"CHESTERFIELD, a parish, market town, and municipal borough in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 21 miles N. of Derby, and 156½ from London by railway. It is a station on the N. branch of the Midland line. The parish is intersected by the rivers Rother and Hipper, and includes the chapelry of Brimington, with the townships of Hasland, Tapton, Temple-Normanton, and Walton, and the hamlets of Calow, Newbold, Dunston, and Pilsley.
The town, which is a place of considerable importance, was, at the time of the Norman survey, only a bailiwick to Newbold, which is now a small hamlet N. of the parish. It must, however, shortly after have considerably increased, for King John, when he presented it to William de Briwere, or Bruere, gave it an annual fair and two weekly markets. It subsequently became the property of the Wakes and Plantagenets, and is now in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire.
In the middle of the 13th century, a battle was fought here between Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, and Prince Henry, nephew of Henry III., in which the former was defeated and taken prisoner. It was also the scene of an engagement during the civil wars of Charles I., in which the Earl of Newcastle routed the parliamentary forces in 1643.
The trade of the town greatly increased after 1776, when Brindley succeeded in constructing the Chesterfield canal, which joins the Trent near Stockwith: This canal, which cost £160,000, is about 45 miles in length, passes through two tunnels, and has 65 locks, with a fall of 335 feet. The principal industries are in lace and broad net making, merino, silk, and cotton manufactures, and mining operations.
By the Municipal Act the limits of the old borough were considerably extended, so as to take in parts of Brampton, Newbold, and Walton. The present town comprises an area of about 13,160 acres, with a revenue of £540. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. The streets are paved and lighted with gas.
The houses, though irregularly built, are constructed of brick with stone roofs, and are plentifully supplied with water, by pipes which convey it from Holme, 2 miles W. of the town. A council-house was erected in 1849, and the townhall faces the market-place. There are also assembly-rooms, theatre, house of correction, three banks, a savings-bank, cotton, silk, and carpet mills, besides ironworks, potteries, brick-kilns, &c.
The parish church, dedicated to All Saints, is situated in the town. It is a handsome cruciform structure, in the early English style of architecture of the middle of the 13th century; with a twisted spire, 230 feet in height, covered with lead, and has the peculiar effect of appearing to lean on one side from every point of view. In the interior are a carved screen, two altar tombs, and a brass, bearing inscriptions to the Foljambes, who resided at Walton.
The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, value £357, in the patronage of the bishop. There is another church at the N.W. end of the town, dedicated to the Holy Trinity; it was completed in 1838. The living is a perpetual curacy, value £120, in the patronage of trustees. Besides these churches there are two others in the parish, one at Hasland and the other at Newbold, the livings of which are perpetual curacies in the gift of the vicar.
The Roman Catholics and the different denominations of Dissenters have chapels in this parish. The charities are rich and numerous, amounting to £1,400 per annum, including Foljambe's, of £660, for apprenticing and clothing poor children. There are several almshouses, and a Union workhouse erected in 1840.
A free grammar school was founded by the Foljambes in the rein of Queen Elizabeth, and has an income from endowment of £100 per annum. It was rebuilt in 1710 on the site of St. Helen's Chapel, and is now managed by trustees. Clarke's and Bright's schools have an income of £70, and are now called the Victoria Schools, in commemoration of her Majesty's visit to Chesterfield, in 1843, when staying at Chatsworth House. There are also National, British, industrial, and infant schools.
In the neighbourhood of the town are ironstone and coal mines and foundries, in which upwards of 300 men are employed. Chesterfield is the head of a County Court district, Poor-law Union, and registry, and the seat of a deanery. It gives the title of Earl to the Stanhopes of Bretby, and supports one newspaper, the Derbyshire Courier.
There are traces of a Roman way leading to Little Chester, near Derby, which in conjunction with the fact of its being called Ceaster by the Saxons, has led to the supposition that it was once a Roman station. There are still traces of a leper's hospital, founded in the 12th century, besides two chantries and three free chapels. The poet Ince, the mathematician Lucas, and the Nonconformist ministers Oldfield and Wood, were natives of this town.
The principal residences are Highfield Hall and Tapton House. In the vicinity of the town is a racecourse, of nearly two miles in length, where the annual races take place in September. Saturday is the market day, and fairs are held for the sale of cattle and cheese, on the 27th January, 28th February, first Saturday in April, 4th May, 5th July, 25th September, and 25th November."
"PILSLEY, a hamlet in the parish of Chesterfield, hundred of Scarsdale, county Derby, 6 miles S.E. of Chesterfield."
"TAPTON, a township in the parish of Chesterfield, hundred of Scarsdale, county Derby, 1 mile N.E. of Chesterfield."
"WALTON, a township in the parish of Chesterfield, hundred of Scarsdale, county Derby, 2 miles S. of Chesterfield, near the river Ipper."