Peak Forest


PEAK-FOREST, an extra parochial liberty in the hundred of High Peak, county Derby, 4 miles S.E. of Chapel-en-le-Frith, and 3 N.W. of Tideswell. The village, which is of small extent, is situated in the Peak, a ridge of limestone stone rocks at the head of the river Derwent. Peak Forest was anciently called Peaclond by the Saxons, and De-Alto-Pecco by the Normans. It comprised the parishes of Castleton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Glossop, Hope, and Mottram (which see), also the peaks of Kinder-Scout, 1,800 feet in height, Mam Tor, 1,751 feet, the Devil's Cave, &c.

A portion of the inhabitants are employed in the stone quarries. The impropriation belongs to the Duke of Devonshire. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Lichfield, value £153. The church is dedicated to King Charles the Martyr. There is a free school for both sexes, which is entirely supported by the Duke of Devonshire, who is the lord of the manor.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


Archives & Libraries

The parish established a Reading Room around 1880.

Basher EYRE has a photograph of the Reading Room on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015.

You may find it valuable to use the Chapel-en-le-Frith Library, which has both a Family History section and a Local Studies section.



Basher EYRE has a photograph of the churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015 .

Michael SPENCER provides a partial extract of Parish Register burials for your review. Your additions and correction are welcomed.



  • The parish was in the Chapel en le Frith sub-district of the Chapel en le Frith Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1851H.O. 107 / 2151
1861R.G. 9 / 2548
1891R.G. 12 / 2781

Church History

  • The first chapel at Peak Forest was built towards the end of the Civil War, by Christiana, Dowager Countess of Devonshire, a loyal supporter of the Crown - although it wasn't dedicated until after the end of the War. Christiana's own son, Charles, also died during the War, in 1643, fighting for the Royalist cause. This chapel was removed before 1900.
  • The present church was built in 1876-1877 adjacent to the old church site.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to King Charles I, the Martyr.
  • The church seats 240.
  • The chapel had a reputation for disregarding the Marriage Act and people came from all over to get married, many of them underage. The minister would not read the traditional banns until an act of Parliament in 1804 forced him to change the practice.
  • George GRIFFIN has a photograph of Peak Forest Church on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2005.
  • Bill HENDERSON has a photograph of Charles King and Martyr Church on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2017.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1669, but early sections are dilapidated. From 1727 it is almost perfect.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Buxton.
  • Andrew HILL has a photograph of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2012.
  • The village had a Wesleyan Methodist chapel prior to 1895.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Chapel en le Frith sub-district of the Chapel en le Frith Registration District.

Correctional Institutions

  • Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this extract from the Derby Mercury of 27 October 1803: "...on the 21st inst. John TIMMONS, charged upon oath with burgulariously breaking open the dwelling-house of Mr David PEARSON, of Peak Forest, on the night of the 8th or on the morning of the 9th instant, and stealing thereout sundry articles of wearing apparel."

Description & Travel

"PEAK FOREST is all extra parochial liberty, in the hundred of High Peak, about three miles and a half north-west from Tideswell. This district is in the honour of Tutbury, duchy of Lancaster, and within the jurisdiction of a court of pleas, held at Tutbury every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under 40s. The chapel here is dedicated to King Charles the Martyr: the living is a perpetual curacy in the peculiar jurisdiction of the dean and chapter of Lichfield, and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire. A free school here has a small endowment, for the education of ten poor children. The liberty contained, in 1831, 573 inhabitants, being fewer by thirty-four than were returned for it thirty years previous; and a reduction in the population of 107 persons since the census of 1821."

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

The nearly 5,300 acres of the parish have been mostly pasturage.

You can see pictures of Peak Forest which are provided by:






Historical Geography

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



Bill HENDERSON has a photograph of The Devonshire Arms pub. on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2017.

These are the names associated with the Devonshire Arms in various directories:

Year Person
1891George HILL
1895William HILL
1899William HILL and Herbert HALL


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK116797 (Lat/Lon: 53.31411, -1.827351), Peak Forest which are provided by:


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient extra-parochial area in Derbyshire and became a modern Civil Parish in December, 1858.
  • This parish was in the ancient High Peak Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • You may contact the local Parish Council regarding civic and political issues, but they will NOT be able to help you with family history questions.
  • District governance is provided by the High Peak Borough Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • The Countess of Devonshire established a fund that helped pay for apprenticing poor children.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Chapel-en-le-Frith petty session hearings once each month.
  • Around 1818, the Rev. Francis GISBORNE funded a charity of £5 10s annualy for flannel for the poor.
  • As a result of the Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a member of the Chapel en le Frith Poorlaw Union.




  • The Public Elementary School (mixed) was built in 1868 for 100 children.
  • Bill HENDERSON has a photograph of Peak Forest Primary School on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2017.