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"Ilam, nearly five miles NW by N of Ashbourn, and twelve miles ESE of Leek, is a small secluded village, picturesquely seated in the vale of the Manyfold, and within half a mile of its junction with the deepest, narrowest and most romantic part of Dovedale. Its parish contains only 244 inhabitants, and about 2300 acres of land, including the hamlets of Rushley, one mile NW, and Castern and Throwley, on opposite banks of the Manyfold, about half a mile from each other, and one and a half miles NW of Ilam. Castern Hall belongs to F Hurt, Esq, and Throwley Hall to S Crompton, Esq, but both are occupied by farmers, though the latter is a large ancient mansion, formerly occupied by the Meverels, and afterwards by the family of Oliver Cromwell. Jesse Watts Russell, Esq, owns most of the parish, and is lord of the manor. He resides at Ilam Hall, a large and elegent mansion, in the Tuscan and Gothic styles of architecture, with towers and turrets, erected on the site of the old hall in 1821, by the present owner, who purchased the estate from the late John Port, Esq, father of the present vicar.
The diversified and magnificent scenery around Ilam Hall must be seen to be truly appreciated, and for the convenience of the tourists who come here to appreciate the wonders of nature, Mr W Waterfall, about 20 years ago, established the Izaac Walton Hotel, at the junction of the vales of Manyfold and Dove, and near the hills of Bunster and Thorpe Cloud. "
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]


The population of Ilam parish was as follows:
1801 -- 177
1831 -- 210
1841 -- 244

Church History

"The Parish Church, Holy Cross, is a small but beautiful Gothic structure, rebuilt in 1618, and a large portion of the west end is thickly shrouded with ivy. It contains the tomb of St Bertram, who is said to have confirmed the truth of his religious faith by many surprising miracles in this country. An octagonal chapel, lighted with stained glass windows, was added to the church about 20 years ago by JW Russell, Esq, who deposited in it a white marble monument, in memory of his late lady's father, the late David Pike Watts, Esq. This much admired monument is one of the finest works of that late eminent sculptor, Sir Fras Chantrey. The vicarage is in the patronage of JW Russell, Esq, and incumbency since 1801 of the Rev Bernard Port, MA."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Church Records

Church of England Registers
The parish register of the church of Holy Cross commences in 1651. The original registers for the period 1651-1989 (Bapts), 1651-1980 (Mar) & 1651-1990 (Bur), and Banns for the period 1790-1809 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1661-1868 (with gaps 1705-10, 1755-58, 1762-66 & 1861) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.

Description and Travel

Ilam Cross in the centre of the village was erected in 1840 in memory of Mrs Watts Russell. It was inspired by the Eleanor Crosses of the 1290s.
A view of Ilam Cross.

A transcription of the section on Ilam from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)

Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Ilam parish became part of Ashbourne Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

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