Derby, St. Werburgh


Derby St Werburgh is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Derbyshire. Other places in the parish include: Little Chester.


Archives & Libraries

The Derby Free Library is an excellent resource with a Local History section and a Family History section.



The Uttoxeter Road Cemetery was formed of 4.5 acres was formed in 1842 with one mortuary chapel.

The Cemetery is under the control of the Derby City Council's Burial Board.

Malcolm NEAL has a photograph of the Uttoxeter Road Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2017.



  • The parish was in the Derby sub-district of the Derby Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841H.O. 107 / 199
1861R.G. 9 / 2502 thru 2505
1891R.G. 12 / 2729 thru 2735 and 2740

Church History

  • The church is at Friar Gate in Derby city.
  • The church is thought to be from the 15th century.
  • The church was built in the Classic Style, but had Tuscan columns.
  • The church tower was rebuilt in 1601–08.
  • The church itself was rebuilt in 1893-94.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of St. Werburgh's Church on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2011.
  • Jerry EVANS also has a photograph of St. Werburgh's Church on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2008.
  • This church was declared redundant in 1990, and the body of the church was converted to commercial use.
  • This church is currently preserved by Volunteers with the Churches Conservation Trust and open every Saturday from 10:30am for a few hours.
  • Saint Werburgh was the daughter of King Wulfhere and Queen Ermenhilda of Mercia, born around 650. Whilst it was quite usual for the Kings' daughters of the age to become nuns, it was against her father's wishes for her to marry that she was finally allowed to enter Ely Abbey. In due course, she became its Abbess, and finally senior Abbess of all Mercia. She died on 3rd February in A.D. 700, and this day is now celebrated in the Church Calendar as her Feast Day.
  • There are understood to be 17 churches dedicated to her in England, two of which are in Derbyshire, at Blackwell by Alfreton, and Spondon. There are others in Dublin, Western Australia, in a village in Zimbabwe and Lady chapels in Chester and Lichfield Cathedrals.
  • Christ Church is an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1849 from the civil parish of St. Werburgh; the church, standing at the corner of Normanton road was built in 1839-40.
  • The Derby City Church on Curzon Street was built as a Temperance Hall circa 1854, It was a dance hall in the 1950s but has been acquired by the Elim Pentacostal Church as a place of worship. The building is listed with British heritage as Grade II.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of Derby City Church on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2012.

Church Records

  • Michael SPENCER and Jean DURBAN have provided a partial extract of burials found in the parish register.
  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1588, but the early years are in poor condition.
  • The parish register for Christ Church dates from 1844.
  • Marriages at St. Werburgh's Derby, 1558-1837 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers.
  • Dr. Samuel JOHNSON was married here on 9 July 1735 to Elizabeth "Tetty" PORTER, a widow. JOHNSON's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST provides photograph of the former Baptist Church, Uttoxeter Old Road on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2019.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the St. Peter sub-district of the Derby Registration District.

Correctional Institutions

  • In 1327, the town of Derby was was granted the right to have a gaol.
  • In 1538, two gallows were erected here for hanging prisoners. Prior to this, prisoners were hanged in Nottingham Gaol.
  • In 1756, the new prison was erected at the top of Friar Gate away from the town centre. The jail was designed to house a maximum of 29 prisoners.
  • Jane TAYLOR of Redcar provides this extract from the 5 January 1804 edition of the Derby Mercury: "Committed to the county gaol since our last William KNIGHT, charged upon oath with feloniously stealing from the back door of the house of Mr. EAGLISTON of Stretton in the Fields, on 27th Dec inst. one brass cheese pan of the value of one pound."
  • In October, 1821, it was decided to build a new jail on 6 acres of land. The new plan was approved in January, 1823.
  • The new prison took five years to build. It opened in 1828 just off of Vernon Street, backing onto Uttoxeter Old Road.
  • 20-year-old John LEEDHAM of Ashbourne was the first person to be hanged at this new jail in 1833 or 1834. He had been convicted of committing bestiality with a sheep.
  • James HAYNES has a photograph of the Vernon Gate entrance to the prison on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2008.
  • You can see the 1861 prison census at our Derbyshire Gaols Census page.

Description & Travel

Nestled in the heart of Derby city, just to the west of the city centre, this parish was one of four ancient parishes that combined to make the modern city of Derby. St. Werburgh includes the area known as Friargate.

Passenger railway service to this area ceased in 1964. Betty LONGBOTTOM has a photograph of the Friargate Railway Bridge on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2005.

Brian BROOKSBANK has a photograph of the Site of Derby Friargate station, 1993 on Geo-graph, taken in August, 1993.

John SUTTON has a photograph of Vernon Street on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2017.

You can see pictures of Derby, St. Werburgh which are provided by:





  • The Anglican parish register records the marriage here of Dr. Samuel JOHNSON to Elizabeth PORTER on 9 July 1735.
  • There is a photograph of the Greyhound Public House on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2007.
  • Malcolm NEAL has a photograph of the Crown Inn on Curzon Street on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2017.
  • Malcolm NEAL has a photograph of The Argosy Public House on Manor Road on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2017.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Lord Nelson Inn on Geo-graph, taken in 3 April, 2011.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK338358 (Lat/Lon: 52.918562, -1.498756), Derby, St. Werburgh which are provided by:


Medical Records

"J147" has a photograph of the former Derbyshire Hospital for Women on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2007.

The Royal Deaf and Dumb Institution was founded in 1879. It opened a hospital here in Friargate in 1894 for 162 children. By 1912, it was full.

Hospitals were not mandated to archive their patient records, but you may find photographs and administrative records in the Archives.


Military History

On 27 June 1820, in St. Werburgh's Church, Admiral Richard Goodwin KEATS married Mary HURT of Alderwasley parish, Derbyshire.

There is a monument in white marble in memory of Sarah Elizabeth WHINYATES, wife of Lieut. Col. Edward Charles WHINYATES, C.B. K.H.  She died 28 April 1828 and was buried here on 7 May 1828. She was 37 years old at the time. Colonel WHINYATES of the Royal Artillery 2nd Rocket Troop, fought at Waterloo in the defeat of Napoleon's army.

In 1859 buildings were raised in this parish for the Derbyshire Rifle Volunteers just off of Uttoxeter New Road near Rowditch Place. They ceased being used in 1877. The buildings and the land they stood on eventually became part of the Rowditch Recreation Ground.

Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of one of the Former Rifle Volunteers' Barracks on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2019.


Names, Geographical

The name is often rendered as "Warburgh", but the accepted spelling has the "e" in place of the "a".

This area is often called "Rowditch*, pronounced "Roeditch" from a 12th century name for the area.



Jane TAYLOR in Redcar contributes this snippet from the Derby Mercury of 16 December, 1802, "MARRIED: Yesterday at St. Werburgh's church, James STANTON, Esq. of Thelwall, in Cheshire, to Miss HARRISON, daughter of John HARRISON, Esq. of this place."



Jane TAYLOR in Redcar shares this notice from the Derby Mercury of 24 December, 1801: "DIED: Sunday last, Mrs SMITH, wife of Mr. Charles SMITH, keeper of the Borough gaol."


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derby county, but it did not become a separate, modern Civil Parish until late 1898.
  • Existence as a Civil Parish was brief. In late 1898 the nine Civil Parishes and townships within the area of the Derby county borough were, with the exception of St. Alkmund, consolidated into one Civil Parish known as Derby Civil Parish. This did not affect the individual ecclesiastical (religious) parishes.
  • This parish was in the ancient Morleston and Litchurch Hundred (or Wapentake).

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Derby petty session hearings every Friday.
  • With the passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a member of the Derby Poorlaw Union.
  • Large's Hospital Charity, located in Friargate, founded shortly after 1716 and received a donation of land from Mary BROOM of Derby in 1721. The charity built almshouses for five poor parsons' or vicars' widows. The almshouses were rebuilt in 1880. In 1912, each resident received £60 yearly.


Malcolm NEAL has a photograph of the Joseph Wright 6th Form Centre on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2017.

St. Werburgh's School on Curzon Street was built in 1839 for 356 mixed and infants.

Ashgate Primary School was built in 1879.

The Derby College of Education is located in this parish. It started out as the Bishop Lonsdale College of Education but was eventually absorbed into Derby College.