DARLEY (DALE), Derbyshire

Bibliography

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Census

Census
Year
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2541
1891 R.G. 12 / 2775
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Church History

Rosemary LOCKIE tells us:

In medieval times wood was an important commodity in the defence of the realm. For instance at the Battle of Agincourt the skill of the English Longbow Archers was the deciding factor in bringing victory to Henry V, and following his success, the King, having decided he was onto a winner, decreed that each parish should be responsible for providing the raw material for making Longbows, and for providing a quota of archers with the necessary skills for using them.

Wood from yew trees was particularly suited for this purpose, and churchyards were a convenient place for planting them. Many churchyards even today contain a yew tree which may have been planted for this purpose, as they do seem to be particularly long lived. The Archers practised, and were trained in areas known as Archery Butts and some villages and towns still have areas, or streets, called "The Butts" as relics of this time.

The training of Archers was decreed by law, and as a result the English Longbowman was second to none. A skilled archer could develop a speed of 15 arrows a minute, and an arrow was lethal at 300 yards - a firepower and range which wasn't equalled until the 19th Century with firearms. Indeed, some battles were decided on a shoot-out between the opposing archers! Archers comprised 10 percent of an Army, with 10 percent Knights in Armour, with the remainder Infantrymen.

Nevertheless, somewhat ironically, shortly after Henry V's decree, the Longbow was superseded by the Crossbow, which required less skill, and its effects were more incapacitating.

Although the postcard referred to above is now 80-plus years old, the church still looks very much the same, even today.

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Church Records

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Civil Registration

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Description and Travel

"DARLEY DALE is a hamlet, in the parish of Darley, which is partly in the hundred of Wirksworth, but chiefly in the hundred of High Peak, lying on the road between Matlock Bath and Bakewell, about five miles from either place. The situation of this hamlet is one of great beauty, being seated in a lovely valley, upon the banks of the Derwent."

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

Darley Moor lies 2 miles east of the village centre.

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Directories

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Gazetteers

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History

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Medical Records

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Military History

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Military Records

There is one Commonwealth War Grave from World War II in St. Helen's churchyard:

  1. Donald Standish SOPPITT, telegraphist, HMS Hunter, Royal Navy, age 19, died 23 Nov. 1944. Son of George and Minnie SOPPITT, of Matlock.
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Names, Geographical

If we consider the Whitworth Institute, on the corner of the A6 and Station Road as the centre of the ancient parish of Darley, it would have included the settlements of Wensley and Snitterton to the south-west, Little Rowsley, Tinkersley, Northwood, Darley Hillside and Two Dales to the north, and Farley and Upper Hackney to the south-east. Wensley and Snitterton became a separate parish in 1840, becoming known as South Darley, whilst the remainder of the old parish retained its name as Darley for some years after that, though it was also recorded in some sources as 'North Darley'. The River Derwent marks the boundary between the two. The railroads often listed parish names with unique suffixes or prefixes on their time-tables, so that passengers could be more certain of where they were arriving. There are many places in England with the same names. These additiions often "stuck".

The emergence of the name “Darley Dale” in preference could be a consequence of the coming of the railway, and the renaming of the station at Darley to “Darley Dale” in 1890. Such an attraction as a 'Dale' would have captured the imagination of the Victorians, suggesting they could expect to enjoy some romantic scenery along the valley of the River Derwent, which the railway line follows north towards Bakewell.

Alternatively, it might have been deemed expedient with the coming of the postal service, to distinguish it from the parish of Darley Abbey in the south of the county, though it is not known when this 'shift' actually occurred. If the difference in Kelly's Directory of 1895 and 1912 can account for it, it would appear to have been some time between 1895, and 1912, as 'Darley Dale' was not mentioned in 1895.

Coincidentally - or otherwise the Whitworth Institute was opened the same year as the station was renamed - in 1890, 3 years after Sir Joseph Whitworth's death.

The settlement of 'Two Dales' is usually found in old documents referred to as 'Toad Hole'. It is not known when this changed, nor why, though I think most of us can have a good guess!

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Politics and Government

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Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

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URL of this page: http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DBY/DarleyDale/index.html

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