July 2021

A Chesterfield Mystery: ‘The Pump House’

This June 1985 view of Chesterfield taken from the parish church tower shows a familiar, if changed, view. But it’s not the by-pass under construction snaking away to the top left, the now demolished Trebor (once the Chesterfield Brewery Company) premises (left of centre) or the soon to be demolished Chesterfield Hotel just behind the tower to the Stephenson Memorial Hall (right), that we are discussing in this post, but a rather more elusive building ‘The Pump House’. 

As the map extract from our Chesterfield Streets and Houses book shows, this mysterious property sat in the area to the right of Tapton Lane – which can be seen travelling down out of town, to the bottom centre of the photograph. 

This map extract from our Chesterfield Streets and Houses book, shows the approximate position of a mysterious Chesterfield property – ‘The Pump House’.

The house appears to have been built by a Marmaduke Carver (d. 1756).  It’s not shown on William Senior’s 1633 survey of Chesterfield. Joseph Hunter mentions this house by name in his book Familiae Minorium Gentium (‘Families of the Lesser Gentry’). This may be the only place the name appears! 

Marmaduke Carver married Ann Milward. One of their offspring – another Marmaduke – was town clerk of Chesterfield from 1711 to 1745. The house and its estate were then owned by other members of the Carver family (for the full story see Streets and Houses), until the estate was sold by John Carver in 1804, for £2,100, to Robert Malkin – a wholesale grocer of Chesterfield, who was already living there. This is where Malkin Street gets its name from. In 1833 Malkin purchased, from the Cavendish estate, a plot of land on the south and east sides of his house, at the top of Tapton Lane. This land was already occupied by him as a pleasure ground.

Malkin died in 1846. Two years later his daughter sold the house contents and the house was advertised to let in 1858. The following year the property was sold to John Marsden, also a Chesterfield grocer. He sold the house and some of the estate to Chesterfield corporation in 1870, when the house was demolished and Corporation Street was laid out through the grounds.

The Malkins were members of the Unitarian congregation at Elder Yard meeting house and were known for their benefactions to the poor in Chesterfield.

One mystery remains and that’s around the name ‘The Pump House’. Surviving deeds do not mention it by name, nor do various maps and surveys. Why the reference to a pump?

An extract from a 1966 tracing of Ward’s 1854 map of Chesterfield. The near-rectangular piece of land, slightly right of centre, was presumably part of the pleasure grounds to ‘The Pump House’.

Unfortunately, although the house is shown on large-scale maps, no illustration of ‘The Pump House’ is known to exist. Oddly enough, there is a watercolour sketch of the church from the north made in 1824, when there were still houses standing in what is now the northern part of the churchyard, entitled ‘Chesterfield from Mr Malkin’s’, but the artist must have been sitting in the gateway to the house, with his back to it. The drawing was reproduced some years ago in the booklet, Chesterfield: Scenes from Yesterday.

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How your place got its name

Local historians are often asked what a particular place-name means and where it’s come from. In VCH we use the standard reference work on the subject, the multi-volumed English Place-Name Society (EPNS) volumes.

As the society’s website explains EPNS;

… was established in 1923 to conduct a county-by-county survey of the place-names of England. The first county survey of Buckinghamshire appeared in 1925.

To date, the Survey has produced 91 volumes, the most recent being The Place-Names of Leicestershire Part VII, published in 2016. Almost all English counties have been surveyed at least in part and work to complete the Survey is ongoing.

The Survey is used by researchers, academics, and those interested in the origins, meaning, and significance of English place-names.

The gold standard form place-name study – the multi-volume English Place Name Society books.

Derbyshire has a complete survey, split across three parts. Part one includes a general introduction, survey of river names and covers the High Peak Hundred. Part two covers the Scarsdale, Wirksworth and Morleyston & Litchurch hundreds; part three the Appletree, Repton & Gresley hundreds with analysis and indexes. Despite being published in 1959, the volumes are still the ‘gold standard’ for place name study. There’s an entry for each place studied which consists of a list of names associated with it, followed by a description of the name’s meaning. Street names and field names are also identified – with some more notable ones being very briefly discussed.

So, as an example; for Chesterfield, (which is in part two) the survey identifies the name ‘Cestrafelda’ as being used in 955 and other variations thereafter, declaring the name means ‘open country near or belonging to a fortification’. At time the survey was published in 1959, existence of a fort in Chesterfield was still unproved, but we now know that indeed the town was a Roman fort.

You’ll need access to part one to identify what some of the abbreviations in the text for each place-name mean. Incidentally the ‘maps’ identified on the dust jacket of part one are actually in part three!

Some of the society’s publications (but not currently Derbyshire) are now available on-line  https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/epns/downloads.aspx. The Derbyshire volumes are now out-of-print, but you may be able to obtain second-hand copies. They are also available to consult in Derbyshire and Derby Libraries local studies.

Despite its age The Place-Names of Derbyshire is VCH’s first port-of-call when we look at place-name origins. It ought to be yours too, if you are interested in the subject of how your community came to have its name.

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Mustering up some family history sources

Our sister organisation – the Derbyshire Record Society – is just about to publish part one of The Derbyshire Musters of 1638–9. This part contains the introduction and indexes. We explore a little about this book in our blog, but it will be an important contribution to the history of the county and of great use to family historians. ‘The Muster book’, as it has become known, lists all men aged between 16 and 60 in each town and village.

Between the early sixteenth century and the mid seventeenth the Privy Council instructed local officials in each county to hold regular musters of able-bodied men who could be called upon to defend the kingdom in time of war. Men from every town and village had to assemble, usually in the early autumn, at a specified meeting place and show that they possessed suitable arms and armour. Gentry families had to provide horsemen. The musters were ordered by the lord lieutenant, summoned by the deputy lieutenants, and organised locally by the high constable of each hundred.

In 1638 the young 3rd earl of Devonshire had just become lord lieutenant of Derbyshire. He was evidently keen to impress the Council, as the earl ordered the constables to compile lists of all men aged between 16 and 60 in each town and village. He had the results copied into a volume to be sent up to London. The book, containing some 17,300 names, survives among the records of the State Paper Office in The National Archives. It provides a uniquely full record of the inhabitants of every community in Derbyshire on the eve of the Civil War. What we don’t know, of course, is what these men thought of being brought together, their names and place of residence being identified and listed.

The new publication should be fantastic source for family history in Derbyshire, as well as the demography of the county. It also sheds new light on local administration in the early seventeenth century.

In this two-part edition, the text of the 1638 muster book is printed in full alongside a shorter roll of 1639 and some ancillary documents (as part 2 – available in the autumn of 2021). In all about 18,400 individuals are named. Newly published Part 1 consists of a full index by person and place and is prefaced by a detailed introduction.  The record society has divided the book into two parts so that users can have the index and the lists of names in front of them at the same time. It also spreads the cost of a work that runs to over 400 pages.

To order new title you can complete the online order form here.

The Derbyshire Musters of 1638–9 (in two parts) is edited by Victor A. Rosewarne. Part 1 is £20 post free to members or £30 plus £3 postage to non-members.

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Clay Cross and ‘The Rocket’

The logo of the Clay Cross Company – introduced in late 1969/early 1970.

Here we take a brief look at ‘The Rocket’ which was the ‘house journal’ of the Clay Cross Company which was first published the 1960s. This once well-known company was established in 1837 by George Stephenson and his associates. It’s now fast receding into memories, as the former manufacturing site, which closed in 1998, becomes developed particularly for housing.

We recently posted on how we use company magazines to help chart the history of particular businesses. We also pointed out that family historians may find photographs and a brief account of their relative’s time at the company, in these magazines. Such articles might include retirement, long-service, marriage and death. It’s a feature of these magazines not to be over-looked.

Latterly the Clay Cross company became known for its pipe castings, but it had owned collieries, quarries, foundries and even a large farm and a light railway out to its quarries at Ashover.

Taken from the back cover of ‘The Rocket’ issue number 12, January 1970, is a location plan of the Clay Cross works in north eastern Derbyshire.
‘The Rocket’ of autumn 1977 carried an article describing major capital schemes at Clay Cross ‘… which will result in the redevelopment of its entire manufacturing facilities’.
‘The Rocket’ number 36 was a special edition, celebrating 150 years of the company.

‘The Rocket’– number 36, Summer 1987 – shown here, celebrated the Clay Cross Company’s 150th anniversary. The front cover of this special edition is shown with an engraving taken from FS Williams’ 1876 book ‘The Midland Railway: its rise and progress’. It shows the Clay Cross Company in the ‘V’ of the railway lines. The right-hand line is to Derby, the left is the Erewash Valley line.

For some years ‘The Rocket’ usually featured an article from RF Childs, who was the company estates manager. Our illustration of him is taken from issue 27, from late 1979. It shows him in the company’s ‘archive room’ which he had helped create in that year. Dick Childs retired in 1986. The company archive included Stephenson letters, minute books, photographs, plans and other records. The company archives are now split between the Derbyshire Record Office and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

An extract from the ‘The Rocket’ number 27 (late 1979) shows Dick Childs in the then newly created ‘Archive Room’. Clay Cross was not alone in having ‘archive rooms’. Another local example was Robinsons of Chesterfield who had a similarly saved collection of archives and products.

The yellow covered edition featured here is number 35 (winter 1986) – the first to be fully produced under the Biwater group’s ownership. The front cover shows pipes for a contract in Malaya stocked within the works car park. It was taken by the works Technical Department’s Adrian Smith. For those who know the area North Wingfield parish church might just be discerned on the centre horizon.

The front cover of ‘The Rocket’ features stacked cast iron pipes in the car park for a foreign contract. Is that red car a Vauxhall Viva and possibly the property of the photographer Adrian Smith? North Wingfeild Chirrch is on the horizon. Clay Cross itself is largely a product of the Clay Cross Company’s establishment in the area.

‘The Rocket’ was usually around 20 pages in length. Like many of its kind, it paints a picture of corporate life including newly opened production facilities, management changes and acquisitions. Sports and other social activities, along with marriages, retirements and deaths are also carried within its pages. Our final illustration is taken from issue number 8 of January 1968. It features some of those little snippets of information that we feel may be of interest to family historians. Note that Mr LV Clarke was retiring after 51½ years of service to the company!

Employee news was featured in ‘The Rocket’.
One wonders how likely it will be to attain over 51 years service with one company in today’s ever changing job market? But Mr LV Clarke did, as recorded in this extract from the January 1968 ‘The Rocket’ (number 8).

Like Clay Cross works itself, ‘The Rocket’ is now a memory, but a tangible one. For as the works is regenerated and disappears copies of the magazine will survive in local studies libraries and perhaps become treasured family possessions.

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