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.