|The Old Halls of New Mills and District.|
The Royal Manor of Longdendale of which the extensive Parish of Glossop was a portion has evidently been the bugbear of the compilers, not one, with the exception of Lysons, has had the courage to face it, or the courtesy to admit that their research was simply limited. Even Lysons is almost provoking. He tells us how it was given by Henry I. to the Peverels; how Henry II. on the flight of the third Peverel, granted it to the Abbey of Basengewerke; how Henry VIII; at the dissolution of Monasteries, made it a present to George Talbot, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury - surely this statement needs amending, as we shall see directly, - in 1537; how one of the co-heiresses of Gilbert, seventh Earl, took the Manor of Glossop, with Chunal, Dinting, Hadfield, Padfield, Simmondley, Whitfield, Hayfield and Charlesworth to the noble family of Howard, whose dukedom was under attainder at the time. Now the fourth Earl of Shrewsbury had been dead years in 1537 so that Lyson's is in error, either in devisee or date, though this is probably a mere slip of the pen - George being written for Francis: still there are other items of much more consequence. What about the huge slice known (until very recently) as Bowden Middlecale, which reached from the Scout to Mellor, and comprised the hamlets of Beard, Ollersett, Whitle Thornsett, Great Hamlet, Phoeside, Kinder, Chinley, and Bugsworth not to mention Chisworth or Ludworth ? We know very well that the three co-heiresses of the seventh Earl of Shrewsbury played a kind of catch me, kiss me business with the manors of the Peak-as to wit, Moneyash was split up between their husbands, the Ear1s of Arundel, Pembroke, and Kent, but these ladies never had it in their power to make ducks and drakes of Bowden Middlecale. Herein is the kernel of the difficulty, which has frightened the compilers. But with the vast researchers of Lysons there should not have been much difficulty in making plain how Bowden passed. True Lysons undoubtedly saw where he was treading, for he tells us that Whitfield was purchased by John Foljambe from Thomas le Ragged in 1330, but how Master Ragged got it, or John disposed of it, he is silent. Chinley could never have been given to the Talbots, for James I. sold it, or some portion of it, when he was hard up.
Why the magnificent Scenery of the Goyt Valley is known to so few Englishmen, we are at a loss to understand. There is railway communication (more or less along the whole course of the river, from its source among the crevices of Axe Edge to its junction with the Etherow. To alight at Marple, and return by way of Mellor, Thornsett, Birch Vale, and Hayfield to Chapel-en-le-Frith the whole distance being scarcely ten miles will repay a thousandfold, there are so many objects of interest on the way.
Within the church at Mellor is the oldest pulpit in Christendom; it was in use when John Wycliff was a student at Oxford, and we learn from Dr. Cox that it was but recently rescued by the Rev. M. Freeman from a limbo of rubbish to which it had been consigned by some soulless churchwarden. Here also is a font of the days of King Stephen-seven hundred and fifty years ago. What varied accents of our language must have been uttered before it-Saxon, Norman-French, Middle English, with the Latin of the priests. Not five minutes walk from the church, but so nestled among the hills that it would never be found without a knowledge of its position; is old Mellor Hall, linked with the Mellors, Radcliffes, Staffords, Chethams, Bridges, Moults, and Cravens. The approach is by crossing a meadow and over a stile that admits to a lane, apparently reserved for the strolls of those who think to make life brighter for one another. On a slight acclivity to the right is the ancient homestead. We wandered if Bob Radcliffe came this way when paying his devours to Emma Mellor in the days of Richard II.
From the Hundred; Rolls, Edward I. (1272) we learn that there was a Robert de Meluer of Mellor who was tenant in capite to the Crown. From the Inquisition of the Forest; held at Wormhill in 1318, we gather there was a Richard de Meluer of the same place, who was an officer of the Crown holding lands perpetuity. With this gentleman's son Roger the senior line became extinct, when the co-heiresses married with the Radcliffes and Staffords. Lysons says that the founder of the family was Simon, of Stavely, and that they were living at Mellor in the reign of Henry III. (1216-72). There was a junior branch, however, which settled at Iderichay, and were there for thirteen generations at least, but in 1795 the senior male line ceased of the elder scions, and the co-heiresses mated with the Cresswells and Cocks.
There was a junior member of this house who located himself at Derby, whose present representatives is the Rev. Thomas Vernon Mellor, Vicar of Iderichay and rural dean. This gentleman and his son, Henry Vernon Mellor, are (so it is thought) the only descendants and survivors of Mellor of Mellor. The first Mayor Derby ever had was of this house, and Henry Mellor made his year of mayoralty doubly memorable by dying in his robe. A pedigree of this branch is to be found in Glover's Derbyshire Vol. II, p. 584. from which we gleam that they selected their brides from the Alsops, Bradshaws, Maddocks, Bradburys, Sleighs, Wooleys, Websters, Wilmotts, Catesbys, and Hopes. The shields of these ladies show the greatest display of birds we remember as heraldic charges in any family - doves, owls, eagles, choughs, and martletts.
Among those public records relative to " Proceedings in Chancery from the reign of Richard II. to that of Elizabeth" will be found various instances in which a Mellor was plaintiff or defendant ; the particulars of which are most interesting to the curious. Some of these cases involve most exceptional points, as to whether it is trespass for the cattle of one man to graze upon the land of another when such lands are not cultivated by the owner nor productive of benefits; and whether a field track can be said to be a public road. These cases give us an insight into the minds of the Peakrells three or four centuries ago.
Robert Radcliffe, who espoused the heiress of the senior line of the Mellors, was a scion of the famous Lancashire family living at Radcliffe on the banks of the Orwell, before the Conquest. Their name (so it is said) was taken from the red cliff on the opposite bank of the stream, hence the perversion by some early writers to Rougemont. William Radcliffe, who was Sheriff in 1195, had a great-grandson, from whom sprang the various branches of the house, and who was really the founder of its ultimate splendour. He was a companion of Edward I. in his great victories, and became Lord of Radcliffe, with right of free warren and chase over his demesne lands. The descendants of his second son acquired the Barony of Fitzwalter, the Earldom of Sussex, and the Earldom of Derwentwater, of such tragic celebrity.
His third born was that gallant knight whose military achievements earned them the motto of '' Caens, Crecy, Calais," who was the father of the first Radcliffe resident at Mellor, and whose wife was Joan Holland, sister of the Earl of Kent. The Hollands were relatives of the Plantagenets, but no one has accredited the Peak Radcliffes with such distinguished connections. This family had held Mellor Hall for over two hundred years when St. George, the Herald, made his ''Visitation'' in 1611; for their Derbyshire pedigree shows ten generous, but what became of them afterwards is all conjecture, though there are Radcliffes to this hour living around the old homestead in a very different sphere of life.
The manor, which was in the dowry of Emma Mellor, the heiress (this lady owned two thousand acres at Mellor, and died without issue.) was a subordinate or mesne manor. We have said that this lady had a sister who mated with the Staffords. Now, whether there was any contingent remainder:- for the possession of the Hall and manor:- in favour of be Staffords, or whether there was a purchase from the Radcliffes, we cannot trace; anyway it was a Stafford of Stockport who sold the residence (the one still standing) to the Chethams in 1686 and the lands in 1704. We get at the interesting fact, however, that these Staffords were a branch of the famous and aristocratic Eyam house, and were still perpetuating an illustrious Peak family, usually said to have become extinct in the days of Elizabeth. The offshoot of the fourteenth century had lived on, while the parent stock had perished. In our own time we remember a Mellor of Mellor who was a wood steward, a Stafford of the same ilk who was a stonemason, and a Radcliffe who was a cotton spinner. We do not say that these men were descendents of the famous Peak families, but we submit that the fact is curious, and that it would not be anything marvellous for them to be descendents of junior members of these families who had branched off three or four hundred years ago.
The Chethams of Mellor were descendants of the brother of that " good Humphrey Chetham," whose philanthropy forced the Crown into offering him a knighthood, which he refused; whose love of knowledge, together with his benevolence is proclaimed by a Library and Society where the poorest student can have access to records of priceless value; whose princely munificence (though chiefly directed to Manchester), together with such exalted nobleness of character, has added splendour to the nation. How he left his property to his nephew George, whose grandson, while holding Mellor Hall, died without issue; how the heir was a stripling in the army, whose uncle (a poor ignorant fellow) was induced, for a trifling sum, to sign away the lad's rights by a most infamous and nefarious scoundrel and relative, Edward Chetham, barrister-at-law, living at Castleton; how this same barrister tore out the leaf of the Register in Salford Church which was a proof of the soldier's legitimacy, and defaced documents by acids ; how this legal scoundrel at last blew his brains out in a room at Castleton in 1789, is too well known to need any recapitulation. We believed that this marriage, after a period of over one hundred years, has at length been proved by the discovery (suggested by a parish clerk) that it was by special license, of which there was other entry beside the Church Register. Knowing that this family has gone on generation after generation struggling: for their bread in the workshops of Cottonopolis we should, indeed, like to know if they have succeeded in establishing their right.
Mellor Hall was sold to the Bridges in 1797, from whom it passes to the Moults, while the lands were purchased by the Oldknows in the following year. When we sketched this old edifice it was tenantless, and, we were told, for sale, but it is now held by Mr. J. Craven. Its appearance shows the hand of the improver, but there are portions of it that tell a very different tale. This gentleman very courteously proffered-even without any solicitation-to allow the writer to inspect the old deeds relating to be property, which courtesy he has availed himself of, with many thanks.
The charm of the spot to the student lies in its association with facts of which he strives to know something. Here was the very beginning of the Forest, as stated in the inquisition of 1274. For fifteen miles south, and twelve miles east, did its sylvan shades extend, but all that remains of it now are the historic mansions in which its officials dwelt. Here was the earliest homestead of the Mellors of which there is any record, and where they were living before the Charter of the Forest had been obtained by the swords of the Barons. The scenery, or rather the formations of the land, between Mellor and Hayfield will give a better idea of the old Forest than all the books ever written: The distance is six miles. What a glorious sight, and how exciting, too, must have been a stampede of the animals. No scamper along an American plain, but rugged and precipitous paths apparently leading to the clouds. Of those Old Halls of the Peak-homes of the Forest officials-which mark the spots where the earliest of the Peak families were located, how many have we remaining? Who knows where the Savages lived at Castleton, or the Daniels at Tideswell, or the Foljambes at Wormhill, or the Needhams at Thornsett, or the Rossingtons at Youlgreave, or Tunsteads at Tunstead or Woodroffes at Hope?
Sir Thomas Bradbury, one of the worshipful Company of Mercers of the City of London, Sheriff 14 Henry VII. (1498). and Lord Mayor in the year that Bluff Hal became King, is memorable from having died in his mayoralty. This gentleman was buried in St. Stephen's, Coleman Street. He was an offspring of the old Peak family located at Ollerset, in the Glossop valley; indeed, his grandfather and father were born at Ollerset, for which fact there is indisputable evidence; his grandmother was a daughter of the Davenports of Bramhall, County Chester, and his mother was the heiress of the Rockhills, of Braughing, County Herts. The Bradburys, of Littlebury, County Essex, were a branch of the Braughing house, as is proved by the Herald's Visitations.
When William Bradbury left the valley of the Goyt behind him and founded the Braughing branch by marriage with the heiress of the Rookhills, it was in that troubled period of the Wars of the Roses. This fact, together with the one that his father was Robert, of Ollerset, and that his son was Thomas,
the Knight from whom the Littlebury branch, is found in Vol. XXII. of Hari : So. Publications. But this fact is again clenched by Herbert's Livery Companies,Vol. I., p. 248, and Herbert had access to all the City Records, for he was Librarian of the Corporation. The shields of the Essex Bradburys show that the lads followed the example of their sire, William, in marrying heiresses. Herbert tells us that Joan Bradbury widow of Sir Thomas, was very munificent in her gifts to the poor, and that among other bequests she gave to the Mercers' Company lands to the value of twenty pounds a year " for be maintenance of certain superstitious uses and the performance of works of charity.
The remarkable circumstance which justifies a particular mention of the occurrence here is that the land purchased on this occasion was no other than that now immensely valuable tract which is covered by New Bond Street and its neighbourhood, and then called ' Conduit Mead,' a property which, had this Company retained it, would more than quadrupled the value of all their present estates."
The earliest mention of the Ollersett house is in the inquisition of the Forest for 1318, when Hugh de Bradbury, a sturdy yeoman, protested against the payment of tithes to the Priory of Lenton; and the last entry we can find of them being at Ollerset is for the 17th May, 1662, when there was much ado among godfathers and godmothers, for it was the christening of the heir beneath the ancestral roof.
There was Uncle and Squire Joddrell, of Yeardsley, who had brought a mug of sterling worth in his pocket; there, too, was Grandmother Bradbury, who was the starchy Dorothy Bowden whom Grandfather Edmund had won half a century before; but these items concern only those descendents who still remain among us. The earliest trace of this family yields a curious fact. The Bradburys are associated with just the same counties as the De Gernons (who changed their name to Cavendish). They both first appeared in Essex, then in Derbyshire, then a branch of both houses turn up in Suffolk. This is curious in the item of Essex, for it was in that county that the most opulent of the Bradburys resided long afterwards in the Tudor period. At the very time that the Peak De Gernons were becoming extinct so were the Suffolk Bradburys; and even as the Suffolk De Gernons perpetuated their line, so did the Peak Bradburys. After an absence of three centuries the De Gernons came back to us, settling at Chatsworth, just when we find the senior Bradburys locating themselves at Youlgreave. There is more than coincident here! The Bradburys may have been the squires of the knightly De Gernons. One fact fits such a supposition marvellously: the Bradburys first appear at Ollerset just when Roger de Gernon had left Moor Hall, Bakewell, and espoused Mary Potkins, the heiress of the Cavendish in Suffolk. We submit as an assertion to be worked on: by the student of Derbyshire history, that the tenure of the Bradburys at Ollerset was, in the first place, owing to a gift or due to the Interest of the De Gernons.
The Bradburys were at Ollerset for four hundred years; I here before Roger Bacon had discovered gunpowder; before Chaucer had written his Canterbury Tales; here while poor blind Milton was dictating his Paradise Lost; and down to the reign of that imbecile Stuart who laboured to make our Constitution a despotism. Setting out from Chapel-en-le-Frith with the intent of sketching the old homestead we followed up the valley of the Goyt with its wild but grand scenery and rugged paths, leaving behind us Bugsworth, Chinley, and Beard. Inquiry for the position of Ollerset Hall brought the answer "It is all in ruins now." There were the ruins sure enough, the wall of the north gable with heaps of debris showing evidence of a once stately edifice. There was the carriage drive part grown with grass the coach-house converted into cottages; but there was a blunder somewhere. This debris was not the debris of a medieval building. The slightest antiquarian knowledge of architecture was scarcely needed to show that a century had not gone by since the masons were at work. This fact was clenched by a resident of one of the neighbouring dwellings telling us that her mother could remember when Squire Newton had built the Hall, and how he had squandered his money away. But where was the Hall of the Bradburys? In Lysons there is the entry that Ollerset Hall was a farmhouse in his time, and owned by the Newtons. Had they pulled it down to build their gingerbread structure? Within a short distance was an old yeoman's dwelling, but we were assured it had never been known as the Hall. The front of this dwelling was covered with ivy, which prevented any idea being formed, and so we asked permission to see the back part of it, to which there was no access excepting to the family. Our reward was ample. An inscription or rather initials and date on an outbuilding set the matter at rest. N. M. B. in written characters, with the figures 1539. We knew from the genealogy of the family that at this time Nicholas Bradbury and his wife Mary were living here. This is the very gentleman about whom there are some very interesting documents in the Record Office. Particular reference is Bundle 3:7 Elizabeth; of the Inqusition Post Mortem relating to the Duchy of Lancashire. It appears that Nicholas as was holding " the Queen's Mill called Berde Mill or New Mill, "when Ralph Mellor purchased certain fields adjoining the Mills.
Through these fields there was (and still is a right of way for '' wain and cart horse and man." This right Squire Mellor disputed and closed the road: Mellor was son-in-law to Bradbury, and what so probable that the closing of the road was "a Roland for an Oliver," as a return for objection to the hand of the daughter.
The Bradburys were at this time at the height of their prosperity, and during this prosperity the Youlgreave and Yorkshire branches had gone forth. While beneath the roof of this old homestead we gathered that the staircase, on which there was some elaborate carving, had been removed but a few years since from being unsafe through age. We have the records of the marriages of this family for at least nine generations, and from such alliances (one was a daughter or scion of a house who were and still are Peers of the realm) we feel more and more perplexed, if not astonished, that the Bradburys lost their high position among Derbyshire families.
We cannot find any evidence that they became impoverished from their loyalty to the Stuarts, like the Blackwells of Taddington. Their names are not among the Royalists whose estates were sequestered, nor in the book of "Non-jurers." How near the Bradburys in the sixteenth century were to becoming relatives of the Talbots, Earl of Shrewsbury may never perchance have been dug out by, or suggested itself to a member of the family. Grace Shakerley, wife of the fifth Earl, was aunt to Eleanor, who married Edward, or Edmund Bradbury, of Ollerset.
The niece blessed her husband with a family, the Countess had no issue, or ties of blood must have followed. How advantageous such relationship would have been it is useless to speculate. They mated in consecutive generations with the girls of the Beards, Bagshawes, Tetlows, West, and Bowdens. The Bagshawes have held a knighthood, and are still holding more than one Lordship of a manor, besides the Halls of Wormhill and Ford. The Wests are Earls de la Warr, Viscounts Cantilupe, and Barons in the Peerage of Great Britain.
At the very time, or very shortly before, that Nicholas Bradbury was anxious for his mill and horses, his cousin, Thomas of Essex was a knight and opulent merchant of the city, whom the King delighted to honour, In the Rutland Papers, wherein there is that curious list showing the lords, ladies, and gentlemen who waited upon the Emperor Charles V. when visiting London and how they had to be lodged here, there, and everywhere, there is this entry: '' Item, my Lady Bradburye: hall parlour, III chambers, VI beddes, with all other necessaries." Moreover, another entry says: " My lady Brudburye was allowed one hogshead of wine and three barrels of beer for own consumption.” There are three members of this family who need particular mention.
The most singular man perchance of a singular race was Thomas the Nonconformism. He was one of the Yorkshire branch. When George I. came to the Throne, Bradbury was among the clergymen who waited upon him with an address. They went in their gowns. '' Pray, sir," said the nobleman in waiting, " is this a funeral? '' " Yes sir," replied Bradbury, '' it is the funeral of the Schism Act and the resurrection of liberty." The oddities of Bradbury are traditionary. He was known as the facetious preacher. Born at Wakefield educated at Leeds and Attercliffe, he became an assistant to Dr. Gilpin, one of the expelled ministers who took his degree of M .D. for the curing of diseased bodies when his avocation was gone for the curing of uneasy souls. This was at Newcastle-on-Tyne. From here Bradbury went to London, where he succeeded Benoni Rowe, at the Fetter Lane Chapel. He was here for twenty years. He was afterwards preacher to the congregation at New Court, Carey Street. His sermons were published in 1763, and from these extraordinary compositions we can imagine the man.
There is a political heading attached to each one, as to wit: '' The Divine right of the Revolution," the text being taken I Chronicles xii., 23: " The Primitive Tories, or Persecution, rebellion and Priestcraft, '' founded on Jude II. Bogne has it, that '' from the great number of sacred texts applied to the occasion, one would imagine the Bible was written only to confirm, by Devine authority, the benefits accruing to this nation from the accession of King William III." Neal says, " I have seen Mr. Bradbury's sermons just published, the nonsense and buffoonery of which would make one laugh if his impious insults over the pious dead did not make one tremble." On the day that Queen Anne died he preached (so it is said) from the text." Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her for she is a King's daughter." One oddity of Bradbury is thus told: "Tom generally gave audience at supper lime, and the ceremony was thus conducted. On a little table lay two pocket Bibles, one of which was taken up by Bradbury and the other by his daughter, and each having read a portion, one of the visiting ministers was desired to pray, they then adjourned to supper, after which Tom entertained the company with ' The roast beef of old England.' which it is said, he sang better than any man in England." Bradbury will be remembered by the bookworms from his famous lectures delivered at the Weigh-house, and from the part he took in the memorable Arian controversy among the Dissenters. He voted in the minority, and in answer to the hisses he turned and said. "It's the voice of the serpent, and may be expected against a zeal for the seed of the woman.” This strange combination of theology and satire lived to a marvellous old age, like many of his race, and was buried in Burnhill Fields, not far from John Bunyan. Whether George Bradbury Baron of the Exchequer under William III., was a son of one of the lads who went forth from Ollerset and settled in London about the beginning of the seventeenth century, or was a scion of the Essex Branch is not very clear. When but a young barrister he was junior counsel in the famous Ivry case, and by a marvellous display of acumen he detected that certain deeds were frauds, and at once placed himself in the front rank of his profession. The particulars of the case are in Vol. X. of the State; that at execrable creature Jefferys was the judge. These deeds gave a right to an enormous amount of property in Shadwell and purported to have been made out in the reign of Philip and Mary.
The title by which these Monarchs were designated Bradbury remembered they did not hold until several days subsequent to the date of the deeds: hence the documents were spurious. Jefferys complimented him, but immediately followed the famous scene. Bradbury found it necessary to reiterate certain facts, on which Jeffreys turned on him: '' Lord, sir, you must be cackling, too; we told you your objection was ingenious but that must not make you troublesome; you cannot lay an egg but you must be cackling over it." Some four years after came the Revolution, when James II. fled and Jeffreys became a prisoner in the Tower. ''The chief of the Bar,'' says Hamilton, " were summoned to consult with the Peers upon the political crisis, and Bradbury was among the number.'' On the accession of William III. he became Puisne Baron of the Exchequer, and sat on the Bench for seventeen years.
Some fifty years ago William Bradbury, of Bakewell, took up his residence in London, and founded the Daily News and Field newspapers, and became publisher of Punch. A more brilliant staff of literary men were never brought in contact than by this member of the Bradbury family-Dickens, Thackery, Hood, with many more whose names are imperishable. Such fads are known to everybody, but there is one of pathetic interest connected with William Bradbury which may come as a surprise, even to members of the Peak family. This gentleman had a son, Henry, who at the age of nineteen, in the year 1850, entered the employ of the Imperial Printing Office at Vienna, bent upon learning the art of " Nature Printing.'' Five years later, when but a youth comparatively, his masterly and splendid delineations of the " Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland," together with his " British Seaweeds,'' came as a marvel of art to the civilised world. Then followed his lectures on other subjects at the Royal Institution, some of which were illustrated by Leighton, now president of the Royal Academy. Another five years and this young man of such astonishing promise (on Sunday, 2nd September, 1860) passed away from among his fellows from a rash act of his own hand, There was a branch of the Ollerset family who settled at Bankhead, and long sustained the dignity of their house. Just beside the little door sacred to the priest at Chapel-en-le-Frith Church, there is a grave of a daughter of this offshoot, and from a quaint expression upon the tombstone we ever turn aside to look at it, as there is a dash of real, natural, human affection about it. Besides, it is two hundred and twenty years since a loving hand placed it there, and from the depth the letters were cut they were meant to last till the day of resurrection. To find one of the old Peak families moving in such a distinct sphere from that of their forefathers excites even more than a passing interest.
LONG LEE AND BEARD
With a circumference of thirty miles. Such is the extent given to the Manor of Glossop, by Rhodes, in his Peak Scenery; eight-tenths of such area being with a junior branch of the illustrious house of Howard. The other two are with the noble family of Cavendish.
What is the percentage of tourists to Derbyshire who reach Hayfield or ascend the Scout? How many have stood by the Mermaids Pool, which, tradition said, had " a subterranean connection with the far-distant Atlantic, and at twelve o'clock on midsummer eve a mermaid arose out of the pool and, singing with enchanting sweetness, allured to destruction any reckless swain who had watched to see her rise?" For two hundred and seventy-five years have the Howards been lords of Glossop. Thomas, Earl of Arundel, who first acquired it by his marriage with Lady Alatheia Talbot, about 1616, was the son of the nobleman who was attained by Queen Elizabeth and died a prisoner in the Tower; grandson of the nobleman, fourth Duke of Norfolk executed by the same Queen for his expression of sympathy with Mary Queen of Scots; and great-grandson of the immortal Surrey, who was cruelly done to death by Henry VIII. There is a feature of this noble house, which to us is of very great interest: the many sons who have contributed to our literature. We have them as poets: as dramatists; as translators ; as philosophical and antiquarian writers ; as compilers of family records; as topographers of foreign countries and delineators of characters and scenes, new to Englishmen. "The character of Henry, Earl of Surrey,'' says Lodge, " reflects splendour even upon the name of Howard . . . He revived in an age too rude to enjoy fully those beauties which mere nature could not but in some degree relish, the force of expression, the polished style, and passionate sentiments of the best poets of antiquity." He was the link between Chaucer and Milton; the first Englishman who attempted to express himself in blank verse; the first writer of love sonnets whose verses are polite, without a shade of indelicacy. His short career of twenty years; his chivalry before the walls of Montreuil; his being thrust in the Fleet prison for eating flesh in Lent; his paraphrasing Ecclesiasticus while a captive in the dungeons of the Tower; his trial and its atrocious particulars; his being "the flower of the English nobility," have no need to be remembered to induce a perusal of Songs and Sonnets.
The Berkshire Howards have been dramatists; those of Yorkshire, statesmen and keepers of diaries of historical value. The noblemen who is Lord of Glossop and who so recently brought to his Derbyshire home his illustrious bride, we wish all those blessings of which the Creator is alone the dispenser.
What can Englishmen possibly know of the north-eastern extremity of Derbyshire; or why do they scamper away to the Continent in their holidays in search of scenes of wild grandeur? What do even Derbyshire men know (at least seven-eighths of us) of the valleys of the Sett, Etherow, or Kinder? Spots where the wildest nature weds with the most perfect loveliness; when the river rushes madly on as if in disgust at the factories on its banks, and then glides away though the glens with a cadence of ripples as if singing its deliverance to the nymphs.
Even when a old edifice proclaims by an inscription upon its portals whose residence it was more than two centuries ago, the compilers do not evidently consider it belonging to their providence to find out who this particular family were, or anything about them. This fact is illustrated by the inscription on the slab over the entrance to Long Lee Hall; and yet more forcibly by the well-known hostelry at Rowsley, the Peacock. Is there not the name of John Stevenson, 1652, over the entrance? Were not these Stevensons lords of Elton at the very time? Had they not extensive lands in Stanton? Was not this building their hall? Were they not the senior line of the Stevensons of Unstone and Matlock? Did not the heiress of the Rowsley branch marry with the old and historic Holdens? And is not her descendant at the present moment a peer of the realm? Reference to Burke's Landed Gentry, Peerage, and Lysons' Derbyshire gives the affirmative in each case: and yet, forsooth, one compiler (of no mean ability) tells us that John Stevenson was a publican. Where love of Derbyshire history consists of assumptive evidence without search such affection is spurious.
Neither in county history nor on map of Ordnance Survey Department can we find the position of Long Lee Hall, nor of the track of country in which it stands-by the name it was known to our fathers (Bowden Middlecale)-nor any particulars of the family, of which the builder was a member (whose initials are over the door), and whose grave is close to the threshold of the old homestead, just within one of the out-houses. Whether this singular being-John Hyde, gentleman, as his tombstone relates- who was one of the Peak notables of the seventeenth century, was a miser, and considered the costly outlay attending the interment of a squire in those days as ruinous; or had formed an acquaintance with that old sinner and philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, who was living at Chatsworth at the time, we cannot trace. Any way, the bedstead on which he died (somewhat elaborately carved, and of the time of Elizabeth) has never been allowed to be removed, and is there in perpetuity; the chamber is traditionally said to be haunted, and known to this hour as the ''boggart room." Having asked if anything had ever been seen, we were assured that marvellous noises had been heard, as to wit: "One night," said the good lady who is mistress here, and who allowed us to examine the bedstead, "when I and my children had just retired, we all heard the long clock on the top of the landing go smash down the stairs, but when we all rushed out to see, it was ticking in its proper place."
The Hydes have been resident in the Peak for three hundred years, and have intermarried with the Shalcrosses and other old families. From the records of Hayfield Chapelry we learn that the grandfather of the gentleman whose apparition is said to haunt Long Lee Hall was one of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors of the City of London, and devised certain property to the company for the yearly payment of ten pounds to the chapelry for the purposes of education, which no doubt is still most scrupulously complied with. In the Visitation of London by St. George (1633-4), there is the pedigree of a John Hyde, who is shown to have a grandson John, but no one has taken the least trouble to establish the fact that the John Hyde of the pedigree was the gentleman who devised the property for the benefit of Hayfield Chapelry. We believe that the Peak Hydes, so long and still located among us, are a branch of that old Cheshire house of which there are many particulars in Earwaker's East Cheshire.
Along the north bank of the Goyt, from Kinderscout to Mellor, is the tract once designated Bowden Middlecale. Within this tract there once stood a solitary mill, situated in a romantic glen, which did duty for centuries for all the surrounding township. There are several mills now (it is the district of mills), and a railway station too, from whence it is a comfortable stroll to Beard, or Ollersett, or Thornsett, or Scout, or the Mermaids' Pool, or Hayfield, or Long Lee. Here we are surrounded by those picturesque spots where some of the oldest of the Peak families were located in such remote times. Here, almost within sight of each other, were the homesteads of the Beards, Bradburys, and Needhams. In our stroll we noticed a shopkeeper (a chemist, druggist and colourman) named Kinder; we remembered that Hayfield Church was built by the munificence of a Kinder in 1385. Is it not probable that the colourman may be a descendant of an ancestor whose name is found on several glorious Rolls? The Manor of Beard, says White was given to John, Earl of Shrewsbury, by Henry VIII. This could not be, for there was no John Talbot who wore the coronet under that monarch; though White is correct in saying it was given to the Talbots, and this brings us face to face with a fact Lyson could have rendered intelligible. If Henry VIII. gave it to the Talbots, how could the Beards, Leghs, and Duncalfs have possessed it and passed it by heiress previous to the Talbots? The Royal gift would show it to be Royal demesne, while there in no evidence that the Beards were tenants in capite. We have an idea that the tenure of the Beards, and their heirs was under the Abbey of Basingwerke. These are the kind of facts the compilers will not face. The senior line of the Beards became extinct about 1400, when the heiress mated with the Leghs (she was wife of two brothers successively), and the manor was certainly in her dowry. Beard Hall was assuredly distinct from the manor, for the homestead remained with a junior line of the family till the days of Queen Elizabeth anyway. The old edifice is delightfully situated about half-a-mile from New Mills, and from its position commands a splendid view of the surrounding country. The masonary of the remains (for there is only a gable left of the original structure) was evidently the work of William Beard, who was living here in 1570, and whose daughter, Elizabeth (senior co-heiress), married Ralph Ashenhurst. We do not refer to the foundations, for they are considerably older, nor to a small portion of the interior, which has the appearance of having been formed out of a tower with port-holes. How an old Peak family gets lost sight of can be instanced by the Beards. The most careful and accurate of Derbyshire compilers (dear old Lysons) has these sentences: "The grandfather of the last Beard, of Beard Hall, had four sons; the two elder died without male issue, each of them having an only daughter and heir; Alice daughter of Nicholas, married Blackwell; Alice, daughter of Richard, married Bowden. William, son of John the third son, was of Beard Hall, and had three daughters married to Ashenhurst, Holt and Yeaveley. The Ashenhursts inherited Beard Hall.
Ralph, the fourth son, had four sons but we know nothing of their posterity." The descendants of this fourth son are yet among us; yes, living within a short stroll from their ancestral homesteads, but not as lords of a manor, but as vendors of treacle and soap, and other delectable necessaries of life.
We had little hope of finding any remains of Beard Hall yet standing, for intelligence had reached us-indeed, we were so told as we were plodding our way from Bugsworth-that it had been entirely rebuilt. There was more than one pleasure awaiting us, for not only was there the old gable. But a resident within who was a descendant of the historic Staffords, who had been repeatedly asked why he makes no attempt to recover one of the peerage once held by that family, and which is still in abeyance.
The courtesy of Mr. Daniel Stafford and his lady we most gratefully acknowledge, while their willingness to give information makes us their debtor, to which we would add, that if our ideas could have been as readily grasped by some people who are tenants of other old edifices as by this lady and gentleman, we should have gathered more facts by the way than we have. The Leghs who held the Manor of Beard were offshoots of the great Cheshire house who had branches at Adlington, Bothomes, Bruche, Lyme, and Ridge. The name they held was really not their own, paternally, for they were descendants of the Venables, Baron Kinderton, one of whom, in the reign of Henry III. married the heiress of the Leghs, and adopted her name. Their son espoused Ellen de Corona and acquired Adlington, thus the two quaterings of their shield became intelligible. The pedigrees of Cheshire families given by Earwaker tells us of many unions with Peak families, of which we gather but little from our own compilers. The wife of the last Beard of Beard Hall was a daughter of the Davenports of Henbury.
The Ashenhursts were a Staffordshire house of remote antiquity. John, the grandson of the Beard heiress, who was born here, became that famous, or infamous Parliamentary Colonel during the Civil Wars, whose compound treachery is known to historical students. This fact alone would have attracted many an individual to Beard. The father of the Colonel was a J.P., who donned the profession of a clergyman occasionally, for the entry is on record that he married seventeen couples of Chapel-en-le-Frith lads and lasses one morning. Is it not singular that this old building, after having sheltered the Beards and the Ashenhursts, should now be the dwelling of a gentleman whose ancestor not only fought at Hastings, and whose name is on the Roll of Battle Abbey, but who was cousin to the man to whom the victory gave the throne of England? is it not singular, too that the Halls of Beard, Shalcross, Ollerset, and Mellor (all comparatively within a stones throw of each other), all teeming with historic associations, all within about twenty miles from Bakewell, should be so little known even to the curious.
From: The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire - Joseph Tilley.
Mellor, of Mellor and Ideridge-hay.— The Mellors were descended from a younger son of Simon de Stavely, who settled at Mellor in the reign of Henry III. The coheiresses of the elder branch of Mellor married Radcliffe, Stafford, and Ainsworth, about the middle of the fourteenth century. A family of this name, supposed to be a younger branch, was of Ideridge-hay as early as the reign of Henry VII. Mr. Samuel Mellor, the representative of this family, who died in 1795, left no male issue surviving; his grand-daughters and coheiresses married Cresswell and Cock. His nephew, Thomas Mellor, Esq., is the present heir male of this family.
Radcliffe, of Mellor. — Robert Radcliffe, a younger brother of the family of Radcliffe of Ordeshall in Lancashire, married the elder co-heiress of Mellor in the fourteenth century. Ten generations of the Radcliffes of Mellor are described in the Visitation of 1611. Peter Radcliffe, then the representative of the family, who died in 1662, left a daughter and heir, married to Horsfall. The present–representative, in the male line, of the Radcliffes of Mellor is the Reverend Edward Stringfellow Radcliffe, Vicar of Walton-in-the-Dale, Lancashire. Some younger branches are still resident in the chapelry of Mellor.
Needham, of Thornsett, Snitterton, and Cowley, in Darley. — Six generations of this family, descended from that of the same name in Cheshire, are described in the Visitation of 1611, at which time there appeared no probability of the male line becoming extinct. The heiresses of Cadman and Garlick married into this family.
The chapelry of Hayfield contains the hamlets or townships of Great Hamlet, Phocide and Kinder, Ollersett, Beard, and part of Thornset. The hamlets of Bugsworth and Brownside, and part of Chinley, in the southern part of the parish of Glossop, are esteemed also to be within this chapelry. The village of Hayfield, which lies about five miles from Chapel-en-le-Frith, is in the township of Phoside and Kinder, in the vale between New Mills and Hayfield are three calico print-works. There are annual fairs at Hayfield, May 11th for cattle, horses, and sheep; and July 23d for sheep and wool.
The rood-loft in the chapel remains entire, but the upper part has been modernised; on the front is a painting of the crucifixion, with St. Peter and St. John, which bears the date of 1775. There are tablets giving a particular account of the endowment of the chapel and the school.
The chapel of Hayfield was augmented by Queen Anne's bounty, procured by subscription, in 1733; in 1801, by lot; in 1805, by another subscription; in 1806, by a parliamentary grant 5 and in 1812, by a third subscription of the inhabitants; the whole of the augmentations amounting to the sum of 1700l. The freeholders of the chapelry appoint the minister.
There is a Quakers' meeting in this chapelry; chapels of the Wesleyan Methodists at Hayfield, the part of New Mills which is in this chapelry, and at Chinley. The Independents have a meeting house at Chinley.
Great-Hamlet, Phoside or Foreside, and Kinder; and the hamlets or villas of Chinley, Bugsworth, and Brownside, are within the manor of High Peak, on lease to the Duke of Devonshire.
The manor of Beard belonged to the ancient family of Beard, of Beard hall, and passed with the heiress of Richard Beard, the last of the elder branch to two brothers of the Leigh family, to whom she was successively married: the Leighs appear to have been succeeded by the Duncalfes. John Earl of Shrewsbury was possessed of this manor in the reign of Henry VIII., and it has passed with Ollersett and Eyam to Lord George Cavendish. Beard-hall is now a farm-house. Ollersett-hall, formerly the seat of the Bradbury family is now a farm-house, belonging to Mr. George Newton.
The chapelry of Mellor lies about eight miles south-west from Glossop, on the borders of Cheshire, and about the same distance from Chapel-en-en-le-Frith. It comprises the villas, hamlets, or townships, of Mellor, Ludworth, Chisworth, Whittle, and part of Thornsett. The greater part of the populous village of New-mills, is in the hamlet of Whittle and in this chapelry: the villages of Raworth, Marple-bridge, and Mellor-moor-end, are also in this chapelry. Mellor and Whittle are part of the Lordship of Longdendale, on lease to the Duke of Devonshire. A subordinate manor of Mellor belonged, at an early period, to the ancient family of Mellor, one of whose coheiresses married Stafford in the fourteenth century. In the year 1704, Thomas Stafford of Stockport and Tristram, his son sold the manor of Mellor, and Bothams-hall in Mellor, to James Chetham, Gent., whose great-grandson, Thomas Chetham, Esq., of Highgate in Middlesex, sold the Bothams-hall estate, in 1787, to Samuel Oldknow, Esq., the present proprietor. Mr. Oldknow has large cotton works at Mellor, which employ between 400 and 500 hands.
Mellor-hall, anciently the seat of the Mellor family, and afterwards of the Radcliffes, was purchased in 1686, by James Chetham, Esq. The Mellor hall estate was purchased of Thomas Chetham, Esq., about 1797, by Mr. Ralph Bridge, whose son now occupies the hall as a farm-house. Part of the land has been purchased with Queen Anne's bounty for the purpose of augmenting the living of Mellor.
In the chapel and chapel-yard at Mellor are recorded several instances of longevity.
The minister of the chapel is appointed by trustees acting under the will of the late John Thornton, Esq., of Clapham. The appointment was in the Chetham family, and was purchased by Mr. Thornton of Thomas Chetham, Esq., in or about the year 1787. The income of the minister, which is now rather more than l00l. per annum, arises partly from the rent of seats, and partly from augmentation. Queen Anne's bounty was first procured for it about the year 1764, when 200l. was contributed by Thomas Chetham, Esq., and other inhabitants of the chapelry. In 1792, it had an augmentation of 200l. by lot: in 1809, Miss Shaw of Mellor, bequeathed the sum of 200l., for the purpose of procuring the bounty a third time. These sums have been laid out in the purchase of lands, parcel of the Mellor-hall estate, as above-mentioned.
The Independents have a small meeting-house at Marple-bridge in this chapelry.
Thomas Walklate having left by will the sum of 160l. for founding a charity school at Mellor, with that and other smaller sums, certain closes were purchased in the reign of Charles II., now let at 25l. per annum. Seven of the principal inhabitants are trustees.
In the year 1345, Thomas le Ragged enfeoffed John Foljambe of two thirds of the manor of Chisworth; in 1360, the whole manor was conveyed by Richard Foljambe and Robert de Holt to the Abbey of Basingwerk: it has since been considered as parcel of the manor of Glossop. Ludworth is also parcel of that manor.
From Magna Britannia: volume 5: Derbyshire (1817)