“DRONFIELD, a parish in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 6 miles S. of Sheffield, and 6 N.W. of Chesterfield, its post town and nearest railway station on the Midland Counties line. It is situated in a pleasant valley. The old road from Chesterfield to Sheffield passes through it. The townships of Dronfield, Holmesfield, Unstone, Coal Aston, and Little Barlow are in this parish. In Domesday Book it is written Dranefield, and at that time was a market town.
Enclosure Acts were obtained in 1839 and 1840. There is a sulphur spring. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the manufacture of hardware. There are also large iron foundries and cotton-mills. The collieries are extensively wrought. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Lichfield, value £224, in the patronage of the lord chancellor.
There are two district churches - Dore, a perpetual curacy, value £90, in the patronage of Earl Fitzwilliam; and Holmesfield, a perpetual curacy*, value £97, in the gift of C. Cawton, Esq. The parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a spacious structure in the early Gothic style of architecture, with lofty tower and spire, and contains two brasses.
The parochial charities produce upwards of £350 per annum, of which £208 go to Fanshawe's grammar school. The Independents and Methodists have each a chapel. The trustees of the Cecil Estate are lords of the manor. A fair is held on the 25th April for cattle, and one on the 3rd November for hiring servants."
"COAL-ASTON, a township in the parish of Dronfield, in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 1 mile N.E. of Dronfield, and 5 from Sheffield, its post town and railway station. The Wesleyan Reformers and Methodists have places of worship. There are extensive collieries in the neighbourhood. Charles Cammel, Esq., is lord of the manor.”
from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868
The Dronfield Library on High Street is normally open six days a week. They have a Local Studies and Family History section to help you with your search.
Graham HOGG has a photograph of the Dronfield Library on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2013.
The Mobile Library visits the hamlet of Mickley (just north of Dronfield Woodhouse) every fourth Tuesday in the morning.
Connole, Nellie, Dark at Seven - The Life of a Derbyshire Miner, circa 1988 by Whitehead Books. ISBN unknown. It was the life of Joseph SHARPE of Coal Aston (1859 - 1936) as told to Nellie CONNOLE (formerly OLIVER, nee ?) in the years 1932 - 36.
- Dronfield Cemetery was opened in November, 1877, and covered 8 acres with two mortuary chapels.
- Alan HEARDMAN has a photograph of a portion of Dronfield Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.
- Dronfield Cemetery is managed by a joint Burial Committee of Dronfield City Council and Unstone parish council.
- There is a photograph of the cemetery at the Dronfield Town Council web site.
- The parish was in the Dronfield sub-district of the Chesterfield Registration District.
- The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No. 1851 H.O. 107 / 2148 1861 R.G. 9 / 2537 1891 R.G. 12 / 2772
- The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
- The church dates from the 12th century. The church was standing in 1135.
- Considerable alterations took place in 1855.
- The church chancel was restored in 1886.
- The church seats 1,000.
- There is a fine black and white photograph of St. John's Church on Flickr.
- David BEVIS has a photograph of the Parish Church on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.
- The Milestone Society has a photograph of the Old Central Cross on Geo-graph, taken in 2013. This was presumably a "preaching cross".
- Saint Philip's Church also stands in Dronfield, but I have been unable to find a date of construction.
- The Anglican parish register dates from 1560.
- You may wish to review the Parish Register extracts at Derbyshire Genealogy. Type "Dronfield" into the search box and press Enter.
- Mike SPENCER and Louis MILLS have provided a partial extract of burials found in the parish register. Your additions and correction are welcomed.
- Marriages at Dronfield, 1560-1837 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers.
- The church was in the rural deanery of Dronfield.
- The Baptists built a chapel here in 1871 and are still active.
- There is also a Methodist Church in Dronfield on Green Lane.
- David BEVIS has a photograph of the United Methodist Free Church on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2009. This church was built in 1863.
- There was a Primitive Methodist chapel built in Apperknowle in 1879.
- Neil THEASBY has a photograph of the Methodist chapel in Apperknowle on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2016.
- The Catholic Church in Dronfield on Stonelow Road is dedicated to The Holy Spirit.
- Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
- The parish was in the Dronfield sub-district of the Chesterfield Registration District.
"DRONFIELD, once a market-town, in the parish of its name, in the hundred of Scarsdale, is 156 miles from London, 38 S.E. from Manchester, 23 E. by N. from Buxton. 6 N. from Chesterfield, and the like distances from Sheffield. The town is pleasantly situate in a valley, and remarkable for its salubrity, which has occasioned it to become a place of residence for many respectable inhabitants. Edge-tools, scythes, sickles, and other agricultural implements, together with nails, are manufactured here and in the neighbourhood, to a very considerable extent; there are also iron and chymical works, and several corn mills in the vicinity."
[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]
Dronfield grew rapidly after World War II, more than tripling its population. Many of its citizens commute to jobs in Chesterfield or Sheffield. Today, the A61 trunk road cuts through the town. Dronfield still has passenger rail service.
The parish has its own parish website
The historic parish of Dronfield included the hamlet of Apperknowle.
Andrew HILL has a photograph of the view of Dronfield on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2011.
Nigel THOMPSON has a photograph at the Dronfield railway station on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2008.
Alan HEARDMAN provides a photograph of the Village Sign on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.
- A Description of Dronfield has been transcribed by Heather FAULKES from Pigot's Directory of 1828-9.
- Rosemary LOCKIE provides a transcription of the Dronfield entry from Pigot & Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire (1835).
- Ann ANDREWS provides a transcription of the Dronfield entry from Kelly's Directory of the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester and Rutland (1891).
- The transcription of the section for Dronfield from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin HINSON.
- Coal Aston was a hamlet and township just north of Dronfield. It is described in Samuel LEWIS's "Topographical Dictionary of England", 7th edition, 1848, Vol 1, p.647:
COAL ASTON, a township, in the parish of Dronfield, union of Chesterfield, hundred of Scarsdale, northern division of the county of Derby, three-quarters of a mile north-by-east from Dronfield; containing 352 inhabitants.
- Holmesfield was a hamlet and township just west of Dronfield. It is described in Samuel LEWIS's "Topographical Dictionary of England", 7th edition, 1848, Vol 2, p.535:
HOLMESFIELD, a chapelry, in the parish of Dronfield, union of Chesterfield, hundred of Scarsdale, northern division of the county of Derby, 2 miles west from Dronfield; containing 515 inhabitants. It comprises 4,352 acres 22 perches, of which 178 acres are wood, and nearly 2,000 acres uncultivated land.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Dronfield to another place.
You can see the administrative areas in which Dronfield has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
- This place was described in the 1086 Domesday Book.
- In 1662 Charles II granted the town permission to hold a market.
- The parish held a Cattle Fair every April 5th.
- The hiring fair for servants was held each November 3rd.
- Chris MORGAN has a photograph of the Market Cross on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2013. The Market Cross was erected in 1846.
- Neil THEASBY also has a photograph of the Market Cross on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2018.
- And Jonathan CLITHEROE has a photograph of the Monument on High Street on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2011, along with a little history in the caption.
- In September, 1906, a "workmen's" train from Dronfield was approaching Chesterfield's Tapton Station when it collided with a "light engine" in a dense fog. There were over 300 men on the train and most of them complained of shock or light injury.Only 5 men were taken to the hospital for their injuries. The fireman from the Workmen's train died from his injuries. Local men who were injured are:
- James BENNETT, 38, Dronfield, injures to the back and head
- Thomas HALL, 51, Dronfield, injury to the back
- There is a small local airport here - well a grass landing strip actually. Peter BARR has a photograph of the Low Flying Aircraft warning sign on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2011. This strip is in the old Apperknowle area.
- Andrew HILL provides a photograph of The Green Dragon pub in Church Street on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2011.
- These are the names associated with the Green Dragon in various directories:
Year Person 1835 Thomas JENKINSON 1879 Saml. Thos. BOTT, vict. 1891 Hy. ALLEN 1899 Mark RAWSON 1912 George H. GLASBEY
- Andrew LOUGHRAN provides a photograph of The White Swan pub in Mill Lane near Chesterfield Road on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2006.
- These are the names associated with the White Swan in various directories:
Year Person 1835 John WRIGHT 1891 Samuel FERN 1912 Harrison William WALKER
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK352783 (Lat/Lon: 53.300488, -1.473291), Dronfield which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- OldMaps (Old Ordnance Survey maps.)
- Old Maps Online (Other old maps.)
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- English Jurisdictions in 1851 (Unfortunately the LDS have removed the facility to enable us to specify a starting location, you will need to search yourself on their map.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
- The Dronfield District Hospital opened here in Homley lane in December, 1905.
- It was an infected disease hospital (typhus and scarlet fever) for the surrounding area.
- The hospital had 24 beds.
- These hospitals did not have to archive patient records, although some hospital financial records are probably in the archives.
- The Derbyshire Record Office holds the Dronfield District Hospital Sub-committee Minutes," which have admission and discharge statistics. Use reference D1972/17/2 when requesting these.
- In 1912, Major Thomas Harrison LUCAS resided at Rose Hill in Dronfield. His wife, Mary, was born in Eckington, DBY. They had a son, Thomas Geoffrey LUCAS, christened in Dronfield on 3 Feb 1898.
- Dronfield's War Memorial was unveiled on 29 Oct. 1922 outside the White Swan Pub. It has since been relocated to the Public Library garden.
- Martin SPECK has a photograph of the Dronfield War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.
- The monument commemorates the 73 residents killed in World War I and the 24 killed in World War II.
These are the people commemorated on the Dronfield War Memorial (As per the IWM website) who died in WWI:
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar contributes this snippet from the Derby Mercury of 1st July, 1802, "MARRIED: Yesterday se'nnight, at Dronfield, Mr. TAYLOR, Master of the Academy at that place, to Miss HASLAM, of Ashover, both in this county."
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar offers this article from the Derby Mercury of 9 September. 1802, "MARRIED: Lately, at Dronfield, in this county, Mr. Charles REAVES, of Sheffield, to Miss WOSTENHOLME, eldest daughter of the Rev. Mr. WOSTENHOLME, of Horsley Gate, near the former place."
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 6 January, 1803: "MARRIED: On Monday se'nnight, Mr. John HEATHCOTE of Sheffield, butcher, to Miss Catharine MARSH, of Dronfield, in this county."
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar offers this clipping from the Derby Mercury of 29 August 1804: "MARRIED: On Wednesday last, at Dronfield, in this county, Mr. Thomas WILSON, to Miss Ellen RAYNES; both of Barlow."
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar has this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 6 September, 1804: "MARRIED: On Wednesday last, at Eckington, in this county, Mr. I. COUPE, of Dronfield, to Miss COX, second daughter of Mr. COX, of Litfield."
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 16 June, 1803: "DIED: Sunday morning, aged 82, Michael SHAW, Esq. of Dronfield, in this county, formerly of Manchester."
Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 22 February,1804: "DIED: On the 15th inst. at Dronfield, in this county, much lamented, Mr. Edward OUTRAM, butcher, aged 75 years."
Stephen KIMBERLEY reports that the Derbyshire Times of 22nd July 1999 has an obituary for: BOLSOVER Keith 61 of Dronfield who died in Sheffield, SYK.
Stephen KIMBERLEY reports that the Derbyshire Times of 19th August 1999 has an obituary for: VAUGHAN Margaret Ellen 87 Apperknowle, died in Mansfield, NTT.
- This place was an ancient parish in Derby county and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
- This parish was in the ancient Scarsdale Hundred (or Wapentake).
- In October, 1861, the parish became an Urban District.
- The Town Hall was built in 1863.
- In December, 1894, the parish was reduced to help create Dronfield Woodhouse Civil Parish.
- This place, in its growth, has absorbed the communities of Coal Aston, Dronfield and Dronfield Woodhouse.
- In April, 1935, the parish re-absorbed Dronfield Woodhouse Civil Parish and Coal Aston Civil Parish, along with 418 acres of Unstone Civil Parish.
- You may contact the Dronfield Town Council regarding civic or political matters, but they are NOT funded to help you with family history questions.
- District governance is provided by the North East Derbyshire District Council.
- Bastardy cases would be heard in the Eckington petty session hearings, which were held in the Dronfield town hall on Mondays at 11am.
- There is an index of more than a dozen Dronfield Bastardy Papers held at the DRO on the Yesterdays Journey website. Select "Bastardy Papers" on the left side, then "Dronfield" from the list of parishes displayed.
- As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment reforms, this parish became part of the Chesterfield Poor Law Union.
- For Information only - the "Parish Chest" for Dronfield (including part of Little Barlow) contains no Settlement Certificates or anything else of great use to us as Family Historians. My grateful thanks to Janet KIRK for this information.
Robert GREEN had a Will proved in April 1712.
Samuel GREEN had an estate administered in April, 1717.
Joshua GREEN had a Will proved in October, 1737.
Dorothy GREEN had an estate administered in October, 1753.
William GREEN had a Will proved in April, 1789.
Joshua GREEN had a Will proved in April, 1790.
The following people were mentioned in an 1872 Will (made in 1867) by Edward ALLEN of Dronfield, yeoman:
- niece Mary, wife of George LOCKWOOD of Dronfield
- Robert WHALL witness
- Mary BINGHAM witness
Elizabeth RICHARDSON had her Will probated in July, 1901. Mentioned in it were John Henry HARRISON and James FISHER.
George MEAKIN had his Will probated in September, 1902. Mentioned in it were Charlotte MEAKIN, Walter TEMPERLEY and William John SIDDALL.
Samuel BILLAM had his Will proved in September, 1913.
Charles STREET had a Will proved in August, 1920.
Thomas MILNES had his Will proved in November 1921.
William PACKARD had his Will proved in September, 1923.
- The following information is a quotation from A History of Derbyshire, Gladwyn TURBUTT, 1999)
"After Derby and Chesterfield the next reference suggesting the instance of a school comes from Dronfield. Here, between 1496 and 1501, a Dronfield schoolmaster named Christopher Haslam entered into an agreement with Beauchief Abbey to teach the boys and novices singing and grammar. He rented from the Abbey a house in Dronfield, and he appears to have been one of of the priests attached to the Gild of Our Lady. After the dissolution of the chantries and gilds in 1548 Haslam was awarded a pension of £4, but he died shortly afterwards and was buried at Dronfield on 5 October 1551. His will (16 March 1551) mentions his nephew Christopher, who was a chantry priest at Shirland and who died as vicar of Dronfield in 1571. The pre-Reformation Dronfield school may well have been attached to the Gild of Our Lady. In this it would have been in a similar position to the school at Melbourne, founded in 1513-14, which was attached to the chantry of St Katherine and therefore came to an end in 1548."
The successor of this pre-Reformation school - Dronfield grammar school - was founded in 1579 under the terms of the will of Henry Fanshawe.