THE PARISH OF MORLEY
Morley is a very scattered village. Near the church there is a nucleus of houses but there are other settlements separated from this by over a mile. It seems probable that this pattern of settlement is a very old one and grew up because of the ring of springs that surround the slightly higher ground of the church and the moor. This is substantiated by the fact that the roads are through.roads linking one town with another, rather than linking the various settlements of Morley together. Access from one part of the village to another is still in many is still in many cases along footpaths and bridle-paths; the houses therefore were positioned before the roads, and developed their own connecting links. Morley is certainly a very old parish. The possession of the land can be traced from deeds, copies of which can be seen in the Derby Borough Library. Before 1066, in the days of Ethelred the Unready, the land of Morley was presented to Abbey. Through the centuries it passed first to Henry de Ferrers and then to the Abbot of Chester from whom it was held by the Morleys and the Stathums, until finally it came into the possession of the Sacheverells. In,1786 at the time of the Enclosure Award the joint lords of were Sir Hugh Bateman, Sitwell and Pole. Memorials to all these families can be seen in the church.
The Use of the Land
Morley has always been a farming village. In the north of the parish there are the stone quarries and just over the boundary in Smalley there has been a certain amount of coal mining. In Morely too coal has been found, and Sir Charles Petrie quotes from English Industrials of the Middle Ages 'One of the earliest references to coal damp is in connection with the death in 1322 of a woman, one Emma, daughter of William Culhare, who was killed by 'le Damp' while drawing water from a 'colepyt' at Morley, Derbyshire. The Reverend Charles Kerry in hid "History of Smalley" also refers to a pit in Morley in 1723, but the adventure was obviously a failure and must have been soon abandoned. Glover's "History of Derbyshire"2 states: 'the colliery was situated one third of a mile East of the town'. In the past there has been some opencast mining in the village.
Land however, has been the main source of income. Probably most of the land was pasture, for as late as 1843 the Tithe Award shows Morley as having 1820 acres of land of which only 500 acres were arable. In the Middle Ages the usual pattern was that the arable land was split into three large fields in each of which Villagers would have strips. The method of ploughing these strips in order ' to keep them separate has left a distinctive pattern of ridge and furrow which can be seen very clearly in some parts of England. In Morley the field behind the Alms¬houses shows traces of this. As well as the three fields, the villages had meadows for hay and a stretch of common land. The common land was used for grazing by all the beasts, and peo¬ple who had no strips but who owned a few sheep or hens or a cow, could graze their animals on the common with those belonging to the richer men of the village. Gradually land was enclosed i.e. fenced-in into the individually owned farms that we know today. Probably the arable land in Morley was enclosed by private agreements in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, because the Enclosure Award of 1786 which was an Act of Parliament, seems to refer to Morley Moor which must have, been the old common land of Morley. Unfortunately the map which would have made clear the exact boundaries of the enclosure is missing. The field name "close" refers to the earliest enclosures, or to land reclaimed from forest or moor. In the field names in the Enclosure Award are names such as Barley's Close, Broom Close, Brick Kiln Close, Burrows Close and Hovel Close.
The Parliamentary enclosures did lead to hardship because only those who could produce of their rights were entitled to a share of the newly enclosed land, and the result was that many poor people who had managed to keep going while they had the opportunity to graze animals on the common, were now compelled to become labourers. This change was generally approved. Glover in his "History and Gazetteer of Derbyshire writes in the nineteenth century: 'the business of his own that a labourer has which should at any time cause him to leave his regular employ and be his own master the better for his habits, his family and his country'. The Reverend Robert Wilmot who was the Rector of the parish during the time of the enclosures also felt that the free use of the common encouraged bad habits. ...'Upon the enclosure the cottagers' families who were scantily supported by keeping a few geese and sheep on the commons and thereby enabled to live in idleness were compelled to go out to service'.
Robert Wilmot had written these remarks at the time of the census of 1801 and from the census we discover there were seven smallholders and their families and fifteen farm workers in Morley. Wages at this time were about 1s.6d. A day or 9s.0d for a full week, but in the winter were put on lower wages since not so much work could be done. Occasionally in a bad winter a kind-hearted employer like the Reverend Mr. Wilmot would not reduce the wages, but even at the summer level a family could only exist if the women and children worked. We have no direct evidence of how any Morley family spent its money, but for :interest we give a week's 'shopping list' from the 'English Countrywoman':
Bread 9s. Od
Potatoes 1s. Od
Sugar 3 1/2d
Butter 4 1/2d
Coal and Wood 3d
Rent 1s. 2d
Others in the village were better off course. There was Thomas Chambers, a stock¬inger, who 'earned by his own confession not less than thirty-five shillings a week'. (Robert Wilmot, Parish Registers 1795). Among the far¬mers the late eighteenth and nineteenth cen¬turies were a time of great prosperity as can be seen if one looks at.the rebuilding and extensions of farmhouses that took place at-that time.. Morley House Farm, Morley Moor Farm, Hayes Park Farm and Jesse Farm all bear witness to this. So too do.the Tithe Books; in the late eigh¬teenth century the tithe was about £140 a year, by 1843 this Sum had more than doubled. In the Tithe book of 1843 eighteen landowners are listed including the Trustees of the Turnpike Trust but nearly all the land belonged to the executors of Sir Hugh Bateman.
The two chief sources of information about the land of Morley are the Enclosure Award of 1786 (which has no map) and the Tithe Award of 1843 which has a map showing and naming every field in the parish. "Derbyshire Place Names"5 by Dr. Kenneth Cameron lists some of the names that occur, for instance Park Farm, Morleymore and Morley Hall are all named before 1600 and Lime Farm and Morley Lime are probably very ancient names. Lime 'lemo' is an old British (ie pre-roman) word for elm and these names it is suggested preserve the idea of the extensive forest region which once covered south-east Derbyshire.
The register of births, marriages and deaths also mentions 'Closes', 'Clooves' Hill as early as 1607 and 'Morley Hayes' in 1612.
It is interesting also to find family names have survived and are known to us today as names:
l660 Elizabeth 'Brumfield,
1678 Widow Brackley' of Horsley Park Gate
1622 George 'Ferrebie'
It is from these records that a tiny story emerges of a an who lived in Morley and except for these church records is completely unknown. But from these three entries and the readers' imagination a whole section of his life can be pictured:
1622 Oct. Margery, wife of George Ferrebie buried.
1624 Apr. George Ferrebie and Tarcye Chester both of Morley married.
1630 Mar. George Ferrebie, a poore old labouring man yes buried.
And as with George Ferrebie, every entry in these registers has this interest, that it is about people who lived here in this parish, and whose lives are barely known apart from these brief notes.
In 1774 John Ward, the curate, made a census of the village apparently for his own interest, but a later entry says that this was in¬complete. In 1801 the government ordered a census to be made for all England and an accurate return was made of all houses and families.
Ward lists only twenty-six families although we know that there were forty-nine houses, but he splits the parish into the Town (the houses at the top of Church Lane), the bottom of the Town (bottom of 'Church Lane), the Moor, the Lime and The Park. The Enclosure Act meant that some houses on the common were pulled down, but the Reverend Robert Wilmot notes that more houses were built by 1801. Occupations are mentioned on the census returns and of course most people earned their living from the land, but there seems to have been a number doing other work and perhaps some of the farm workers eked out the bad weather with a different job.
In the 1774 census apart from the farm-workers, there was a butcher, a nailer, two shoe makers, a grocer and a framework knitter, and to this the 1801 census adds a weaver, a huckster, a victualler, a blacksmith, two more framework knitters and a rope maker. The baptismal regis¬ter (which adopted a new form of entry in the nineteenth century showing the occupation of the father) shows a wheelwright and gamekeeper in 1815, and in 1838 there was a toll collector.
Considering the importance of the quarries there is very little reference throughout the church records to masons. No-one in 1774 or 1801 worked in the quarries, and even in the later records the only mention of a mason is of one who lived on Breadsall Moor, so perhaps the workers tended to live outside the parish. Glover's "Gazetteer of Derbyshire in 1831" gives an account of the stone quarries and records that the grindstones, from 18" to 4' in diameter were exported by canal presumably from Little Eaton so it is possible that the workers came from that area.
By 1851 there were fifty-seven houses and 286 inhabitants (144 male and 142 female) and in 1857 Morley had two shop-keepers, a wheelwright, a victualler and blacksmith, and a framework knitter. Ten years later in 1861 two more had been built, but the inhabitants had decreased to 230 and included butcher and victualler living at the Three Horse Shoes.