Morley Parish Council

Serving the people of Morley Derbyshire

Clerk/RFO: L Storey
P O Box 8108, Derby
Derbyshire DE1 0ZU

Chapter 2

Some of Morley's history can still be seen in it old buildings and in the pattern of the old roads. Morley is still a village, drawing its livelihood mainly from farming, and unlike a town where new factories and housing estates obliterate the old history, in Morley one can still feel a sense of continuity with the past.

We give here a list of some of the places of interest to be seen.

The Portway

In pre-Roman England there were a number of track ways criss-crossing the country and one of these, the Portway, leads past Morley-Church and can still be traced in the footpath across to the Almshouses. To Mr. P.H. Currey must go the credit for recognising the antiquity of the Morley section of the road. In 1912 he published some notes in which he describes the road as approached from the Coxbench side. After crossing the the brook it again mounts to Morley Moor, in part as a footpath, but after then crossing the Roman Rykneld Street, it again becomes a bridle road, and as such goes through a through Morley and Stanley to Dale Abbey. On Morley Moor the road takes a sharp bend round the well-known moated mound. Whether the bend in the road fixed the site of the Mound or whether the Mound fixed the site of the road it is hard to say, but there is an obvious connection between the two which is proof of great antiquity.

Rykneld Street

The system of Roman roads in England has been well mapped and that section that passes through Morley leads from Little Chester through Breadsall passing northwards. The present road from Breadsall, narrow, straight, paying no regards to the contours and quite different in character from the carefully graded turnpike, road on the other side of the Moor, represents the course of Rykneld Street. Just past Almshouses Lane the present road leaves the old road which can still be traced crossing the fields to the east towards Morley Moor Farm. Part of it was excavated and the following account is taken from the Derby Archaeological and Natural History Society Journal volume 8 by W.T. Watkins:8 'A section was examined to the south of Morley Moor and the road was found to have a foundation of large irregular sandstone blocks 6 inches thick and 1-2 feet square, laid for a width of 18 feet 10 inches. Upon this was a layer of small pieces of sandstone 4-6 inches across with a surfacing of small stones and gravel 3-4 inches thick.' Presumably the sandstone came from local quarries and altogether the road must have been a substantial and impressive sight

The Mound

One of the most unusual and interesting things to see in Morley is the strange moated mound which lies on the path leading from the Alehouses to the Church - the' 'route '-of the Portway. It is now covered with trees but still almost surrounded by a moat. It stands about twenty feet high and the platform on top is about five feet across. What the actual Origin was no-one can say for sure. W. Andrew in the "Victory County History"9 considers it to be 'a perfect specimen of a defensive mound'. But J.W. Allen in an article in The Derbyshire Country side argues that it could never have been big enough for use by more than a dozen men, and dates it much later as a look-out post. 'It is at the highest point of the Moor and from the top a very extensive landscape can be seen. The approach of a company along the highway could readily be seen or detected by the movement of birds. When the district was part of Duffield Frith and scene of royal hunting parties, the Mound could well have served for locating the whereabouts of a party.

Mr. Cockerton of Bakewell has a different theory. He suggests that it was raised by the Romans to help in their survey for Rykneld Street which of course lies quite near. He writes, 'I am inclined to think that this Mound was raised up on the old route (the Portway) as a deliberate obstruction by people who did not care whether the old road fell into disuse or not, and who were obsessed with providing a new system'. Mr. Cockerton adds, 'I sometimes wonder whether the ancient Mound is really the site of the Morelestone mentioned in 1086, i.e. the stone at Morley. Dr. K. Cameron in "Place Names of Derbyshire" says that the stone is unknown but the meeting place was still there in 1300.

Whatever theory one supports it is difficult to see how conclusive proof can be forth-coming. In the meantime the Mound stands silent -one of the question marks of local history.

The Church

Obviously this is one of the buildings in a village to which a historian first turns. There have, however, been admirable histories of the church already written by the Reverend Samuel Fox and by Mrs. Compton Bracebridge, and so what follows is only a suggestion of what can be found.

There is, according to Mr. Cockerton evidence of a Saxon building where the present church now stands by the old lane leading off the Mansfield Road Proof of the historic foundation of the church was discovered when work was proceeding on the wall of the nave, when there was uncovered the original arcades dating from the time of either Stephen or Henry II.

Among the many treasures of the present church are the famous brasses on the tombs of the Sacheverell family; the seventeenth-century Communion Plate given by a member of that family and the medieval glass in the North windows of the Sacheverell chapel which were brought by Francis Pole of Radbourne when Dale Abbey monas¬tery was dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII. The church also contains the tomb of Katherine Babington, grandmother of Anthony, whose conspiracy to rescue Mary Queen of Scots from captivity brought him to the scaffold. Two tombs in the church bring vividly to light the tragedy in human terms of the religious differences of the seventeenth century. Two Sacheverell brothers died within a few years of each other in the late seventeenth century, Jacinth 'in the true orthodox faith' i.e. the Roman Catholic, and Jonathas 'a staunch supporter of the Puritan ideals'. The elder brother Jacinth, who founded the Almshouses bequeathed the property to a rel¬ative of the Barton line to the exclusion of his brother.

The Rectory

There is a note in the church registers that, in 1740 'the Parsonage House was burnt down so the present house is that noted in the 1774 census and by Bagshaw in his "History and Gaze¬teer" of 1846 as 'a neat modern mansion under¬going considerable alterations'.

We are indebted to Mr.F.S. Ogden for giving further information about the Rectory. 'The octagonal bay in the dining room, the cloaks and the part of the kitchen on the north side are additions to the original house together with the relative parts of the floors above, and may be part of the 'considerable alterations' noted by Bagshaw.'

He comments on the working portion of the house where provision was made for making chees¬es, pickling meat, curing bacon and brewing beer. There was a large brick oven and a brew¬ing copper. An original stone cheese press has been left in position in the larder. There still remains a portion of a small complete range of farm buildings at the back of the Rec¬tory on the glebe farm land and approached only by the main drive, so presumably the glebe land was farmed by the Rector himself. One of the rectors, the Reverend Robert Wilmot (late eigh-teenth century) was certainly well acquainted with farm prices.

Mr. Ogden mentions other details which throw light on the life lived in that eighteenth century house -the deep well beneath the kitchen floor (now filled in), the brick oven and the brewing copper which were in the next adjoining outbuildings, the brick oven extending out into the walled backyard in the form of a small brick building having a pitched tile roof. A flight of stairs led from the back kitchen to a chamber over the larders known as 'the apple chamber'. Access had been made to the top of these stairs from a lobby in the bedroom. There were also arched beer and wine cellars. Some of the floors of the upper room are 'plaster floors' i.e. a form of concrete laid on reeds.

In 1959 the Rectory became the Diocesan Re¬treat and Conference House when considerable in¬ternal alterations were made to the building. The ground floor has a large library which can be for lectures and discussions, a common room which was the old drawing room, a newly created kitchen block and dining room, and a small chapel austere and simple in character.

The roof of the Rectory was stripped of its original tiles and all the sound ones were re¬used. These old tiles had no holes for nailing, and as it was considered necessary to have some of tiles nailed to the new laths for security, each fifth row of tiles was replaced with new hole tiles. It was expected that these would darken to a tone comparable with the old tiles in time.

The Village Cross

The shaft of an old churchyard cross stands near to the vestry door and was considerably shortened to receive a sundial which was placed upon it in 1762. In the Rectory grounds there is the shaft of another cross -the Butter or barter Cross enclosed from a public green in the eighteenth century. This name suggests that Morley was something of a local market centre but there is no documentary evidence to back this up. The cross was restored in 1916 by Mr. H. Topham of Morley Hall when the figures of Our Lady and Child were placed on the shaft.

Tithe Barn and Dovecote

Behind the church stands an old barn and dovecote dating from the seventeenth century and originally part of the outbuildings of Morley Hall, home of the Sacheverells when they lived in Morley.

The ground floor has since been used as coach house and stabling by the various Rectors, and at one time the grooms are believed to have lived in the upper storey. It has also been used for storing grain.

Towards the end of the last century the up¬per storey was adapted so that it could be used by the village for social activities. The pre¬sent wooden floor was placed over the old plas¬ter one and the dovecote served as the kitchen. An additional covered staircase was built at the east end of the building presumably to conform with safety regulations. This room became known as the Recreation Room and still is the only parish room for social events. The roof was re-tiled and the beams strengthened in 1963 and alterations were made to the dovecote during 1965. This was thought necessary as part of the gable end of the dovecote was in danger of collapse due to a decayed interior tie-beam, and the re¬pairs necessitated taking down the wall and re¬building it. It is unfortunate that this process meant that the pigeon holes, i.e. pigeon nests formed in the interior brickwork were destroyed. Internal improvements with wall board have covered up the nests on the other walls.

The Rectory, Tithe Barn, Dovecote and Vill¬age Cross are included in a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest by the Town and Country Planning Acts.

The Almshouses

Jacinth Sacheverell, Lord of the Manor of Morley, left provision in his Will that his wife Elizabeth should erect 'an hosptial on Morley Moor for the habitation of six poor, lame or im¬potent men'. Elizabeth died a few months after her husband in 1656 but arranged for the work to be carried out, and the Almshouses bear the date 1656 although they were not in fact built until later.

The Almshouses consist of six dwellings under one roof, each containing two rooms and their gardens in front. A report made by the Charities Survey in 1826 states that 'the almshouses were all in good condition having been repaired eight years previously. Three of the almshouses are appropriated to Morley and three to Smalley and three almsmen are appointed from township. The Smalley almshouses had not used by the almsmen for many years but were held by the Overseer of Morley for the use of parish paupers - the Overseer paying a rent of £2 a year for each tenement.

Several improvements were made towards the of the nineteenth century, and though no records can be traced it is thought that they included the retiling of the roof and alterations to the old open fireplaces, which were built up and oven and boiler type fire grates installed.

In 1937 repairs and improvements were made, the money being raised by voluntary subscription. These included stripping the roof and renewing defective timbers and laths, then retiling using the old tiles as far as possible. The outer doors were renewed or reconditioned in oak and leaded glazing put into the front windows. Dormer windows were put into the bedrooms, previously the only light that penetrated was from room below. Alterations were made to the stairs - originally they consisted of open 'loft-type' steps with but handrails, which lead directly up into the bedroom which was just an open platform or balcony, so presumably the 'lame' of original bequest lived completely downstairs. This was typical cottage or even yeoman house building of the seventeenth century but of course such houses were usually extensively altered before the 1900's. New floors were put into some of the houses and sinks with water taps installed. Before that time water had been brought to stand pipes outside (probably when the Derwent Valley water came through), and prior to that water had to be carried from the pump at Priory Lodge or from Church Lane.

The almshouses were again renovated in 1974/5. The six dwellings were made into four, and electric central heating installed. Two of the almshouses are appropriated to Morley and two for Smalley. The qualification of almspeople states that they shall be poor persons either widow or widower or married couples of pension-able age, and may be required to contribute a weekly sum towards the cost of maintaining the almshouses.

The Croft

This stone built house on Morley Moor prob¬ably dates from as far back as the Almshouses. It consists basically of a main room downstairs with a kitchen attached, and the upstairs 'would have been very like the loft-type described in the almshouse. The stone mullions of the win¬dows and the strength and solidity of the whole building still suggest, in spite of modernisa¬tions, the type of small yeoman houses that must have been common in eighteenth century Morley.

Old Morley Hall

Near the west end of the churchyard are the ruins of an old ancient gateway said to have been the entrance to the court of an ancient Hall, apparently of large dimensions, home of the Stathums and Sacheverells (Lords of Morley and Smalley), and the foundations of the building may still be traced in the adjoining field. The Hall was said to be connected to the church by a sec¬ret passage.

This arched gateway used to be known as the 'loaf-gate', a name thought to have survived from the days when John Stathum distributed bread to the poor. One of the memorial brasses in the church to John Stathum who died in 1435 gives details of the gifts he made to the church and also records that he gifted bread to the parish.

Sir William Dugdale in his 'Visitation of Derby 1660' describes the coats of arms then existing in the windows16 of the old Hall, and the Reverend Charles Kerry lists these in some de-in his copy of the Morley Registers.

No records can be traced to verify when the Hall was dismantled but the Reverend Charles Kerry writes that 'Jane Sacheverell is thought to have taken it down about 1750 (which accounts for the removal of the Sacheverell portraits to Renishaw)'. Jane Sacheverell however died in 1746. One of the Derbyshire Directories17 states that it was still inhabited in 1755.

Edward Sacheverell Wilmot Sitwell: who succeeded to the estates in 1772 shortly afterwards bough Stainsby Hall at Smalley and resided there with his family, and the Reverend Charles Kerry comments 'About the year 1839 a lawyer was employed to 'look over' a large collection of records and muniments at Stainsby belonging to the Sitwell family, descendants of the ancient Lords of Morley and Smalley, with the result that at least two large cartloads of them' comprising all the earliest (and to that gentleman the least legible) documents were committed to the flames. There can be no doubt that many of the old Sacheverell writings (now-so scarce) perished in this grievous act of vandalism.

Morley Hall

The present Hall is situated in the field adjacent to the church near to the site of the Old Hall above. It was built in 1837 by Mr Sitwell.

Morley Manor

The Manor was erected early this Century near to the Smalley boundary by Mrs. Sacheverell Bateman, and is built in the Tudor style after the designs by Thomas Bodley Esq.,A.R.A:, one of the most distinguished architects of our time. An artistic stone Pergola Walk was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. The stone for the house is reputed to have come from Wales.

In 1914 the house was used for a time as a hospital for the wounded, and in 1938 it was sold, together with other parts of the estate. This was bought by the Fitzwalter Wright family. In 1957 it was acquired by the Dr. Barnardo's organisation to be used as a home for children and is still used for this purpose today.

The Mausoleum

In the churchyard is the nineteenth cen¬tury railed vault of the Sitwell family, also the Bateman mausoleum bearing their arms (three stars and three crescents) above the entrance.

Brackley Gate

This part of the district had thriving quar¬ries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and across the 1ast field where Quarry Head used to be a pair of stone cottages can be seen. These are now used as pigsties but were inhabited as late as 1930. They were mason built of stones which are more or less uniform in size and shape. The corners are well squared with square chim¬neys and the roof timbers suggest a craftsman's work.

Also in this area is an unusually shaped stone of the parish. To the right of the Horsley road across two fields are the remains of Moat Farm. This farm and the strip of land the width of a cart track which connected it to the road, paid tithe to Morley Church.

Three Horse Shoes'

The 'Smithy' in Morley did double duty as both smithy and Inn during the eighteenth cent¬ury when there are frequent accounts in the records of the Morley Constable for payments for ale or for travellers' lodgings.

It was run then by Robert.King whose wife was the daughter of Samuel and Betty Kerry who owned the Rose and Crown at Smalley. The Reverend ¬Kerry in his notes states that Robert was blind, and he describes Betty as 'a short round¬-about woman with her hair done up in a roll and cap on the top'. She died in 1831 at the age of 79.

Photographs taken at the beginning of this century show the Three Horse Shoes with thatched roof and the brew house on the right. Three steps led down into the cellar. The original cellars remain but the inn was dismantled and completely rebuilt in 1914.

Broomfield Hall

Earliest records available reveal that Broomfield Estate, containing 107 acres, was sold by Executors of the late Sir Hugh Bateman 1855 to Mr. Henry Boden who disposed of it to the late Robert Smith Esq., from whose Executors it was purchased by Charles Edward Schwind, Esq., J.P. In 1870.

Charles Schwind had Broomfield Hall itself erected that year as his residence. By 1880 the grounds were tastefully laid out, and the Hall was lit by electricity. The estate also had a gas works complete with gasometer in what is now called the 'gas yard' copse, just north of the main entrance and lodge. There was also a good water supply by that time on the estate.

By 1908 Lionel Schwind, Esq., occupied the Hall and was listed as a 'principal landowner', but by 1922 it was in the possession of George William Crompton, Esq., J.P., having been con¬veyed to him by a deed of 1st August 1914. G.W. Crompton, Esq., J.F., was still in possession of the property in 1933 and in 1944.

The Ordnance Survey Map of 1880 - first edition - shows that the Hall and Annexe, the grounds, paths, walled gardens, sunken gardens, and even the field boundaries and water troughs, were almost exactly as they remain today. Broomfield Cottages, 1,2,3 and 4, are also shown on the map with the milepost just south of them marked as it is today. The farm opposite them, however, was called 'Drapers' Hall' in 1880, but is given its present name 'Lime Farm' on the 1914 edition of the map.

In 1947 Broomfield Hall was purchased by the Derbyshire County Council.