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Ault Hucknall

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AULT-HUCKNALL, a parish in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 6½ miles to the S.E. of Chesterfield, its post town, and 5½ N.W. of Mansfield. It is situated in a pleasant country, and contains the hamlets of Rowthorne, Stainsby, Hardwick, Harstoft, and Astwith. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield, of the value of £168, in the gift of the Duke of Devonshire, who is lord of the manor. The church contains a monument to Anne, first Countess of Devonshire, who died in 1598, and also one in memory of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who died herein 1679.

In this parish is Hardwick Hall, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, a fine old mansion in the Elizabethan style, erected in 1570 by Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury. In its architecture, furniture, and decorations, which have been carefully preserved in their original condition, we have as interesting a picture of the taste and manners of the old time which produced it as can be wished. It stands on the summit of a lofty ridge, from which the view over the surrounding country is very extensive, and in a fine park abounding in grand old oaks. A more than private or family interest attaches to this mansion, as one of the residences of Mary, Queen of Scots, while in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury.

The principal apartments are the hall, which is tapestried, and now adorned with the statue of Mary, by Westmacott; the chapel, also hung with tapestry; the dining-room, the mantel-piece of which is carved and bears a pious inscription; the spacious state-room, tapestried and canopied; the great picture gallery, which runs along the whole eastern front, 116 feet in length, with 18 deep bay windows, and containing a very large and curious collection of portraits, many of them being of eminent and royal persons. Among them are those of Queen Elizabeth and her great rival Mary, Richard III., James V., Lady Jane Grey, Cardinal Pole, Burleigh, &c. There is also the room which was appropriated to the captive queen, her bed, and embroidery, sacredly preserved.

The number and size of the windows in this hall have given rise to the proverbial expression, "Hardwick Hall, more window than wall". Not far off are some remains of a much more ancient hall, in which Cardinal Wolsey reposed for one night when on his way to Leicester Abbey."

"HARDWICK PARK, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, in the parish of Ault Hucknall, county Derby, 6 miles S.E. of Chesterfield. It was built by Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, between 1568 and 1584, and is remarkable for the number and size of its windows, which has given rise to the saying, "Hardwick Hall, more window than wall". Here Mary Queen of Scots lived while in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and her room is still preserved, with her bed and embroidery.

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

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Cemeteries

The church burial ground is across the road from St. John's Church.

Neil THEASBY has a photograph of the Snowdrops and graves on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2014.

Ian S. has a photograph of the cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2016.

Jonathan CLITHEROE also has a photograph of the Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2011.

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Census

  • The parish was in the Shirebrook sub-district of the Mansfield Registration District.
     
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
     
Census
Year
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2524
1891 R.G. 12 / 2649
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Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
     
  • The church was built in the Norman period.
     
  • The church contains the tomb of philosopher Thomas HOBBES, who died in December, 1679 at age 91.
     
  • The church was repaired in 1850.
     
  • The church was restored in 1887.
     
  • The church seats 250.
     
  • Alan WALKER has a photograph of St. John the Baptist Church on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2002.
     
  • David HALLAM-JONES also has a photograph of St. John the Baptist Church on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2016.
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Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1660 for all entries.
     
  • Marriages at Hault (Ault) Hucknall, 1660-1812 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers.
     
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Chesterfield.
     
  • The Wesleyan Methodists built a small chapel here in 1835.
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Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
     
  • The parish was in the Shirebrook sub-district of the Mansfield Registration District.
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Description & Travel

"AULT-HUCKNALL, a parish in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 6½ miles to the S.E. of Chesterfield, its post town, and 5½ N.W. of Mansfield. It is situated in a pleasant country, and contains the hamlets of Rowthorne, Stainsby, Hardwick, Harstoft, and Astwith. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield, of the value of £168, in the gift of the Duke of Devonshire, who is lord of the manor. The church contains a monument to Anne, first Countess of Devonshire, who died in 1598, and also one in memory of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who died herein 1679."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin HINSON ©2003]

Locals boast that this is the smallest village in England - having three houses and a church. Neil THEASBY has a photograph of one of the houses on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2014.

Ashley DACE has a photograph of the Village Sign on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2011.

You can see pictures of Ault Hucknall which are provided by:

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Directories

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Gazetteers

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Genealogy

The English philosopher Sir Thomas HOBBES died in 1679 and is buried here inside the church. Trevor RICKARD provides a photograph of his grave on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2009.

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Historical Geography

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

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History

  • Mary, Queen of Scots, was kept as a prisoner here in Hardwick Hall from 1568 to 1584.
     
  • The parish was devastated by the Black Death in 1666.
     
  • In St. John's Church, in the Hardwick chapel, beneath a plain slab of ’black marble, is the tomb of the philosopher Thomas HOBBES, known as “Hobbes of Malmesbury,” born there 15 April 1588. He died in Hardwick Hall on 4 Dec. 1679.
     
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Manors

Hardwick Hall was erected in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It had six towers, a statue of Mary Queen of Scots and another of Henry VIII.

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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK467652 (Lat/Lon: 53.181858, -1.302664), Ault Hucknall which are provided by:

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Military History

  • The Traces of War website shows us the parish has an Airborne Forces Memorial from World War II.
     
  • And there is a War Memorial from World War I. Note: This is close to Stainsby and the hamlet of Doe Lea.
     
  • David DIXON has a photograph of that War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2016.
     
  • David DIXON has a close-up shot of that War Memorial names on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2016.
     
  • Alan WALKER has a photograph of a War Grave of A. WALKER on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2007.
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Military Records

For a photograph of the War Memorial and the list of names on it, see the Derbyshire War Memorials site.

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Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derby county and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
     
  • This parish was partly in the ancient Scarsdale Hundred (or Wapentake).
     
  • Jon CANTRILL reports from the Derbyshire TImes of 26 March 1927 that: "Mr. S. THORNEYCROFT presided over the annual Parish Meeting of Ault Hucknall held in Stainsby Council Schools on Wednesday. There were also present Messrs. G. BUNTING, F. HAYWOOD, C. BROWN, J. MELLOWS, H. CLAYTON, J. H. WHOLEY, R. FLETCHER, J. WHITE, the Rev. G. CLEAVE and Mr. F. G. BANEFORD (clerk). It was decided to take matter up with Heath Parish Council regarding the bad state of the footpath from Stainsby to Doe Lea. The balance-sheets were then presented and the same were approved and adopted. The overseers, Messrs. Caleb BROWN and James MELLOWS, received the thanks of the meeting on their retiring, and it was decided to place on record the Council’s thanks for their past services. The question of a resident magistrate was again brought up, and it was unanimously decided to write to the Clerk of the County Council on the matter and forward the name of Mr. S. THORNEYCROFT, C.C., as a fit person for that position."
     
  • District governance is provided by the Bolsover District Council.
     
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Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Chesterfield petty session hearings.
     
  • There is a list of over 40 Ault Hucknall Bastardy Paper held at the DRO on the Yesterdays Journey website. Select "Bastardy Papers" on the left side, then "Ault Hucknall" from the list of parishes displayed.
     
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, this parish became part of the Mansfield Poor Law Union.
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Schools

A Free School at Stainsby was founded in 1729 by Mister Thomas WHITE. That school closed before 1911.

An Education Committee of five members was formed in 1903 for Ault Hucknall, Glapwell and Heath.

Bramley Vale Primary School is in the north of this parish, just off the A617 near Doe Lea.

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