|Population||5,038 (Parish, 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Wirksworth is a market town in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England, with a population recorded as 5,038 in the 2011 census.It contains the source of the River Ecclesbourne. The town was granted a market charter by Edward I in 1306. The market is held today on Tuesdays in the Memorial Gardens. The parish church of St Mary's is thought to date from 653. Wirksworth developed as a centre for lead mining and later stone quarrying. Many lead mines in the area were owned by the Gell family of nearby Hopton Hall.
The origins of Wirksworth are considered to be dependent on the presence of thermal warm water springs in the immediate vicinitycoupled with a relatively sheltered location at the head of a glaciated valley, which was capable of producing cereals such as oats and provided fine woodland with wood suitable for building.
The location of Wirksworth in the White Peak is well known for its Neolithic and Bronze Age remains.
Woolly rhino bones were found by lead miners in 1822, in Dream Cave, on private land between Wirksworth and present-day Carsington Water. Another nearby cave at Carsington Pasture yielded prehistoric finds in the late 20th century.
In Roman Britain the limestone area of present-day Derbyshire was an important source of lead, with the primary area of production probably being around Lutudarum in the hills south and west of present-day Matlock.Wirksworth is one of the candidates for the site of Lutudarum. Roman roads lead to Buxton (The Street) and to Brough on Noe (The Portway) from the town, which also has the oldest charter of any in the Peak District, dating from AD 835, when the Abbess of Wirksworth granted land around the town to Duke Humbert of Mercia.
Wirksworth is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086.Outlying farms or berwicks were Cromford, Middleton, Hopton, Wellesdene (sic), Carsington, Kirk Ireton and Callow. The ancient Wirksworth wapentake or hundred was named after the town.
In Anglo-Saxon times there were many lead mines owned by the abbey of Repton. Three lead mines are identified in the entry for Wirksworth in the Domesday Book.There is a tiny carving in Wirksworth Church, taken from Bonsall Church during a restoration project and never returned, of a miner with his pick and "kibble" or basket. The carving is known as "th' Owd Man of Bonsall." The ore was washed out by means of a sieve, the iron wire for which had been drawn in Hathersage since the Middle Ages. Smelting was carried out in "boles", hence the name Bolehill. The lead industry, the miner, the ore and the waste, were known collectively as "t'owd man".
Henry VIII granted a charter to hold a miners' court in the town called the Bar Moot. Every man had the right to dig for ore wherever he chose, except in churchyards, gardens or roadways. All that was necessary to stake a claim was to place one's "stowce" or winch on the site and extract enough ore to pay tribute to the "barmaster". The present Bar Moot building dates from 1814. Within it is a brass dish for measuring the levy which was due to the Crown. Even into the 20th century, the punishment for stealing from a mine was to have one's hand nailed to the stowce. One then had the choice of tearing oneself loose or starving to death. The Barmote Court is still held today, in the Bar Moot hall on Chapel Lane, and controls all matters of lead mining.
By the 18th century there were many thousand lead mines, all worked individually. Defoe gives an eye-witness account of a lead miner's family and of the miner himself at work.At this time, the London Lead Company was formed to provide finance for deeper mines with drainage channels, called soughs, and introduce Newcomen steam-engine pumps.
Many of the institutions in the area have connections with the Gell family, of nearby Hopton Hall, whose most famous member was Sir John Gell, 1st Baronet, who fought on Parliament's side in the Civil War. One of his predecessors, Anthony Gell, founded the local grammar school, and one of his successors, Phillip Gell, opened the curiously named Via Gellia (possibly an allusion to the Roman Via Appia), a road from the family's lead mines around Wirksworth to the smelter in Cromford. More recently he has been remembered in the name of Anthony Gell School.
The carboniferous limestone around Wirksworth has been extensively quarried through the town's history, resulting in several rock faces and cliffs in the hills that surround the town.
There was a workhouse in Wirksworth from 1724 to 1829. Called Babington House, it was located on Green Hill (grid reference) and housed 60 inmates.
In 1777 Richard Arkwright leased the land and premises of a corn mill from Philip Gell of Hopton and converted it to spin cotton, using his water frame. It was the first cotton mill in the world to use a steam engine, which it used to replenish the millpond that drove the mill's waterwheel.This mill was adjacent to another, Speedwell Mill, owned by John Dalley, a local merchant. Arkwright's mill was sublet in 1792, when Arkwright's son, Richard, began to sell off the family's property assets in his move towards banking. It was named Haarlem Mill in 1815, when it was converted to weaving tape, by Madely, Hackett and Riley, who had established Haarlem Tape Works in Derby in 1806. In 1879 the Wheatcroft family, who were producing tape at Speedwell Mill, expanded into Haarlem. The two mills together employed 230 people, and it was said that their weekly output equalled the circumference of the earth, and that Wirksworth was the primary producer of red tape for Whitehall. These mills are close together at Miller's Green next to the Derby road; Haarlem Mill now houses an art collective, while Speedwell Mill is now private houses and a carpentry workshop.
In the 2011 census Wirksworth civil parish had 2,416 dwellings, 2,256 households and a population of 5,038.
Districts of Wirksworth include Yokecliffe, Gorsey Bank, Bolehill, Mountford and Miller's Green. Bolehill, although technically a hamlet in its own right in Wirksworth's suburbs, is the oldest and most northern part of the town, while Yokecliffe is a fairly new estate in the western area of the town. Modern houses have recently been built in the Three Trees area and at the bottom of Steeple Grange. This housing estate is called Spring Close.
There are five schools in Wirksworth:Church of England and county infants, and regular combined but on two sites, Wirksworth Junior School, the Anthony Gell School and Callow Park College. Anthony Gell was a local man who was requested by Agnes Fearne to build a grammar school on her death. The original site is now a private house on the edge of the churchyard. The current school is an 11–18 comprehensive on a larger site by the Hannage Brook with about 800 pupils. The school's four houses are named after Fearne, Arkwright (Sir Richard Arkwright), Wright (Joseph Wright of Derby) and Gell. Its catchment area is the town and the surrounding villages of Middleton, Carsington, Brassington, Kirk Ireton, Turnditch, Matlock Bath, Cromford and Crich. The Anthony Gell School qualifies as a Sports College.
Fanny Shaw's Playing Field, just out of the centre of town, is the principal recreation area for the north of the town. It houses a new skate park and play area. In the south of the town, there is the "Rec", where there is another children's play area, along with cricket and football pitches.
Haarlem Mill has been mentioned as the possible model for the mill in George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss . The town of Snowfield in George Eliot's Adam Bede is also said to be based in Wirksworth; Dinah Morris, a character in that novel, is based on Eliot's aunt, who lived in Wirksworth and whose husband ran the silk mill, now Wirksworth Heritage Centre.
Wirksworth was the main location of ITV's Sweet Medicine in 2003, having featured as an occasional location in its forerunner, Peak Practice . More recently, some of Mobile was filmed on a train on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, and much of an episode of the BBC series Casualty was set in the town.
Wirksworth features in the 2015 memoir The Long Road Out of Town by author and journalist Greg Watts, who grew up there.
Middle Peak Quarry on the outskirts of Wirksworth featured in the 2010 music video "Unlikely Hero" by the Hoosiers.
Wirksworth is twinned with Die in southern France and with Frankenau in the Kellerwald range south-west of the Talgang, Germany, through the Wirksworth Twinning Association.
In alphabetical order:
Wirksworth civil parish contain 108 structures listed by Historic England for their historic or architectural interest. The Parish Church of St Mary is listed Grade I and eight structures (15 Market Place, 35 Green Hill, 1 Coldwell Street, Haarlem Mill, Wigwell Grange, the Red Lion Hotel, Gate House and the former grammar school) are Grade II*.Wirksworth Heritage Centre is just off Market Place in Crown Yard. The exhibition shows the history of Wirksworth from its prehistoric Dream Cave and woolly rhinos, through its Roman and lead mining histories, to the modern era. Other nearby attractions include the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, the Steeple Grange Light Railway and Peak District National Park.
The study Wirksworth and Five Miles Around, written by Richard R Hackett (1843–1900), includes census information, notes on church monuments, accounts of crimes, church wardens' accounts, maps, a transcription of "Ince's pedigrees", monument inscriptions and old photographs, parish registers and wills.
Derwent Valley Mills is a World Heritage Site along the River Derwent in Derbyshire, England, designated in December 2001. It is administered by the Derwent Valley Mills Partnership. The modern factory, or 'mill', system was born here in the 18th century to accommodate the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright. With advancements in technology, it became possible to produce cotton continuously. The system was adopted throughout the valley, and later spread so that by 1788 there were over 200 Arkwright-type mills in Britain. Arkwright's inventions and system of organising labour was exported to Europe and the United States.
The Derwent is a river in Derbyshire, England. It is 66 miles (106 km) long and is a tributary of the River Trent, which it joins south of Derby. Throughout its course, the river mostly flows through the Peak District and its foothills.
Sir Richard Arkwright was an English inventor and a leading entrepreneur during the early Industrial Revolution. He is credited as the driving force behind the development of the spinning frame, known as the water frame after it was adapted to use water power; and he patented a rotary carding engine to convert raw cotton to "cotton lap" prior to spinning. He was the first to develop factories housing both mechanised carding and spinning operations.
Duffield is a south Derbyshire village in the Amber Valley district of Derbyshire, 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Derby. It is centred on the western bank of the River Derwent at the mouth of the River Ecclesbourne. It is within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Area and its elevated surroundings are the southern foothills of the Pennines.
Cromford is a village and civil parish in Derbyshire, England, in the valley of the River Derwent between Wirksworth and Matlock. It is first mentioned in the 11th-century Domesday Book as a berewick of Wirksworth and this remained the case throughout the Middle Ages. The population at the 2011 Census was 1,433. It is principally known for its historical connection with Richard Arkwright, and the nearby Cromford Mill which he built outside the village in 1771. Cromford is in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site.
This article details some of the history of lead mining in Derbyshire, England.
Sir John Gell, 1st Baronet was a Parliamentarian politician and military figure in the English Civil War.
The Cromford Canal ran 14.5 miles from Cromford to the Erewash Canal in Derbyshire, England with a branch to Pinxton. Built by William Jessop with the assistance of Benjamin Outram, its alignment included four tunnels and 14 locks.
Bonsall is a village and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the Peak District. The civil parish population, including Brightgate and Horse Dale, was 775 at the 2001 Census, increasing to 803 at the 2011 Census.
Ambergate is a village in Derbyshire, England, situated where the River Amber joins the River Derwent, and where the A610 road from Ripley and Nottingham joins the A6 that runs along the Derwent valley between Derby to the south and Matlock to the north. Sawmills and Ridgeway are neighbouring hamlets, and Alderwasley, Heage, Nether Heage and Crich are other significant neighbouring settlements. The village forms part of the Heage and Ambergate ward of Ripley Town Council with a population of 5,013 at the 2011 Census. Ambergate is within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage site, and has historical connections with George Stephenson; Ambergate is notable for its railway heritage and telephone exchange. Ambergate has an active community life, particularly centred on the school, pubs, churches, sports clubs; and annual village carnival which is relatively large and consistent locally, with popular associated events in carnival week and throughout the year. The carnival is organised by a voluntary committee. Shining Cliff woods, Thacker's woods and Crich Chase border the village.
Via Gellia is a steep-sided wooded dry valley and road in Derbyshire.
Dethick, Lea and Holloway is a civil parish, in the Amber Valley borough of the English county of Derbyshire. The population of the civil parish taken at the 2011 census was 1,027.
Hopton is a small village adjacent to the village of Carsington and two miles away from the market town of Wirksworth in the Peak District.
Lumford Mill was a historic cotton mill at Bakewell in Derbyshire, England.
Carsington is a village in the middle of the Derbyshire Dales, England; it adjoins the hamlet of Hopton, and is close to the historic town of Wirksworth and village of Brassington.
Middleton or Middleton-by-Wirksworth is an upland village and civil parish lying approximately one mile NNW of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, England. Middleton was, in 1086, a berewick of the town and manor of Wirksworth. Middleton was formerly known for its lead mines and high quality limestone quarries, including the underground quarry site at Middleton Mine. The Middleton Mine networks underground for approximately 25 miles (40 km) with tunnels on three different levels running under Middleton Moor to the Hopton Wood quarry works at the other side of the hill below Ryder Point Works’. Part of the tunnel collapsed in the 1980s leaving a noticeable depression in the ground above on the eastern side of Middleton Moor. The population of the parish as taken at the 2011 Census was 775.
Cromford Mill is the world's first water-powered cotton spinning mill, developed by Richard Arkwright in 1771 in Cromford, Derbyshire, England. The mill structure is classified as a Grade I listed building. It is now the centrepiece of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a multi-use visitor centre with shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes.
Haarlem Mill, on the River Ecclesbourne in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, was an early cotton mill. Built by Richard Arkwright, it was the first cotton mill in the world to use a steam engine, though this was used to supplement the supply of water to the mill's water wheel, not to drive the machinery directly.
St. Mary's Church is a parish church in the Church of England in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. It is a Grade I listed building dating mostly from the 13th century, but with notable survivals from the Anglo-Saxon period. It was restored in 1870 by Sir Gilbert Scott.
St Margaret's Church, Carsington is a Grade II* listed parish church in the Church of England in Carsington Derbyshire.
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