MATLOCK, a parish and post town in the hundred of Wirksworth, county Derby, half a mile S.E. of the Matlock Bridge railway station, and 4 miles N.E. of Wirksworth. The parish, which is very extensive, is situated on the river Derwent, here crossed by a stone bridge, and comprises the hamlets of Matlock-Bath, Matlock Bridge, Matlock-Bank, Riber, Scarthin Nick, and Starkholmes. At the Domesday Survey it was called Mestesford, and until the end of the 17th century consisted only of a few rude dwellings inhabited by miners.

It is now a fashionable watering place in Matlock Dale, situated in the midst of rock scenery. It consists at present of the village and baths about a mile distant from each other. The three principal hotels, which are all stone buildings, and the lodging houses afford accommodation for above 500 visitors. The houses are built in terraces on the steep acclivity of a mountain overlooking the Derwent. The chief trade of the town consists in the cotton, corn, and paper mills, bleach grounds, and other works. The lead mines are not worked so extensively as formerly.

Matlock Bath is situated in a deep valley, the sides of which are richly wooded with pine, fir, cedar, &c. The bottom of the valley is narrow, the hills rising abruptly to the altitude of 800 feet at Masson-Low, or Heights of Abraham, as they are sometimes named from a fancied resemblance to those of Quebec. The baths are about 1½ mile S.E. of the town of Matlock, and near the station on the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock, and Midland Junction railway, which runs frequent excursion trains during the summer season, thus affording easy access to the pleasure parties from the neighbouring towns.

The spa, which is famous for the clearness of its water, and considered efficacious in glandular and other complaints, was first applied to medicinal uses in 1698. The warm springs are situate about a hundred feet above the level of the river, and possess 68° of Fahrenheit, but a much higher temperature prevails some depth below the surface. There are also three petrifying wells.

The original bath was rebuilt by the Rev. Mr. Fern, of Matlock, and Mr. Hayward of Cromford afterwards disposed of it by leave to the Messrs. Smith and Pennell, who erected two buildings with every convenience for using the waters, constructed a carriage road alongside of the river from Cromford, and improved the road from Matlock Bridge. Two, other springs have been subsequently discovered and buildings erected in connection with them all, the springs being within a short distance of each other.

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


Archives & Libraries

The Matlock Library on Steep Turnpike is normally open six days a week and they have a Local Studies and Family History section to help you in your search.

Matlock is also served by the Mobile Library on route N, which makes a stop at Hackney Road in the village every fourth Friday in the mid morning.



  • BERESFORD, Charles - The Bath At War. Ashridge Press/Country Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-901214-91-8.
  • BOWER, Alan - "The Water Cure". Derbyshire Heritage Series, 1985.
    Published by J H Hall & Sons Ltd, Siddals Road, Derby. ISBN 0 946404 55 0.

    A small, but very useful booklet containing a collection of postcards, focussing on hydropathic treatment at Hydros predominantly in Buxton and Matlock, but also has illustrations of the Hydros at Darley Dale (now St Elphin's School), Ashover, Baslow and Chesterfield. There is a brief introduction, describing the growth of the 'Water Cure' from Roman times through the Middle Ages and into the 1780's when "social life of a spa at this time was more important than the cure" through to the heady days of John Smedley, and his followers to its eventual demise with the advent of the National Health Service in 1948.

    Quoting from its back cover: "This book is primarily a picture book about the Water Cure in Derbyshire. The picture postcard holds a wealth of information about our recent past and is an invaluable aid to any Historian. The postcards used to illustrate the Cure and Hydros date from 1904 to 1920 and aim to show what the life and treatment at a Hydro was like."
  • NAYLOR, Peter - A History of the Matlocks. Landmark, 2003. ISBN not available.
  • Images of England: Matlock and Matlock Bath. Tempus Publishing Limited, 2002. ISBN 0 7524 2455 6.
  • Glynn WAITE, The Matlock Cable Tramway, Pynot Publishing, 2012, 156 pages. ISBN 978-09562-70658.


Robin STOTT has a photograph of the Memorials and sundial, St Giles' churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.

Robin STOTT also has a photograph of the church Lychgate on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.



  • The parish was in the Matlock sub-district of the Bakewell Registration District.
  • Census transcripts are online at Wirksworth.Org.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841H.O. 107 / 198
1851H.O. 107 / 2150
1861R.G. 9 / 2542
1871R.G. 10 / 3630
1891R.G. 12 / 2775 & 2776

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Giles.
  • The original church building was founded here before 1154.
  • The church chancel was rebuilt in 1859 and the nave and aisles were rebuilt in 1871.
  • The churchyard was enlarged in 1897.
  • The church seats 640.
  • The church has a website at St Giles' of Matlock.
  • Robin STOTT has a photograph of St Giles' Church on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.
  • The church of All Saints was built in Matlock Bank in 1883-84 and was consecrated in September, 1884.
  • This church seats 360.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1637.
  • The Anglican parish register for All Saints Church dates from 1886.
  • Marriages at Matlock, 1637-1812 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Bakewell.
  • The church is now in the Wirksworth Deanery.
  • The Primitive Methodist chapel was founded in 1838 and was rebuilt in 1856.
  • The Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built in 1882.
  • The Congregationalists had a chapel at Matlock Bath before 1891.
  • The Catholic chapel at Matlock Bank was built in 1883 and dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Joseph.
  • The Primitive Methodist chapel in Matlock Bank was built in 1865.
  • The Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Matlock Bank was built in 1890.
  • The Society of Friends (Quaker) meeting house in Matlock Bank was opened around 1890.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Matlock sub-district of the Bakewell Registration District.

Description & Travel

"MATLOCK is a village and parish, in the hundred of Wirksworth; 144 miles from London, 42 S.S.E. from Manchester, 34 N.W. from Nottingham, 18 N.W. by N. from Derby, 14 N.N.E. from Ashbourn, and rather more than 3 N. from Wirksworth. The village is most delightfully situate, partly in a valley, and partly on the side of a hill, on the eastern banks of the river Derwent, and at a short distance from the main road. It is chiefly built of stone, and at its entrance is a neat stone bridge; at some distance from which, on the verge of a most romantic rock, and upon a precipice almost perpendicular, stands the church, dedicated to St. Giles, shrouded amidst trees whose luxuriant foliage spreads over the face of the grey rock."

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

The parish sits on the south-eastern edge of the Peak District, just off the A6 trunk road and includes the hamlet of Riber.

The Matlock Golf Club in Matlock Bank was established in 1907.

You can see pictures of Matlock which are provided by:






Historical Geography

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



  • Graham HOGG has a photograph of the Duke of Wellington on Chesterfield Road on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2014.
  • Stewart MARSH has a photograph of The Former King's Head pub. on Church Street on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2018.
  • Stewart MARSH also has a photograph of The Former Wheatsheaf Inn on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2018.
  • Gordon McKINLAY has a photograph of The Red Lion Inn on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2005.
  • Rose KELLAND provides this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 1 February 1865: STORM: "Our Matlock correspondent writes: - One of the heaviest falls of snow which has visited this neighbourhood for some years commenced early on Thursday morning, and continued till late on Friday. It has made the roads nearly impassable, the snow being, in some places, from a yard to two yards deep."


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK300597 (Lat/Lon: 53.13362, -1.553056), Matlock which are provided by:


Military History

On 17 March 1860, during the enthusiasm for the Volunteer movement, Joseph PAXTON raised and commanded the 11th (Matlock) Derbyshire Rifle Volunteer Corps.

In 1895 there was one Volunteer Force in Matlock:

  1. K Company, 2nd Volunteer Battalion Sherwood Foresters at Matlock Bridge, Major J. R. DUDLEY, commanding; Rev. Charles M. LEACROFT, acting chaplain.

In 1912 there were two Territorial Forces in Matlock:

  1. B Squadron, Derbyshire Yeomanry, Major H. P. GRETTON commanding; Sergt.-Major A. W. TUBB, drill instructor.
  2. E Company, 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, Lieut. W. E. V. TOMPKINS commanding; Sergt.-Instructor John TURNER.

Lt. TOMPKINS is known to have survived the unit's posting to France in WWI.

There are also these:

  • There is a World War I War Memorial on the north Wall of St. Giles Church.
  • Alan HEARDMAN has a photograph of the Matlock Bath War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2007.
  • During the Second World War, Rockside Hall was used as an RAF psychiatric hospital, where mentally scarred service personnel (mostly aircrew) were rehabilitated. It was somewhat unkindly known as "Hatters Castle" by locals.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of Rockside Hall on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2007.
  • During the Second World War, Riber Castle was used a MOD storage facility. After the war it was converted into flats and apartments.

Military Records

Names from the 5 memorials can be found on the Andrew's Pages. This site also has the Vernon Lamb Archive which has a unique photographic record of Matlock and District (1910-1915) and World War One Soldiers (1914-1915).


Names, Personal

Edward WHEATCROFT of Matlock Bath died on 2nd Aug 1881. He was born in Wirksworth in 1814. He was buried in St Giles' Churchyard on 5 August 1881. His probate was held in Derby on 6 Sep 1882. His wife's name was apparently Jemima, with whom he had a son Sidney Frederick WHEATCROFT in 1838. Sidney WHEATCROFT died in Matlock in 1907.



Jane TAYLOR of Redcar provides this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 16 December, 1802: MARRIED "On Thursday last, Etwall, in this county, Mr. Geo. HODGKINSON, of Matlock, to.Miss Catherine CLAY, of the former place."

Jane TAYLOR in Redcar contributes this snippet from the Derby Mercury of 8 September, 1803, MARRIED: "On Thursday se'nnight, at Matlock, in this county, Lieut. BOOTH, of the 76th Regiment, to Miss RAWLINSON."

Rose KELLAND in the USA reports that a January 1943 issue of the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald notes: MARRIED: "On Dec. 26th at Matlock Bank Methodist Church, by Revs. J.W. SWARBRICK and A.G. Du Feu. ALBERT DOUGLAS STREET to MABEL ASH, Matlock."



Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this clipping from the Derby Mercury of 27 January, 1803: DIED: "On Saturday the 15th inst. Mr. Thos. LOWE, of Matlock, in this county, sincerely regretted by his friends and acquaintance."

Also. from the same issue: DIED: "On Monday last, at Matlock Bath, Mr. Nathan PORTEUS, of Buxton."

Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 16 June, 1803: DIED: "On Thursday last, Miss Mary ARKWRIGHT, second daughter of Richard ARKWRIGHT, Esq. of Willersley, in this county."

Rose KELLAND offers this notice from the Derbyshire Times & Chesterfield Herald of Wednesday, 18 November 1903:

"Matlock Bank - Funeral of Mrs BAGSHAW
The reamins of Mrs ELIZABETH BAGSHAW, wife of Mr. THOMAS BAGSHAW, of Matlock Bank, who died on Saturday, November 7, in her 63rd year, were interred at Matlock Parish Churchyard on Wednesday, the 11th inst., the rev. A. LOWE vicar of All Saint's Matlock Bath, reading the burial service. Deceased, a native of Matlock, belonged to a very old local family, and her husband's name is very well known in the locality. Deceased had been in failing health for over two years. Her husband, seven sons, and four daughters are living now, two of the youngest sons being in Bermuda.
The relatives attending the funeral were Mr. THOMAS BAGSHAW (widower), Mr. and Mrs J. BERESFORD, Mr. and Mrs SAM BAGSHAW, Mr. and Mrs TED OSBORNE, Mr. and Mrs FRANK BAGSHAW (Birmingham), Mr. and Mrs B. ACTON (Manchester), Mr. and Mrs JOE BAGSHAW, Mrs ESTHER VAINS (deceased's sister), Mr. and Mrs JOHN BAGSHAW (Manchester), Mr. and Mrs HERBERT BAGSHAW (Matlock Cliff), Mr. J. ROOSE, Mrs POLLY BAGSHAW, Mrs RICHARD WHEELDON (deceased's sister), Mrs SARAH ANN BAGSHAW, Mrs A. HAWLEY (Matlock Moor), and Mrs WALL (Brampton).
Six nephews acted as bearers, these being, messrs RICHARD WHEELDON, ALBERT SIMS (Crich), FRED WARD (Bank Road, Matlock), FRED WARD (Smedley Street, Matlock Bank), JON VAINS (Darley Dale), CHARLES WARD (Matlock Moor).
The handsome polished oak coffin with brass furniture, bore this inscription: ELIZABETH BAGSHAW, died November 7th, 1903, aged 62 years.
There were a large number of floral tributes, the wreath from the widower and daughters comprising lilies from Bermuda.
Mr. GEORGE BALLINGTON, of Matlock Bank, carried out the funeral arrangements."

We report from the Worcester and Sherwood Forest Regimental Association:

7th December 2018
Charles BERESFORD of Matlock, Derbyshire on 16 Nov 2018. Charles was an historian and author (including The Christian Soldier – the life of Lt Col. The Rev Bernard William Vann VC MC & Bar, Croix de Guerre avec palme) and a friend and supporter of The Mercian Regiment and the Museum of The Mercian Regiment (WFR Collection).

Check out John SMEDLEY's Obituary on the Wirkworth site.



Walter ASH was born in 1889 and died in 1973. He was a shoemaker who had a shop on Smedley Street. Hw was a talented artist and did a wide range of paintings. He gave many of them away to friends and admirers.


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derby county and it became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • This parish was in the ancient Wirksworth Hundred (or Wapentake) in the western division of the county.
  • In December, 1894, Matlock Bath Civil Parish was created from a portion of this Civil Parish.
  • Matlock formed an Urban District Council in December, 1894, but that was dissolved in 1924 when "The Matlocks" formed an Urban District Council. That lasted until 1934, when they went back to a Matlock Urban District Council.
  • District governance is provided by the Derbyshire Dales District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard at the Town Hall petty session hearings every other Wednesday at 11am.
  • As a result of the Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a member of the Bakewell Poorlaw Union.
  • Almshouses were built here in 1897-98 by Miss Margaret HARRISON. They were designed for three couples and three single persons.
  • Robin STOTT has a photograph of Harrison's almshouses, Causeway Lane on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2011.
  • Jon CANTRILL provides this snippet from the Derby Telegraph of 24 September 1914:
"Matlock Petty Sessions

Wednesday - Before Messrs Tom WRIGHT, W. LENNOX, J. BUNTING and F. B. WILDGOOSE

Passive Resisters - Mr G. N. ELSE, the Matlock assistant overseer, summoned D. M. WILDGOOSE, J.P., J. W. WILDGOOSE, J. L. DEAN and E. SAMUELS for arrears of the poor rate so far as it relates to education. The amounts respectively were 3s 6d, 4s 1d, 2s, and 2s 6d. The Bench made the customary order."


"Wm SELLORS, Matlock, a quarryman, was charged with being drunk and disorderly at Matlock on Sept 6th and Frederick VALLANCE, a Matlock labourer, was charged with a like offence. The Bench fined the defendants 2s 6d and the costs."


"Charge of stealing Chocolate - Wm MOORE, Rotten-row, Matlock, a schoolboy, was charged with stealing four bars of chocolate value 4d, the property of James MELVILLE, at Matlock on Sept 16  The Bench ordered the costs to be paid as a warning."

Probate Records

The Will of Edward WHEATCROFT late of Matlock Bath in the Parish of Matlock in the County of Derby Gentleman who died 2 August 1881 at Matlock Bath was proved at DERBY by James Walter WHEATCROFT Colour Manufacturer the Son, George STEVENSON Gentleman and William GREEN Law Clerk, all of Matlock Bath, the Executors. Personal Estate £669 5s.

WHEATCROFT Sidney Frederick of Matlock Bath Derbyshire hotel-proprietor died 9 August 1907. Probate DERBY 11 November to Maria WHEATCROFT widow, the reverend George POSTLETHWAITE clerk, Joseph REEDS grocer and Frederick William GILL solicitor. Effects £5,509 9s 10d



  • The Ernest Bailey Grammar School in Matlock was established in 1924. In the few years prior to that, pupils from the Matlock area were known to have attended the Lady Manners School, in Bakewell, following its reopening in 1896. The first Headmaster of Ernest Bailey's, E. H. CHAPMAN, had been a pupil himself at Lady Manners.
  • Michael DIBB has a photograph of the former school which is now three dwellings on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2018.