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Help and advice for Chesterfield

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

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Archives and Libraries

The Chesterfield Library is located in New Beetwell Street and is normally open six days a week. They have a Local Studies and Family History section to assist you.

The Chesterfield and District Family History Society surname index is available at the Library.



  • An eight-acre burial ground with two mortuary chapels opened in the Spital area in 1857 to serve Chesterfield, Brimington and Tapton. Now known as Spital Cemetery, many of the monument inscriptions are listed on their website.
  • The Cemetery was managed by a joint Chesterfield and Tapton Burial Committee.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of the Cemetery Chapel on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2014.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of Spital Cemetery Chapel on the Geo-graph site, taken in October, 2014.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of Spital Cemetery graves on the Geo-graph site, taken in October, 2014.



  • The parish was in the Chesterfield sub-district of the Chesterfield Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2527 thru 2532
1891 R.G. 12 / 2760 & 2761
1901 R.G. 13 / 3247

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary and All Saints.
  • The church dates from circa 1250 AD.
  • The spire was added to the tower between 1350 and 1370. It is called the "Crooked Spire" because of its odd appearance, and it does lean a few feet to the west.
  • The church was thoroughly renovated in 1842-43.
  • The church seats 1,253.
  • Bill HENERSON has a photograph of St. Mary and All Saints at Geo-graph, taken in 2004. It shows the famous "crooked Spire".
  • Holy Trinity Church was built in 1837-38 to meet the expanding population of Chesterfield.
  • Holy Trinity Church was refurbished in 1889 and again in 1994.
  • The church seats 400.
  • You can tour the Holy Trinity Church website for more information.
  • Starting construction in September, 1869, Christ Church opened one year later to serve the people in the Stonegravels district of Chesterfield.
  • Christ Church became a separate ecclessiastical parish in 1913.
  • The church seats 160.
  • The Mission church of Saint James in Vicar Lane was erected in 1896. It was used primarily as a parish hall.

Church Records

  • We have a pop-up window of Parish Register burials in a text file for your review. Your additions are welcomed.
  • The first surviving Chesterfield Parish Register dates from November 1558 until March 1635, and a printed copy is available as two volumes of Derbyshire Record Society Publications.

    These two volumes are based on a typescript prepared in 1936-8 by Miss Mary WALTON, then archivist at Sheffield Central Library. The period she covered was up to 1600. The transcription project was continued in the 1960s, by Students at Sheffield University, and the combined transcripts, which continue until about 1800, are now lodged in the Derbyshire Record Office (information recorded in the first volume above).
  • Here is a list of Chesterfield Parish Registers available on Microfilm from LDS Family History Libraries. Film Numbers are reproduced on GENUKI by kind permission of the Genealogical Society of Utah.
    Parish registers, 1558-1971. Microfilm Number
    Baptisms, 1838-1886
    Marriages, 1854-1876
    item 6-9.
    Marriages, 1876-1895
    Burials, 1839-1900
    item 1-3
    Baptisms, marriages & burials, 1558-1672
    Marriages, 1653-1658
    Baptisms, marriages & burials, 1697-1812
    item 3-8.
    Baptisms, marriages & burials, 1812; 1733-1788
    Baptisms, 1833-1855; 1878-1908
    Marriages, 1754-1847 1752144
    Marriages, 1847-1874 1752145
    Marriages, 1874-1901 1752146
    Banns, 1830-1848
    Burials, 1813-1915, 1921
    Burials for St. Peter's Church, Calow, a
    chapelry in Chesterfield, 1872-1898
    item 1-5
    Baptisms, marriages and burials, 1612-1760
    Baptisms, 1813-1833; 1856-1878
    item 2-7.
    Burials, 1853-1921 (Includes burials for
    St. Peter's in Calow, 1872-1898.)
    Marriages, 1901-1917 (To 16 Apr. 1917.)
    item 2-5.
    Marriages, 1917-1921 (from 21 Apr. 1917.) 2081284
    item 1
    Marriages, 1921-1928 (18 June 1921-9 Apr. 1928)
    (2 registers).
    item 14-15.
    Marriages, 1928-1971 (7 Apr. 1928-11 Dec. 1971)
    (4 registers).
    Baptisms, 1934-1945.
    Bishop's transcripts, 1665-1883. Microfilm Number
    Baptisms, marriages, and burials, 1665-1804 0422195
    Baptisms, marriages and burials, 1804 cont.-1810 0422196
    Baptisms, marriages and burials, 1813-1824 0497397
    Baptisms, marriages and burials, 1824 cont.-1835 0497398
    Baptisms, marriages and burials, 1835 cont.-1837
    Baptisms and burials, 1838-1855
    Baptisms and burials, 1855 cont.-1883 0498051


  • "Parish Chest" Papers for Chesterfield include a thick-ish ledger for Chesterfield Union Poor Law - Churchwardens & Overseers of the Poor, Audit of Accounts 23rd Jan 1845. The book contains details of land & property, acreage, rateable value, etc, and a list of Owners/Occupiers. My grateful thanks to Janet KIRK for this information, and for the list below.

    Examples (in surname, forename order as per the original):-

    Owner Occupier
    Hancock Cornelius Anthony William
    " " Anthony George
    Drabble James Drabble James (2 lots of land & a weighing machine)
    " " Brocklehurst William
    Devonshire Duke of Bowring John
    Drabble James Bradshaw Luke
    Hancock Cornelius Cooper Joseph
    Outram Collis Sam Drabble Joseph
    Drabble James Drabble James (Hollis property & land)

  • The church was in the rural deanery of Chesterfield.
  • The Catholic church of the Annunciation was erected in 1854-74 in Spencer Street.
  • The Unitarians had a chapel in Saltergate built in 1694.
  • The Congregationalists built their chapel in 1822 is Soresby Street.
  • David DIXON has a photograph of the Independent Chapel at Geo-graph, taken in August, 2014.
  • The Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1881 in Holywell Street.
  • The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel in Saltergate built in 1795 and enlarged in 1822.
  • The Quaker Meeting House in Saltergate was built in 1673 and enlarged in 1770.
  • The Baptist chapel was built in 1861 in Brewery Street.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Chesterfield sub-district of the Chesterfield Registration District.

Correctional Institutions

There were cells built into the Police Station that was part of the Municipal Hall built in South Street. The Hall was built and opened in 1849 and included a Police Court and Fire Station. The best place to find records of individuals who spent time in the local lock-up is in the newspapers.

The county also had a Police Station and lock-up house on Marsden Street built in 1860.


Description and Travel

"CHESTERFIELD is an ancient corporate and market-town, and parish, in the hundred of Scarsdale, 150 miles from London, 48 S.E. from Manchester, 24 N. from Derby, the like distance E. from Buxton, 12 E. from Bakewell, the like distance S. from Sheffield, and 8 N. by E. from Matlock. It is a large but irregularly built town, pleasantly situate between two rivulets, the Hyper and Rother, in the beautiful and fertile vale of Scarsdale, and is the second considerable town in the county of Derby. The Saxon appellation of Ceaster proves it to have been a place of great antiquity and considerable importance, and it is imagined to have originated from a Roman station."

[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]

Chesterfield is a municipal borough, a market town and a parish 40 miles from Lincoln and 12 miles south of Sheffield.

You can see pictures of Chesterfield which are provided by:





  • There's a traditional verse which states:-
    "When Chesterfield was gorse and broom
    Leash Fen was a market town
    Now Chesterfield is a market town
    Leash Fen is but gorse and broom"
    Leash Fen, or Leys Fen is on the high moorland west of Chesterfield, and said to be the site of a sunken market town, possibly of Iron Age vintage. Several sites on the surrounding moorland have already been excavated - for instance, Gardom's Edge, near Baslow - demonstrating habitation of these uplands during pre-history.


Ask for a calculation of the distance from Chesterfield to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.


Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Chesterfield has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • Chesterfield was a first century Roman station. The Romans appear to have abandoned it after they pacified the midlands.
  • At the time of the Norman Conquest, when the name is given as "Cestrefield", this was a small place, of little consequence.
  • The town got its first market charter in 1204 from King John.
  • The town got its first mayor elected in 1594.
  • Transcription of section of Lysons' Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire, 1817, for Chesterfield by Barbarann AYARS.
  • In the late 1800s, this was a considerable rail-hub for both coal and passengers.
  • The Municipal Hall on South Street was built in 1849 and held the police court, police office, gaol cells and the Corporation fire station.
  • In 1912, there were three hotels in Chesterfield: The Hotel Portland, The Angel Hotel in the market place and the Station Hotel in Corporation Street.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of the Portland Hotel at Geo-graph, taken in May, 2013.
  • Much of Chesterfield has been redeveloped, improved or relocated in the past 100 years. Streets your ancestors lived on may no longer exist.

Medical Records

  • An Isolation Hospital was built here in 1904 by the Chesterfield Corporation at Hasland. It contained 38 beds.
  • The Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Hospital was built in 1859 in Holywell Street, enlarged in 1872, 1892 and again in 1902.
  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of the old Royal Hospital building from 1859 on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2014.
  • Hospitals were not required to archive patient information, but the Archives may hold some administrative and financial data.

Military History

  • Some French Prisoners of War were held here during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • In 1912, A Squadron of the Derbyshire Yeomanry had their headquarters here. Major Lord Henry CAVENDISH-BENTINCK was commander; Captain W. F. WAILES-FAIRBAIRN, second in command; Squadron Srgt-Major W. G> WARD, drill-instructor.
  • The 6th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters had their headquarters at 10 Corporation Street in 1912. Commanding, Lieut-Col John Morton CLAYTON; Major G. D. GOODMAN; adjutant, Capt. F. S. McL Lomer; Quarter-Master, Hon. Lieut. William North BROOMHEAD
  • During World War I the Red Cross established a VAD Hospital here at trinity Institute. This was later transferred to Ashgate House
  • Andrew HILL has a photograph of the War Memorial in the churchyard at Geo-graph, taken in April, 2012.
  • In World War II, the 1st Parachute Brigade under Brigadier Richard GALE was to be located at Hardwick Camp near Chesterfield.
  • The Traces of War website tells that there are 34 Commonwealth War Graves from World War I and 8 from World War II in Spital Cemetery.

Military Records

  • Christ Church contains a carved oak plaque "roll of Honour" to the men of the Stonegravels district who died in World War One.

Names, Personal

Sir Philip HUNLOKE won a bronze medal in the 1908 Olympics in the 8-meter sailing class. He was the son of Captain Philip PERCIVAL of the Royal Horse Guards, but changed his name in 1905. In 1912, he held the rank of Captain and resided here at Wingerworth Hall. He served in the Boer War and First World War, reaching the rank of Major.



There were two newspapers published in Chesterfield in the early 1900s. They were:

  1. The "Derbyshire Courier," started in 1828 and covered a large part of Derbyshire, published Saturdays.
  2. The "Derbyshire Times," which also had a large circulation and was published every Friday for Saturday circulation.

The Derbyshire Times is still being published. Check out their "nostalgia" section.




Politics and Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derby county and it became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • This parish was in the ancient Scarsdale Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • Queen Elizabeth I granted the town a charter of Incorporation in 1594.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy cases would be held in the Chesterfield petty session hearings every Saturday. These were held in the Municipal Hall at 11am each Saturday.
  • The parish had eleven almshouses built at various times. In 1875, these were all taken down and rebuilt in Saltergate.
  • St. Luke's Home for Aged Women was founded as a memorial to King Edward VII.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms, this parish became the center of the Chesterfield Poorlaw Union. The workhouse was built in 1839 on Newbold Road.
  • E. EASTWOOD erected the Eventide Homes in Infirmary Road in 1907 for eight aged women of limited means.

From the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, January 1, 1859 (Thank you Nivard OVINGTON):

Christmas at the Workhouse

At the Chesterfield Workhouse, on Christmas day, the inmates were regaled as usual at the costs of the guardians, at dinner, with the usual Christmas fare of roast beef and plum pudding and at tea with the other customary delicacies of the season. The men and women were indulged with a ration of beer.

Also from the same paper

On Christmas day, Mr Peter TAYLOR farmer of Sutton, gave 40lb of Beef to twenty of the oldest people of Bolsover 2lbs. and a loaf each.

Probate Records

  • Chesterfield Wills and Inventories, 1521-1603 - one of Derbyshire Record Society Publications, unfortunately out of print, but should be available for study via Inter-Library Loan (ILL).
  • Chesterfield Wills and Inventories, 1604-1650 - one of Derbyshire Record Society Publications, published April 2001.


"Chesterfield had a grammar school which was flourishing in the mid- thirteenth century and dependent on the parish Church. The first record of the school occurs in a letter dating from the reign of Henry III in which Henry, a clerk of Ashbourne, wrote to the vicar of Chesterfield thanking him for his assistance in securing his appointment as schoolmaster of the Chesterfield school...Only one other reference to a Chesterfield schoolmaster occurs in the medieval period: this is to Sir Henry of Sutton, described as 'master of the schols of Chesterfield', in a deed of 1337 and again in one of 1346-7. The school no doubt continued, probably under the auspices of the Gild of St Mary and the Holy Cross, until the dissolution of the chantries and gilds in 1548. The location of the medieval school is unknown. When the later grammar school was established in 1598, as a result of the testamentary bequest of Godfrey Foljambe of Walton, the chapel of St Helen's was apparently converted into a school house, which remained in use until the early eighteenth century when new premises were built nearby."

Author Leonie MARTIN has written a local history book on St Mary's Catholic High School. The book celebrates the school's 150 years.


Social life and Customs

  • Chesterfield has held a market since earliest times - the Sheriff of Derbyshire recorded an account of £1 2s 7d from the market of Chesterfield as long ago as 1165. The town's market place was much closer to the Church in the Middle Ages, and the church was used as a store for market goods. This is why in May 1226 during the Battle of Chesterfield, there were sacks of wool in the Nave of the Church for the Earl of Derby to hide amongst!

    The present Market Hall was built in 1857 by the Chesterfield Market Company and bought by Chesterfield Corporation in 1872 for the sum of £11,500. (Ref: A History of Derbyshire, Gladwyn TURBUTT, 1999).