RISLEY, a parochial chapelry in the parishes of Wilne and Sandiacre, hundred of Morleston, county Derby, 7½ miles S.E. of Derby, its post town, and 1½ mile from the Sawley railway station. The village, which is of small extent, is wholly agricultural. Risley was formerly held by the Mortimers, Sheffields, and Willoughbys, of which last family was Sir Hugh, the navigator, who, in 1554, was frozen to death with his crew on the coast of Lapland, while exploring the north-east passage by Russia.

The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to that of Breaston, in the diocese of Lichfield. The church has a pinnacled tower, containing three bells. It was thoroughly restored in 1841, when a new aisle was added. There is a school for both sexes; also a grammar school, to which the children of seven adjoining parishes are admitted.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


Please Note: There is also a "Risley" in Cheshire.



Stephen McKAY has a photograph of the Churchyard cemetery at Geo-graph, taken in February, 2016.



  • The parish was in the Stapleford sub-district of the Shardlow Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1851 H.O. 107 / 2141
1861 R.G. 9 / 2491
1891 R.G. 12 / 2724

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to All Saints.
  • The church was built in 1593, but wasn't consecrated until 1632.
  • The ecclesiastical parish was created from Breaston St. Michael in October, 1897.
  • The church was thoroughly restored in 1897.
  • The church seats 150.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of All Saints Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2011.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1707.
  • Marriages at Risley, 1720-1812 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers..
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Ilkeston.

Civil Registration

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

Description & Travel

"RISLEY is a small village and township, partly in the parish of Sawley, and partly in that of Sandiacre, in the same hundred as Ilkeston, about four miles, south, from that town, one and a half, north, from Breason, and about seven and a half, east, from Derby. This manor was formerly held by Sir Hugh Willoughby, the celebrated navigator, who sailed on the 10th of May, 1555, with three ships, in search of a north-east passage, and was frozen to death, with all his crew, in the January following, in the Frozen Ocean."

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

J. THOMAS has a photograph of the local B5010 Bus stop on Derby Road on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2019.

You can see pictures of Risley which are provided by:






Historical Geography

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



Jonathan CLITHEROE has a photograph of The Risby Park Pub. (formerly Blue Bell) at Geo-graph, taken in August, 2013.

William WALLS was the proprietor of the Blue Bell PH in 1912.



Risley Hall has a history that goes back to the 11th century. The present Hall started out in 1524 and was extensively modernized and extended in early 18th century. In the early 20th century it was a home for youthful offenders. It has recently been converted to a "country house" Hotel.

Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the entrance to Risley Hall at Geo-graph, taken in May, 2014.

Garth NEWTON has a photograph of the Risley Hall Hotel on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2005.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK462357 (Lat/Lon: 52.916742, -1.314364), Risley which are provided by:


Military History

  • HMS Risley was a destroyer built in 1918 for the US Navy as USS Shubrick. In 1940 she was transferred to Great Britain and renamed as part of the Lend Lease program. In 1941 she saw action in the effort to sink the German pocket battleship Bismark. At war's end, she was sold and scrapped.
  • There is a War Memorial outside All Saints' Church near the church gateway.
  • Garth NEWTON has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in November, 2005.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST also has a photograph of the War Memorial and churchyard gate at Geo-graph, taken in April, 2014.

Military Records

These are the men commemorated on the Risley War Memorial (as per the IWM website):

  1. Baker, Colin Claud, 2nd Lt., 10th. Batln. Sherwood Fors.
  2. Baker, Leslie
  3. Bosworth, Leon Charles, pte., RAMC
  4. Figg, Bertram, Stoker 1st Class, HMS Begonia
  5. Hitchcock, John
  1. Hooley, Basil T., major, 7th Btln, Sherwood Fors.
  2. Johnstone, Henry H.
  3. Johnstone, John C.
  4. Johnstone, William McCall, 2nd Lt., R.F.A.
  5. Last, Frederick Alfred, gunner, R.F.A.

There are two Commonwealth War Graves in All Saints churchyard:

  1. Basil Terah HOOLEY, major, 7th Btln. Sherwood Foresters, age 26, died 28 Oct. 1918. Son of Terah HOOLEY.
  2. Walter John Robert PACEY, fitter staff srgt., No. 2 depot, Royal Garrison Army, died 18 July 1916.


Jane TAYLOR in Redcar contributes this snippet from the Derby Mercury of 10 November 1803: DIED: "On Sunday se'nnight, Mr. John BLUNSTONE, of Risley, in this county, aged 48."


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient Chapelry of Wilne parish in Derby county.
  • In December, 1866, this Chapelry was incorporated as a separate, modern Civil Parish.
  • This parish was in the ancient Morleston and Litchurch Hundred (or Wapentake) in the Ilkeston division of the county.
  • You may contact the Risley with Hopwell Parish Council regarding civic or political issues, but they are NOT staffed to assist with family history searches.
  • District governance is provided by the Erewash Borough Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Derby petty session hearings.
  • There is a partial list of Risely Bastardy Papers held at the DRO on the Yesterdays Journey website. Select "Bastardy Papers" on the left side, then "Risely" from the list displayed.
  • As a result of the Poorlaw Amendment Act of 1834 reforms, the parish became a member of the Shardlow Poorlaw Union.


  • A grammar school at Risley was founded in 1593 by Katherine WILLOUGHBY.
    (Ref: A History of Derbyshire, Gladwyn TURBUTT, 1999)
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Grammar School at Geo-graph, taken in May, 2014.