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Matters of Life and Death

 By George E. Shaw
( one time verger of the church)
(George passed away in December 2010)

History in Baptisms, Marriages and Burials as recorded in the Parish Registers of St. Oswald's Parish Church, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England - 1539 to 1945


Ashbourne is fortunate in having most of its parish registers, which often do much more than record the bare facts of baptisms, marriages and burials.

It is also fortunate to have, in Mr. George Shaw, the honorary Verger, a man of scholarly and historical interests, whose work in going through the often barely legible registers to extract many whimsical clerical comments has thrown much light on this fascinating by-path of local history.

I warmly commend this booklet to parishioners and visitors alike, for all will find something here to inform and entertain them.

D.H.Sansum, Vicar. 1990.

    Please, please don’t email me with questions asking if it was your great-great-great uncle Rufus de Mappleton who fell off his horse drunk and died in 1632 – I don’t know! And neither does George!

    Nor can we research the matter for you!

    (Please disregard statement if you are a multimillionaire who will pay for it - grin )

Parish Registers before 1538 are very rare, for there was no legal obligation to keep them. However, in 1538, by order of Thomas Cromwell, the Incumbent was required to keep such records. They were originally written on paper but soon became dilapidated, so in 1597 instructions were issued that they should be kept on parchment, and that copies should be sent to the Diocesan authorities.

The Civil War saw the intrusion of the "Commonwealth Cuckoos" who were not always so conscientious in record keeping, and after 1653, with the Solemnisation of marriages handed over to the Justices, many records are either missing or incomplete. However, Baptisms and Deaths seem to have been more carefully recorded.

In 1754, following Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, records of the calling of Banns were required to be kept, as well as Marriages, and after the Rose's Act of 1812, the registers had to be kept in separate volumes.

St.Oswald’s Parish Registers are nearly complete, although the earliest book is unfortunately only a copy on paper. It bears the note, written in Latin –

"27th March 1594, baptised Paul son of William Hull of Bredon on the Hill, who copied this faithfully with his own hand."

The oldest registers are 1604 to 1615, 1629 to 1640, and 1655 to 1679. In the latter are numerous entries of marriages during the Commonwealth, not often found in parochial registers, as they were celebrated in the presence of the Civil magistrate. Sadly, the registers from 1615 to 1629, and 1640 to 1655, are missing, especially as the latter one included the record of the visit of King Charles I to the church in 1645 and contained his autograph signature.

Many of the Vicars, especially Nathaniel Boothouse, included frequent descriptions of people and events, so giving a fascinating record of contemporary life.

I hope that you will find the following extracts as interesting and amusing as have I in discovering them.

My thanks are due to Canon Derek Buckley for his work in editing and producing this booklet. Incidentally, he asks me to point out that the somewhat unorthodox spellings that appear from time to time are actually in the original registers!

George E. Shaw - Verger.

1539 - 1710

One of the earliest marriages recorded in that between Ralph Maynell and Maud Bradbourne on 31st.October 1539.

The Meynalls are one of the oldest families in the county, having in their possession the manor of Meynell Langley since at least the 13th century. The Bradbournes were connected with St.Oswald's Church for many years, John Bradbourne and Ann, his wife, having founded a chantry at the altar of St.Oswald, in the south transept, in 1483. An item in the inventory of Edward VI's Commissioners refers to this chantry, and describes:-

"&ldots; the two sacryng bells hanging before the 'Altar of grene' (it had been connected with The Green Hall.) the Chantry Roll describes it as "the Chauntrie of Assheburne founded by John and Ann Bradburne to the honor of God and St.Oswald, to mayntayne Godd's Service and praye for the founders' souls C.s. clere - ciiis.xd.; for the keping of an obit iiils.iiijd. To the parish church belongeth M.houselinge people stocke"

In 1564 on "March 25th Humphrey Bradbourne son of Gregory Bradbourne" was baptised, and on June 3rd. 1598 "Elizabeth Bradbourne, in nocte Obit London May 28th " was buried. But was she buried at night having died in London, or did she die at night in London?.

Thomas Cockayne was certainly buried at night, for his entry states "Nov.1592 Thomas Cockayne sepultus in nocte". Several reasons have been given for this burial at night - perhaps after a plague death, or more likely because the service was to follow the Roman Catholic rite at a time when such services were banned, for both families were Roman Catholics.

(Elizabeth Bradbourne's tomb is the first on the right in the Boothby Chapel, while Thomas Cockayne's is on the north wall of the north transept.

The plague was to ravage Ashbourne from 1586 to 1606, as shown by many entries in the registers. In 1594 many of the burial entries have "peste" or "P" marked at the side, and in 1606 a particularly poignant series is shown by:

"March 29th William, son of Will.Smith "

"April 11th William Smith, shoemaker."

"April 12th Elenor, dau of Will Smith, and Francis son of Will.Smith "

One can but imagine the sorrow of those left in the family.

In 1608, Dec.20th Aston. son of Thomas and Ann Cockayne was baptised. (he was born at Elvaston Castle, his mother being the daughter of Sir John Stanhope). Aston Cockayne was made a baronet by Charles Stuart, and became known as the poet of the family. After living a somewhat extravagant life, together with his loyalty to the Royalist cause, he and his son were compelled to sell the estate, including Ashbourne. He died a poor man.

In 1611 we have another interesting entry:

"July 11th Francis Buxton. Qui suspendio. lyonisius Orme. Interirunt. Rudolphous Wiltot"

How did they die, and why? Could they have been hung for treason, or perhaps for practising the Roman mass? At this time the Church was under the authority of Parliament, for with the Protestant religion being re-established in the country, the Catholic faith had been driven underground and in many houses priest-holes were built to hide the catholic priests. Could these men have been priests? Somewhere there is an answer to this, and one day I hope to find it.

Another entry brings to mind an interesting man -

"Baptised 11th July 1658, Sara daughter of Edward Manlove."

Edward Manlove of Ashbourne was the "Steward of the Barmoot". The Grand Jury of the great Barmoot Court fixed the laws of lead mining, and one such court was held at Wirksworth on the 10th October 1665. In 1288 Edward I called an Inquisition in Ashbourne for the setting Up of a jury of 24 true men to carry out the laws. Edward Manlove put these laws into verse under the title "The Rhymed Chronicles of Edward Manlove". He was also a magistrate, and in 1656 we read:

"Married 25th June, William Harrison and Mary Hall. (signed) Edward Manlove"

In 1669 Christopher Pegge built six almshouses for the poor, still to be seen to this day, and quite soon we find an entry

"Buried 1672/3 March 21st, Elizabeth Hall, of New Almshouses."

and again

"1695,16th Sept. Thomas Ashbourne, who was found at the almshouses a month before his baptism."

To this day we still find people bearing the surname of Ashbourne - perhaps the name was sometimes given to such foundlings.

Looking through the burial entries from 1658 to 1706 we find -

"1658 22nd.August, Mary wife of John Birch of Compton, dyed falling out of a wagon."

"1701, 24th Jan. An infant of Thomas Bird. 26th Jan. Grace, wife of Thomas Bird."
(She evidently died in childbirth )

In the Baptisms of that period we find –

"1703 4th Sept. Sybil dau. of Robert Hind, Nonconformist."

"1703 3rd.Feb. John, son of Hanna Malkin, a bastard child."

Then a somewhat unusual entry:

"Memorandum: the two children omitted in their proper places for want of notice given me, their parents being Papists.
Mary dau of Thomas Harrison, born June 18th 1703
Robert son of Thomas Harrison, born Jan. 15th 1703"

At first sight these dates seem rather strange, but in fact before the calendar change in 1752, the year officially ended on 25th March, although unofficially the 31st,Deceinber had been recognised for some time, so that there was sometimes some confusion about the actual year. Presumably it is possible that Robert could have been two months premature

"1705 4th June A poor child of a stranger whose father is a soldier in ye army."

"1705 30th Oct. Born in this month to Izaack Allen (dissenter) a child who he called Elizabeth "

In the Burials of 1706 we find -

"25th August John Brassington (who was at Church on Sunday and died immediately on his coming home."

"27th August Joshua Wheatcroft (who was hunting to fox with Tho. Eyre. ) "

We also find in 1706 a mention of work done on the church;

"August: Memorandum. In this month was finished the church roofe of the middle isle being all made new both timber and lead from the steeple to the great west window, the lead by Will.Pidcock of Ashbourne and the woodwork by Francis Butcher, carpenter in Scarsdale."

In 1707 we find a salutary warning about our diet -

"1707.16th August. Mr.Charles Chancy, Physician and Apothecary and one of experience in Physic, Pharmacy & Chyrugory, of a tepid and satyricall kind of conversation, but of great integrity and good nature, and so helpful to all sorts, that his loss was universally deplored; (his corpes was met some miles from town) for he died in Derby (in his sojourn from visiting a patient in Leicester) of the gout (with which he was much troubled) striking up to his stomach and that Occasioned (as was supposed) by eating Cucumber and Shrimps. He was sorrowfully (yet voluntarily and without invitation) attended to his grave by a multitudes of the whole neighbourhood."

Another one who died while travelling -

"1707/8,21st.March. Daniel son of Mrs.Leek, widow, who died on his journey from London."

A touching story of the death of the son of the Vicar of Ashbourne:

"1708 18th April, Nathanael, son of Nathanael Boothouse, vicar of this parish. who was born at Carsington, (where his father was then the Rector) June 22nd.1704 and died at Ashbourne on Easter Tuesday the 6th this inst.month A child, he was of exceeding sweetness and prettiness, both in person and temper and wondrous quickness of Apprehension, and Parts far beyond his years. His death draws tears from many more eyes than his parents. He was buried in the east end of the churchyard, his father esteeming that the Churches and Chancels to be too good to lay dead bodies in. He was a flower of sweetness and might have grown in age and knowledge to perfection."

Some entries mark long service, such as -

"1709,20th Oct. William Hewson, Who had been Parish Clerk about 30 years."

Others tell bow they died, as

"1708/9 1st.Feb. Grace Brunley (who was drowned by slipping off the plank on footbridge at Clifton Mill on a dark and rainy night and flood on Saturday night January 29th )"

And -

"1709, 25th March. William Rose (who was drowned in a draw-well near his own house in ye street passage through Middlecall on Wednesday last. Found and buried the same day.)"

(Middlecall was in what is now the Market Place.)

Yet another burial entry tells of -

"1710,7th April. Buried old George Wood aged about 80 years, a person of good health and active for his age, and one that frequented the prayers and sacraments at church constantly: on Wednesday 5th of this month having eaten his dinner well, he came down to evening prayers, entered the church with a lively fresh colour in his face, went into his seat, it is just opposite the reading desk, laid down his staff and gloves on ye bench, & stood up, leaning his arms on the side of the seat when the sentences of the scripture and the exhortation was read but just as that ended, and before the Confession began, he fell down on the floor of the seat and in two minutes time was taken up dead and carried home on a pillow upon the Bier.(Matthew 24, 42146)"

On 22nd.May 1710 we find one James Marshall called "A Scotchman".

and another entry gives the whereabouts of the unfortunate father –

"1710,16th August, Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Peach a prisoner of a debt in Derby."

1710 to 1711

A great event at the beginning of the 18th Century was the installation of the great Organ in 1710, which led to lengthy entries in the registers, beginning in May:- '

"Memorandum: On ye 10th of this month Henry Valentine of Leicester brought hither the Great Organ and some days after began to work towards fitting it up.

August 10th Memorandum: the great organ being gott up and almost completed. On Sunday ye 6th of this month Thomas Cook of Trusley Esq. and his son and Mr.Richard Bassano came in the afternoon and after evening prayers and sermon, indeed they first plaid a grand sonato as Voluntary, then Mr.Bassano before the Church full of people sung the 121 Psalm 'I will lift up mine eyes' as an anthem.

September. Memorandum: the great organ in the Church of Ashbourne being now completed and put in tune, and iron standards, rods and curtains of the organ loft being gott up; it was opened or dedicated in the manner following.

On the Sunday the 10th of this month, the vicar of this Parish his discourse of Psalm 92, Ist.,2nd.,and 3rd. verses, wherein after a profice concerning ye dignity Divinity and excellency of the Book of psalms, he proceeded to speak of nature, antiquity and excellency of the Art of Musick in general, of the fitness of it for Divine Service, and lawfullness of using it in Church. On this day the Organist plaid a voluntary before the Ist. Lesson, a psalm before sermon, and another after it, in the morning service. But in the afternoon Mr.Matthew Haines, (one of the singing men of the Quire of Lichfield) came and (after a voluntary as before) in the place of the Anthem he sang the words of the Psalm 121. 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills &c. ' then after prayers ended, a psalm was sung by ye whole congregation before sermon; and after sermon Mr-.Haines sung a fine long Anthem sett after- the Italian manner, the words being taken from the 145 Psalm 'I will magnify thee O God my King &c. ' containing many verses of that Psalm and adding to them also some select verses of Psalm. The Anthem has much variety of musick in it and is combined with inte-mixtures of frequent Symphonies or Resonnelles with Resonnelle words touched and plaid upon two violins by two gentlemen who stood behind the curtain of ye Organ loft. This performance was very fine, as well as grave and solemn:; being the first essay of beginning of the opening of the Organ.

But the grand performance or opening of the Organ with voices and instruments was on Wednesday the 13th, of this month, in the method and manner following.

Notice been given some weeks before to all the benefactors of the organ, concerning the performance, and the performers being arrived at Ashbourne from severall places the niqht before, they first tryed their parts in a large private room of Mr.Goodread, in the morning before they went down to the Church.

September 13th 1710. The Church in the meantime being filled with all the Neighbouring Gentry and multitudes of others from diverge parts to the number of 5000 people or more. About 11 o'clock the service began at Church, Mr.Bassano and Mr.Edward Sandaby of Nottingham, Afr.Xstph.Bassano of Derby, Mr John Burney of Shrewsbury, and Mr.Green of Lincoln with violins, and Mr.Coke Sen. of Trusley with tenor-violin, were all placed in the great loft or gallery at ye west end of the Church. Mr.Will. Ouant and Mr.Haines and Joshua Cotterall, a singing boy all of the Quire of Lichfield; Mr. Tristram Huddleston, Mr.Wooley and one Hudson a singing boy of Lincoln, now in the Organ Loft: Mr .Rathbons of Nottingham, Organist, played the Organ, and Mr Henry Valentine of Leicester (who made the organ) stood by him with trumpet. After ye sentences, Confessions, Absolutions and Lord's Prayer were read, the quire and others chanted ye Vinito and psalm for the day to the Organ, the Trumpet sounding in with them at the Gloria Patri &c.

Then the Organist played a voluntary, after which was read for the Ist.lesson 2nd.Chronicies, chapter 5. After the lst.Lesson ended, began the glorious and most melodious performance of the Te Daum, according to the Method wherein it was gott or composed to Musick both for voices and instruments by the famous Mr.Henry Purcell and as it had been performed before the Queen and the two Houses of Parliament on a Solemn Day of Thanksgiving at ye Cathedral Church of St.Pauls; and sometimes also at other churches; Here the Violins, Trumpet and Organ first began with a grave and harmonious prelude. then followed the voices singing the words of that ancient and magnificent hymn, sometimes one, sometimes 2. 3 or more voices singing their praises, by way of verse, always accompanied with some of the instruments, sometimes the instruments without the voices playing a short Symphony by way of Resonnelles and very frequently all the instruments, voices and Organ sounding together by way of a grand chorus, in all of which the voice of the Trumpet was heard above all the rest and echoed through the Roof of the Church. the performance of this lasted near half an hour and was very fine. How as the Te Deum is an Ecclesiastical Hymn of very sublime and pathetical sound and words, so the Musick which Mr.Purcell composed to it is allowed by all Masters in that science to be the finest and noblest piece of Church Musick that our age has produced.

After the Te Deum followed the 2nd.Lesson for which was read Coloss. 3rd.chapter and after that began the prelude to the Jubilate with instruments. Then ye words of that Psalm were sung to ye instruments and organ. sometimes 2 or more voices, and sometimes a grand chorus of all joining together then as had been done in ye Te Deum before. Both these musical compositions sett or made by the same hand of Mr.Purcell and are soon to be seen in print. Although the performance of the last was somewhat shorter than that of the re Deum; yet the Trumpet having a more frequent part, and coming in oftener in this than the former, made the Musick very delightful and lofty.

After the Jubilate was read the Creed, prayers and collects for the Day and Litany (being Wednesday) and after the prayers ended, the four first verses in Method of the 81st.Psaim were sung to one of the common tunes by all the congregation together with the Organ and Trumpet. After the Psalm, and a short prayer following the sermon, wherein the vicar of the parish (persueing his former discourse from Psalm 92, 1.2,3 verses) vindicated the lawfullness and usefullness of Instrumental Musick as well as Vocal in Divine Service; showing ye integrity and use of it by the patriarchs and Moses before the Law, by David and Solomon in the Temple with God's high approbation of it; though it was no part or prescription of the Ceremonial law; by our Saviour and His Apostles, joining with it in that service and by the practice of some primitive churches who used Musical Instruments before the time of Pope Vitalianus, es some learned Divines affirm, when Xtion Churches began to flourish, and lastly by the practice of almost all Xtion Churches in Europe and at this present time, not only by those of the Romish Communion, but almost all the reformed Churches also beyond sea, as well as this established church of our own, using frequently Organ and other Instruments in Divine service and worship, from the general use and practice of it amongst Heathens, as well as Jews and Xtions, it seems to dictate or precept of Xahirall (?) Religion, as ye Supreme Creator is to be praised by us, so it ought to be done in the best manner with all help, Xahine and Art too. This he showed to be agreeable to ye sentiments of many learned men, not only to our own Church, but even some of ye principal] Dissenters also.

Sermons being ended, the Quire-men sung a fine Anthem in parts, taken out of the Chapter of Revelations verse 9, 10, and concluding with a general chorus of Hallelujahs.

The Performers were entertained at dinner at the parish charge (service being ended about 2 o'clock) and at night in the great parlour at the sign of the Blackamoor's Head, they made a fine concert both of Instrumentall and Vocal Musick and so concluded the Musick of the Day."

In 1711, another great occasion took place, giving the parish a further opportunity of showing off their now organ:

"1711 June. Memorandum: the 10th of this month the Right Rev.Dr.Jn.Hough, Bishop of this Diocese, came to this Church, it been Sunday, the Bishop preached in the afternoon an excellent sermon on Matt.19,20. And in the afternoon the Vicar (having been commanded to prepare a Confirmation sermon) preached on Acts.8,17, after which the Bishop confirmed about 500 persons or upwards.

The Vicar procured 4 or 5 of the best voices belonging to ye quire of Lichfield, to come and perform Cathedral service by chanting the psalm of the day & hymns & singing anthems of 1,2 & 3 voices, both in the afternoon and evening.

Mr. William Lamb of Derby played the Organ and Mr. Valentine played the trumpet, to ye Gloria parts and chorus of Anthems, with witch the Bishop and his Chaplain Dr.Goodwyn, Archdeacon of Derby, as well as all now satisfyed.

The 11th day being the Feast of St.Barnabas the quire and musicians tarried and peformed morning service to our ordinary congregation, with trumpet & chanting & anthems again."

1711 to 1722

After all this excitement, we come down to earth again with:-

"Bapt.1711 15th August. A bastard child called Hannah from Painters Lane, ye supposed father- one Bostock of Audwark."

Then we find a man committing bigamy:-

"1712 11th May. James Dawson and Susannah Osbaston, both of Derby. This was a fraudulently and wicked marriage. Dawson came to Ashbourne Fair May 10th and having applied himself to old Mr.Hardestee the Surrogate, for a license, who having examined on oath (as the canon requires) the perjured wretch swore yt there was no precontract or other legal impediment against his marriage. So obtained a license & was married next morning been Sunday May 11th But before noon I discovered his first wife was living in Southampton."

One can well imagine the scene, with a horseman riding up from Southampton, but unlike Stanley Holloway, be did not "get to the church on time."

Shortly after this, we have a record of the death of Mr.Hardestee, the Surrogate. Incidentally, the two figures given for the year remind us that until 1752 the Now Year legally began on 25th March, and only after that date on Ist.January. But as mentioned in chapter 1, popular usage had already anticipated the change since the beginning of the century, so to avoid confusion, dates between the Ist.January and 25th March usually showed both years. Hence:-

"1712/13. 2nd.January Buried Mr.William Hardestee M.A. headmaster of the free school for the space of about 35 years. A man of Excellent Learning & unblemished & universal diligence in his business, who has sent many a good scholar to the universities. A good Christian, a good neighbour and a hearty friend. (I could not omit this short Character of him because he deserves it. He died in two days sickness or less of a confulsion pain in his stomach, which carried him off quickly, Atatis suus 64."

"Buried 1714/15 4th February. Nicholas Spaiden, who by his will bequithed Charities to be settled in the town of Ashbourne to the value of 164 pounds per annum for ever."

Nicholas Spalden gave the Almshouses next to the church and also the Vicar's and Widow's almshouses in Church Street. Although be was declared bankrupt, because the money was declared a charity, it was allowed, and came from his lands in Dublin. There is still a house named after him in Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, and an avenue on the council estate in the town.

Sometimes the weather was to blame:-

"1714/15 4th February, William Johnson, servant to Francis Breward of Windley, who came hither on Tuesday the Ist.instant to Ashbourne Fair, and was killed by the park of Mr.Peters, his stable blown down by a high wind upon him and others. one man had his leg broken, & this man bruised in his bowels and body. either by one piece of timber or- by the foot of the horses which careless & frightened dropped a leg over- him as he lay under them, that he died in two days. "

Another entry not only tolls of heavy rain but also indicates when Okeover Bridge was built -

"1715,3rd.July. Mr.Lesley Sherrard who was unfortunately drowned at Mapleton in endeavouring to ride over the River Dove from Okeover to Mapleton his horse slipped and stumbling he fell into the water, & the stream being swelled with rain and very swift, hurried him down, first under a footbridge (built for Milk-women to pass while the great bridge is rebuilt) then into the deep, in the sight of 30 or 40 people (workmen for the new bridge) or others on each side & none of them could come near to him or catch hold of him until he was cast up on a gravel bed below dead."

"1715, 24th July. Thomas son of Thomas Smith, in Compton, bit by a mad dog-"

One wonders whether this might have been a case of rabies. Then we find a regiment garrisoned in the town.

"1716, 7th ,June, Thomas Hubbard, soldier under Major Roberts in the Prince of Wales his regiment of Dragoons quarted here. he came from about Stafford."

Road accidents happened in the past, as they still do today -

"1716, 15th July. Carried from hence to be buried at Doveridge, Thomas Hanson, servant to Mr.Cavendish, who bringing hither- a waggon load of his master's goods on Tuesday last, (his master coming to live here) slipped one foot in a narrow place under the fore-wheel of the waggon, which crushed his ankle all to pieces, & the wound mortifying he died of it."

Another sad death -

"1716/7, 20th February. Dorothy, wife of William Bradbury, weaver, who was found drowned in the Brook on Saturday 15th instant, not certainly known how she came by her death, tho some judge it to be through a black & distracting melancholy hereditary to her family; the Coronary Inquest found her clear from been Hele Dese." (Felo de se!)

One of the most prevalent diseases in this period seem to have been smallpox, of which many died, especially children. There are also many reports of building work -

"1720 June. About the middle of this month ladders were reared to the steeple; the Vane or Triton was taken down; the spindle made straight, & a new Capital (being one single Carved stone) laid on the top by. John Platt.,,

"1720 9th July. The font was removed."

"1720 20th July. The vestry was finished and was first used."

"1720 15th August. NB. The new seat betwixt the vestry and the church seat and the font was erected at the charge of (we paid John Barnes for ye seat) cost .£4. 7s. J Boydell. Vicar.

"1720 Nov. NB In Mapleton church were made this month, a new pulpit; sounding board; Parson's and Clerk's seats, Rails and Bannisters for the Altar and Communion table."

Then there are other interesting entries:

"1720 7th Nov. Buried Harry Denet of Cubley, non compos, yet used to go naked. Found in the market."

Sometimes the entries have really nothing at all to do with the registers and are simply news items:

"1720 16th Dec. A Public fast, to avert the pestilence then wagering (sic) in the Provence in France."

"1720 17th Feb. A stable burnt down at Ashbourne Lodge, and two of Mr.Buxton's horses scorched to death "

Ashbourne Lodge is one of the lodges mentioned in the rhymed epitaph of Thomas Cockayne's tomb in the Boothby Chapel.

The struggle to keep "in the black" seems to have been just as big a problem as it is today:

"1720 9th Feb. NB At a vestry held in Ashbourne Church, Mr.Godfrev Foliambe and Mr. Thomas Kirkland (who had served the office of Church-wardens for ye years 1715-16-17 and 18) passed their accounts. in which they charged themselves with the Rect. of .£ 591.8s.7d. and disbursement of £ 710.4s.5d. Their arrears of .£119.0s.10d. together with other Parish debts of .£ 329.3s.2d. amounts to a Parish debt of .£ 448.4.0d."

More repairs in 1721 would make that even bigger:-

"Feb. The south and of the cross aisle and 7 yards of the steeple was rebuilt in ?????" (writing illegible)

Sometimes the annual walking of the Parish Boundaries was recorded:

"1721 NB 15th May Perambulation, skert round."

It also appears that the present pulpit, erected in 1882, replaced one that was 161 years old.

"1721 Memorandum. 22nd.March. New pulpit .Sett up."

Two interesting burials:

"1721 31st.May. Buried Ann Frost, age 103"

A good age, but not the oldest, for in 1711 -

"6th Oct. Widow Horier of Hulland, buried at Bradley, age 108."

Then come two weddings that evidently had problems:-

"1721 21st.June By Banns, George Collier of Ashbourne and Elizabeth of Stoke on Trent at Stoke on Trent. NB Mr. Ward of Whitmore married ye couple last named without my certificate; three days before ye banns were lawfully published at Ashbourne."

"1721 29th June. By Banns John Hollis and Mary Murfin both of Clifton, at Ashboune. NB. These last were coupled by Mr.Nabbs at Gz-eet-yate August 2nd.1720, who gave them' a sham-certificate, subscribed J.Johnson."

This was also the year in which a move was made to replace the Vicarage in the North-east corner of the field at the side of "Old Man's Alley" (the site of the proposed new Church Hall today).

"1721 Jan.NB A petition to the Bishop for erecting a new vicarage-house et. signed at a vestry by 37 hands."

The work went ahead, and was completed in 1722. See below.

In the event of a sudden accidental death, it was the responsibility of the locality in which the death occurred to bury the body, viz:

"1721 Buried 3rd.Feb. Richard King of Long Etchington, Waricks. who dyed suddenly as he alighted from his horse at James Hurd's."

Another instance of a foundling named after the place where it was found, in this case a baby discovered on the bank of the river:-

"1721 20th March. Ashbourne Banks (a male child found there ye 19th )

It was about this time that one of the worst epidemics of smallpox swept Europe, and no family was immune. In 1716/17, Elizabeth, daughter of Brooke Boothby Esq. of Ashbourne Hall died, and in the next entry we find how the 1721 outbreak actually came to the town:-

"1721 13th March, William, son of Thomas Baker, a vagrant, who died of the small-pox at 7.Bristow's and was supposed to bring the distemper into the town, of which 32 children died in Ashbourne Between April and September which are marked in this register with S. P."

Just one of the many:

"1722 7th August, Mary, dau. of John Reynolds (Fugitive) S.P."

Work then evidently began on the now Vicarage:-

"1722. April. N.B. Ybe old vicarage house was taken down and 200 piles driven for the new vicarage foundation.,'

"N.B. September 29th 7he new vicarage House was reared."

"October 29th The Vicarage-house was tiled ye 25th "

In May of that year there was quite a nasty road-accident:-

"1722 5th Nay. Thomas Bott. Killed ye 3rd. between a moving cart and the west gate-post at the Blackamoor's Head."

And an even more sensational event:

"1722 29th Oct. Godfrey Cook, of Callodge cut his throat and finding there was some hope of recovery. he thrust a knife (that he had concealed) haft and all into his belly, insomuch that his Attender was forced to pluck it out with his teeth "

Shortly after this we find an intriguing entry;-

"N.B. A manufactory agreed upon with John Ball. 15th "

Did this mean that the church had started a partnership with him, and if so, what kind of an industry could it have been?

Then there was what looks suspiciously like a "football player's deal":-

"1722 December. N.B. I, .John Boydell, resigned my nomination of a Clerk to Parwich Church in consideration of an augmentation of .£ 200 to that church given by Sir Richard Levinge. I was encouraged by the Bishop and also John Beresford and Sir Brooke Boothby Esq., who are witnesses to the Deed of Resignation from me to Sir Rich. Levinge."

1723 to 1760

At the beginning of 1723 comes the agreement to build the Spalden almshouses, still to be seen next to the church:-

"1722/3 Feb.22nd. N.B. School-corporation wrote and agreed for ye bulding Mr.Spalden's Hospital to consist of 10 houses, with upper rooms 10 each".

Some matters were quickly settled:-

"Jan 10th 172213 Buried Isaack Peach aged 63 (well and dead in two minutes)"

While others took rather longer:-

"1722/’3 29th Feb. John North buried at Ashbourne (from Clifton) before.

N.B. John North had denounced and to all persons that should assist in carrying his corpse by Clifton Cross or any other place but to Clifton Chapel his nephew Mr. North took a journey to Lichfield and brought me a letter from Mr. George Hand; the contents of which were as follows

"Mr. Boydell, the bearer Wm..North has been with me to procure an order for burying his uncle in Clifton Chapel Yard, but because it is uncertain whether that Chappell was ever consecrated, we cannot grant any license for any such purpose nor cannot ye Buryall Office be performed there. 	Litchfield 29th March."'

Some entries might cause a raised eyebrow or two today:-

"1723 April. N.B. Grace Watson did penances at Ashbourne for Fornication with John Ball of Biggin, ye 7th "

On the other hand, the public fast mentioned for 16th December 1720 seems to have been successful:-

"1723 25th,April. N.B. Public Thanksgiving for Preservation from the plague."

The agreement for the new Spalden's Almshouses signed in February seems to have been put into effect remarkably quickly, for we find:-

"1723 June. N.B. The foundations of Mr. Spalden's Hospital was layed 26th W. Kirlcland and I layed the two first bricks"

(The "I" would be the Rovd.John Boydell, who was Vicar from 1719 to 1731 and Mr. Kirkland one of the churchwardens.)

"1723 N.B. An Inquisition at Norbury Church, de jure Patronatus, 6 Commissioners, 16 Inquisitors,. 8 Clerks and 8 Lay-gents. Sept.17th"

We have a baptismal entry inserted without any additional comment:-

"1723 30th Oct. William, son of Hannah wife of Sam.Etches, Who had been absent from her for about a year"

Nowadays, we take it for granted that we can sit anywhere in church, but this has not always been the case, for instance:-

"1724, 19th & 20th May. An Inquisition held by the Surrogate and Proctors, it concerning two seats in the church, demanded by Mr..Robert Healde,(at the Blackamoor's Head.)

There were then several interesting burial entries:-

"1723 2nd.Jan. Buried William Jones. (Quaker)"

"1724 12th Aug. Robert ilegit son of Sarah Hitchcock (scolded in the milk)"

"1724 1st Sept. Buried Richard Greenhough (very old and hare-lipped)."

"1724 23rd.Sept. Buried Lawrence Wheeldon (commonly called the "butcher of Compton")

Sometimes the Vicar makes a note of a particular activity –

"1724 May 12th N.D. J.Boydell. I went my Perambulation." "1724 May 24th I read a Si Quis, e.r. for Mr.Manifold."

Then it appears that the seating problem had not been settled, for we read:-

"1724 30th Dec,. A second Inquisition at Blackamoor's Head about the seats before mentioned May 19th "

The building trade had its accidents in those days, just as they do today:-

"1725 17th Feb. Christopher Bembridge, aged 70, killed ye 16th in taking down a hovell for John Dyche."

Sometimes the death was from 'natural causes':-

"1725 29th Feb. Ralph Lovet, a servant of Mr.Joseph Haynes, who fell from his horse in Clifton Lane, the 23rd. seized as supposed with an Apoplexy, and never spoke after."

It looks as though morals were no better then than they are today:-

"1725 16th May. Excommunicated denounce against Sarah Barnes."

"1726 1st.May. Elizabeth Parkes did penance for Fornication with John Okeden."

More work in the church:-

"1726 2nd.April. The semi-circular altar rails were made and sett up. .,

These were much later replaced by the present straight ones.

"1726 30th May. Bishop Chanderler's third Visitation. His Lordship confirmed in Ashbourne Church 250 persons."

"31st. as was computed, about 660 persons."

One wonders how many of this multitude became regular members of the congregation.

Sometimes there was a mystery about a,baptism.-

"1726 17th June. Bapt.Goorge, son of a traveller, who would not discover her name, baptised privately by Mr.Savage, born in Painter's Lane."

But there was no mystery about this burial:-

"1726 16th Feb. Buried John Bott, a man of such stature and bulk, that the coffin (which was 6ft.7in.long, 2ft.6ins.wide and 18ins.deep) together with the corpse was judged to be near 6 cwt."

But who was this man?

"1727 15th June. Buried John Titterton (spurious)"

In October 1723 you may remember that one Hannah Etches produced a son despite her husband being away for a year, now, alas, she is in trouble again:-

"1727 18b.Feb. Mary, dau. of Hannah, wife of Samuel Etches (by a pretended husband, Father Samuel still yet living.)"

And yet another Centenarian:-

"172716 18th Feb. Robert Frost. aged (by his own account) 106, Hospitaller."

When we look at the beautiful tiles in the Chancel, given by Mr.Campbell Minton last century, we don't always think of the sadness they conceal:-

"1729 29th June. A male infant of Mr.Samuel Leek (a stillborn twin buried in the Chancel.)"

We tend to take our present church elections very much for granted, but they were not always plain-sailing:-

"1729 Aug. N.B. According to Covenant made before the Bishop at Buxton the 7th instant, Four Church-wardens were elected. Viz.Mr.,Yohn Alsopp & Mr.John Bateman by ye Vicar, Mr. Richard Goodwin & Mr.John Walker (after a hard struggle) by the Parishioners".

The next entry ought to please the Bell ringers:-

"1731 18th July Mrs. Elizabeth Buxton, who died at Winster.born at Ashbourne, aged 60, left in her will 10s. a year for ever for a sermon to be preached by ye Vicar of Ashbourne yearly on ye 15th day of July; and 5s. yearly to ye ringers for a solemn peal after."

We are reminded of the dangers of drink:-

"27th March, John Wood. (He drank a quart of brandy, 25th in the morning and dyed before night."

Sometimes Baptism went slightly wrong:-

"1742 8th Dec. A daughter of George Redfern, baptised by mistake George"..

Others were baptised later having began life in other denominations:-

"1743 7th Jan.Ann Hameraley,a Quaker,aged about 24 years, of Basford in the parish of Chedleton in the County of Stafford.."

"1767 5th Nov. Sarah, dau. of the late Thomas Stapleton, a Quaker, she was born August 5th 1754."

Many entries of burials about this time give additional interesting information:-

"175415 18th Feb. A vagrant, found dead in a barn in the Liberty of Painter's Lane.

"1747 18th August, James, son of William Ruth, a Dragoon in Lord Mark Kerr's Regiment."

"1758 lst.April. Barbary Turner, a child belonging to the Foundling Hospital, London No.2437."

"1758 22nd.March. William Soar, apprentice of Daniel Keamorlay,(Unaccountable death, being found dead in ye stable.)"

"1758 27th June. Christopher and John, sons of Mr.Tomlinson, found drowned."

1761 to 1810

 "1761 31st..Iuly. Dean Langton of Clogber in Ireland, killed by a fall from his horse upon the rocks in Dovedale."

This entry has an interesting story behind it, and it in perhaps worth quoting the account given by the Revd.S.Tanison Moose in his book on Ashbourne Church published in 1842. He records that the Dean was visiting a family in the neighbourhood, and

"....a party was formed to make an excursion into Dovedale. As they were proceeding along the bottom of the valley, Mr.Longton proposed to ascend, on horseback, a hill near Reynard's Hole, rising with a very dangerous degree of steepness, between three and four hundred feet; and Miss La Roche, a young lady of the party, agreed to accompany him on the same horse. When they had reached a considerable height in their ascent, the poor animal, unable to sustain the fatigue of the task imposed upon it, lost its footing, and rolled down the steep. The Dean was precipitated to the bottom, where he was taken up so bruised and mangled by the fall that he expired in a few days; but the young lady, whose descent had been retarded by her hair becoming entangled in a bramble, slowly recovered; though when disengaged she was insensible, and continued so for two days. The horse, more fortunate than its riders, was but very slightly injured."

The Deanery of Clogher was a gift to Mr.Langton as a reward for his services as Chaplain to the third Duke of Devonshire when he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

More sudden deaths:-

"1754 14th .7une, Thomas Nellor, who died suddenly when he was at work on the Turnpike road near Bradley."

"1765 4th Dec. Mr..John Buxton, who was found dead on Ashbourne Green."

"1765 7th Dec. Walter Atkin..7unior. who was found dead on the staircase. "

"1766 11th June. Edwar-d Bennett, drowned in Mr.Hohebrook's Tannfat." (Tanning vat)

"1766 2nd.July. William, son of Thomas Froggat, drowned at Compton Bridge."

 "1767 11th August, John Armishaw. a Horse Trooper belonging to the Stage Coach."

It seems that road accidents caused by someone "falling asleep at the wheel" are no new occurrence:-

"1772 21st.,7une, William Tunnicliffe from Longnor .-, a young man about 18 years old who was killed by a wagon wheel going over his back, in Painter's Lane, suppose he fell off the shaft, being asleep."

1773 seems to have been another bad year for smallpox, for many of the deaths are marked S.P.

Additional information about the cause of a death often proves interesting:-

"1773 15th May. Ann Lomas, who lived in Sandy Lane and was found drowned in Mr.Joseph Bradley's draw--well, supposed to have fallen in as she was catching hold of the bucket, as her pail was found standing by the well, the Coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of Accidental Death "

"1773 2nd.Aug. Ann Walker, a poor woman who hanged herself in her own house, she was a lunatick."

"1780 14th August, Richard Kevey, who was killed by a fall from a tree at Ilam. (Was getting walnuts)."

In that year there was also a visit from a Bishop from a different See.-- .

 "1780 2nd.Jan. Bishop of Chester Ordained at Ashbourne Church 7 young gentlemen into Deacon's orders and 11 Deacons into Priest's orders."

Some entries indicate the cost of burial fees:

 "1774 14th May. Mr.Bradley's fees and breaking ground. 8s.0d. "1774 2Bth July. for Mr.Redford's Tomb 6s.0d. "For John Litton's headstone 3s.4d."

John Litton's stone can still be seen just outside the south door (he was one of the Litton family of clockmakers), while the Bedford tomb is on the north side of the nave.

 "1775 15th July. Peter Binnell, organist for upwards of 30 years."

St.Oswald's seems to have a good record for long-serving organists, a later one, Benjamin Parkin, served for 48 years, and his record may well be beaten by the current Organist, C.Daly Atkinson, with over 45 years service at present.

Yet more accidental deaths:-

"1776 6th Feb. Thomas Bate of Clifton who was drowned at Clifton Bridge, supposed he had slipped off a wooden bridge, the Coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of Accidental Death "

"1777 17th August. Henry Worthington, a butcher from Findern, who fell from his horse at Clifton Cross."

"178,5 Ist.May. Buried Thomas Waring, Bricklayer, killed by the falling in of the earth in a well at John Frost's of Brailsford Old Park as he was repairing."

In 1767 there was yet another outbreak of smallpox, resulting in several more deaths.

But in 1768 a simple entry marks the end of a life that brought Ashbourne into touch with an even more illustrious figure:-

"1788 3rd.March. Buried the Rev. John Taylor, aged 77."

Doctor Taylor lived at The Mansion in Church Street, built by his grandfather Benjamin. who was an attorney in Ashbourne. Taylor went to school in Lichfield, where he met Samuel Johnson, who was slightly his senior. The friendship grew, and they remained close friends all their lives. Dr.Johnson visited the Mansion many times, and Dr. Taylor proposed to leave his property to him, but unfortunately Johnson was to die first, which changed the course of d piece of the history of the town.

The next extract marks an event still recalled by Thomas Banks' famous effigy:

"1791 20th March, Penelope Susanah dau. of Sir Brooke Boothby Penelope Ux. of Ashbourne Hall, aged 5."

The death of this little girl was to affect the lives of many. already at the age of only 3 she touched the heart strings of many of her parents' friends, one of the most famous of whom was Sir Joshua Reynolds, who would let her play in his studio, where she learned to paint. Here he made her his subject for the painting "Simplicity" or "The Little Girl in the Mob-cap."

On the day of her funeral it rained, so six little girls carried her coffin and six little boys carried umbrellas. The parents were devastated, each blamed the other, and after the funeral they parted, the mother walking away from the graveside and returning to her own family home. Sir Brooke who was a minor post, wrote a Book of Sorrows, in which one of the sonnets read:

"Bright crisped threads of pure translucent gold,

Ye who were wont with Zephyr's breath to play,

O'er- the warm cheek and ivory forehead stray,

Or clasp her neck in many an amourous fold

Now motionless this little shrine must hold;

No more to wanton in the eye of day,

Or to the breeze your changing hues display.

For ever still, inanimate and cold.

Poor, poor lost relic of an angel face,

Sad setting ray, no more thy orb is seen!

0 beauty's pattern! Miracle of grace!

Must this be all that tells what thou hast been!

Come then, cold crystal, on this bosom lie,

Till love and grief and fond remembrance die."

He seemed to find comfort in his London friends, one of which was Thomas Banks, who was to sculpt the monument. Banks seemed to be inspired, and out of a block of Carrara marble he fashioned Penelope lying on her side with her cheek resting on her hands. The delicate details of her little hands and feet are most moving. The sash round her waist feels like velvet, while the dress feels like silk. The mattress is quilted, and one foot rests on the other. Banks, in a letter to his daughter, wrote that Sir Brooke would come into his studio, kneel at the half-finished monument and burst into tears, completely breaking the sculptor's concentration. Ultimately, we find d burial entry:-

 "1624 13th Feb. Sir Brooke Boothby. Baronet. Bouloqne, France, late of Ashbourne Hall. aged 81."

In the meantime, life and death go on in the town, with yet another outbreak of smallpox, this time in 1793, while in 1796 another accidental death is recorded:

 "21st.March, Mary Wain, who was burned by the fire catching her clothes as she sat by the fire at the Green Man."

1810 to 1900

At the beginning of the 19th contury, Ashbourne was one of the towns used to house French prisoners-of--war, the prison being Walton Bank at the bottom of Derby Road, and we find many associated entries in the registers:-

"1810 13th Jan. Bur. Felix Declamota, a Polish Prisoner--of-war on parole of honour at Ashbourne, taken at the Island of Walchern, aged ,28.

"1810 5th July. Bur. John Lafser, a French prisoner, on parole of honour in Ashbourne."

"1811 1st.Jan. Arnold Joseph Leborgne De Kinovvan, French Midshipman, prisoner of war in Ashbourne, aged 20."

 "1804 7th Dec. Julici Guilard, a French prisoner-of-war in Ashbourne, aged 44."

"1810 13th Jan. Felix De La Molta, a Polander, prisoner-of-war on his parole, taken at Walcharon, aged 28."

But there were other entries besides burials, several of the prisoners, who were allowed out on parole, intermarried with local girls

 "1810 20th April. Emily Aspase. dau. of Vincent Pierre Fillion and Hannah his wife (prisoner-of-war) born 17th inst. The last child was omitted to be registered, but on oath of Elizabeth Dubre,was privately baptised by the Rev.W.Bayliff."

Another series of entries enables us to follow the life of one prisoner as he settled in Ashbourne:-

"1812 27th Nov, Otto Ernst Heldreich, prisoner--of-war, married Margaret Whittaker of Ashbourne."

"1816 31st May. Bapt. Adolphis Leopold, son of Otto and Margaret Heldreich, Prussian."

"1827 7th Feb.Bapt. Henry, son of Otto and Margaret Heldreich, Compton, Prussian officer."

"1830 26th Dec.Dapt. Elizabeth, dau. of Otto and Margaret Heldreich, Compton, Painter."

But Otto was not the only one to marry and settle down:

"1813 29th Nov, Married Louis De Burbure, Prisoner of war and Elizabeth Slater of Ashbourne."

"1815 1st Dec. Bapt. Louis Robert, son of Philip Louis and Elizabeth De Burbure, Officer in the French Services."

The grave of Louis can still be found in the east end of the churchyard.

In November 1810, there were eight burials all of children under the age of seven, and a glance through the registers makes one realise how serious were the epidemics of T.B., scarlet fever, etc. and how quickly they went throughout the town.

Two similar entries catch the eye:-

"1813 12th Nov. Thomas Fernyhough, Workhouse,. aged 65, suddenly a few minutes after he returned from church on the foregoing Sunday."

"1813 30th Nov. Thomas Tomlinson, Workhouse, aged 64, who died suddenly in Ashbourne Church during Divine Service."

A whole series of unusual deaths occur about this time:-

"1815 13th June. John Blore, Hanging Bridge, aged 15. Drowned in Bentley Brook."

"1816 23rd Dec. A Traveller, a child, from the New Prison, Compton. A infant."

"1824 20th August. John Finney, an Irishman, killed by the Mail Coach at Painter's Lane."

"1836 27th Feb. Robert, surname and age unknown."

"1840 27th 7une. A stranger, found hung on the premises of Mr, J. Beard, top of New Road, name unknown. "

"1841 12th June. Female, found drowned in Clifton Brook."

"1848 20th Jan. Thomas Birch, soldier, found drowned in Bentley Brook."

"1848 10th April. John Jowett, Compton, aged 32, killed by a wagon passing over him."

"1848 13th April. John Wibberley, Church St. age 66, killed by a wagon passing over him."

Were these last two involved in the same accident? It makes one realise how dangerous a team of horses could be, and that road accidents are not all a product of the 20th Century.

This next one has an interesting descendant:-

"1834 24th Feb. Joseph Bradley, St.,John St. aged 85."

His great-great-great-grandson is the Archbishop of Sidney, Australia, the Most Revd.Donald William Bradley Robinson, who called in at the church while in England a year or two ago.

Another burial entry reminds us that drug-addiction is not a new problem:

"1827 21st.Nov. William Smith Dig St. age 35, occasioned by taking Laudanum."

Despite the regular calling of Banns almost every Sunday, very few have ever heard an objection raised in recent years, but at one time, the "forbidding of the banns" seems not to have been uncommon, viz:

"1767 John Barton and Anne Robinson, both of this parish. That is to say, on Sunday the 25th-day of October, forbid by the man's father, he being underage. (1st.time of asking)".

"1770 John Street and Elizabeth Bradbury, both'.of this Parish, on Sunday the 24th day of June, forbid by Sarah Corden. 2nd.time of asking."

"1771 William Bate and Elizabeth Gall, both of this Parish, on Sunday the Ist.Dec., forbid by woman. 1st.time of asking."

"1774 Thomas Bz-unsley and Sarah Williamson, both of this Parish, on Sunday the 27th November, forbid by the woman's mother. she being under age. 3rd time of asking."

"1827 George Herp and Mary Salt, both of this Parish. Stopped by her father on Sunday the 15th of July, on account of her not being of age. 3rd time of asking."

"1835 Thomas Shepherd and Frances Calver, both of this Parish, on Sunday 20th of September, stopped by desire of his mother, he being under age."

On the other hand, some minors did obtain prior approval;

"1816 7th July Ralph Adderley Jun.Fsq. of the parish of Lea Marston in the County of Warwick and Rosamund Mills, of the Grove, of this parish (a minor) with consent of Mrs Rosamund Marston and William Sneyd, her lawful guardians."

"1819 17th Feb. William Salt, bachelor and Miner, and Elizabeth Ratcliffe, spinster. with consent of William Salt the lawful father of William Salt."

Sometimes there was a breath of fresh air from a wider world:

"1833 11th July. Married Richard Dover Chatterton, bachelor of the parish of Coburg in Upper Canada, North America, and Frances Howard, spinster of this parish."

"1848 26th Sept. John Hobson, Clerk, and Harriet Dawson, Missionary to China."

This one would be a tongue-twister:

"1886 4th May. Trevor Fields, clerk in Holy Orders, and Anna Maria Caroline Agathe Augusta Friedericke Grewing."

Other interesting entries include:-

 "1825 4th Sept. Bapt. Robert son of Charles and Charlotte Gray, Sergeant in the Ashbourne Cavalry."

"1638 15th Jan. Bapt. Gertrude Susan, daughter of the Hon.Charles and Louise Maria Dundas, Great Henney Rectory, Essex, Clerk, by the Lord Bishop of St.David's."

"1855 10th Dec. Buried William Whittingbam, Compton, age 51. Coroner's inquest, suicide."

"1873 3rd June. Buried William Arnold, age 59, clerk and Sacristan."

"1876 9th Dec. Buried George Ollerenshaw. Back Lane, age 60.

9th Dec. Buried Mary Ann Ollerenshaw, Back Lane, age 61.

George Ollerenshaw. insane, cut his wife's throat Dec.5th and afterwards cut his own, Mary Ann died instantly, Geo.Ollerenshaw survived 2 days. Me Vicar addressed the mourners at the graveside."

'1873 9th Nov. Bapt.Edith, dau. of James and Dorothy Slater, Low Top, Labourer. (Baptised previously by a Dissenting Minister)."

"1877 14th Dec. Jabez Cooper Thompson, son of Catherine Duffield, Church St. (Catherine Duffield's husband was transported and while so, C.D. intermarried with Wm.Thompson and had issue this child."

"1879 1.5th Nov. Buried Mary Beresford, Poster's Yard, age 2 months. unbaptised."

"1860 10th May. Buried Robert Dawson, New Road, aged 24. Choral Funeral."

1900 to 1945

Entries in recent years lack the snatches of gossip and scandal often inserted by the clerk or clergy in times past, but frequently demonstrate how life has changed, and sometimes conceal stories of real human interest.

"1901 7th March. Buried Monica Turnbull, aged 22.

30th April. Buried Dorothea Turnbull, age 20."

No additional information is entered in the registration of these two burials but the deaths were to shock the whole parish. The two girls were the only children of Mr. and Mrs. Peveril Turnbull, of Sandybrooke Hall. .

As they were leaving the dining room, a lamp which the father was carrying, burst into flames. Dorothea's dress caught fire, and Monica, rushing to help her sister, was also engulfed by the flames. Sadly, both died of their multiple burns.

Their memorial window in the South Aisle, by Christopher Whall, is recognised as being a masterpiece of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

"1902 21st.Jan. Buried Mary Elizabeth Corbet, age 71. (A magnificent benefactor to the church.)"

The Corbets lived at the Grove. The East window, the window by the pulpit, and the statue of Christ on the pulpit, were all given by the Corbet family.

By this time, registers usually included details of the trade or profession:

 "1902 Bth ,Nay. John Cave, the Union Workhouse, age 63 (for 42 years porter)."

"1911 10th April. John Goodman, Mayfield Road, age 69 (formerly sexton of this parish)."

"1916 30th August. Buried Henry Belfield Etherington, Mayfield Rd. age 36 (Sacristan & Sexton)."

It was always thought that dust occasioned by restoration work on the church caused his final illness.

Mrs.Etherington. his widow, was to be caretaker of St.Oswdld's for many years. Her knowledge of the church was immense, and many went to her for information. (She is "the caretaker" mentioned in Dr.Saaler's guide-book.)

Another Caretaker:

 "1930 8th Nov. Buried Torn Fear-n. Church St., age 39. (Caretaker of the C.of E. Schools, killed accidentally through the fall of the clapper of the bell on the Town Hall.)"

The tragedy of this death was that, as a member of the Fire Service, he was ringing the Fire Bell for what turned out to be a hoax call.

Two entries recording the first deaths in motor accidents:-

"1921 18th Oct. Buried an unknown man killed in an accident at Hanging Bridge, about 21."

"1926 9th May. Buried William 'Henry Skinner, Old Derby Road, age 43. (Killed by a motor car.)"

By this time, there was a quite now form of accident:-

"1929 22nd.May. John Walden Bayes. Flying Officer, R.A.F. aged 23. (Killed at Northolt, Middlesex, flying.)"

"1939 18th Feb. John Henry Richardson, Belper Rd. age 23. (Killed in a flying accident.)"

But on the other hand it seems that it could be just as dangerous on a bicycle:-

"1932 11th June. Ernest Job Gilman, age 23, Ashbourne Green. (Killed while cycling by a motor car.)"

In 1932 we find an entry mentioning a job we rarely find today:-

"1932 3rd.Nov. Buried William Tunnicliffe, Union St. age 81. (For many years Town Crier.)"

The advent of the Second World War brought a whole series of burials that would not otherwise have occurred in Ashbourne:-

"1940 9th Sept. Richard Hill Jelf, Ist.Derbyshire Yeomanary, Keelby, Lincs, age 31. (Killed in a flying accident R.A.F.)"

"1940 9th Sept. Muriel Armstrong, Waifs & Strays Home, age 13 (evacuated from Manchester.)"

The Waifs and Strays Home was more recently known as St.Monica's, (and now the P.N.E.U.School) and had been originally given by the Turnbulls in memory of their two daughters mentioned above.

"1940 21st.Sept. George Henry Mills, age 36, Ramegate. (Evacuee)"

 "1940 26th Dec. James Hacking Baldy, Belper Rd. age 29 (killed by a delayed action bomb in Manchester, when he volunteered to take out a fire-engine during an air-raid.)"

"1941 12th June. Dennis Russell Simms, age 27, Dovehouse, (killed in an aeroplane crash. Had piloted his bomber several times to Kiel and Brest.)"

"1942 11th Nov. Thomas Ezra Clarke. R.A.F.Station. Derby Rd. age 26.(Killed in a flying accident.)"

"1943 6th March. George Howard McHraith Matlock. age 23 (New Zealand airman. killed in a crash at Matlock.)"

Occasionally we still find an unusual entry:-

"1942 20th Oct. Harold Rippon Hopkinson, Halfway House, age .57. (Found dead in Callow's shop.)

Time and again in these registers we find records of devoted long service - just two examples:-

"1944 19th Jam. Charles Lewis Orme, age .59 (over 40 years at C. of E. School.)"

(He was nick-named 'Ossie' and actually taught me. Every boy could tell a different story about him, and each one would raise a laugh.)

"1945 26th April. Joseph John Thacker, Mayfield Rd. age 76. (Over 50 years a member of our choir.)"

A simple record of one of the finest voices to sing in our Choir. He was a stoker at the Gas Works, and people could be seen standing under the window of the Retort House listening to his tenor voice singing hymns.


We have now arrived more or less at the present day, and I hope that you will have found something in the foregoing that has interested you.

For my part, as I read through page after page of Ashbourne history, names of places and Public Houses kept occurring, some known, others long-since forgotten, so it may be of interest to list them in an appendix.

For example, in 1670, an entry records a fire - "upon the 25th June there was a fire which burnt down several houses on the east side of the Horse Market." That would be somewhere in the vicinity of the bottom of the Market Place and St.John Street.

I have also listed the various occupations mentioned in the registers - all thirty-six of them.

One last entry, with which to end:-

 "1875 14th Dec. Married Arthur Shaw, Tailor, St.John St. Father, John Shaw, Tabourer, and Ellen Bullock, servant, Church St. Father, William Bullock."

I don't know whether he was a member of the same family as myself, but what I do know is that nine years after his marriage, he was put on trial in Manchester for murdering his wife, found guilty, and condemned to death!

George E.Shaw.

Appendix One

Names of Yards mentioned in the Registers

Adin's Yd.

Arnold's Yd.

Atkin's Yd.

Ashton's Yd.

Bank Yd.

Bowyer's Yd.

Bradley's Yd.

Burton's Yd,

Bell's Yd.

Boot & Shoe Yd.

Brick Yd.

Belfield's Yd.

Bullock's Yd.

Brick & Tile Yd.

Ball'a Yd.

Chapel Yd.

Clarke's Yd.

Cantrell's Yd.

Crown Yd.

Copostake's Yd.

Carrington's Yd.

Coxon's Yd.

Duffield's Yd.

Frith's Yd.

Foulke's Yd.

Foster's Yd.

French's Yd.

Frost's Yd.

Gregory's Yd.

Granby Yd.

Green Man Yd.

Hood's Yd.

Hall's Yd.

Heap's Yd.

Hodgkinson's Yd.

Hoon's Yd.

Johnson's Yd.

Lumbard's Yd.

Leason's Yd.

Litton's Yd.

Lovatt's Yd.

Malbon's Yd.

Marple's Yd.

Marshall's Yd.

Malkin's Yd.

Melbourne's Yd.

Marquis's Yd.

Malt House Yd.

Mier's Yd.

Prince's Yd.

Poole's Yd.

Purdy's Yd.

Porter's Yd.

Peach's Yd.

Rosemary Yd.

Roose's Yd.

Smiths Yd.

Compton Smith's Yd

Church St.

Salt Alley Yd.

Stag & Pheasant Yd

Spencer's Yd.

Silvester's Yd.

Sutton's Yd.

Sowter's Yd.

Shakespeare's Yd.

Town Hall Yd.

Tomlinson's Yd.

Tunnicliffe's Yd.

Well's Yd.

Wellington's Yd.

West Yd.

White Horse Yd.

Whitome's Yd.

Workhouse Yd.

White House Yd.

Warin's Yd.

Walker's Yd.

Wheatsbeaf Yd.

White Lion Yd.

Other interesting names include:

Butcher's Row

Can Alley

Henmore Cottages

Inch Cliffs Lane

Porter's Terrace

Shaw Bank.

South Cliff

Victoria Terrace.

The Following Public Houses are mentioned;

Horse and Jockey.


Old Bear.




Hall Hotel.

The Cock.

Three Horseshoes.

Durham Ox.

Stag & Pheasant.


Cross Keys.

Duke of Devonshire.

Star & Garter.

Tdylor's Arms.

White Horse.

Hare & Hounds.

Royal Oak.

King's Head.



Brown Lion.

Red Lion.

Barley Now.

Green Dragon.

Blue Bell.

Marquis of Granby.

Wine Vaults.

Station Hotel.

The Tavern.

The Plough.

Weighing Machine.

Dog & Partridge.


Coach & Horses.

Ye Old Vaults.

Stag Horns.

White Hart.


Green Man.

Blackamoor's Head.

The Swan.

George & Dragon.

White Lion.

Bowling Green.

Brick & Tile.

Boot & Shoe.

Tinker's Inn.

Duke of York.

Queen's Head.

Ring O'Bells.


Joiner's Arms.

The Eagle.

 Appendix Two

Trades mentioned in the Registers.




Husbandman - 1.


Apothecary & Physician.



Chandler - 2




Matcbmaker - 3

Bodice Maker.


Chapman. - 4

Post Boy.

Fishing Tackle Maker.





Cordwainer - 5


Fellmonger - 6

Woolstapler - 7

Framework Knitter.

Tobacco Cutter.

Button Maker.

Flax Dresser - 8


Breeches Maker.

Colour Manufacturer.

Silk Stockinger.

Master Molecatcher - 9

Horse Shunter - 10

Some of these trades may be a little unfamiliar today, but are the equivalent of:-

  1. Farmer.

  2. Candle maker or dealer.
  3. Matches, not marriages!
  4. Merchant or pedlar.
  5. Leather worker.
  6. Prepares hides to make leather.
  7. Deals in wool or sorts into categories.
  8. Prepares flax for spinning.
  9. The use of moleskin for clothing required expert handling to avoid damage to the skins.
  10. Railway worker on the sidings. 

 Appendix Three



------- Geoffrey.

1200 Nicholas de Esseburn.

1231-33 William.

1241 Walter de Kayiam.

  John de Brecham:

1260 Peter de Wintonia

1275 Nicholas.

1278 Hugh de Ashburne.

1290 Robertus.

1300 Thomas de Welleton.

1310 Robert de Stoke.

1310 Robert Ible.

1333 John de Lenton.

1349 Roger de la Dale.

1361 William Rymour de Nownham or Newenham who returned in 1364 to exchange with John de Hylle.

1362 William de Exton.

1363 John de Hylle.

1364 William Nowenham.

------ William Prate or Poyner.

1371 Hugh de Montgomery.

1373 Richard de Thrumley.

1379 Thomas Brouster or Brondeston.

1380 Thomas de Hulton.

1394 William Borgh.

1394 William Melton.

1394 Roger de Knyvaton.

1408 William Dalton.

1410 William Newerk.

------ John Sutton.

1433 Thomas Derby.

------ Richard Forde.

1439 Adam Wetton.

1453 John Clark.

1470 John Northampton.

1497 Stephen Surtas.

1500 Henry Hudson.

----- William Tykhill.

1526 Robert Sacheverel.

1535 Laurence Horobyn.

----- Christopher Hauke or Hawke.

1564 William Bythinge.

1566 Robert Hurte.

1603 Thomas Peacock.

1643 William Wayne.

1653 Samuel Moore.

1660 Thomas Brown.

1669 Thomas Goodread.

1702 John Manson.

1705 Natbaniel Boothouse.

1717 Abraham Jeococke.

1719 John Boydell.

1731 Luke Hutchinson.

1749 John FitzHerbart.

1772 William Webb.

1806 Samuel Shipley.

1850 John Richard Errington.

1872 Edward Marsham Moore.

1876 Alfred Olivier.

1876 Francis Jourdain.

1898 Edward Edwin Morris.

1924 Francis Longsden Shaw.

1935 Philip Charles Thurlow Crick. (Bishop)

1937 Alfred Ellis Farrow.

1949 Claude Charles W. Trandell.

1957 Frederick John Henry Lisemore.

1971 William Gerald Armstrong.

1976 David Henry Sansum.

1998 Mick Smith

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