Smalley in the County of Derby, England

It has been said that a "parish is a county in miniature, and that the history of one is the history of all." To endeavor the complete history of a parish would be a very serious undertaking. I have not attempted it, because it could not be done. Sir Walter Raleigh was a great but unfortunate man. He wrote the History of the World in his prison. My little book has been written in a sick room, chiefly from notes made years ago, when Smalley in many ways wore an old-world aspect with its old houses, its aged people full of legends and tales of their fathers, only too pleased to relate them, a population from the ancient home stock each man carrying on the trade of his fathers, all combining to supply almost every local need. It is very different now. Very few of the old standards are left, and the place naturally can have but little interest to the new settlers who are mostly employed at the neighboring coal mines.

The last thirty years have witnessed a marvelous change in Smalley. The commencement of its decline dates from the beginning of the present long agricultural depression. Fifty years ago there were no less than twenty different occupations in the village; now, there are about seven. Once it was difficult to get out of the sound of the stocking frame; now, only one or two silk looms are left. There is no inducement for an enterprising youth to remain in the place: he hastens to populous centres, where, unfortunately, too often he finds there is no employment for him.

The good condition of the roads, and the near accommodation of the railways are detrimental to the shopkeepers, for the people, more for the love of excitement and change than for economy, carry their custom from home, while the importation of so much foreign flour has silenced the murmur of the mills.

Let us hope the time may once more arrive when our land, may again produce its teeming harvests, and our villages may rejoice in peace and plenty; each man, as it were, "sitting under his own vine and under his own fig tree"; and, above all, the fear and love of God in every household; for that is the true secret of all real prosperity.

As will be seen, the account of the original church of Smalley has occupied a considerable portion of the book; some may think too much; but it has passed away for ever, and although the particulars given were collected nearly fifty years ago, it was not too soon, for then there were only three persons living who had seen the old structure, and only one (who had been blind for fifty years) who could give me any detailed description. It was a happy moment, and opportunely seized, and the author is more than gratified that he has been enabled to furnish so full an account of the former village church, for the satisfaction of present and future generations.


Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Notes on the Domesday Account of Smalley 5
The Old Church 11
The Modern Church 27
Memorials 32
The Church Registers 36
Classification of Inhabitants, 1798 44
Curates of Smalley 46

Dame Godith's Dole 51
Sacheverell Almshouses 54
The Boys' Endowed School 58
The Colliers' Gift Richardson's Charity 61
James' Charity 64
Rev. Francis Gisborne's Charity 65
Poor's Cottage 65
Benefit Clubs 69
The Girls' School 72
The Baptist Chapel 74
"Smalley Farm" 77
Smalley Hall 81
The "New Barn," 1632 84
Smalley Mill 86
Windmills 89
Roads 91
Parish Gates 93
The Stocks 95
The Village Green 98
Kiddesley or Kidsley 104
Sacheverell Tenants in Kidsley 111
The Old Sacheverell Estate Smalley 113
Stainsby 119
Morley Manor 124
Diary of Mr. Joseph Moss 126
Pretender of 1745-6 130
Assize Rolls 132
Morley Races 135
Place Names 137
Index 141


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The name "Smalley" signifies a "small lea" or pasture, and the parish once formed part of a wide extent of woody pasture-land indicated by the names of the parishes and townships adjoining, six of which (see preceding page) end in "ley."