Calke (Caulk)


CALKE, (or Caulk) a parish in the hundred of Repton and Gresley, in the county of Derby, 4 miles to the N. of Ashby-de-la-Zouch station on the Burton and Leicester branch of the Midland railway. Derby is its post town. The parish lies on the edge of Leicestershire, and was the site of a priory of the Augustine order, founded before 1161, and endowed by Ranulph Earl of Chester, and his wife Maud. It was subsequently made a cell to the priory of Repton. Lead is found in the parish.

The living is a donative curacy in the diocese of Lichfield, value £34, in the patronage of Sir John Harpur Crewe, Bart. The church, dedicated to St. Giles, is a handsome Gothic structure with embattled tower, and elegant Gothic windows of cast-iron, erected by Sir George Crewe, Bart., in 1826, on the site of the former structure. In the interior is a marble monument, with the busts of Sir John and Lady Harpur. Calke Abbey, the seat of Sir John Harpur Crewe, was erected at the beginning of the 18th century. It is a noble mansion, surrounded by a park of 500 acres, well-stocked with deer. Harpur's Hospital, at the neighbouring village of Ticknall, is open to the inhabitants of Calke.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868



  • The parish was in the Ashby-de-la-Zouch sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Registration District up thru 1901.
  • Starting in 1911, the parish was in the Hartshorn sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H. O. 107 / 191
1851 H.O. 107 / 2084
1861 R.G. 9 / 2269
1871 R.G. 10 / 3247
1891 R.G. 12 / 2510

Church History

  • This parish is the home of Calke Abbey although the normal entrance to the abbey is in Ticknall.
  • The church was originally part of the Norman Augustine priory at Calke (mentioned above), built before 1161.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Giles.
  • The church tower contains a bell cast in the 14th century.
  • The church was rebuilt in 1826 by Sir George CREWE, baronet.
  • The church is a grade II listed building with British Heritage.
  • There is a photograph of the church at Flickr.
  • Nigel COX has a photograph of The Church of St Giles on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2007.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1699.
  • In the Church chancel is a marble monument with a bust to Sir. John HARPUR, 4th Baronet, who died in 1741 an his wife Catherine CREWE.
  • The registers for St Giles, Calke, are held at the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, covering bapt. 1699-1996; marr. 1699-1809 and 1827-1994; banns 1755-1781 and 1876-1947; and burials 1699-1991.
  • Mike SPENCER has provided an extract of Parish Register burials partially for your review. Your additions and corrections are welcomed. There are a number of CREWE family members listed.
  • Dusty Docs has Calke register baptisms and marriages from 1699 through 1812.
  • The Family History Library has the Calke register from 1699 through 1996 on microfilm.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Ashby-de-la-Zouch sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Registration District up thru 1901.
  • Starting in 1911, the parish was in the Hartshorn sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Registration District.

Description & Travel

"CAULK is a very small parish, in the same hundred as Melbourn, two miles therefrom. Caulk hall and park, the seat of Sir George Crewe, Bart. (before mentioned) a gentleman of great benevolence, is about three quarters of a mile from the village. The church here was erected at his sole expense, and the living is in his gift. This parish for the last thirty years has been retrograding in its population. At the census taken in 1801 it contained 96 inhabitants, and in 1831 only 58."

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

The parish, in South Derbyshire,  covered 750 acres in 1851 and is 10 miles south of Derby city. The nearest bus service is in Ticknall, with no stops in Calke. The parish sits on the Leicestershire border. The large Staunton Harold Reservoir sits just north of the village.

Jonathan CLITHEROE has a photograph of the Entrance to Calke Village on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2015.

You can see pictures of Calke (Caulk) which are provided by:







Blanche CHARLES reports that: Samuel MASON married Catherine SMALLWOOD, 10 Dec 1739, in Calke. They would have 5 children.


Historical Geography

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




Land & Property

Michael SPENCER provides this list of tenants who rented property in Calke in 1687:

  • Henry BOOTH £3-0-0
  • Thomas CASEY £5-10-0
  • Thomas CROW £2-0-0
  • Garner HASTINGS £4-15-0
  • Henry NEWTON £2-0-0
  • Ric. NORTH £5-0-0
  • Thomas PARKER £2-10-0
  • Wm. PARKER £7-5-0
  • Jno. PIM £5-7-6
  • Jno. PIM late JOLLEY £9-0-0
  • James REEVES £3-15-0
  • Jno. REEVES £0-12-0
  • Richard SHILTON for ye Milne £5-10-0
  • Jno. SMITH £1-6-8
  • Wm. SMITH £3-12-6
  • Henry TAFTE £2-16-0
  • Henry TETLEY £7-5-0
  • Geo. VARNAM £4-10-0
  • Wm VARNAM £5-10-0

Michael SPENCER provides this list of tenants who rented property in Calke around 1760 -1775. He suggests that more information might be found in the over 300 boxes of Harpur Crewe Papers in the archives:

  • Francis ASHMOLE
  • John BARLOW
  • Rebecca BODY
  • John FOX
  • Thomas HATTON
  • Henry HIDE
  • Thomas HOWITT
  • Gilbert HUTCHINSON
  • Joseph JESSOP
  • Thomas RICHDALE
  • Henry TAFT
  • Daniel TAYLOR
  • George VERNON
  • Joseph VERNON
  • Joseph WALKER

And, as usual, there were always those behind in their rent payments. These two are from Lady Day in 1822:

  1. Francis ORTON £171-1-6
  2. Jos. TAFT £19-0-0


Christopher HILTON has a photograph of Calke Abbey Manor house mansion built between 1701 and 1704 for the Harpur family. It was taken in August, 2016.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK373220 (Lat/Lon: 52.794283, -1.44828), Calke (Caulk) which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

Calke often appears as Caulk, which is closer to its phonetic sound.

In 1132 the name first appears as Calc, which, in Old English, means "(place on) the Limestone".
A. D. MILLS, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991.



Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe (1846 - 1924) was the 10th Baronet and served as High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1900. Apart from this position he played no part in public life.



Jane TAYLOR provides this obit. from the Derby Mercury of 13 December, 1804: DIED: "Wednesday last, at Swarkstone, in this county, Mr Thomas GRIMES, aged 63. He was formerly house steward to the late Henry HARPUR, of Calke, which office he filled with great credit upwards of 25 years; and his death is universally regretted by a large circle of friends and acquaintance."


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish and township in county Derby and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the ancient Repton and Gresley Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • The citizens of Calke have elected to forgo a formal parish council and instead they have periodic parish meetings to discuss civic and political issues.
  • District governance is provided by the South Derbyshire District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Repton petty session hearings.
  • There is an index of three Calke Bastardy Papers held at the DRO on the Yesterdays Journey website. Select "Bastardy Papers" on the left side, then "Calke" from the list of parishes displayed.
  • There is no record of ancient parochial relief for the poor of this parish.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms, this parish became part of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Poorlaw Union.
  • White's Directory of Derbyshire, 1857, tells us that "The parish is joined to no Poor Law Union, as the noble owner undertakes to keep the poor from being chargeable." This would be highly unusual.


 Year Inhabitants
1801 96
1831 58
1841 55
1851 79
1871 63
1881 48
1901 53


Children of the parish attended the school at Ticknall



Michael SPENCER provides this list of people who were working at Calke Abbey in 1815 as servants:

  • John PEGG Butler
  • Joseph BRADBURY Coachman
  • John BURNETT gardener
  • Francis PEACE groom
  • Edward WHYMAN baker
  • John CARTLIDGE postillion
  • John HEATHERSLEY under groom
  • Humphrey BEESON foot boy
  • Cliff DUNNICLIFF porter, whipper in
  • Thomas SKINNER under butler
  • Wm STANSBY groom, huntsman
  • Robert LAWSON park gamekeeper
  • John LAMBERT gamekeeper
  • Robert WARD gamekeeper
  • John BESTWICK gamekeeper
  • Joseph DAY gamekeeper.