book (see Morgan, 1978) we learn that then (1086) and earlier at the time of the Norman Conquest the manor was held from the King by Colne, presumably a Saxon (see Craven & Stanley, 2001 and Craven, 2003).  Colne is thought to be the ancestor of a number of local families including the ‘Allsop’ family, who have multiplied and the ‘de Parwich or de Peverwick’’ family, who seem to have disappeared at least locally.  It is likely that any original manor house was a timber-framed hall.  There is mention of  the ‘de Parwich’ family at various times, for example in 1281 in the Rolls of the Derbyshire Eyre (Hopkinson, 2000) and 1338 in the Derbyshire Feet of Fines (Garratt & Rawcliffe, 1985), though if they held the Lordship of the Manor it would appear it was always only as under-tenants.

There is a confusing set of snippets on the lordship of the manor and ownership of the land.  At some point the lordship passed from the crown, but also the land was divided up to some extent (See Glover & Riden, 1981; and Craven & Stanley, 2001).  In 1288 a Jordanus de Sutton left Parwich to his son John, but the King’s brother the Earl of Lancaster held it in 1297.  Turbutt (1999) indicates that it was granted by King John to William de Ferrers II, earl of Derby, but confiscated with the rest of his land when he rebelled.  It was then given to the Earl of Lancaster and after became part of the newly created Duchy of Lancaster.  In 1326 Stephen de Seagrave left it to his son John.  Presumably at this time the de Parwich family were under-tenants of at least part of the estate, as we saw above that they were still holding land here at this time.  Various other people held land here (see Glover & Riden, 1981, and Edwards, 1998) including the Vernon family (see Craven & Stanley, 2001) whose moiety of the estate passed through various hands until William Beresford used it to endow the church in Parwich at his death in 1699.  Also the ‘de Kniveton’ family held land here with Matthew de Kniveton, like his overlord the Earl of Derby, in 1265 had land, including a holding in Parwich, seized by the Crown for his part in the de Montford uprising (Turbutt, 1999).  Matthew received a pardon, and we find a Nicholas Kniveton leaving land here to his son in 1490 over two hundred years later (Glover & Riden, 1981).

Part of the manor was granted by the crown/ Duchy of Lancaster to the Cokayne family in the fourteenth century.  By 1438, when he died, Sir John Cokayne of Ashbourne held the main part of the manor of Parwich.   There is no evidence that the Cockaynes had a seat here.  Their holding passed down through the family until it was sold by Sir Edward to  Thomas Levinge in 1608 (Craven & Stanley, 2001; Foden, 2000).  Note, Lyson (1817) indicates that it was sold first to Baptist Trott and then shortly after conveyed to Thomas Levinge.  Various earlier dates are given for this sale: 1516 (Bulier, 1895) and 1516 (Merril, 1981), but the later 1608 appears to be the correct date for the actual sale, though it is possible that the Levinges were tenants of the Cokaynes before then.

Questions: Is there any evidence locating medieval sites in the village?  Presumably the majority of the buildings would have been timber-framed.  Do we find any medieval archaeology on the Hall site?


Figure 1

Plan of undercroft (not to scale)

A Tudor window

B Georgian or earlier fireplace

C Georgian or earlier door & window



Figure 2

Front elevation of the Hall

(not to scale)




Figure 3

Coach house, stables, old school, etc.

(not to scale)




Part of the 1843 Tithe Map (copied by Brian Foden)


664 Plantation in front of Hall

665 House, Lawn, Gardens, Plantation, mere, etc

693 House, Schoolrooms, Yard, Gardens

694 Coach House, Stable, Yard (for Hall)


Parwich Hall in the snow photographed in the early 1900s when it was occupied by the Rev. Claud Lewis.  This one of the only surviving photographs taken before the brick upper stories of  the west wing were built.


The Tudor Hall

The first stone building on the current site is thought to have been built around 1550, though we have no concrete evidence for this date.  It is likely to have been a traditional stone twin-gabled Derbyshire manor house, though all that obviously remains of this is in the undercroft of the present house (see Pevesner, 1953 and Craven & Stanley, 2001).  Thomas Levinge had purchased the manor in 1608, but the family claim to have been in Parwich since 1561, and to have built this house.  It is possible that they were tenants of the Cockaynes of Ashbourne Hall before 1608, and that as such were responsible for building the sixteenth century manor house.  In 1670, Richard Levinge was assessed for tax on six hearths (Edwards, 1982), suggesting it was a relatively substantial house.  A letter dated June 1683  indicates that Anne Levinge, widow of Thomas, had been living at Parwich, but removed to Chester because she found it too cold here.  It was the main seat of the Levinge family until Sir Richard Levinge, the first Baronet, went to Ireland around 1700.

The Levinge family are said to have come from Norfolk and William Woolley in his 1712 account (see Glover & Riden, 1981) gives us a pedigree for the family:

1. Valentine, a younger son and father of

2. Walter, who married Margery daughter of  Longshaw of Lancashire

3. Thomas of Baddersley Ensor, married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Freeman of Birley Hall in Warwickshire.  He had nine children the eldest of which was

4. Thomas (1564-1640) purchased the manor of Parwich in 1608, married Dorothy, the daughter of Thomas Beresford of Newton Grange.  Their son

5. Thomas (1601-1641), married Anne, the daughter of Rev Richard Goodall of Belgrave in Leicester.  Their son

6. Richard (1631-1667), married Anne a daughter of George Parker of Staffordshire, their eldest son

7. Thomas succeeded to the estate in 1667, but by 1675 was before the King’s Bench as a debtor.  His mother and younger brother, Richard, paid his debts in exchange for the Parwich estate.  He married Jane daughter of William Winters of Breconshire.  His wife and children predeceased him and he eventually died in Rome in 1684.

8. Sir Richard (1656-1724), Recorder of Chester, Member of Parliament and Solicitor General for Ireland , married a daughter and co-heir of Mr. Corbin of London, draper, of the Staffordshire  family.  From then onwards the family’s principle seat was in Westmeath in Ireland.  For more information on the family see Tilley’s “Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire and Brian Foden’s (2000) article.  There is also an account of the family written by Sir Richard Levinge in 1853, but we have not yet seen a copy of it.

There is some evidence internally to the house and in the stable block/coach house that give us a clue to the style and layout of the Tudor house.  It is likely that the building was limestone with mullions of dolomitic limestone.  Part of the undercroft has a vaulted ceiling and it is suggested that this gives us the floor plan of the Tudor house (see figure 1).  There is also a window (see photograph on inside cover of Trewhitt & Beasley, 2002), now between two rooms of the undercroft, that is thought to originally have been an external window to the original house.  Also it is possible that this building was, like the current house four stories high, with the rear elevation, though substantially altered being Tudor.  Maxwell Craven (2003) suggested that the Hall would have been a tower house, similar to Alsop Hall (which may have originally been even taller than it is now), a style fashionable in Derbyshire at this time.  Though against this the rear elevation does not have any features that are unambiguously Tudor, and other commentators (eg Merril, 1981) suggest the present upper stories are a complete rebuild with the rear elevation re-using the limestone from the Tudor house.

Questions: What is the evidence dating the start of the house to 1550?  Can we say more about this house from examining what remains of it in the undercroft?  What if anything is hidden under the front lawn?  How much of the existing garden plan relates to Tudor boundaries?  And is there any evidence for the tradition of a Levinge family crypt on the site, or is this merely the result of an error in Merril’s (1981) book where he quotes Thomas Levinge’s will of 1639, as saying he wished to be buried in “the cancel of Parwich Hall as neere to my late deere wife as convient may be” rather than the correct quote: “in the  chancel of Parwich Church”?  What Levinge memorials existed in the old church prior to its demolition in 1873?

The Georgian House

Previously it has been said that the house took its current form in 1747, with the apparent demolition of all but the first floor of the original stone house and the current brick house being built on top of this (see Merril, 1981).  This is an over-simplification.  Although most commentators (eg. Pevesner, 1953) quote the date 1747, we do not know the original source for this date.  Craven & Stanley (2001) suggest the style is perhaps some ten years earlier, and point out several anomalous features, including the sandstone oculus in the pediment which is strangely wider and set back from the central breakfront it surmounts.  Craven & Stanley suggest that this is a remnant from an earlier William & Mary modification of the house.  Internally the ceiling levels in what is now the drawing room and the dining room, are anomalous suggesting the front of these rooms may have been added on to a pre-existing building.  The window to the ‘Bachelor’s Bedroom’, on the top floor at the back, would appear in style to predate a Georgian remodelling of the house, and also it has the remains of a pulley operated catch, suggesting that it was operated from a level considerably lower than the room’s existing floor level, which in turn suggests it was previously in a stair well. Externally a lead hopper head for rainwater at the back is dated 1738.  A detailed survey of the building is required to indicate the relationship between the plans and height of the rooms on each floor, and may clarify some of these issues.

It may also be that the undercroft was substantially remodelled before or during the eighteenth century, either as part of the creation of the current brick front elevation, or part of  a speculated earlier William & Mary renovation (Craven & Stanley, 2001).  The front elevation of the undercroft is in sandstone rather than the local limestone, and certainly the room to the right of the front steps is built onto the front of the Tudor house as its rear (internal) wall contains the outside of a Tudor window.  Also the room to the left of the steps contains a gritstone hearth and ovens on the right and a blocked doorway and window with sandstone mullions and jambs in the now internal west wall (to the left side).  The style of these features is either Georgian or earlier, possibly even dating from the speculated William & Mary phase.

Undoubtedly the front of the main part of the house, with its fine brick work and original pointing largely intact, is predominantly Georgian.  But it may represent a step in a number of modifications to the house.  It is interesting to speculate why the Levinge family spent so much on a house where they did not regularly live.  Certainly by this time the Levinges were building much grander houses in Ireland.

An interesting conundrum relates to the blocked windows in the east front of the house.  The brick work blocking them would appear to be contemporary with the Georgian re-modelling, but they are not just external decoration, as there appears to be internal alcoves corresponding to the positions of the windows.

The front garden and the pond garden behind make use of brick in the terracing and were   previously thought to be contemporary with the Georgian remodelling of the house (Trewhitt & McCormick, 2002).  At the far end of the front garden are a brick built wash house and possible icehouse that may date from the same time.  It is possible that some out buildings also date to this period.  On the tour of the Hall, Malcolm Burrows pointed out that the bricks used in the garden terraces are older than those used in the house, and that these two gardens are likely to predate the Georgian re-modelling of the house, perhaps part of the speculated William & Mary alterations.  The 1843 Tithe map (see p.4) gives us a plan of the garden, when the house had been occupied by tenants for some time, which may indicate the layout of the Georgian garden.

Interestingly the outline plan of the garden in the 1843 tithe map has similarities to the current plan and is described as ‘lawn, garden, plantation, mere, etc.’, though the current gardens extend further up the hillside to the north, and have newer sub-divisions.  So it is likely that the land associated with the 1747 remodelling of the house is approximately the same area as the present gardens.  Transition from the Tudor house to the Georgian may have been more gradual than might be initially supposed, so  perhaps there was also some continuity between the Tudor and Georgian gardens.  There were two ancient Yews in the front garden that were cut down before the Second World War, which would have been from the Georgian garden or even earlier.  There were a number of fine old elm trees that unfortunately were lost to Dutch elm disease, which would have pre-dated the Edwardian remodelling of the garden.

The Levinges at some point started to let the house to a branch of the Brownson family.  There are a number of accounts of this family (eg Sibley, 1929 and  Enderton, 1969) that   claim the Brownsons were tenants at the Hall from 1620 up to the Levinge’s sale of the estate.  The Brownsons are undoubtedly a long standing local family, with a tradition of being descended from a servant of Mary Queen of Scots who married a local girl and settled in  Derbyshire after Mary’s execution in  1587.  These accounts contain a significant number of inaccuracies, for example in 1620 the Levinges were still living in Parwich; also they claim that the Richard Brownson, who emigrated to Connecticut in 1633 from Essex, was the son of a George Brownson of Parwich.  They give no sources for their conclusions and fail to mention that there were Brownsons living in the relevant part of Essex well before Mary’s execution (see Trewhitt, in preparation).  It is unlikely the Brownsons were tenants at the Hall before the Georgian remodelling of the house as the Levinges would not build such a grand house for tenant farmers and the Brownsons would not build such a grand house as mere tenants.

 Questions: What can we say about the back of the building architecturally to shed light on the transition from a Tudor to a Georgian house?  Are there any clues inside or out to suggest that Tudor stonework above the level of the undercroft?  What period does the current stair case date from?  Can the gritstone fireplace, ovens, door and window in the undercroft be more accurately dated?  Why did the Levinges so dramatically and expensively remodel a house they did not regularly live in?  What evidence is there for the date of 1747, for the rebuild?  Were there tenants in the Hall after 1700?  The Brownson family are said to have lived here as tenants for a while (up to the sale of the Hall in 1814), but for how long?  Can the outbuildings tell us anything further about the stages in re-modelling the Hall?  Why were the windows in the east face of the house blocked?  Was the sighting of the front gate and the steps to the front door contemporary with the Georgian remodelling or later?

The Victorian and Edwardian Hall

The Levinges sold the house and the estate to William Evans of Darley Abbey in 1814.  William Evans, descended from a Bonsall family and had a considerable fortune based on the Evans Bank in Derby and the Darley Abbey cotton mill.  He was a local MP, and a philanthropist.  He was followed in both of these by his son Thomas William Evans who was made a baronet in 1887 (Turbutt, 1999).  The son was responsible for building Parwich School in 1861 and the present church in 1873.  In 1877 the Evans Bank merged with the older Derby based Compton’s Bank.

It is has been suggested that initially William Evans used the house as a shooting box, though from at least 1841 onwards it was used as the Vicarage.  The vicar from 1823 to 1828 (Foden & Robinson, 2002) was the Rev. Carr, whose wife was responsible for planting the cross-shaped wood on Parwich Hill.  There is a curious carved stone in the wilderness part of the garden by the path going up to the large water tank on the hillside.  It has the inscription FILIAE DILECTISSIMAE  PATER MOERENS AD 1869 with a cross. This father may be the Rev May, then vicar, and living at the Hall, whose daughter Fanny Elisabeth died aged 15, and was buried in Parwich churchyard on 17 February 1869.

Given the apparent size of the gardens, it is surprising that there is not record of a professional gardener in the earlier nineteenth century censuses.  Some indication of the size of garden would be the staff employed.  The first mention we have been able to find of a  professional gardener in the village is of George Twigge on the 1881 Census (aged 24 yrs), where he is listed as a “groom and gardener”.  He was living with his parents and we do not know where he was employed, although obviously the Hall is the main candidate.  By the 1891 Census George is working as a carrier with his father.  There was a Wright Greatorix, listed as “groom and gardener” in the 1891 Census; he was  living with his wife and children in a house possibly on the Green, but again there is no definite indication of where he worked.  Wright Greatorix later lived at the Fold (see Trewhitt, 2002)

When William’s son Sir Thomas William Evans Bart., died in 1893 the Parwich estate passed to his two cousins, Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Curtis, daughters of the former vicar of Parwich the Rev Carr.  Mrs. Lewis’ son the Rev. Claud Lewis lived in the Hall and was vicar of Parwich (1904-11).  The Rev. Lewis commissioned Sir Walter Tapper in 1905 (elected to the Royal Academy in 1935) to lay out the gardens afresh, and it is largely these gardens we see today, though as photographs of the period indicate there has been extensive replanting.  It is likely that the belt of lime trees that run along the north side of the gardens were planted at this time.  There was also a glass house in what is now the pond garden that may date from this period.  Traces of where it was can be seen on the brick work of the northwest terracing wall.

The house was also altered to some extent at the same time.  The first two floors of the wing built in stone on the west side of the house were added some time before 1905 (See fig. 2) but it may be that a further floor on this extension was built by the Rev. Lewis as a billiard room then.  The mere at the top of the garden provided running water for the house, but this may have come later as the deeds for Hallcliffe House mention an agreement dated 1908 granting access to the field between Hallcliffe and Kiln Lane for domestic water for the Hall.

The Rev. Lewis was not popular in the village, and arguments about use of the School for the 1911 Coronation Celebrations culminated in villagers burning an effigy of him on the village Green.

Questions: What was the extent of the 1905 alterations to the house?  Were the first floor windows altered then or later in the 1930s?

Parwich Hall in the Twentieth Century

The Estate was auctioned in 1915, when it was bought by Major Alfred John Gainsforth.  There seems to be very little remembered locally about Major Gainsforth, though he was responsible for installing the carillon, with its eight chimes, in the church in 1919, as a memorial to the dead of the First World War.

Sir John and Lady Crompton-Inglefield moved to the Hall in 1931.  Sir John’s mother was a Crompton of the Derby banking family and his father Admiral Sir Frederick Inglefield (see Christian, 1963/4, and Trewhitt & McCormick, 2002).  They made some alterations both in the House and the garden.  In the 1930s the wing to the left of the house was further altered, by the addition of top story.  The 1930s bathrooms on this floor still remain.  A dumb waiter was installed to connect the kitchen to the first floor room above they used as a dining room.  There was also a service lift to all floors in the centre of the house that may also have been installed then.  Also the drawing room floor was reinforced to allow dancing.  In the garden they took out the existing small rockery and replaced it with the present much larger one with the limestone bedrock exposed.  The first floor windows have been lengthened, perhaps at this time, though it was possibly part of the  Edwardian alterations.  Also they planted the beech hedge at the front.  The Crompton-Inglefields did open the gardens to the public at sometime during the 1930s.  Some years later Great Western Railways took the name from a 1930s guide book listing gardens open to the public, and called a locomotive ‘Parwick Hall’, perpetuating a spelling error in the guide book.

The front wrought iron gates with the Crompton-Inglefield armorials were installed in 1937, and were said to have been made in Bakewell.  Somewhat surprisingly all the scroll fittings were found on recent repairs to be metric rather than imperial gauges, perhaps indicating an Italian origin, not what would be expected.  These gates now display the Shields family’s armorials.

During the Second World War, the Hall was made available as overflow accommodation for convalescing soldiers at Parwich Hospital, then a Red Cross convalescent home.  Although beds were set up in the drawing room, no one locally remembers them being used.  Also the lawn now with the pond was dug up to provide more kitchen garden.  Before the War, this part of the garden had a walk lined with standard roses, which were dug up to make way for the vegetables.  The convalescing soldiers also used the front lawn to play football.

Mrs. Bagshawe, the oldest daughter of the Crompton-Inglefields, remembers as a child they drank bottled water, only using the running water from the mere for washing.

The Crompton-Inglefields returned in 1945, and set about clearing the weeds and restoring the gardens.  Immediately after the war the head gardener was a Mr. Shields, a Scot.  This Mr. Shields was only there a short time, and has no connection to the family that currently own the Hall.  The Crompton-Inglefields  paved the rose garden, and planted Frensham roses by the lane in front of the Hall.  This would have then been a very modern variety as it was only available after 1946.  It was also one of the earliest varieties of floribunda.  They also restored the lawns that had been dug up to provide war time vegetables, and later had the pond dug.  Harry Hopkinson, the head gardener after Mr. Shields, roped his brother-in-law in to help dig this pond, when he was visiting Parwich on holiday; we hope this did not discourage him and his wife from further visits to her sister.  The Crompton-Inglefields also carried out an extensive planting programme and in the 1960s had the wooden summerhouse, overlooking the pond, built.  In 1966 they had the stone well made to commemorate their fortieth wedding anniversary.  In the days before garden centres, the villagers would often buy their bedding plants and young vegetables from Harry Hopkinson at the Hall.  The Crompton-Inglefields continued a tradition of opening the gardens three or four times each year.

Sir John and Lady Crompton-Inglefields left the Hall in 1975, when it was bought by the Shields family who still occupy it.  The parents of the present occupants, Donald and Rosemary Shields, who still live in the village, had the rose garden replanted by Mrs. Jean Player of Ednaston in 1988 prior to his holding the office of High Sheriff (see Boisset, 1992).

The current gardens are a combination of the Georgian and Edwardian terracing and the work of owners and gardeners over at least 250 years.  The long walk below the tennis court was replanted with shrubs, and the rose garden replanted, both in 2001.  Also the current occupants, Robert and Alice Shields, have restored the (Edwardian or 1930s?) greenhouses, and are continuing to plant trees on the hillside above the tennis court.  They have also planted a row of walnut trees by the summerhouse along the top of the tennis court and rose garden, where some years ago a row of walnut trees had been taken down.

Questions: When were the present greenhouses built?  How much of the west wing was 1905 and how much 1930s?  When were the ground floor windows altered, 1905 or 1930s?  Which of the twentieth century alterations internally were 1905 and which 1930s?


Stable Block, Coach House, and former School

Stable Cottage is a cottage made up of the central section of the former steadings for the Hall.  This range of buildings (see fig. 3) has been said to be mid-eighteenth century, presumably associated with the Georgian rebuilding of the Hall, but looking at it reveals a much more complex history.  The part nearest the Hall is obviously a Georgian redesign of an older building, but the central part retains much older dolomitic limestone coins and arches.  This could have been the coach house for the sixteenth century manor house, or it has even been suggested that it was adapted from an earlier building, perhaps an earlier manor house.  Masons’ marks can be seen just below the guttering on the ‘Georgian’ section.

The ground levels in the stable yard have altered significantly since the building of the oldest sections, with the level of the yard being much higher than the original floor level in the oldest parts of the building.  The steps up to a door in the north end of the range were built when this upper floor was used as a schoolroom in the 1830s.  This north gable has some coin stones several feet in front of the rear wall of the range suggesting that the back wall of the range has been rebuilt.

There is also a separate Georgian stable block now in the garden of Stable cottage.   It has had a very varied history.  Presumably for much of its history it was just outbuildings for the Hall, but from the 1830s, when the southern part of the building was added on, up to the building of the present school in 1861, this southern part of the range was used as the school master’s house.  This part is now a separate dwelling called School View.  After the southern section ceased to be the school, part of the range was for a while used as a sort of a village hall or parish rooms, with among other things the vicar’s wife holding a sewing group.  In the twentieth century there was a reading room for the villagers in what is now Stable Cottage.  Also it has in the past been used as accommodation for servants for the Hall, with a chauffeur's flat in the twentieth century.  The whole range of buildings except the twentieth century addition of the south end of School View has a single roof line suggesting that it was re-roofed at some point, perhaps in the 1830s.

Stable Cottage, which is partly in the nineteen century addition and partly in the older central section, was sold as a separate dwelling by the Estate in the 1970s.  The garden has the feel of a hidden woodland glade, despite its location in the centre of the village.  A separate stable block accessed through the garden was until recently used as a music room, and has been used as a rehearsal room for the village pantomime.

School View occupies most of the 1830s School/School House, with a former cart-house on the south end being incorporated into the house to make the present kitchen.

Questions:  What can be said of the oldest central section, now split between Stable Cottage and the Hall stables/coach house?  Was this built at the same time as the Tudor Manor house?  Although the front of this range of buildings appears to be divided into clear building phases, these phases are not clear on the back wall.  Can the back wall tell us more about the history of the buildings?  Are the buildings older than they seem with the different parts of the front being misleading later alterations?  The Georgian section nearest the Hall has  a modification of an older building, can we say anything about its original form?


Caroline Boisset (1992) “The hard face of the Peak, tamed when a garden smiles” Country Week April 30th—May 6th 1992 p. 46-51

Roy Christian (1963/64) “Parwich Hall” Derbyshire Life & Countryside Vol. 26  no. 1 pp 26-30

Maxwell Craven and Michael Stanley (2nd Ed. 2001) “The Derbyshire Country House” Volumes I & II. Landmark Collectors Library: Ashbourne.

David G Edwards, Editor (1982) “Derbyshire Hearth Tax Assessments 1662-70” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield

David G Edwards, Editor (1998) “Derbyshire Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1393-1574” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield

Col. Herbert Brownson Enderton (1969) “Brownson Families: some descendants of John, Richard and Mary Brownson of Hartford Connecticut” California

Brian Foden (2000) “Sir Richard Levinge of Parwich 1656-1724” Parwich & District Local History Society Newsletter October 2000 no. 3 pp. 6-7

Brian Foden & Andrew Robinson (2002) “A History of Parwich Church” Parwich & District Local History Society

H J H Garratt & Carole Rawcliffe (1985) “Derbyshire Feet of Fines 1323-1546” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield

Catherine Glover & Philip Riden, Editors (1981) “William Woolley’s History of Derbyshire” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield

Aileen M Hopkinson, Editor (2000) “The Rolls of the 1281 Derbyshire Eyre” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield

Sir Richard Charles Augustus Levinge (1853) “Historical notices of the Levinge Family Baronets of Ireland from the Saxon Chronicles AD 1005-1853

Lyson (1817) “History of Derbyshire” Vol. 2 p14

John N Merril (1981) “Historic Buildings of Derbyshire”  Walking Boot Publications, Winster

Philip Morgan, Editor (1978) “Domesday Book: Derbyshire” Phillimore & Co, Chichester

Nikolaus Pevesner (revised by Elizabeth Williamson) (1953,1978) “The Buildings of England: DERBYSHIRE” Penguin Books: London.

Harriet Bronson Sibley (1929) “The Brownsons of Derbyshire, England: the family of John & Richard of Hartford, Connecticut” Oregon

J. Tilley (?)  “Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire” Vol. 2

Peter Trewhitt (2002) “The Fold” Parwich & District Local History Society Newsletter February 2002 no. 8 pp. 4-8

Peter Trewhitt (in preparation) “An A to Z of Parwich Families in the Nineteenth Century: Brownson” to appear in Parwich & District Local History Society Newsletter

Peter Trewhitt & Patti Beasley (2002) “A Parwich Walk” Parwich & District Local History Society.

Peter Trewhitt & Barbara McCormick (2002) “Gardening in Parwich: A celebration of the Parwich & District Horticultural Society’s Golden Jubilee” Parwich & District Horticultural Society and      Parwich & District Local History Society

Gladwyn Turbutt (1999) “A History of Derbyshire” Volumes 1, 2 & 4.  Merton Priory Press,     Cardiff


The 1670 Hearth Tax Returns

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

The hearth tax or chimney money was introduced to England in 1662, but withdrawn in 1689.  It was set at the rate of 2 shillings per annum for each hearth or stove.  In the returns we are given the name of the head of the household and the number of hearths, so we can only work out which building is being assessed if we know who lives there.  For the Wirksworth Hundred, the 1670 returns are the most complete.  The following information is taken from David Edwards’ (1982) account of the Hearth Tax in Derbyshire.

The number of hearths is a rough guide to the status of the household.  A very rough guide to status is 1: Husbandmen and poorer sort, 2-3: most craftsmen, tradesmen, yeomen, 4-7: Wealthier yeomen and merchants, and 8+: Gentry and nobility.  This guide is only rough, and in the local returns we see the local gentry with less than 8 hearths.  Also it is possible that yeoman living in the then very old-fashioned timber-framed hall-house might only have one heath.  In Parwich some 42 households were assessed in 1670 with Mr Leeving (Levinge) at the Hall being assessed for 6 hearths.  The majority of households had just one hearth.  There was one house with 4 hearths in Parwich, belonging to a Mr. Dale and it is possible that this is Knob Hall (also known as Old Hall).  Eaton & Alsop had 12 households with Anthony Allsop Esq. at the Hall having 8 hearths, suggesting that at this point Alsop Hall was a larger building than Parwich Hall.  Anthony Allsop was the last of original Allsops to live in the Hall.  After some 500 years his creditors forced the sale of the Estate.  (Note. At this time Tissington Hall had 18 hearths.)  In Eaton and Alsop two other houses had 5 hearths, suggesting they were fairly substantial.  Perhaps one of these was Manor Farm.

It is possible to use the number of households as a rough guide to population by multiplying the number of households by 4.  Though less accurate for smaller numbers this gives us the following population sizes: Parwich approximately 180 people living in 42 households; Eaton & Alsop approximately 50 people living in 12 households; and Ballidon approximately 90 people living in 21 households.


Head of Household


Head of Household


Mr. Roger Hurt


Henry Elts


George Hambleton


John Webster


Richard Harvey


Will. Webster


Abram Hampson


John Ward


Stephen Dennis


George Webster


Tho. Slacke


Will. Ensor & John Bateman for Jo. Taylor


Stephen Dennis Sen.


Ann Lane


Robt. Bagshaw


John Rooe


Nicholas Smith


Andrew Fearnehough


Jo. Fearnehough


John Bateman


Aurthur Dennis





Head of Household


Head of Household


John Tomlinson


Antho. Swindle


John Allsop


John Tomlinson


Will. Beresford


Tho. Gould


John Darrington


George Brownson


Tho. Allsop


Thomas Eyley


Rich Leeke


John Allsop


Josephe Basset


Richard Sutton


Mr. Will. Allsop


Tho. Dakin


John Leake


Elizabeth Gould


Edw. Creswell


Sam. Dakin


Tho. Creswell


Antho. Wright


George Gould


Will. Millington


Henry Gibbon


Tho. Millington


Tho. Gould Jun.


John Basford


Elizabeth Rowe


Tho Ball


Robert Ensor


Ann Dakin


Will. Mellor for Hayes house


Will. Tomlinson


Tho. Gould


Mr. Leevinge


George Rooe


Mr. Dale


Will Needham


John Dakin


?Maxim Watson


Richard Swindle


        Eaton & Alsop

Head of Household


Antho. Allsop Esq.


Henry Mellor


George Milward


Will. Twycrose


Raphe Johnson


Tho. Hood


Henrie Grace


Antho. Johnson


Antho. Johnson Sen.


Tho. Coates


George Cleaton


John Cleaton


        Newton Grange

Head of Household


Mr. Francis Berisford


Richard Wagstaffe


Henry Marlidge



David G Edwards, Editor (1982) “Derbyshire Hearth Tax Assessments 1662-70” The  Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield

(The Society has a copy of this book that members can borrow from the Secretary, tel. 01335 390 287)


List of Freemen of the Wirksworth Hundred circa. 1570

Transcribed by George Harold Allsop

Copyright © 2003 George Allsop

(Editor’s note: The list begins with the manors in  the Wirksworth Hundred or Wapentake, the equivalent of the District Council that dated back to Saxon times.  It is interesting to note that the only freeman in Parwich was  Thomas Gold, there being no mention of any Levinges.  Does this mean that the Levinges were not yet in Parwich at this date?)

 List of manors in the Wirsksworth Hundred or Wapentake


Calowe & Ibull


Tissington & Leygh


Hopton & Carsington




Eaton & Alsoppe

Fenny Bentley

Myddleton & Smerrell



Dethicke Tansley & Leigh

Mapleton & Thorpe

Knyveton & Underwood


Wensley & Snytterton



Hartyngton Sooke

Myddleton & Cromford


List of freeman of the Wirksworth Hundred

Thomas Cockeyne miles (i.e. knight)

Humfreius Bradbourne miles

Henricus Folijambe armiger (i.e. entitled to heraldic arms)

Richardus Wensley de Wenesley armiger

Adamus Beresford de Bentley armiger

Antonius Gell de Hopton armiger

Thomas Flaskett de Unston generosus (i.e. gentleman)

Richardus Nedeham de Snytterton generosus

Johannes Alsopp de Alsop in le Dale gen.

Nicholas Woodroff de Calley gen.

Johannes Wygley de Wirkesworth gen.

Johannes Daken de Snytterton gen.

Jacobus Deane de Wirhesworth yeoman

Johannes Wigley de Myddleton yeoman

? Hopkynson de Bonsall yeoman

? Woolley de Riber yeoman

Henricus Bowne de Matlocke yeoman

Michaelus Harrie de eadem (ie ditto) yeoman

Rolandus Paton de Hopton yeoman

Johannes Gell de Carsington yeoman

Radulphus Crane de Midleton yeoman

Thurstanus Dale de Hardlow yeoman

Johannes Lane de Cromford yeoman

Johannes Ferne de Grene yeoman

Rowlandus Fyre de Kirk Yerton yeoman

Edward Bland de Bonsall yeoman

Antonius Senyor de Snytterton yeoman

Robertus Fytzherbert de Tyssington gen.

Willelmus Stubbes de Mapleton yeoman

Johannes Alsoppe de Hognaston yeoman

Homfridus Nedeham de Hartington yeoman

Edward Nedeham de eadem yeoman

Johannes Ferne de eadem yeoman

Johannes Nedeham de eadem yeoman

Radulphus Standall de eadem yeoman

Willelmus Brewerton de eadem yeoman

Richardus Bateman de eadem yeoman

Willelmus Hall de eadem yeoman

Thomas Bennett de eadem yeoman

Johannes Webster de eadem yeoman

Richardus Bonsall de eadem yeoman

Humfrius Goodhine yeoman

Rolandus Ferne de Hognaston yeoman

Johannes Mason de eadem yeoman

Willelmus Madder de Harker yeoman

Johannes Stone de Carsington yeoman

Thomas Topless de dissington yeoman

Willelmus Johnson de Tansley yeoman

Thomas Gold de Parwicke yeoman

Jarvasius Prince de Assheburne yeoman

Nicholas Hurte de eadem yeoman

Willelmus Jackson de eadem yeoman

Homfrius Knyveton de Corley gen.

Johannes Buxton de Brassington yeoman

Willelmus Greattraxe de Hopton yeoman

Alexander Godwen de Harlowe yeoman

Johannes H…? de ….? yeoman

Nycholas Hurte de Ashborne yeoman

 The mysterious and unexplained Parwich ring banks and ditches

Copyright © 2003 Rob Francis

The Parwich ring banks can justifiably be considered one of the archaeological mysteries of Derbyshire. On the road out to Buxton just north of Whitecliffe farm in two fields, one either side of the road, are well over a hundred ring ditches for which there has as yet been no clear explanation. The ditches are not easy to pick out unless there is low sun but there is no doubt given the right viewing conditions that they are there. (See plan below) In the last forty years there have been two articles in The Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (DAJ) that have attempted to find valid reasons for these ring banks and ditches together with some evidence to back up any theory.  The explanations have at best been tenuous and leave the reader more confused than at the outset.

John Lomas identified and investigated over 100 of these ring bank ditches back in 1959. The land the ditches appear on, he observed, had been charity land, rented out intermittently over the years and therefore never extensively cultivated by a single tenant.

This might be one of the reasons for the survival of these unusual features. The only visible dating clue was that one of the ring ditches appeared to have been demolished when a field wall was built soon  after 1788; so, Lomas deduced, the rings must predate the wall. Lomas built a trench through three of the ditches and discovered each one had the same structure, with a circular outer bank, and an inner ditch and a slight platform in the centre.  The banks had been formed from material excavated from the ditch and central areas. The circumference of the ditches varied considerably and one or two were observed to be oval in shape. Nothing was found that could date the ditches in any way, no bones or artefacts. The soil itself is fairly acidic and Lomas pointed out that any bones would not have survived in this type of soil. Pollen samples were also analysed. The samples pointed to the fact that the neighbourhood was in use as a pasture with some scrub woodland in the area. Though his findings were inconclusive John Lomas was bold enough to suggest that the site was likely to have had an origin in the late Bronze or early Iron Age. He could not though suggest any practical or ritual function for the ring ditches. His findings were published in the DAJ in 1962 under the title ‘A Bronze Age Site at Parwich’.

Thirty years later G.A. Makepeace completed another survey and investigation of the same site. He noted that there were many more ring banks than Lomas had recorded – claiming there were at least 140 in the field south of the road. He recognised that land use had changed in the intervening years with a decline in bilberry and heather and increase in pasture – this might have made for easier identification of the banks. Part of the north field had been recently ploughed. Makepeace starts his article by listing the variety of suggested origins for the banks, including burial monuments, Roman or Scottish army encampments, some industrial or agricultural function, tree ring banks or even natural glacial features. He then goes on to describe his excavation of four of the ring ditches. His findings were as inconclusive as those of John Lomas thirty years previously. He was clear about what the ring ditches were not: not natural glacial features - as there was no evidence of resorting material by frost or ice action; not tent pitches - as there are no entrances; not tree ring banks - as there were no features to suggest trees were once there. In the light of this uncertainty he boldly speculates a purpose for the ring ditches. He suggests that the rings might have been a site for mortuary and excarnation practices starting possibly in the Neolithic. Bodies of the dead could have been stretched out on these platforms and left to be cleaned by carrion before a   ritual burial of the remaining bones. (Wigber Low’s use as an exposure platform has been proved through the identification of  small bones trapped amongst small rock crevices.)   

Makepeaces’s reasons are tenuous. The lack of any artefacts could suggest that land was specially laid aside. The ditches resemble some of the early ditched disc barrows but the acidic nature of the soil in Parwich would have left no trace of bones. Its situation surrounded by other important Neolithic and Bronze Age features was felt to lend even a little more weight to his suggestion.

Both excavations left us asking more questions than there were  answers. The lack of any substantial evidence on the ground means that any conclusion has to be reached by suggesting possible reasons for the presence of these banks. Indeed the banks themselves are not always easy to spot. The absence of any clear explanation fuels speculation. In January this year I attended a day of Derbyshire Archaeology in Chesterfield. One of the talks being presented was by Graeme Guilbert of the Trent and Peak Archaeological Unit who as a result of a survey of the ring ditches in the last two years claimed to have solved the mystery. In Parwich Memorial Hall, at 2.30pm on Sunday 12th October he will give a talk on the ring ditches and the result of his survey,  providing, perhaps, the explanation we have all be waiting for. In the morning of the same day we will be looking at the ring banks (meet The Sycamore car park 10am).

A sequel to this article will appear in the next newsletter. This is an intended cliff-hanger – to relieve the suspense come to the meeting on October 12th.

John Lomas (1962) “A Bronze Age Site in Parwich” DAJ

G. A. Makepeace (1997) “A Survey of the Ring Banks on Parwich Moor” DAJ


This plan is taken from the survey conducted by John Lomas in 1959. You will have the opportunity of seeing the ring ditches yourself if you take the road from Parwich out past Whitecliffe Farm.  The two fields are situated on either side of the road just after the left bend, which is clearly shown on this plan.

The Roes of Parwich

Copyright © 2003 Glynn Roe

My name is Glynn Roe, a teacher of Mathematics in a Cheshire secondary school, born in Manchester and I have lived in Bollington, near Macclesfield, for over thirty years. My association with Parwich started nearly eighteen years ago and yet goes back hundreds of years!

Encouraged by a good friend with considerable experience in researching family history, I took my first steps in the summer of 1985 towards tracing my ancestors. I, like my father, was born in Manchester. An auntie, sister to my father, told me that my grandfather Albert Roe was baptised at St Barnabus church in Crewe in 1885. On a warm summer’s day, full of confidence with such clear information, I drove to Crewe and as I approached the church there was a big sign advertising that it was its centenary year. How interesting, my grandfather might have been one of the first persons to be baptised at this church! I now learnt my first lesson as a family historian, never believe everything you are told. Albert was not born in 1885, nor was he baptised at St Barnabus. After a fruitless search through the parish records that morning, at a cost of £5, I eventually established from a census at Crewe library that my grandfather was born in 1889 in Monks Coppenhull, Crewe and his father, John, was from Manchester!

I visited Central library in Manchester some days later and after an apprehensive start learning how to use the system, I looked at the 1861 census and after a few hours I found John as an infant in Newton Heath with his father Francis Roe and mother Mary Ann.  Francis was from a place I had never heard of, somewhere called Parwich in Derbyshire.  After a struggle home in the teatime traffic to Bollington, near Macclesfield, I got out my road atlas and found Parwich! I used to work at Derby and passed through Ashbourne lots of times visiting family back in Manchester but I had never heard of Parwich.

After a few weeks back at school, I booked a visit to the Derbyshire Records office in Matlock and looked at the Parwich parish records on film and found Francis, born in 1818, together with his brothers and sisters and of course eventually after further visits, I began to build up a record of my family. Those were the days before computer records and a trip to the Local Studies Library in Matlock, a search through the microfiches of the IGI and a lot of printing off of the Derbyshire Roes in the ‘basement’ of the County offices  and I could now do more work at home. I have since sung the praises of the Mormon Church many times over the years, particularly since the IGI went on line.

Francis was in his twenties when he made his way to Manchester, he met and married his wife Mary Ann Walker in 1844. Mary Ann was from Middlewich in Cheshire. His father Thomas was born in Parwich in 1762 and lived all his life in Parwich, dying in the same year that Francis got married in Manchester. His wife, my great, great, great grandmother, Elizabeth Titterton, was born in 1776 in Grindon just over the county border in Staffordshire. She died in 1857 and is buried with Thomas in the churchyard of St Peters. There is a group of Roes buried behind the church.

My research has discovered nearly 250 relatives, some by marriage, baptised at Parwich over 350 years. The chart overleaf shows a tiny section of my family tree.




Francis, born in 1754, was a publican in Parwich, I think at the Crown Inn. His daughter Thomasin, never married and lived to the age of 84, she died in 1875 and is buried in the churchyard. In 1841, she was living at Church Gate cottage, and on the 1851 census she was at the Sycamore Inn. Thomas, born in 1762, is my great, great, great grandfather. He was a farmer at a farm near Gotham all his working life, later helped by his son Sampson, my great, great uncle. Sampson was probably the last Roe in Parwich – he is on the 1871 census as is his aunt Thomasin who died four years later.

Other relatives of mine include the Reverend George Roe, once the minister of St Peters for over 25 years. George was born in Parwich in 1736 and died in 1816. His church was not the present one and it was interesting to see a sketch of the old church on the cover of the booklet– A History of Parwich Church by Brian Foden and Andrew Robinson.

George’s brother, Thomas Roe, was the minister at All Saints in Bradbourne at the same time. George had 11 children of his own as well as baptising a number of other relatives of mine.

During my search I have come across a number of families of Parwich like the Fernihoughs, the Allsops, the Goulds and the Lees, all have married a Roe at some time. If anyone is interested in any connections I have made then please make contact.

For the first few years that I have been tracking my relatives down I have concentrated on the family name, Roe. It is only in recent years I have looked into other relationships and I have a lot of information which might be of interest to someone, at the very least it could save a lot of time!

It has been interesting seeing the spread of my family out of Parwich, south towards Burton on Trent and other parts of Staffordshire, northwest to Manchester the choice of my great, great grandfather Francis. Some married and settled in Cheshire, others in Nottinghamshire, a first cousin (5 times removed) left Parwich to live in Macclesfield, married three times, two of the wives were sisters. Descendants of his are still in the area near where I live. A descendant of a Parwich Roe became registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Bakewell in the mid 19th century.

About 18 months ago I discovered that my mother’s family came to Manchester, via London, from Edinburgh and this has been where my more recent research has led me. In contrast to my father’s family, a great, great, great grandfather on my mother’s side, Leslie Fleming, was a printer in the city of Edinburgh, quite a contrast to Thomas Roe, a Derbyshire farmer. Leslie’s great, great grand-daughter and Thomas’ great, great grandson married and had me.

It has been fascinating to make trips to the records office, libraries, churches and pubs! My first visit to St Peter’s churchyard many years ago was interesting, walking around the village, having a pint at the Sycamore Inn. More recently I visited and was impressed with last year’s display in the church. Many memories and I have still not finished! Only this Easter I was tramping among the daffodils around graveyards at Marston upon Dove, Ellastone, Snelston and Waterfall. My recent purchase of a digital camera and my interest in computing has combined to encourage me to develop a website to enable others to draw from my research.  My first tentative steps can be seen at This will keep me busy when I retire! There is a lot more family history material on the Net and more to come in the next few years but it is necessary to check documents yourself.

I have been very pleased to discover the Parwich & District Local History Society. The  newsletters are entertaining and informative and I hope this small article based on my experiences over the years helps others to look at the history of Parwich and its people. A recent article by Brian Foden on the murder of two of my relatives was very informative. I knew of the gruesome event but not the details or the outcome of the trial, it was on my list of things to look up in the future, so thanks for saving me a trip to the Local Studies library at Matlock.

If anyone wants to contact me either by e-mail:  or by telephone: 01625 573965, I am happy to pass on any information.

Evacuees at Bradbourne

Copyright © 2003 Rob Francis

Operation Pied Piper brought a number of dazed and confused children to Bradbourne and Parwich in the spring of 1940. This was part of the national programme to remove children from the cities and towns that were in danger of being heavily bombed in the industrial heartlands on Britain. It is estimated that over 3 million children were evacuated to safer rural areas and became known as evacuees.

One Sunday in May this year I was privileged to attend a service at Bradbourne church to commemorate this mass exodus. At the event were a number of those who, as children, had ended up in the distant and unusual Derbyshire village of Bradbourne. Also present were some of the Bradbourne residents who had received them.

The children all came from Lee-on-Sea and arrived by train at Ashbourne station; a coach then brought them to Bradbourne. Dropped off at the school they waited to find out the home to which they had been allocated. They each clutched a stamped addressed postcard that they had been instructed to send home when they arrived safely at their destination.

As the local rate collector, James Hadfield had been given the job of the billeting officer. He already knew all the local households and was the one who was responsible for deciding how many evacuees each house could take. He would have to knock on each house, note the number of rooms available and the present inhabitants and then decide how many evacuees each household could take.  A refusal to take in an evacuee could result in prosecution though some houses managed to avoid taking the initial assignment of children – Bradbourne Hall and the vicarage being two of  them!

Those evacuees I talked to spoke with affection of the greeting they received on that spring days sixty-three years ago.  They were educated in a separate class at the school. The local children attended lessons in the morning and the evacuees in the afternoon. The newcomers joined in village activities and one evacuee explained that he regularly walked to Ballidon church where he sang in the choir. There were also football matches against the school at another nearby village called Parwich. Michael Sutcliffe was an evacuee who was considered lucky. He came with his father who took on the job as a teacher of the evacuee children. He arrived a few days later than the other children, at Tissington station, and remembers watching from the bridge as a train pulled away with bombs laid out on the trucks beneath him.

At the church service Jame Roffey, the General Secretary of the Evacuees Reunion Association spoke of the enormous social upheaval caused by the evacuation programme. Lives were irrevocably changed forever but because of the  catastrophic events taking place elsewhere in the war the plight of the evacuee child was overlooked. When evacuee children returned home, sometimes  after as much as 5 years away, they were hardly recognised by their parents. He reflected that interest in evacuees skipped a generation and only now is their experience being recognised  and recorded as the evacuees’ grandchildren in schools up and down the country complete projects  about the war.

It would be interesting to know about some of the experiences of evacuees in Parwich. If you have any information or contacts with past evacuees then let me know. 


Ghost Stories in the Memorial Hall

The AGM (6th February 2003) was followed by a very successful evening of ghost stories.  A number of members of the Society told stories mainly from outside Parwich.  We plan to print those stories in this and the next Newsletter, starting with Gill Radcliffe’s experience in a French farmhouse.  We had hope that the meeting would raise more information on the Parwich ghosts, but perhaps they are too close to home for a general meeting.  There is the ghostly horseman of Twodales Barn, the Gray Lady at the Care Centre, the strange goings on in Hallgates Cottage, the woman leaning over the grave of a child seen from the Sycamore Inn, the apparition on the stairs of Gardener’s Cottage, etc.  Does anyone have any information on these or other local ghosts?


"The Haunted Farmhouse"

Copyright © 2003 Gillian Radcliffe

This is a true story. It happened in a farmhouse in the Dordogne, once a wild wooded region, domain of sorcerers, a region still thick with the ghosts of prehistoric times. It was summer 1979. The farmhouse was dark and gloomy and smelled of dust and the droppings of the mice and lizards that skittered through its walls. One half of this great, gaunt building lay empty. On the other side of the road a small chateau lay hidden in the trees.
The farmhouse rested on a remote hilltop. The few local farmers were not friendly: they set their snarling dogs on us when we tried to go for a walk. My children, aged 9 and 11, were terrified. The beasts were called off as they snapped at our ankles. The locals had decided we were Germans.
That first night we were so tired nothing would have awakened us. The following day, the tourist rep came all the way from Nancy to check whether we were alright- which puzzled us.
On the second night I woke up to hear a tinkling sound, like a child’s musical toy, the sort I remember from my childhood, that you roll along on a stick. I dropped back to sleep but was woken an hour later, and an hour after that, and an hour after that! We thought it might be the mice, or farmyard rats running over rubbish in the attic above us. We crept up the narrow stair and turned the key in the lock: a shiver went down my spine: what would we find on the other side? The door swung open to reveal an empty room with a floor of polished wood! Perhaps our imaginations were getting the better of us. We stumbled back to bed.
During the day there was a different noise, an electrical buzzing, a throbbing vibration which gathered in intensity, then died away. It came from the rooftop but nothing was to be seen there either. From the cellar came the sound of squawking birds! Not believing in ghosts, we tried to convince ourselves there must be a rational explanation.
It was a hot, airless day. I was sitting with my daughters on a terrace which fell steeply to a fence of wire netting some distance below. A hole had been cut in it for ducks to waddle up to the pond in the garden. The devil himself flitted across such stagnant pools, the locals said. Suddenly, a large beach ball belonging to the girls came hurtling from one end of the terrace to the middle, where it stopped dead, turned a right angle bend, and was hurled with tremendous force down through the hole in the netting.
“Mummy, what made it happen?” my children cried.
“Oh, it was just the wind,” I gulped.
“But mummy there isn’t any wind!”
And there wasn’t, not a breath.
That night the poltergeist was at work again, producing a buzzing noise like a large insect that seemed to be buried inside Mike’s pillow. It was bizarre! I could hear it only with my left ear, and Mike with his right! We stripped everything off the bed, carried it downstairs and shook it outside, finding nothing, but attracting a few real insects no doubt.
Next day, Mike took the girls swimming in Sarlat and I stayed behind to do some weaving. The house had an L shaped staircase. As I ascended it I felt something tug the necklace round my neck, breaking it and spilling the beads in a great shower, everywhere. Yet when I looked, I found one bead neatly placed on each stair, going both up and down! I shuddered and rushed outside, not re-entering the house until Mike returned.
The tinkling child’s toy continued to disturb our sleep but we had come to accept it as somehow ‘normal’. But that night something else happened. I woke to see an unearthly light glowing around the ill fitting door. Perhaps I had forgotten to switch off the landing light before getting into bed? But this light looked white hot, nothing like the feeble light bulbs in the rest of the house. Trembling with terror, I forced myself to step out of bed, but as I moved towards the door, I was plunged in darkness.

“What in hell’s name was that?” I whispered to Mike, not wanting to wake the girls.
I was a normal, rational human being: this could not be happening to me!
The spirit clearly wanted to claim our attention but we said little to each other, not wanting to frighten the children. They had witnessed only the episode with the beach ball, and were more frightened of the mice that invaded the cupboards and nibbled at the breakfast cereal, and had a route into their bedroom from a hole in the skirting board.
The climax came three days before our departure. It was long after midnight. There came a sharp rapping at the door: Mike got up and listened at the shutters. I stood at the top of the stairs holding a large china vase which I intended to hurl down onto the head of any unwanted intruder. I could see the girls fast asleep in the room right next to me. I heard the rasp of the bolt as Mike opened it, the creak of the door as it scraped across the floor. I hear him go outside and walk round the yard. I heard him come in again and bolt the door, his footsteps echoing on the stone floor.
“Who was it” I called.
“Nobody. There was no one there.”
Then we heard it, something so spine chilling it makes my mouth go dry to tell it: wailing came out of the walls- three dimensional sound, coming from everywhere, above and below, a girl crying with terrible pain.
At last it stopped.
“Who is it down there”, I shouted.
“Who have you got up there?” called Mike in the same instant. Then we were silent, our blood running cold.
We had guessed the truth: that farm and chateau had been a Nazi Headquarters during the last war.

“Should we go home?” Mike asked me next day.
“No”, I said, “why let this ruin the last days of our holiday?”

He and the girls left the house, bound for the market in Sarlat. I made an excuse not to go with them. I had decided to try and contact the spirit, though I had no idea how to do it. I felt so sorry for the poor creature and I’d heard it was possible to move such spirits on. I went up to the bedroom and sat on the bed, trying to gather my courage. I looked up at the crucifix on the wall and prayed for God’s protection. Then I talked to the unquiet spirit, telling her it was alright to move on, that no one would ever hurt her again. I can’t say I felt her presence at that point so I didn’t think it would do much good- in fact, I felt rather foolish. I was glad there was no one around to hear me.
But to my astonishment, from that moment on the haunting stopped; there were no more noises, no more tricks, no more cries of pain. The last three days of our fortnight’s holiday passed in peace.
I was scared the spirit might somehow stick to me and follow me home, but she didn’t. All the same, when a friend bought a haunted house in Winster, and described how the ghost had tried to throttle her mother in law, I refused ever to stay there.
As I said at the beginning, this is a true story.


The Shinty Player and the Skull; a tale from South Uist in the Outer Hebrides

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.


The remaining two stories will be reproduced the next Newsletter.

A Visit to Roystone Rocks

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.


A Visit to Daisy Bank Farm and Minning Low

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.

The Brownlees at Daisy Bank in the 1930s, with Kathleen in the foreground

For more information on the history and archaeology of  Roystone, Daisy Bank and Minning Low see:

Richard Hodges (1991) “Wall-to-Wall History: The story of Roystone Grange” Duckworth: London.


A Tour of Parwich Hall

Copyright © 2003 Peter Trewhitt

Permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to publish this report on the website.  A hardcopy of this report may be obtained by emailing the website editor.


Gift of Books & Information


The Society has been given a gift of books and information by George Harold Allsop.  He has spent some twenty years researching his family history and gathered a substantial about of   information.  He is descended from the Parwich Allsops, through a branch that moved to Tissington and then to Baslow.  We would like to extend a hearty thank you.  His gift included photocopies and transcriptions of a number of Allsop wills from Parwich from the early 1500s to the 1700s.  Brian Foden had also done some work on these wills and Peter Trewhitt has been pulling together the information and doing some additional transcriptions, so we will shortly have a complete set of transcriptions of the Parwich Allsop wills up to the early 1800s.  The gift also includes information on the Alsop charters, photocopies of a number of other documents and some seven books:

Maxwell Craven (1991) “A Derbyshire Armory” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield - a description of all the Derbyshire coats of arms with some black and white line drawings.

David G Edwards, Editor (1982) “Derbyshire Hearth Tax Assessments 1662-70” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield - The hearth tax or chimney money was introduced to England in 1662, but withdrawn in 1689.  It was set at the rate of 2 shillings per annum for each hearth or stove.  In the returns we are given the name of the head of the household and the number of hearths, so we can only work out which building is being assessed if we know who lives there.  The local sections have been reproduced in this issue of the Newsletter.

David G Edwards, Editor (1998) “Derbyshire Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1393-1574” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield - The book contains transcriptions of some 119 Derbyshire wills and references some 111 further wills that relate in some way to the County.  The majority of local wills were proved in the diocesan court at Lichfield where they can still be seen, but a number were proved in the archiepiscopal court at Canterbury and it is these that are found in this book.  Two wills refer to Parwich: John Kneveton of Underwood 1547/8 left his “lands and tenements in Parwyche now in the holding of one Richarde Webster”; and Anne Dethicke widow of William Dethicke of Newhall 1558 left her son her “lease of Parwiche during the whole years therein mentioned, with all my sheep going there.”  Also a number of local families are mentioned in various wills.

H J H Garratt & Carole Rawcliffe (1985) “Derbyshire Feet of Fines 1323-1546” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield - By the early fourteenth century the judicial process resulting in issuing a fine had become very formalised and was used primarily in fabricated cases to enable landowners to have formal written confirmation of all or some part of their holding.  This was before the days of property deeds when unless there were relevant charters ownership was confirmed by producing a number of witnesses.  You will have to read the introduction to understand this fully.  The book lists nearly 1400 cases.  Some 18 refer to Parwich, as well as to the ‘de Parwich’ family (1338) and to a Thomas de Alsop of Parwich in 1336/7 and a Robert de la Dale of Parwich in 1338.

Catherine Glover & Philip Riden, Editors (1981) “William Woolley’s History of Derbyshire” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield - This is a previously unpublished topographical history of Derbyshire by William Wooley of Marston on Dove.  This account goes up to 1712.  It has sections on Eaton, Alsop en le Dale, Hussingdon (Hanson Grange), Newton Grange, Parwich and Tissington.  The section on  Parwich is dry but worth reproducing here:-

“PARWICH, called Cold Parwich, standing bleak on the south side of Brassington Moor, about 2 miles west of Bradbourne.  It is a church town, but a poor benefice as there are many in this county where the parishes are wide.  It was in Doomsday called Peurewich and was part of the king’s land.  16 (th year of the reign of) Edward I (1288) Jordanus de Sutton died and left Parwich to his son John, which he had by his wife Amelia.  (85v) 25 ditto Edmundus (1297), the king’s brother, Earl of Lancaster held it.  19 Edward II (1326) Stephen de Segrave owned it and left it to his son John. 5 Henry V (1418) George Salins died possessed of land here, which he left to his daughter Agnes.  16 Henry VI (1438) Sir John Cokayne died possessed of this place.  In 5 Henry VII (1490) Nicholas Kniveton left his son John an estate he.  The 7th John Cokayne left his son Thomas an estate here.  In 13 Henry VIII (1522) Humphrey Bradburn Esq. died and left an estate here to his son John.  30 ditto (1539) Francis Cokayne Esq. left lands here to his son John.  In 2 Edward VI (1549)      Rowland Babington left land here to his son Francis, as Judge Harpur did to his son John 16 Elizabeth (1574).  Sir Humphrey Bradborn, Knight died 23 Elizabeth (1581) and left his son William lands here, as did Francis Cokayne Esq. 35 ditto (1593) to his brother Edward, after which it came into the Leevings, in which it yet remains.  The present sir Richard, Knight and Bart, Judge in Ireland, late Recorder of Chester and Parliament man for Derby, has a good estate and house here.  This family came out of Norfolk:

1.     Valentine, a younger son had

2.     Walter, married Margery, the daughter of Longshaw of Lanashire

3.     Thomas, married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Freeman of Birley Hall in Warwickshire

4.     Thomas, married Dorathy, the daughter of Thomas Beresford of Newton Grange

5.     Thomas, anno 1611, aged 10, he married Anne, the daughter of Richard Goodall of   Belgrave in Comitatu Leicester

6.     Richard, married a daughter of George Parker of Staffordshire

7.     Sir Richard, now alive, married a daughter and co-heir of Mr. Corbin of London, draper, of the Staffordshire family.  He has several children by her.

The arms of this family are Vert, a chevron Or; in chief three scallop shells, Argent; crest, a scallop shell within a garland.

This town is taxed £96 12s 3d.”

Aileen M Hopkinson, Editor (2000) “The Rolls of the 1281 Derbyshire Eyre” The Derbyshire Record Society, Chesterfield - An ‘eyre’ was a visit by the king’s justices, a sort circuit judge to hear cases through out a county.  The book contains details of some 800 cases.  Some 10 cases relate to Parwich with mention of the de Parwich family and the de la Dale family of Parwich.  An example was a thirteenth century murder here “Ralph Bonbel killed Richard, Geoffrey Bunbel’s man in the vill of Peverwych, fled at once and is suspected, so he is to be exacted and outlawed.  He had no chattels and was in the frankpledge of the vill of Peverwych which does not have him now, so is in mercy.  The vills of Tanesley, Ybule and Elton are in mercy for not attending the inquest.”  The Vill of Peverwich was fined £1 6s 8d for Robert Bumboll’s escape.  There were several cases relating to thefts: a “Richard de Knyveton in Peverwyc absconded on suspicion of larceny and is not suspected, so he may return if he wishes, but his chattels are to be confiscated for his flight.  He had no chattels.”  Also a “… Robert Attelawe of     Peverwick … absconded on account of many larcenies” and was outlawed.

Philip Riden (1987) “Record Sources for Local History” Batsford, London - A useful book for anyone wanting to find out what records there might be and where to look for them.

Any members resident in Parwich wanting to borrow one of the books or access the other information contact the Website Editor.


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