September 2021

We’re finding out more about the Foljambes in Chesterfield

DD/FJ/9/1/1 – part of the Foljambe deposit at Nottinghamshire Archives – may not sound very exciting, but some of its contents are helping to fill in gaps in our understanding of the Chesterfield area under that formerly influential family.

The Foljambe Chapel and tombs in Chesterfield Parish Church around 1907 when this photograph was published in JC Cox’s ‘Memorials of old Derbyshire’. Since this date the railings have been removed and the chapel somewhat rearranged.
The Foljambe arms as published in Lysons’ ‘Magna Britannia’ (1817).

Our pictures here show some of the Foljambe tombs in Chesterfield Parish Church along with the family’s arms. The tomb’s grand design and execution show that this was a family of importance in the district up until the early 1600s – perhaps the most influential – with land in Chesterfield and across Derbyshire.

In 1704 Yorkshire antiquary, Dr Nathaniel Johnson compiled a manuscript genealogical history. This chronicled principal Foljambe family members, from the 13th century onwards. It was never fully published, but some copies of the work survive. Now our VCH County Editor and General Editor of the Derbyshire Record Society (DRS), Philip Riden, is working on a new edition of Johnson’s work. Hopefully the DRS will be publishing this in its record series.

As part of this and work for VCH generally Philip is also examining some of the contents of the Foljambe deposit at Nottinghamshire Archives. He’s mainly working on a rent roll of what we believe is for the Henry Foljambe (of Walton) estates in about 1500. It lists purchased lands, not what he inherited, showing what he added to the estate, but not his income. It covers, in particular, property in Chesterfield town centre and surrounding townships.

Although the rental may be incomplete and is in a mixture of English and Latin (warranting careful transcription) it is extending our knowledge of the area. For example, land at Dry Hurst in Tapton is mentioned (this is now the site of the nursery to the front of Chesterfield Royal Hospital). Land in Chesterfield town centre also features. For local historians some familiar names appear such as Thomas Durant and the Heathcote family.

Tapton place names mentioned include ‘Dobyn Clozh Syk’ (presumably Dobbin Clough, near to Tapton Golf Course) and there’s a reference to ‘Colpyttes butts on the Deyn land …’ in Tapton, which is the earliest reference to coalmining in the township.

There’s well-over 100 entries, mainly relating to property in Chesterfield town centre. A typical entry being; ‘Of Robert Flynt tenant of one burgage at the south end of Bocher Rowe between the said Bocher Rowe and Mercer Rowe bought of William Calall’ This is referring to rows in the Shambles.

In the Chesterfield area, following the death of Godfrey Foljambe in the 1590s, the family entered a period of decline.

You can find out more about the Foljambe of Osberton deposit at Nottinghamshire Archives (and the family) here.

Foljambe tombs as first illustrated in Ford’s 1839 ‘History of Chesterfield’.

And about Sir Godfrey Foljambe here.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with any planned publication of the Foljambe family history.

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Another brush with The HMI – Shuttlewood school’s early 20th century challenges

Our blog of 14 August covered our use of His/Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI) reports and school log-books in our VCH red books. We used Barlborough school’s 19th and early 20th century brush with the inspectors as an example. But problems weren’t only confined to Barlborough!

When the local education authority took over Bolsover schools in 1903 there was dire overcrowding. This included Shuttlewood, where a temporary timber framed, corrugated iron-clad building was opened in 1905 for older children. It was condemned as ‘an awful affair’ by the HMI. To make matters worse the first headmaster was unable to control the children, who were regarded by HMI as backward and unruly. Only two years after opening the school was declared inefficient.

Despite extensions to the temporary building a permanent structure wasn’t opened until 1927. This building was designed by George Henry Widdows. It’s listed grade II and is now occupied by Brockley Primary School. The buildings illustrated here predate the Widdows school, but are next to it. They are empty and scheduled for demolition.

Part of the Shuttlewood schools complex on Clowne Road. This block is scheduled for demolition, having been empty for some years and surplus to requirements. The present Brockley Primary School is out of picture, to the right.

The first headmaster of the new schools (Henry Thomlinson) instituted such things as formal assembly and dinner, sports days and visits. As our volume III states he ‘sought to make the school a place of beauty’.

At this time Shuttlewood was very much a coal mining community. Thomlinson, recognising his pupils’ academic limitations, concentrated on handicraft, art and music, teaching ‘the children to speak the truth and be kind to animals’.

The HMI were somewhat sympathetic to Thomlinson’s aims, but raised some reservations. These included that some of the slower children (and some of the staff) couldn’t keep up with his ideals.

There’s more about the history of education in the Bolsover area and Shuttlewood schools in our Volume III. Our blog of 10 January charted a brief history of the school buildings.

The various HMI school reports shed a light not only on conditions in schools, teaching and the like, but also standards of discipline and social issues. They perhaps alter the sometimes held traditional view that schools used to teach the ‘three Rs’ in a haven of discipline and compliance.

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A brief history of Chesterfield’s markets

In this post we take a very brief look at Chesterfield’s markets.

Changing retail – 1. The Market Place (originally part of the New Market first laid out in the 1190s) pictured on the last day of fish stalls on the open stalls. These businesses transferred to covered accommodation in the re-vamped Market Hall. Stall illumination is provided by tungsten lamps. Boots were yet to move to their new Low Pavement premises, which incorporated the former Greave’s chemist premises. An autumn 1980 view. (Philip Cousins).

The first reference to a market in Chesterfield is in 1165 and the present market place (known throughout the Middle Ages as the New Market) had been built by 1199. This is before the burgesses (inhabitants of the borough with full rights of citizenship) were granted the right in 1204 to hold a Saturday market and an eight-day annual fair.

This area of the churchyard would once have been home to part of the original market in Chesterfield.

The old market place, was situated the north side of the parish church. This became known as the Weekday Market, presumably because a small number of traders stood there on days other than Saturdays. The chartered Saturday market was held in the present Market Place. The old market place had been built over the by the 15th century and may have gone out of use before then.

Construction of the New Market of the 1190s, by the Crown Officials who had charge of the Manor of Chesterfield, was undoubtedly a bold move. The existing market next to the parish church must have become constrained due to its position – being unable to be extended.

Changing retail – 2. Low Pavement under redevelopment for ‘The Pavements’ shopping centre in June 1980. The former well-known Greave’s chemist shop was situated in the corner white-painted building. Only the frontages of the original buildings remained after the redevelopment, which comprised a modern shopping complex behind the facades. (Philip Cousins).

The New Market had three components: the open market place (basically the current market area), the lines of shops and houses along its northern and southern sides, and the block of shambles at its eastern end. The shambles were constructed for butchers, fishmongers and possibly other traders who would have stood in the market every day, not merely on Saturdays. The map extract from Potter’s 1803 plan of the town shows some of the layout of the market place area (note though, that not all properties are shown).

The Market Hall, originally built by a private company, dates from 1857. It replaced earlier buildings on the same site. These also provided covered accommodation for some traders and rooms for public meetings. The Market Hall was refurbished in the late 1970s, and again more recently.

Changing retail – 3. Another June 1980 view, this time showing The Shambles under refurbishment. By this time the area had become quite run-down. This photograph would have been taken on a Sunday – before shops were allowed to open in 1994. Note the dog outside ‘Ye Royal Oak’ and the Bass Charrington ‘toby jug’ light above the entrance. (Philip Cousins).

An extract from Peter Potter’s 1803 map of Chesterfield. Not all properties are shown. Note the buildings on the site of the present Market Hall.

Although other fairs were established in Chesterfield after 1204, alongside the main September fair, no additional markets were chartered. The practice of holding markets on Friday and Monday, as well as Saturday, appears to date only from the early 20th century. The practice of erecting stalls other than in the Market Place is much more recent.

In 1900 the livestock market, which had been held in the Market Place, was transferred to a new purposely laid out ste off Markham Road.

One important lesson that can be reached from the market’s long history is that retailing (including markets) evolves continuously and must alter, as it has in the past, to meet changing consumer demand.

You can find out lots more about the growth of Chesterfield town centre and the history of the town’s markets in our ‘Chesterfield Streets and Houses book’.

The above is an edited extract from Chesterfield & District Civic Society’s response to the borough council’s Market Place consultation ( It was written by our VCH County editor – Philip Riden – in his role as Chairman of the society.

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