Kirkby-In-Ashfield, five miles south west of Mansfield, is a considerable village and parish, where a great portion of the inhabitants are employed as framework knitters. The bobbin net trade, which employed so many hands twenty years ago, has completely left the village. The parish, which includes many small hamlets, and in which the rivers Mann and Erewash have their sources, contains 2363 inhabitants, and 5590 acres of land, of the rateable value of £5310, of which 2023 acres were not included until 1793, when 1050 acres were alloted to the rector in lieu of tithes, in addition to 200 acres of ancient glebe.
The Duke of Portland is the principal owner and lord of the manor, which passed from the Stotevilles to the Cavendishes; but D'Ewes Coke, William S. Coke and J. Clark Esqs., and Mrs Catherine Hodgkinson, have estates in this parish. Sir Charles Cavendish began to build a great house in this lordship on a hill by the forest side, near Annesley Woodhouse where, being assaulted by Sir John Stanhope and his man, as he was viewing the work, he resolved to leave off his building, because some blood had been split in the quarrel, which was then very hot between these two families.
The church, built in 1416, is a spacious and handsome structure, with a fine spire and beautiful stained glass windows. It is dedicated to St Luke. The rectory is in the gift of the Duke of Portland, and is valued in the King's Books at £18 1s 8d, now at £730. The Hon. and Rev. John Venables Vernon is the rector, and the Rev. Wm. Clayton is the curate. The Wesleyans have a large chapel in the village. The parish school, with a house for the master, was built in 1826 at a cost of £300, raised by subscription, except £60, which was the amount of several benefactions to the poor; and the interest of which is yearly distributed out of the annual contributions to the school. The master teaches 40 free scholars. The Nottingham and Mansfield Railway passes through this parish, and has a neat station at Kirkby Lane End. The line was opened in September 1848. The Erewash Valley railway also intersects this parish.
Kirkby-Hardwick is a large ancient house occupied by John Clark Esq., and was formerly given to Felley Priory, but is now the estate of the Duke of Portland, except about 20 acres. Kirkby-Grives is a large farm house, one mile south west of the village, occupied by John Fisher.
Kirkby-Woodhouse is a small hamlet, distant one and a half miles north east. Half a mile south west of it is Portland Colliery, which is worked by the Butterley Company. A Baptist chapel was erected here in 1754. Brook Hill Hall, the picturesque seat and property of D'Ewes Coke Esq., is situated at the foot of a gentle declivity with verdant lawns and a pleasing valley in the front, and is backed by woods and surrounded by hills, which are seated in an agreeable and diversified manner. It is in the parish of Pinxton but in the County of Nottingham. Langton Hall is a neat mansion, near to Brook Hill, the seat and property of William S. Coke Esq. Kirkby Old Hall, near to Pinxton Railway Station, is a very ancient house, the property of D'Ewes Coke Esq., and occupied by the Misses Coke. Pinxton, in Derbyshire, has a suburb in this parish, near the Erewash Valley Railway.
[Transcribed by Clive Henly]