December 2022

Season’s greetings

We’ll be taking a little break from our blogs over the Christmas and new year period.

We hope you have enjoyed our posts during 2022 and look forward to welcoming you back in mid-January 2023.

Season’s greetings from us all at Derbyshire VCH.

If you have purchased our Hasland book, published in the summer of 2022, we hope you have enjoyed it and found it interesting. We hope to publish a volume on Wingerworth in the first half of 2023 – so please keep a look out for this.

Our thanks to everyone who has supported us 2022, whether it has been through Derbyshire VCH membership, a member of our volunteer research group, contributing to our blogs, website and Facebook posts, buying our publications or simply reading this blog.

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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New thoughts on Birdholme House’s history

New research at The National Archives has identified that the story of Birdholme House is a little different to that described in our Hasland book. In this blog we’ll take a look at this house just inside the present borough boundary on Derby Road.

An earlier house than first thought

Birdholme House.

The first owner whose name can be firmly linked to the property is Joseph Bludworth, a member of a local merchant family, who paid tax on five hearths there in 1670. It now seems unlikely, as has been suggested in the past, that he was the builder of the house, which is originally of an earlier date. But, as yet, we don’t know who did build it.

A useful by-product of a recent planning application by CCS Media to make major internal changes to the house is the submission of detailed plans and elevations of the property as it currently exists. From these it is possible for the first time to appreciate how the seventeenth-century house was extended in the eighteenth century, after it was acquired by the Hunloke family.

The first house – a ‘tower house’

It now clear that the first house on the site was a three-storey ‘tower house’, with three rooms on each floor plus a staircase tower. This is a characteristic type of a small gentry house in north Derbyshire and south Yorkshire, of which Cutthorpe Old Hall is a well-preserved local example. At Birdholme House, as at Dunston Hall, the original structure was later enlarged and to some extent disguised by new building.

Tower houses do not seem to have been built after about 1630, and so Birdholme House is probably earlier than the rather vague ‘late seventeenth century’ date which has traditionally been ascribed to it. The interior of Birdholme House has in fact been altered a good deal over the years and, apart from the main staircase, there does not appear to be much left inside that could be described as ‘original’.

The Bludworths

As stated in our Hasland book Joseph Bludworth (or Bloodworth), married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Gladwin of Eddlestow (in Ashover) and Boythorpe (b. 1598). Joseph was a younger brother of Sir Thomas Bludworth of London, who was master of the Vintners’ Company, Lord Mayor and (briefly) MP for Southwark. He was a timber merchant trading with Turkey. Thomas, who died in 1682, and Joseph were the sons of John Bludworth, a London merchant originally from Derby, who died in 1648 and was for a time in partnership with Thomas Gladwin, probably in the lead trade. Joseph and Elizabeth Bludworth had a number of children baptised at either Wingerworth or North Wingfield between 1650 and 1667. He may be the ‘Mr Joseph Bloodworth’ who was buried at Dronfield on 2 December 1690.

Later ownership of Birdholme House

By 1717 Birdholme had been acquired by the Hunloke family of Wingerworth Hall and remained in their ownership until the break-up of the estate in 1920.

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New light on Wingerworth’s history at the National Archives

In this blog we take a brief look at some new sources for the history of Wingerworth that have been identified. They’ll help us in our new account of Wingerworth, based largely on the work of David Edwards, which the Derbyshire VCH Trust hopes to published in 2023.

An Edwardian postcard of Wingerworth Hall. virtually all the muniments of the Hunloke family, who were the main owners in the parish between 1582 and 1920 and owned the hall, were destroyed when they sold the estate. The main part of the hall was subsequently demolished.

Reconstructing the history of Wingerworth in detail has always been difficult because of the loss of virtually all the muniments of the Hunloke family, who were the main owners in the parish between 1582 and 1920. Thanks to the power of electronic finding aids, however, a considerable amount of new light has been shed on both the Hunloke family and Wingerworth generally by a study of a lengthy series of law suits dating from between 1648 (when Sir Henry Hunloke, who fought for Charles I in the Civil War died aged only 29) and the 1680s.

These cases, mostly heard in the Court of Chancery, involved his son and heir, his widow, her second husband, his mother and her second husband, the executors of his will, and a long list of people who claimed that they were owed money by him. Taken together they show that Sir Henry was already in debt when he unwisely committed himself to the King’s cause in 1642, as a result of which he was heavily fined by Parliament, which made his financial position much worse. The estate was further weakened by nearly forty years of litigation over his will.

Another point that emerges from the lawsuits is that the industrial resources of the Wingerworth estate were seen as important in the mid seventeenth century. Litigants were very interested in the revenue from coal and ironstone mines, the ironworks and the corn mill on the estate, as well as the rents from farms and cottages.

The new information gleaned from some twenty different cases will be incorporated into an account of Wingerworth, based largely on the work of David Edwards, which the Derbyshire VCH Trust hopes to publish in the first half of 2023.

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