B27- Tenants of the Old House

Journal Articles about Tenants of the Old House:

TENANTS OF THE OLD HOUSE by George Challenger

In the 2011 Journal of the Bakewell & District Historical Society.

 I use the name Old House rather than its previous names, Parsonage House and Cunningham Place. Cunningham Place now refers to the private road and includes Hilltop cottages to the north.

As some of the recollections refer to the room names used until recently, I have kept to them. A plan shows them and the names now adopted as a result of Trevor Brighton’s 2004 Journal article (eg buttery and Bowman room were used before their re-naming to parlour closet and porch chamber).


            Tenements before removal of most of Arkwright’s changes. Based on photographs, several plans drawn in the early years of the society and recollections.

            George Butler’s watercolour of 1955 showing the front door to the parlour cottage and, to its left, the 6th cottage which provided its later scullery.

            Winifred Squires, nee Cooper, with George Challenger in 1985. As a girl she lived in the buttery cottage.

            The buttery cottage, the parlour cottage (with the upper window within reach of the Cooper’s plum tree) and the back of the 6th cottage.

            The front showing the 6th cottage, the parlour cottage and the buttery cottage’s scullery where the porch now is.

Ted Meeke listed in the 1989 Journal the people he thought occupied the 6 tenements of the Old House at the times of the censuses of 1851 to 1881. I tried, in the 1998 Journal, to ‘people’ them from those and other sources. This article revises it and includes data from the 1901 and 1911 censuses which are now available (see appendix 2). For more completeness, I bring together other previous articles (some updated) of recollections of former tenants and plans and illustrations which help to explain them.

Plans of the 1950s show the extent of each tenement. There was a change when the 6th cottage became disused in the years leading up to the last war and part of it became the kitchen of the parlour cottage. The porch had been its scullery but was then allocated to the buttery cottage. The previous arrangement is shown schematically in the conveyance plans of 1861 and 1900.

I can be fairly confident in ‘peopling’ the 6 tenements in the 20th century – see the table below. For the 19th century I list the names of those who were probably living in the Old House at different times. It is difficult to be sure which properties are referred to in the earlier censuses (especially 1841).

Only heads of households are listed here. Surnames which occur in contiguous records are put in bold so that it is easier to follow them.

In 1796 Arkwright bought the Gell’s Bakewell estate (after leasing it for the previous 21 years) and lot 14 comprised ‘Parsonage House (in 10 dwellings, barn, gardens, croft and yard)’. The 10 dwellings were probably 5 in the Parsonage House (the 1799 town map shows a small extension where the 6th cottage was built later), 2 to the south which was in what became the grounds of The Close and 3 forming what is now Parsonage Cottage further south. The plan of the 1860 sale from Robert Arkwright to the Duke of Devonshire shows Hilltop as numbers 69 to 71 and the Old House as numbers 74 to 78, the cottage to the south (for more about this cottage see appendix 1) and Parsonage Cottage, both apparently single dwellings.

The 1841 census has little information about places but lists John Turner (145), Jemima Buxton (146) and George Fearn (127) who appear below.

The Poor Law rating valuation of 1847 has 13 dwellings, numbered 1128 to 1140, owned by Arkwright including those converted from the barn to the north (now called Hilltop). 1135 and 1139 were unoccupied: 1136 was occupied by George Fearn, 1137 by Jemima Buxton, 1138 by William Haywood and 1140 by Robert Taylor.

In 1851 the census enumerator came along Church Lane recording Dorothy Lowe at Parsonage Cottage to the south and Richard Noton of Noton’s cottage (where the electricity substation now is). He then recorded 16 in the area then called Hill Yard, first those in the Old House (145 Benjamin Turner, 146 Jemima Buxton, 147 George Fearn, 148 William Howard (was this a different spelling of Haywood?), 149 William Wager and 150 Robert Dakin) then probably two in the cottages to the south; then what is now called Hilltop. He then went further north.

The sale in 1860 from Robert Arkwright to the Duke of Devonshire included 19 cottages and the tenants included Jemima Buxton, William Harrison, Robert Taylor and William Wager.

After the sale to the Duke of Devonshire, the area was divided and, in 1860, Edward Cunningham, the workhouse master, bought the Old House, which then became known as Cunningham Place. Marshal Jenkins (in the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal for 1967) wrote that Cunningham lived in the parlour cottage but this is not bourn out in census returns. 

In the 1861 census the area is called The Hill. 166 occupied by Henry Matkin and 167 by Samual Haslem were probably the cottages to the south. Those in the Old House were probably 168 - Anthony Holmes, 169 - Jemima Buxton, 170 - William Wager, 171 - Henry Noton, 172 - Robert Taylor and 173 - William Harrison. 174 to 178 were presumably what is now Hilltop. The enumerator then went along Stanage Road to the Bluebell Inn.

In 1871 the census enumerator started with Richard Noton, then Joseph Goodwin (where was he?), then Matkin and Haslem. In the Old House were: 203 - Anthony Holmes, 204 -  Emma Buxton (daughter of Jemima), 205 - William Wager, 206 - George Roper and 207 - William Sheldon. He then recorded five in what is now Hilltop followed by the Bluebell Inn.

The 1881 census enumerator recorded 5 dwellings of Hilltop (then called Parsonage Houses) then, in Cunningham Place:  201 no. 1 - Samuel Bradbury (see recollections below), 202 also no. 1 -  John Bond, 203 no. 2 - Thomas Gladwin, 204 no.3 - George Bettney, 205 no.4 - Elizabeth Wager, 206 no. 5 - Walter Boulsover and 207 no. 6 - Anthony Holmes. There seems to be no record for the cottages to the south: probably they were accommodation used for servants at Overdale. Henry Matkin had moved to North Church Street.

The 1891 census enumerator recorded ‘The Parsonage’ which must have meant Church Lane as it included Francis J Taylor’s Overdale, now The Close (see appendix 1). Cunningham Place had 83 - Alfred Rogers, 84 – Frederick Calladine, 85 – George Bettney, 86 – Thomas Gladwin, 87 – Thomas Wilson, 88 – John Barton and four more in what is now called Hilltop.

In 1900 the Old House was sold by the executors of Edward Cunningham to Ernest Longsdon. It was occupied by George Bettney, Charles Chadwick, William Newton, John Goodwin, W H Pitt and Sarah Andrew.

The 1901 census lists those names.

The 1911 census has the same heads of household except that Newton was replaced by Harry Howard and George Bettney by Mary Bettney.

Longsdon sold the gardens in front for the building of The Haven (now Holywell House) and the Church Institute (now School House) and in 1919 sold the Old House to Alfred Denniff. George Bettney, Charles Chadwick and Sarah Andrew were joined as tenants by Mr Stubbs and Mr Potter. Pitt is not mentioned. 

In 1923 the Old House was bought by Thomas Nicholson Harrison and, as he died intestate, vested in Kate Newmarch Harrison in 1929. Tenants are not listed.

In 1937 the Old House was vested in  Kate Harrison’s offspring. By then the 6th cottage was vacant and the others were occupied by Pitt, Hollis, Clarke, Cooper and an unnamed tenant.

In 1955 the surviving Harrisons, Violet and Bernard, gave the four southern cottages to the Bakewell & District Historical Society. They were occupied by Mrs Daisy Cooper, Mrs Jane Grant and Mrs Rebecca Webster. The 6th cottage was derelict.

In 1957 the two northern cottages occupied by Miss Pitt and Violet Harrison, were also given.

yearButtery cottage6th cottageParlour cottageCentral cottageHarrison’s cottagePitts cottage
1900 saleNewtonGoodwinChadwickBettneyAndrewsPitt
1901 census189 Newton188 Goodwin187 Chadwick186 Bettney185 Andrews184 Pitt
1911 census138 Howard137 Goodwin136 Chadwick135 Bettney134 vacant133 Pitt
1919 sale  ChadwickBettneyAndrewsNO PITT!
1937 saleCooper  Clark Pitt
1955 / 7 giftDaisy CooperderelictJane GrantRebecca WebsterViolet HarrisonFrances Pitt


1          Charles Bradbury was a founder member, local builder and antiquarian. See the journals for 1984 and 1985 for his writings. John Marchant Brooks, in his booklet of 1970, wrote that Charles Bradburv said that his grandmother Avena Kay, lived in the largest of the six cottages from about the year 1850, and that his mother was born in the house in 1876. The 1881 census gives Samuel Bradbury aged 36 (therefore born c. 1845) and Martha aged 33 (therefore born c. 1848) but the only child present was adopted. Charles wrote in an undated note in the museum ‘My grandmother, who was born in 1836, often talked about the old place before the Taylors built The Close (see appendix 1). When she lived there the Old House consisted of 4 dwellings. They had a garden down to Church Lane and the other 3 tenants on the land occupied by Charlie Furness, vet.’ His son, Roger Bradbury, said that Charles’s grandmother, Hannah Kay, (whose maiden name was also Bradbury because of cousins marrying) lived for the first 12 years of her life in the parlour cottage. She picked plums from the bedroom window. The 1851 census gives Avena Bradbury (daughter of Benjamin and Martha and born c. 1841) living in Church Lane.

2          In 1987 a visitor recalled that her mother, Emma, was one of 6 children of John and Sarah Elizabeth Andrews. John died in 1889 after working as a policeman under Inspector Barker. Sarah come to live in Harrison’s cottage in about 1889 and died age 62 in about 1919. Harrison’s cottage recorded as vacant in 1911.

3          Newsletter no. 11 of the Society of July 1968 mention a visit by Mrs Alice Howard, aged 92, accompanied by her daughter, grand – daughter and great grand – daughter. She said she lived in the Old House 1898 to 1917 and appears in the 1911 census. But Howards do not appear in the 1901 census (see appendix 2). It was sadly not recorded which cottage she inhabited.

4          Dick Allcock remembered the Goodwins in the 6th cottage between the wars. ‘Rasa’ Goodwin had a large family and he remembered them going up a ladder to bed.

5          Len Mitchell remembered living in the buttery cottage as a boy. He was afraid of falling out of bed and down the stairs because the banister was inadequate.

6          From the 1986 journal: Winifred Squires nee Cooper:     Early in 1985 the Museum had a visit from a former resident of the buttery cottage, Winifred Cooper, who lived there from 1922 to 1935, when she left home to nurse in Buxton. She returned when her husband, Eric Squires, left for the war. She had her eldest and youngest children in the small bedroom, their front bedroom. Her middle child was born in the bedroom of the central or houseplace cottage, occupied by Mrs. Meade, because her step father, George Cooper, had a stroke and could not be moved from their front bedroom. After the war, she and her family moved to Nottingham, where Mr. and Mrs. Squires have lived ever since. Her widowed mother, Daisy Cooper, continued to live at Cunningham Place until she moved to a council house when the cottages were condemned.

The cottage had gas downstairs but only candles in the bedrooms. The sink was in the buttery window, next to their front (and only) door, which was embarrassing when someone came to the door when they were washing themselves. While Winifred was still young, they were given a new scullery in what is now the porch. This had been the parlour cottage’s scullery but that cottage was given a new one carved out of the 6th cottage.

The present stairwell was the pantry where they kept cream from a smallholding near Haddon Hall. Their stairs went straight up from the buttery door and had a coal store beneath (where they hid during bombing raids). Winifred slept above the pantry. Her brothers slept behind a curtain at the other end of their long bedroom, near the Bowman Room (which was part of the central cottage). This end was lit by borrowed light through the Bowman room. If annoyed, the tenants of the central cottage could put a curtain across it and deprive them of this light.

Winifred remembered council workmen looking under the buttery floor for the underground passage thought to go to the church (perhaps at the time the ‘moat’ was dug to prevent dampness entering the back of the building). When she saw the garderobe she wondered if it started the story of the passage (though the garderobe was not known about before being opened up in 1967).

Her grandfather Bacon from Youlgrave had worked in Haddon Hall and frightened her with tales of ghosts.

Winifred worked as an usherette at the cinema. She remembered helping her stepfather dress the horses drawing his dray when it was used for the carnival queen on carnival day.

7          The census list of the Pitts in 1911 includes daughter Frances, the Fanny who moved out in 1966. She is not in the 1911 census - she might have been in service in another household. Note that William Pitt was a chert quarrier before becoming a ‘scavenger’ or night soil collector. The chert quarries were still very active then so why did he change jobs? Strangely, the list of tenants when the property was sold in 1919 does not include a Pitt!  The following is an article in the journal for 1991. See the family tree from that article copied here.

The following information concerning the Pitt family was obtained from Mrs. Elizabeth Hollis (nee Pitt) following her visit to the Old House Museum in October 1989.

William Henry Pitt (Mrs. Hollis’s brother) had donated photographs of William Pitt and Mary Pitt, his grandparents, and a number of kitchen items.

William Pitt was born in 1857 and died in 1938, within two weeks of his wife Mary. They were married c. 1888 and moved into “Pitts’ house” around 1890. Their son James Henry (father of William Henry) was born in 1889. They also had twin boys, who died soon after birth, and four girls: Fanny, Mary, Elizabeth and Annie. James Henry lived in South Church Street but Mrs. Hollis lived with her grandparents in the Old House until 1932 when she moved to Moorhall. Mary moved to Sheffield, Annie lived on Fly Hill and Fanny lived with her parents.

Mrs. Hollis talked of sleeping by the garderobe, which had plasterboard over it, in the same bed as her sister. They knew the wall was hollow but did not know what was behind it. They said they had heard footsteps at night but had not been afraid.

Pitt’s bedroom had been divided into two by a partition cutting the window in half. The grandparents slept in the other half and there was a bed on the landing at the top of the old staircase.

Cold water was piped to the house, and the kitchen had a stone sink. The floor was flagstoned and Mrs. Hollis used to scrub it. She also blackleaded the stove.

The pipe which Mr. Pitt donated was called ‘the cloud raiser’. She spoke of her grandfather smoking once a year, on New Years’ Eve.

When the earth was cleared from the backs of the houses, rumours flew about the existence of a passage from the house to the church.

Mrs. Hollis’ Aunt Annie lived on Fly Hill. She married George Gregg. James Henry Pitt married Annie Gregg, sister of George Gregg. So brother and sister married sister and brother.

8      On 22 Jan. 2010 Ernest Grant met Jan Stetka and George Challenger to go over his recollections of Cunningham Place and elsewhere in Bakewell. He lived in the parlour cottage of what is now called the Old House from 1941 (when aged 14) to about 1951. This corrects an article in the Journal for 2000 and supplements the extended video interview made at that time. Points added from other knowledge are in italics.

He was born in Barratt’s Yard off North Church Street. Emma Stephens (nee Carrington) helped Ernest’s mother get the tenancy in Cunningham Place. She lived at no. 5 Hilltop, next to the Old House.

Turning to the Old House, Miss Pitt lived with Tommy Carroll and Eva Gregg (who was sometimes called Pitt and who worked at Dunn’s chemist in Bridge Street).

Miss Violet Harrison was not seen much. Rent had to paid via Mr Marchant Brooks and not direct to her.

Mr and Mrs Clark lived in the centre cottage which included the Bowman Room (above the porch). Their son Cyril died during the Second World War in the far east. His younger brother John was born after they moved to Higginholes. Mr and Mrs Meade then came and their son Charlie once tied sheets together to escape out of the Bowman Room window when he had been sent to his room. Mrs Webster was the last occupant of the centre cottage in c. 1952 to 1954. (Mr Marchant Brooks accepted her as a tenant illegally as the closing order was then in force to prevent new lettings of the property).

Mrs Daisy Cooper and daughter Winifred lived in the buttery cottage, which included also the southern parts of the houseplace and landing except for access to the Bowman Room. The porch was their scullery. There were, in the Old House, 4 Coopers, 3 Clarks, 2 Grants (his two brothers were in the forces), I Harrison and 3 in Pitts’ cottage.

The Grants’ (parlour) cottage was entered by the door to the left of the large window. Inside was a porch to stop drafts. Another door from the porch opened outwards (with a hinge on the west) to their scullery (formed from part of the 6th cottage after it became disused before Ernest’s time). The floor was level with the parlour and was of concrete (removed in 2009). The walls were even (no projections, etc). They and the ceiling were plastered with a smooth finish and ‘Walpamured’ (an advance on distemper) in cream. To paint the ceiling Ernest had to stand on a stool on a chair on a table as it was higher than that in the parlour, On the left (east) under a window was a sink with a cold tap. There was also a cupboard.

There was a gas light hanging from the ceiling of the parlour but they didn’t use it for fear of the mantle breaking when it was difficult to buy new ones in the war. So they used an oil lamp. They had difficulty getting blackout material for the 9 - paned window. A black - leaded kitchen range in the big fireplace was like the one in Pitts’ cottage and had a similar fender. It had an oven on the left, a tank for heating water on the right and the hearth in the centre, where there was a grille for oatcakes or toast. The grill turned down for the kettle to go in front of the hearth so that it was heated from the side rather than below, to avoid the risk of burning a hole in the base of the kettle. 

Opposite the front door was a flimsy wall with a door to the coal store on the left and, on the right, a door to the stairs which curved up to the left. After deliveries of coal Ernest had to clean the tiles. Opposite the coal store door was a door into the alcove with a thick partition. Ernest knew nothing of the Tudor cupboard which formed part of that room divider. A double door cupboard opened into the main room and shelving faced the alcove. (The CD incorrectly shows the room divider much thicker than the Tudor cupboard.) In the corner of the alcove was a bakestone with a hollow below leading to the chimney. They did not use this. To the left of the bakestone (under the only window) and at the same level was a stone sink or thrall showing that it was the scullery before they had use of the 6th cottage.

At the top of the stairs was a lobby with a door into his mother’s bedroom in the alcove. Ernest put his hand out of the small opening light (which was transferred to the replacement window) to pick Mrs Cooper’s plums. He had the main part of the solar which had two double beds, one used by his brother, George, when he returned from the war. There was no heat upstairs except from stoneware hot water bottles. Ernest spent much time sitting on the window seat looking over the town and valley. There was no blackout over the window so not even candles were used when it was dark. He remembered bombers coming up the valley to go towards Sheffield.

The Parish Rooms (now Old School House) were occupied by the Woman’s Royal Army Corps (though Leslie Wright disputed this). The garden was cultivated by Mr Brotherton of North Church Street. Ernest remembers Dr Evans getting a trench 7-8 feet deep dug across the garden on the line of the present garage to look for the tunnel from Cunningham Place to the church (for use by the monks!).

The part of the 6th cottage which did not form part of their dwelling was used only as a place to store Ernest’s bike. He said the floor level was much below his scullery’s and a bit lower than the ground level outside. The plaster ceiling was bowing so he spent as little time as possible inside. He put his bike against the wall which Jan has discovered, which formed the west wall of the small room and went right to the ceiling. There was a window to the left of the door. He was not aware of spaces above. (The CD shows the structure of the 6th cottage incorrectly.)

His end of Cunningham Place was quiet. The ginnel from the Coach House to Church Lane was private to the Brooke - Taylor household but Ernest sometimes jumped over the garden wall to use it. 

He cleared the end of the forecourt to make a garden with red and black currants.

The Grant’s toilet was the south eastern of four in the south west corner of the garden. It had a pit which was cleaned out every few weeks by the council. In Feb 2008 when the excavation for the new gallery was starting Ernest Grant visited and remembered walking up a slope on the stone slab path then visible (which is on the 1879 map). The south west cubicle was used by the Coopers.

The ceilings were coming down and the Grants moved out to Holywell flats (and later to Burton Edge and then Youlgrave).

Ernest worked in the chert mine and remembers using acetylene lamps.

APPENDIX 1: THE CLOSE by George Challenger after discussion with Mrs Barbara Brooke – Taylor.

After the Duke of Devonshire had bought the Parsonage land from Robert Arkwright and subdivided it. James Taylor bought the land south of the Old House. In 1882 Francis James Taylor (1852 to 1915) bought the land and built Overdale. He bought more land in about 1900.

In 1884 he knocked two of the three Parsonage cottages into one. In 1912 the third cottage was amalgamated and he lived there, leaving Overdale to be occupied by his brother, Herbert Brooke –Taylor in 1913 (who renamed it The Close).

In 1913 the stable block (now called The Coach House) was built. The upper floor was made into a flat for Michael and Barbara Brooke – Taylor after the Second World War

C R Allcock remembered the thatched cottages, demolished in 1928, which were just to the east of The Coach House. Charles Bradbury’s notes (in the Journal for 1984) mention that his mother and father, when first married, lived in a detached cottage in the grounds of The Close, presumably this cottage (see Bradbury above).

Michael Brooke – Taylor once told me that, as a boy, he used to pea - shoot tenants of Cunningham Place from above the stable.



schedule no.no. of roomsnameagestatusoccupationbirthplace
1844William PITT39headchert quarrierLongstone
  Mary36wife Bakewell
  Annie14daug Bakewell
  James11son Bakewell
  Frances6daug Bakewell
  Mary E3daug Bakewell
1854Sarah ANDREWS40widcharwomanBrampton
  Florence10daug Bakewell
  Peter Goodwin60boardercorn miller’s carterBakewell
1863George BETTNEY60headstone wallerBaslow
  Mary59wife Over Haddon
  Elizabeth33daugcotton winderBakewell
  George29songeneral labourerBakewell
  Frederick26songeneral labourerBakewell
  Thomas24sonchert minerBakewell
  Sarah17daugdomestic servantBakewell
1873Charles CHADWICK35headplastererWakefield
  Matilda32wife Dronfield
  William H12son Dronfield
1884John GOODWIN31headcab driver/groomYoulgreave
  Kate26wife Bakewell
  Agnes6daug Bakewell
  William4son Bakewell
  John1son Bakewell
1894William NEWTON36headgrocer’s carterOver Haddon
  Mary A33wife Youlgreave
  George10son Bakewell
  Hannah6daug Bakewell
  John Wm2son Bakewell


Schedule no.No of roomsnamestatusmarital statusaged.boccupationbirthplace
1334PITT, William HenryHeadMarried491862Scavenger, Bakewell UDCLongstone
  PITT, MayWifeMarr. 24 years461865 Bakewell
  PITT, James HenrySonSingle211890Delver In Stone QuarryBakewell
  PITT, Mary Ellendaughter 131898schoolBakewell
  PITT, ElizabethDaughter 91902 Bakewell
1353BETTNEY, MaryWifeWidow691842House WifeOver Haddon
  BETTNEY, EmilyDaughterSingle411870 Bakewell
  BETTNEY, GeorgeSonSingle381873ScavengerBakewell
  BETTNEY, FredSonSingle311880ScavengerBakewell
1363CHADWICK, Charles EdwardHeadMarried461865Plasterer HouseWakefield Yorkshire
  CHADWICK, MatildaWifeMarr. 22 years421869 Apperknowle
  CHADWICK, WilliamSonSingle221889General labourerBakewell
  CHADWICK, RobertNephewSingle321879Delver In Stone QuarryBakewell
  POTTER, GeorgeNephew 141897Grocers Errand BoyBakewell
  POTTER, WalterNephew 101901SchoolBakewell
1373GOODWIN, JohnHeadMarried411870County Council RoadmanYoulgreave
  GOODWIN, KateWifeMarr.17 years361875 Bakewell
  GOODWIN, JohnSonMarried111900SchoolBakewell
  GOODWIN, KateDaughter 61905SchoolBakewell
  GOODWIN, JamesSon 41907SchoolBakewell
1384HOWARD, HarryHeadMarried361875Gardener JobbingBakewell
  HOWARD, AliceWifeMarr.12 years351876 Rippingale Lincs
  HOWARD, LouisSon 101901SchoolBakewell
  HOWARD, MaryDaughter 81903 Bakewell
  HOWARD, HerbertSon 61905 Bakewell
  HOWARD, JohnSon 01911 Bakewell


These censuses include the number of rooms each household has.  They were allowed to include the kitchen, but not scullery, landing, lobby, closet or bathroom.  Adding up the number of rooms in the Old House they total 22 in 1901. There were 17 in 1911 but household 134 is omitted. One of the models of the Old House we had made in the 1980s shows each cottage of that period in a different colour from the knowledge we then had. I am grateful to Ernest Grant and to Laurence Knighton (who was active in the Society in its early days) for confirming that it is correct. So what were all these rooms? I suggest the following:

Pitts’ cottage                 4 rooms            kitchen; cellar; upper floor divided into 2 bedrooms.

Harrison’s cottage         4 rooms            living room (now our office); kitchen; 2 bedrooms.

Central cottage             3 rooms            most of houseplace; most of landing; Bowman room.

Parlour  cottage             3 rooms            parlour; solar; solar alcove.

6th cottage                   4/3 rooms         one significant room on the ground floor; the first floor and a loft.

Buttery cottage             4 rooms           buttery; south end of houseplace and space now occupied by the stairs; small bedroom; south end of landing and where stairs now are.

APPENDIX 4:   OCCUPATIONS from 19th century censuses

Arkwright acquired the property to provide accommodation for his mill workers but, by the time of the 1841 census, no-one was recorded as such. Several members of the Bettney family worked at the mill late in the century, including two as cotton spinners. The commonest occupation was labouring. Jemima Buxton and Thomas Gladwin’s wife were laundresses. Holmes was a tailor. Rogers was a marble mason and his son a blacksmith. Noton’s son was a marble worker. Harrison and Roper were miners. Wager was a wheelwright, his widow a housekeeper and son a blacksmith. A lodger of Goodwin’s was Edwin Broomhead, plumber, and a lodger of Fearn’s was a miller. Transport employed a number: Gladwin was a mail coach driver; Calladine a cab driver; Bradbury a carter; Taylor a coach painter; Noton and Boulsover were rural messengers; Wilson was a cattle drover and several were road labourers.   


I thank Marian Barker for help with the censuses. I have partly relied on the three volumes by Ted Meeke in which he listed and analysed census data for Bakewell for 1841 to 1881.

ADDITION FROM JOHN MARCHANT BROOKS' NOTEBOOK ON 1954 which came with material from Philip Roose's

house in 2113. JMB was land agent and collected rents for the owners.

1  Pitts  Polly and Will

2  Miss Harrison, Mrs Potter, Mrs Andrews

3  (central) Mrs Webster, Mould, Fred Clark. Mrs Mead. Old Mrs Bettney with 13 children went in 1870

4  (buttery) Ricey Cooper, Howard, Stubbs

5 (parlour) TN Harrison died c. 1929 widow stayed with daughter, Matthew Hollis, Prvecy? Noton  Mrs Chadwick (submarine Charlie), Grant        

6 (6th cottage)  Jack (Razzer) Goodwin and Kate.and son Jimmie. When they left Charles McGregor became tenant.

B5- Marshal Jenkins

By J. MARSHALL JENKINS  Derbyshire Archaeological Journal LXXXVII 1967

Old House Museum is owned by the Bakewell and District Historical Society. That the building exists at all is entirely due to the enthusiasm that members of the Society contribute to its maintenance. This situation has resulted from the generosity of the Harrison family who gave the property to the Society in 1955 and 1957. Investigation of the house and essential reconstruction were started immediately upon the Society’s receipt of the four cottages contained in the first deed of gift, but the Society was precluded from carrying out a detailed enquiry into the remaining two cottages until they were vacated in 1966. Since then these have been examined, and it now seems opportune to attempt an appreciation of the house and its history. This is done in the consciousness that the full story of Old House Museum is not yet available to us and in the hope that present deductions will elicit further evidence for consideration.

The evidence upon which any appreciation must be based is of two kinds, documentary and architectural. In both these categories time has created significant omissions, yet one over-riding conclusion can be reached in regard to the house and its history - it may well be unique in the way that it reflects social development in England from the 11th to the present century. This is not to say that the house has no significance in its own right nor to imply that any part of the existing structure was built in the 11th century, but merely to place the peculiar historical quality of the house to the forefront at the outset of our discussion. The composite expression of five distinct social phases is an essential part of the character of Old House Museum and these may be symbolized by the church (pre1549), landed gentry (1549-1778), industrialists (1778-1860), property investors (1861-1955) and preservationist society (1955-).

The earliest document to give positive reference to Old House Museum is the notice of the sale of a freehold estate in Bakewell and Holme on 30 June 1796. [1] The property was leased to Richard Arkwright for a term of twenty-one years from 25 March 1778 at a yearly rent of £242. The first four lots are as follows:
                                                                                                                        A.         R.         P.
LOT 1 — Three Dwellings and Gardens                                                              0          0          15        
LOT 2 — Barn, Yard and Garden                                                                       0          0          25
LOT 3 — Barn, Kiln-house and Croft                                                                  0          1          16
LOT 4 - Parsonage House (in 10 Dwellings, Barn,  Gardens, Croft and Yard)        8          3          10         No 78 on the plan

Lot 4 provides us with a description of Old House Museum and its barn, already converted into the cottages which were existing when the Historical Society took control of the house. The name given to the property, Parsonage House, suggests a link with the church, and this can be established more clearly by reference to the conditions of sale:
5. There is an annual Fee-farm Rent of £16 3s 11 1/2d. issuing out of the Lots above mentioned, and out of other Lands late of Philip Gell, Esq., deceased, in the County of Derby, and payable to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield; against which Payment the Purchasers and their Heirs are to be indemnified by the Covenant of Philip Gell, Esq., Son and Heir of the said Philip Gell, deceased. And there is to be reserved to the Vendors a perpetual Annual Rent of £10 10s. clear of Taxes, out of this Estate, which is to be apportioned amongst the several Purchasers by Mr. JOHN NUTTALL. And the respective Purchasers are to have deducted out of their Purchase Money 25 Years purchase on the Rent to be reserved, which Rent to be reserved is intended to answer the Payments to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield for the Lands above-mentioned.

This condition makes it clear that the land being sold, a small part of which was the site of Old House Museum, was held by Philip Gell on a fee-farm rent from the dean and chapter of Lichfield, and was part of a larger area of land rented at £16. 3s. 11 1/2d.

At what date did the Gell family come into possession of this property? It was in 1549, when the dean and chapter of Lichfield had decided that it would be expedient for them to part with the lands within the High Peak appropriated to them by Bishop William of Cornhill in 1219. [2] They included the glebe land of Bakewell, Hope and Tideswell and involved property which had previously been part of the prebendary emoluments of the priests of Bakewell collegiate church. [3] There can be little doubt that it was the collegiate content of the Bakewell rectory held by the dean and chapter which prompted the decision -— in the face of the Act of Parliament passed under Edward VI to confiscate the property of collegiate churches and chantry chapels.

Ralph Gell of Hopton obtained the fee farm of Bakewell at a rent of £16. 3s. 11 1/2d. [4] It surely cannot be coincidence that the land upon which Old House Museum stands, owned by the Gell family, should have been part of a separate fee-farm rent payable in 1796 to the same dean and chapter, the rent being to the nearest half penny the same. We must conclude that the site of Old House Museum was part of the land in the 1549 contract. This document states that Ralph Gell shall hold the glebe lands of the rectories of Bakewell, Hope and Tideswell with other land in Holmesfield, Ashford, Birchills, Monyash, and Chapel en le Frith. All burgages, houses, cottages, edifices, gardens, orchards, waterways, fishponds, pastures, meadows and woods were specified as part of the lease but there were two notable exceptions. The land and properties held by the vicars were to be retained by them and such benefits as were included in another lease between the dean and chapter of Lichfield and George Vernon were not to pass to Ralph Gell. The contract with George Vernon was for the fee farm of Nether Haddon [5] and, in fact, was the lease of the tithes of corn, hay and minerals for the rectory of Bakewell; the tithe barns and the land upon which they stood were part of this.

Two points are worth emphasizing from these two documents: the vicar did not occupy any of the houses or land which passed to Ralph Gell and the present “barn” to Old House Museum was never a tithe barn. If the name given to Old House Museum as lot 4 of the 1796 auction, i.e. Parsonage House, is to be taken at face value, this suggests that at some time before 1549there existed in Bakeweil a house for the parson or rector, or his agent, and in addition a vicarage-house. Since the tithe barn for the rectory of Bakeweil would most likely originally have been built in proximity to the parsonage or rectory-house the fact that an area of land suitable in size to house a large barn and immediately to the north of the site of Old House Museum is held by the duke of Rutland (fig. 1), descendant of George Vernon, may cause us to conclude that Old House Museum stands upon the site of the original rectory of Bakewell church. Certainly, its position, to the north-west of the church, is a traditional situation for such buildings.

There was nothing unusual in a parish having both a rectory or parsonage-house and vicarage-house. This often occurred when the advowson of a church had been given to some corporate body or individual other than the priest responsible for the cure of souls. When this happened it became the prerogative of the recipient of the gift to dispose of the emoluments of the parish by taking them to himself or to his own nominee. The recipient became the rector or parson, being entitled to the glebe land and the tithes of the church, and it was his responsibility to appoint a priest to care for the cure of souls in the parish. This was normally achieved by the ordination of a vicarage and the entitlements of the vicar were specified in the ordination. Inevitably some mention was made of a house for the vicar, and the vicar of Bakewell was to be provided with a house, garden and adjacent enclosure, according to the ordination of Bakewell vicarage, which followed Bishop William of Cornhill’s gift of the rectory to the dean and chapter of Lichfield in 1219. [6]

It is certain that the vicarage-house was not part of Gell’s lease of 1549, but what other documentary evidence have we, other than the name Parsonage House in the auction list of 1796, for presuming that the site of Old House Museum was that of the rectory-house of Bakewell? The Valor Ecciesiasticus (1535) contains a list of the values of tithes, land and stipends within the dean and chapter of Lichfield’s holdings in Bakewell, which reads:

                                                                                                                                                                                                £              s                d

For the site of the rectory with glebe land and holdings in Bakewell and Holmes in the county of Derbyshire   7              10           4
For the site of the rectory of Hope with land and holdings in that same place in the said county and diocese   5              0              10 1/2
For the site of the rectory of Tideswell with land and holdings in the same place                                                                                    15                1
For a garden in Chapel en le Frith in the county afore-mentioned                                                                                                             0                6
For land in Over Haddon in the said county                                                                                                                                                    1                4
For land and holdings in Monyash in the said county and diocese                                                                                                             7                4
For land in Birchills in the said county and diocese                                                                                                                                       3                4
For land in Mornsall in the said county and diocese                                                                                                                                     2                0
                                                                                                                                                Total for land                                        14           0                9 1/2

This is apparently a list of the land leased to Ralph Gell minus that of Ashford and Holmesfield. The author has failed to find reference to either of these in the Valor Ecciesiasticus, but Cox tells us that according to that account the value of Ashford was £2. It did not follow in every case that the assessment of the value of tithes or land in the Valor was the amount charged as a perpetual lease when the land was disposed of by the church. The value of the tithes of corn and hay with minerals in Bakewell was given as £43. 18s. 4d. and the emoluments of the church of Kniveton in Derbyshire as £5. The lease of the tithes of corn, hay and minerals to George Vernon in 1549was for £37. 16s. 10d. On the other hand the church of Kniveton was first leased to Ralph Gell for 40 years in 1537at a rent of £5 and in perpetuity to “Thomas (second) son of Ralph Gell” at the same rent in 1549. [8]The difficulty in tracing exact amounts of land and locations through accounts of this sort is extreme.

However, one fact emerges from the list -— in the case of each of the rectories of Bakewell, Hope and Tideswell the “site of the rectory” is specifically mentioned as a separate item to the glebe land. This may be taken to imply that these sites were separate from the vicarage and the valuation of the vicarages of these three parishes, which is given later under the deanery of High Peak, suggests that this was so. For the vicarage of Hope there is listed a house with garden 16s. 8d., and for the vicarage of Tideswell two roods of the glebe with a house 4s. Unfortunately the vicarage of Bakewell is supplied with no such detail: it is simply recorded that Richard Gwent the vicar was not present and that the vicarage was valued at £20.

There is no reason for us to presume that because Richard Gwent was absent from the commission establishing the value of his Bakewell vicarage a detailed account of the valuation would not have shown evidence of a vicarage-house as in the accounts for Hope and Tideswell. On the contrary the similarity of the description of the land appropriated to the dean and chapter of Lichfield in Bakewell, Hope and Tideswell, together with the conditions of the lease of 1549and the vicarage ordination, presents a case for concluding that the vicarage-house was not the same as the parsonage or rectory-house. This case is supported by the character of Old House Museum itself for, as one can reconstruct it in its medieval form (fig. 2), it consisted of a parlour with bay extension and buttery separated off by a timber screen; at right angles to this wing and thus forming a T-shaped plan was a large house-place (with a cooking- hearth) to which led the entry through a porch and off which the staircase led to the bedrooms above. There is no evidence to suggest that there was ever a hall of two-story height in the building; this and the older, timber mullioned, shuttered windows of the house -— a humble expression of medieval architecture -— suggest that the house was built as a yeoman’s farmhouse and not as a mansion of the church. W. A. Pantin quotes several examples of priests’ houses both parsonage-houses and vicarage-houses in one parish and explains the differences in qualities of design by reference to the income and position of the individual clergyman within the hierarchy of the church. [9] He says, “The frequent mention of granges, barns, hay - houses, etc. in medieval records and in later terriers reminds us that every rector had some glebe land to cultivate either himself or through a farmer, so that the parsonage-house was ‘likely to take the character of a small farmstead.”

Bearing in mind the probable disassociation of the vicarage-house from the parsonage-house at Bakewell and the character of the building we need not be surprised, therefore, to read in another section of the Valor Ecclesiasticus that Ralph Gell received £5. 13s. 4d. as the bailiff of the dean and chapter -— for the land that he later leased from them -— as early as 1535. He was, of course, in the best position to take over the land when it came up for disposal, a situation which was repeated in many places throughout the country during those years of ecclesiastical reform. There was also a steward for the rectories of Bakewell, Hope and Tideswell, Edward Allen on a salary of £2per annum. Whether either of these employees of the dean and chapter lived at Old House Museum (even for short period’s -— for Ralph Gell had his own house at Hopton) we cannot tell, but it seems not unlikely that this was the case and that the incumbent of the rectory might have reserved one or two rooms for an occasional visit.

At the beginning of the 16th century the Peak land of the dean and chapter was rented to some twenty people, and Ralph Gell was not one of these. It seems that he acquired the post of bailiff, if we take his age into account, between 1515 and 1535, but that even before this time the glebe lands had been in the hands of lay farmers. This situation and the architectural quality of Old House Museum lead to the conclusion that it might have been built initially towards the end of the 15th rather than at the beginning of the 16th century. If we accept that Old House Museum stands on the site of the rectory, we may ask why a new house should have been built during this period. Pantin says, “It is clear from visitation records that parsonages were often in decay, especially, one suspects, through non-residence.” [9] By this he means that the rectors or parsons — in our case the dean and chapter of Lichfield or their lessee — were responsible for the maintenance of the parsonage, although it might be occupied by a lay tenant, and that they neglected such maintenance. Such a situation may well have occurred at Bakewell.

Pantin adds, “In a vicarage, the responsibility for building and maintaining the vicar’s house was usually laid on the appropriator” [9] — again, in our case the dean and chapter. Yet at Bakewell this responsibility was clearly not laid upon the appropriator but was the responsibility of the vicar. On 9 March 1481the vicar was ordered to repair the vicarage, its houses and buildings by Passion Sunday. [10] Had the rectors been held responsible for this maintenance of the vicarage such a document would not have been drafted. Furthermore, if the vicar had been housed in the rectory or parsonage-house the rectors would certainly have been responsible for the repairs. This reference, coming as it does well before the Reformation, stresses that the parsonage-house and the vicarage-house were separate entities before that time and implies that this separation took place -— as happened in innumerable cases -— when the appropriation of the emoluments of Bakewell church was made to the dean and chapter of Lichfield and the vicarage ordained. That is to say that there was a vicarage-house separated from the parsonage-house from 1219to the present day.

Whether the vicarage-house occupied its present site from that time to this is a matter which does not concern us here, although the existence of two buildings holding the name parsonage, i.e. Parsonage House (Old House Museum) and Parsonage Cottage (which is on another site) might imply the removal of the vicarage-house from the site of the latter to its present position. The current use of the word parson to mean any parish priest is a result of the increasing lack of precise definition which has progressively devalued our language. Hamilton Thompson is quite definite in his opinion that “to medieval ears, and indeed until a much later period, the parson, the persona, was a rector, the incumbent of the great tithe of the parish”. [11] We may take it that the words “the parson/s” or “the rector/s” refer to the dean and chapter of Lichfield, the corporate rector or, perhaps, to an individual granted the rectory by that body for a limited term. Similarly, when the vicar or the vicar’s mansion is mentioned, it is solely the vicar or his house which is described. Thus, a document of 1330describing the position of a plot as “one curtilage, which is called Cropholynyerts, lies opposite the mansion of the vicar of Bakewell, and abuts upon the garden of the parsons of Bakewell .“ suggests that the site in question, which was asmall irregular enclosure and not a strip warranting the normal use of the term “abut” (larger areas of farming land were also included in the document), was across the Monyash road from the vicarage-house and adjacent to (or abutting) the garden of the parsonage-house. This would place the two houses in the same relationship as the present vicarage is to Old House Museum today with a piece of land (“Cropholynyerts”) and Monyash Road between — allowing for the break-up of the parsonage garden during the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to the garden to the south there was also an enclosure to the west of Old House Museum, called Parsonage Field and listed as an ancient enclosure in the rating survey of I847 [13]— the name for the enclosure  being used until quite recently. Parsonage-houses had their gardens and enclosures as well as vicarage-houses, and it was these three items which comprised lot 4 in 1796 (fig. 1). The presence of these three elements together, i.e. Parsonage House with garden and enclosure, to the northwest of the church and adjacent to land which may have held the tithe barn, supports strongly the view that Old House Museum is on the site of the ancient rectory-house of Bakewell. The weight of the evidence is such that Parsonage Cottage may be excluded from further consideration.

Another hypothesis that has been put forward-— without evidence of any kind- — is that the house was part of the possessions of the chantry of the Holy Cross at Bakewell. This can be quickly dismissed. The chantry was richly endowed, and the Valor Ecciesiasticus states that it held ten houses and 203acres of land (the acreage somewhat similar to that of the glebe) and gives the value with deductions as £6. 6s. 1d. This valuation was too low for, in the Chantry Rolls of Edward VI (1549), the value is given as £10. 9s. 5d.’ [14] The land is described as “in various tenures, without occupation” and with sixteen tenants, including George Vernon, who held two plots, one valued at 9d. and the other at 4s., and Ralph Gell who held the lease on one plot worth 13s. The document proceeds “Notwithstanding that, they (i.e. the 16 tenures) were leased, among other things, to Edward Pease and William Wynlove, and to their heirs and assigns from the feast of St. Michael the Archangel last, in perpetuity, as through letters patent of the said Lord King dated 20 December in the third year of his reign . . .“ No chantry land passed to Ralph Gell: therefore, Old House Museum could not have been a chantry house.

This does not mean that some former house which stood at one time on the site of Old House Museum was not occupied by clergy of Bakewell church. But documentary evidence implies that this was prior to the ordination of the vicarage. It may well be that the two priests of the Domesday church had their residence there, that the three prebends of the later Norman foundation also lived on that spot and that they continued to do so after John, count of Mortain (later King John), had granted the advowson of the Bakewell rectory to Hugo de Nonant, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield in 1192. Hugo continued to support two priests with salaries and left one in possession of his prebendary income. The other two prebendary incomes he granted to the dean and chapter of Lichfield and, although the transfer of the whole of the rectory to the dean and chapter was done in stages by subsequent bishops, no provision was made for a vicar until the dean and chapter received the whole rectory in 1219. Presumably up to this time the priests of the parish occupied the rectory or parsonage-house, or at least part of it. The ordination did away with the prebendary priests and established a vicar, deacon and sub-deacon in place.

We may speculate about the type of house which might once have stood upon the site of Old House Museum for the use of the priests of the parish, but no evidence of any kind remains for us to draw enlightened conclusions. We can only surmise that the house was of timber construction -— as was normal at Bakewell at that time -— and that it was probably a sizeable establishment, for it held the priests and servants of a rich parish. In Domesday Book the church was recorded as possessing three carucates of land (presumably the bulk of the glebe land), and in the Taxation Roll of Pope Nicholas IV (1291) the church valued at £260. 13s.4d. was the third richest living in the land. Undoubtedly it was one of the biggest assets of the cathedral of Lichfield, and from first receiving the gift, the dean and chapter made the most of it — even to the extent of being miserly with the vicar’s salary. [15] Under these circumstances it would have been surprising if the original parsonage-house had been adequately maintained.

Until the i6th century when Ralph Gell acquired the land of the dean and chapter’s assets in the Peak and it was re-assembled under one heading in his lease, there was a gradual dispersal between an increasing number of tenants. From 1245 to 1254Henry de Lexinton, dean of Lincoln, was leased the rectories of Hope and Bakewell. [16] He sub-let lands in Bakewell to Ralph Vernon of Haddon Hall. [17] On his appointment as bishop of Lincoln his brother Robert took on the lease. In 1275 William Foljambe of Wormhill covenanted not to alienate any of the lands that he held in Bakewell under the dean and chapter, [18] and as late as 1508 Holme in Bakewell was leased to Canon Richard Delves for five years at a rent of £5. 11s. 4d. p.a. [19] By this time there were some twenty tenants of the Peak estates. [20] From these records it will be seen that the need for a focus for the estates fell into the farm-house category rather than that of a priest’s house. This does not help us to decide exactly when and under whose direction Old House Museum was built; indeed this may never be determined. The building may have followed the visitation of 1481,when the vicar was warned to repair his house. At this time also an inquisition was taken at the death of Sir William Plompton, son of Alice née Foljambe, who appeared to be “seized not only of the manor of Bakewell but of the advowson of the church” [21] We must ask whether the church lands of Bakewell had been held by the Foljambe family from 1275 and passed by way of Alice, heir to Sir Godfrey (founder of the chantry of the Holy Cross) to Sir William Plompton. The covenant of 1275 undertaking not to alienate suggests a long-term lease. The termination of such a long tenancy may well have stimulated the building of Old House Museum. The history of Old House Museum is still interspersed with question marks, but the form of the building as erected first is relatively clearly defined.

The plan of the house in 1549was roughly T-:shaped (fig. 2). The leg of  the T, which runs north-south, contained the kitchen or house-place on the ground floor and two chambers, one with a fireplace, above. The measurements of this wing are approximately 40x 20ft., and it may be that the ground floor consisted of one large area but it may have been divided into house-place and dairy. In addition, it had a passage running across from the porch to the staircase. At least one beam with mortises for framing (now ludicrously placed from kitchen fireplace to opposite wall) suggests that there was originally a division of this area. The cross wing of the T held the parlour and buttery at ground level and the principal bedchamber and a small chamber above. Over this chamber was a roof room which could be reached from the bedroom side of the dividing half timber partition. Some people contend that this loft was for the use of a personal servant; the window to this room is repeated to the other end of the wing, which throws some doubt upon this suggestion. The size of this wing is approximately 34 x 20ft., and so both wings indicate adherence to a dimensional tradition of the medieval period when proportions composed of squares and the diagonal or “overthwart” line of the squares were combined in architectural design. [22] In this case the house-place wing had two squares of 20ft. and the parlour wing one squatre of 20ft. plus half the diagonal of the 20ft. square, namely 14ft. [23] At the junction of these two main areas the porch occupied the east corner and the staircase well the west corner of the T. One other offshot completed the plan -— a small upstairs closet off the end room to the north wing, projecting alongside the north face of the houseplace chimney stack, which may have been the garderobe with a sump and aperture to the open air for cleaning out below. All the existing walls of this plan are bonded with puddled mud and pointed; the existence of vertical joints between projecting elements -— a common feature in local building -— need not cause us to conclude that these were later additions.

The plan is typical of yeomen houses built in Derbyshire and Yorkshire during the 15th, 16th and early 17th centuries. It stems from the convenience of placing accommodation on two levels across the end of a medieval hail of two-storey height. The plan type reached fruition in buildings such as Unstone Hall (1653) [24]and Old Hall Farm, Youlgreave (1630). [25]Old House Museum seems to fall in the centre of this three hundred years of development. A second element which supports this theory is the timber window in the wall upstairs to the west gable of the parlour wing. This window, oak framed, with oaken mullion set at right angles in the centre of the frame is also typical of the type of window used in smaller houses during the same period of time. Such a window would have been shuttered internally and unglazed, which suggests that the builder was not as wealthy as might be supposed from the size of the building. Alternatively it implies, in a stone building area such as Derbyshire, where the use of stone mullions was of early date, that the building was relatively early in the time limits set by its plan form. Part of a second window of this type has been found to the west of the house place on the upper floor, used as the top of a door opening made when an extension was added in the late 16th century. Before members of the Gell family occupied the house, this fenestration was changed for stone-mullioned windows or small stone dressed apertures with leaded lights. The new mullioned windows were higher and narrower than their timber antecedents, set off-centre to the gables and the side spaces filled in (figs. 3, 4). This initial improvement was followed by the insertion of a new and larger window to the staircase well — the first change in this area having been the insertion of a small stone dressed window of approximately the same size as the original, smaller timber window. When the new stone windows had been installed, the random rubble walls were given additional protection by a pargetting oystershell finish (plate 1a).

Ralph Gell had two sons by his first wife. [26] The eldest, Anthony, inherited the family estate at Hopton when his father died in 1562. At that time Thomas, the second son, was settled at Bakewell and the third son John had been given estates at Wirksworth and Duffield (Shottle Park). The intention of settling his family on their own farms had been fulfilled by Ralph at the time of his death and we may safely conclude that Thomas Gell had occupied the old parsonage from the time of its lease in 1549, since that building was the only one of substance to be included in the glebe lands in later records. Anthony did not marry and Thomas was left heir to the family possessions upon his brother’s death in 1586. He was himself unmarried but hastened to remedy this omission, marrying Millicent, daughter of Sir John Sacherevel of Stanton Juxta Parva, two years later. They had two sons, John and Thomas, the first born the year before and the second the year after their father’s death in 1594. This left the estates without men of the family to manage them, and Millicent married Sir John Curzon of Kedleston where the boys were brought up. They reached their majorities in 1614and 1616, respectively, John who was to become the famous commander of the parliamentary forces in the civil war succeeding to the estate at Hopton and Thomas, we may assume, taking over the Bakewell land.

During the occupation of the property at Bakewell by one of the two Thomases an addition was made to the house at the north end of the west front. This was in the form of a two-storey extension measuring 17feet square internally and linked to the dairy and the room above by doorways in the position of the old timber windows previously mentioned. The fact that these windows at the working end of the dwelling were still in place when this extension was added implies that not all the timbers frames had been changed previously for stone dressings. The windows to this extension (now filled in) had hollow mullions typical of late Elizabethan or early Jacobean work. [27] The plasterwork around the new doorways is the same as that for the room adjacent in the old part of the wing; we may conclude that the interior was re-plastered at this time and a cornice runs round the rooms of the building. The design of the cornice is Early Renaissance. One most interesting feature of the building which stems from this period is the secret chamber which was made within the small offshoot next to the house-place chimney; this has already been referred to as the original garderobe of the house. It appears that the first floor, probably originally of wood, was removed, the external ground-floor aperture to the sump plastered and a stone, corbelled chamber created within the original walls of the sump (plate Ic). The entry to the chamber was from the first floor level through a central hatch. The small room was provided with a built-in cupboard at ground level, a stone seat and a ventilation hole to the outside. We are told that Sir John Gell practiced a “vindictive brutality towards his own kinsmen in the Civil War — (they appear to have been Royalists to a man)”  [26] His brother, Thomas, may have felt the need of a hide-away during those unsettled years. The recent removal of the filling of the chamber under the direction of Mr. J. Marchant-Brooks and the discovery of a metal candlestick holder, tallow candle and a stoneware bottle dating from the 17thcentury suggest that the chamber was used at that time even if it had been built some years earlier.

The men of the Gell family had a facility for putting off marriage until it was too late to raise occupants to all their estates. During the following years of ownership of the Bakeweil property by the family an occupant on the male side did not appear, although it is possible that one of the daughters of the family and her husband may have lived in Old House Museum at one time or another. Certainly, this feature of the family character may have resulted in the preservation of much of the medieval qualities of the building for the improvements made to the house during the 17th and 18th centuries were slight. New windows were installed in the bay projection to the parlour and the bedroom above, each with internal recesses to the floor, panelling and shutters. In the south-west corner of the bay coal-burning fires were installed on each level -— these had cornice mantle-shelves (plate 2a). The large window of the staircase well had decayed and been stoned up so extra lighting was provided by small side windows where the well joined the body of the building. A similar window to those of the bay was set in the south wall of the chamber over the buttery (plate 2b). At the north end of the house a lean-to addition provided a vaulted coal cellar (with wood store over) alongside the closet offshot. All these improvements were made at the end of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th centuries at a time when it is unlikely that a member of the family lived full time in the building. However, it must be remembered that the Gells were one of the owners of a large estate in the town and their interest in Bakewell affairs was maintained. As late as 1719Philip Gell of Hopton presented the church of Bakewell with its no. 2 bell which weighed 8 cwt. 2 qts. and the gift was the largest personal contribution to be made to the chime. Could it be that Old House Museum was used as the Bakewell house of the family at that time? It was another Philip who was to introduce the next change of circumstances to the old parsonage some years later by leasing the property to Richard Arkwright. Arkwright built several water-mills in the Derbyshire valleys including the mill at Holme, Bakewell. [28] It was for the purpose of the establishment of this mill that the Gell estates at Bakewell had been leased by him.

In his customary way Arkwright provided houses for his workers in Bakewell; he built cottages in Mill End, New Street and Anchor Lane and converted Parsonage House into six cottages and the barn of the house into four; the garden of the house was divided into workmen’s allotments. When Sir Richard took over Parsonage House, it was in a poor state of repair; crumbling quoins had to be made good and some buttressing applied to the rear of the parlour wing. Window openings were inadequate for his purpose to convert. Where new stone dressings were required, we can see the mark of his conversion in the form of herring-bone tooling to the stones, and this decoration was also used to the lintel of the parlour hearth when he reduced the wood-burning grate to a size suitable for the use of coal (plate 3a). Other hearths were filled in and the kitchen or house-place hearth used as a pantry. Sir Richard’s experience in the building of factories had been considerable; such buildings were the most advanced of the age in terms of “modern” techniques involving fire resistance. Cast iron played an important part in the construction and structure of such buildings, and it followed that the new windows Arkwright installed were made of cast iron. Three types were employed, a small opening light for larders, etc. (still to be seen in the extreme south wall of the building), a larger fiat-headed window with the small opening light as part of it (still in position over the house-place) and a curved headed window which was used on the ground floor (one example is stored in the museum but they have since been replaced by timber windows). It is difficult to imagine that these windows were specifically designed for the house, and one must conclude that they were left over from industrial buildings under erection elsewhere. Where possible Arkwright used the existing windows and doors as part of his conversion and bricked up those which were not required.

All the cottages contained a ground-floor living-room with cooking range and a food store with one bedroom upstairs, but in some cases a small kitchen was possible on the ground level and an additional chamber above. To make the maximum use of the building as cottages a 9 feet square extension was added to the north of the Elizabethan wing and a cottage built with a lean-to roof in the south-east angle between the parlour and the bay projection. Many houses of this type received such additions around this time-— the last referred to here is now mostly demolished and what remains forms the screen to the present terrace entrance to the house.

The sale of the estate by Philip Gell’s trustees may have been facilitated by Sir Richard’s death in 1792.His son was prepared to part with much of the estate when the auction took place but purchased those parcels of land which were essential to the welfare of the Holme Mill and the workers employed there. In 1840, shortly before his death in 1843, Richard sold the factory and associated property but re-purchased when the new owner went mad in the following year. So the mill and land at Holme, the town cottages and Old House Museum passed to Sir Richard Arkwright’s grandson, Robert, when his father died. He sold the whole of the property to the duke of Devonshire in 1860. The duke had no intention of holding on to the land and immediately set about placing it on the market. He had a plan drawn up (fig. 1) and the areas drawn up into lots for auction -— the deal was purely a land speculation. [29]

In 1861 the land attached to Parsonage House was sold in five lots: to the west, parsons’ field, to the extreme south a plot and house, between that and Parsonage House the croft and garden, the barn and the land adjacent and, lastly, Parsonage House and the land between it and the road to the west of the church. The house itself was purchased by Mr. Edward Cunningham and promptly renamed Cunningham Place. The Cunninghams occupied the cottage which had been made from the parlour and rented the others. They no doubt felt that pride of ownership demanded that their home should stand out from the other cottages. The entry through the old porch was closed and a window installed, the porch being made into a kitchen, and a new front door in a timber surround, with cornice and brackets, was made alongside the window in the east gable (this window may have been enlarged at this time). To complete the impression bargeboarding was added to the gable and the front of the cottage plastered (plate 3b). Some improvement was also made in other cottages — in particular the replacement of window frames, which had rotted, with windows of the same type used for the Cunningham conversion.

Edward Cunningham’s widow, Sarah, sold the house in 1900to Mr. E. M. Longsdon, a local architect who held the property for nineteen years. He improved the Elizabethan extension in a way which epitomizes an architect of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. No expense was spared to improve the façade, and no doubt the original character of the building was meant to affect the design but Longsdon could not shake off his neo-classical dogma. The mullioned windows on the south wall were filled in and formed internal recesses, whilst the front was graced by sash windows in heavily punched rusticated stone surrounds. Quoin stones were replaced to match this rustication and capped by corbel stones and copings to the gable — no cheap bargeboarding here (plate 3b). The iron larder and staircase windows were exchanged for delicate pivoting wooden lights. But, alas, the result, whilst interesting, was completely out of context with the original building although it must be said that it is in harmony with much of the refacing and new building that was applied in the area around Old House Museum at that time.

Longsdon sold off the frontage of land that the Cunninghams had bought for new development, which meant that the old drive from the church side to the house was reduced to the existing footpath and the carriage entry had to be through the new buildings past the old barn. After Longsdon, Albert Dennif owned the house for four years and did little to change the building. However, from 1921to 1955 the Harrison family took their responsibilities seriously and some improvements were made. Amongst these can be listed three windows in the rear of the house at upper and lower levels of the staircase well and in the wall of the house-place hearth -— at that time a pantry; these windows have brick surrounds. The occupants of the buttery cottage also installed a new glazed doorway at the rear and fixed the old medieval door to the buttery from the outside. All these improvements were of a superficial nature and only had the effect of detracting further from the original character of the building. When the Bakewell and District Historical Society received the property into its care in 1955considerable structural repair was needed.

The Society recognized that it had a threefold objective in taking over Cunningham Place; firstly, it had to make safe an old property already condemned by the local authority as unfit for habitation; secondly, it had to investigate the house with care and to record and preserve the historical evidence contained in it; thirdly, the Society was concerned to provide access for the public to the building and to use it as a museum. Fulfilment of the first objective involved a considerable amount of reconstruction. The gable end of the parlour wing was rebuilt, roof slates replaced, chimneys and valleys reconditioned and, as the walls and staircases of Arkwright’s cottages were systematically removed, new floors, plasterwork and innumerable extra items of building were needed to make good the building. The task was the difficult one of investigation, removal and consolidation. Windows and doorways which seemed irrelevant to the present function of the house and to have no great historical significance were walled in, e.g. Cunningham’s front door, the new door to the rear, the door between the porch and the parlour and an Arkwright window in the upper, south end of the house-place wing next to the porch and the doorway below this window. In some of these cases small windows have been inserted in the new walls to provide light for displays in the interior.

The lean-to cottage, which was unsafe and out of character with the old house, was largely removed and an entrance terrace made to a new doorway into the parlour next to the bay projection. This provided convenient access for the reconstruction parties and later for the public. In this wing the investigations revealed a fine stud partition with wattle and daub infill which runs from bottom to top of the house (plate 3a), the two large fireplaces with chamfer-stopped surrounds, straw lathing to the ceiling of the rear upper chamber and the small timber window of that chamber set in the wall behind later stonework. The old doorways, when stripped down, were also found to be of medieval or Tudor type. The removal of the ceiling of the main bedroom exposed a most interesting roof construction and the hatch into the roof chamber (plate 4a) — these have been left unceiled. When the house-place wing was cleared the old porch entry was opened up (plate 1b), the house-place hearth with its salt cupboard and chamfered timber beam (plate 4b) was returned to its pride of place, and a further stud partition was found in the upper floor between the south and north bedrooms of this wing. 

There was at one time a connection between these two bedrooms to the east of the Arkwright chimney stack through the partition and, if a similar partition existed below, the same must have occurred there. The equivalent rooms on ground floor level are divided by a limestone wall, lime mortar jointed, clearly not part of the original walling and probably part of the Arkwright conversion. To the north of this wall are the two cottages recently vacated, one in the north end of the house-place wing and the other in the Elizabethan extension At one time these were joined by doorways which replaced the larger timber windows already described. Also a storeroom above the cellar had been linked to the original garderobe and had for years agglomerated rubbish; here the old front door to the house was recently found — studs and hinges complete. 

Such discoveries will perhaps become less frequent in future, but nonetheless may occasionally be made. Many minor finds have been made to date but it would be quite wrong to list these items in an article dedicated to a general survey of the house and its history. After all this last change in function for Parsonage House or Cunningham Place is a radical one. It is now open house to all and as such reflects the current reverence for the antique and for historical enlightenment through display. It can hardly be surprising, therefore, that the new owners, in their enthusiasm for the good work they are doing, should have decided to baptize the house anew with the name of Old House Museum, a title which so admirably describes its historical nature and new status. 

The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following people in the collection and interpretation of data for this article: members of the Bakewell and District Historical Society, particularly the chairman, Mr. J. Marchant Brooks, who is responsible for the plates; Mr. R. W. P. Cockerton; the staff of the Public Record Office; Mr. D. Crowley of Sheffield University; the dean and chapter of Lichfield; Mr. D. B. Robinson, archivist to the Lichfield Library, for help in research and translation; students in the 1st year, 1965/6, Department of Architecture, Sheffield University, for measured studies of the building; Mr. M. Brooke-Taylor for permission to study recent legal documents pertaining to the house. 
The publication of this article has been assisted by a grant from the University of Sheffield.

1          A copy is available for inspection at Old House Museum 

2          Lichfield muniments, B4, charter of Bishop William; F199b, confirmation by Bishop Alexander de Stavenby 1230.

3          Lichfield muniments, F116. The prebendary entitlements were granted to the dean and chapter in 1192 after Bishop Hugo de Nonant received the Peak churches from John, count of Mortain. The third prebend did not pass to the dean and chapter until the death of the incumbent.

4          Lichfield, D26.

5          Lichfield,  D 25.

6          J C ox. T he churches 01 Derbyshire, II, appendix  no 1 583-5.

7          Cox II. 49

8          Lichfield, D21, D27.

9          W. A. Pantin, Medieval priests’ houses insouth-westEngland”,Medieval Archaeology, I 1957, 118-46.

10        Lichfield, Chapter Act Books, II (F6).

11        A. H. Thompson, The English clergy and their organisation in the later middle ages, 1947, 102.

12        W. A. Carrington, “Illustrations of ancient place-names in Bakewell, D.A.J., XV (1893), 56.

13        Information from Mr. R. W. P. Cockerton.

14        PRO. S.C. 6 Edw. VI, 112. A copy may be seen in the museum.

15        Cox, II, 7. Athis visitation in 1280, John Peckham, archbishop of Canterbury, ordered an increase in the vicar’s income.

16        Lichfield, D2. The lease was for life at an annual rent of  £84, with reversion to his brother Robert.

17        Lichfield, D1.

18        Lichfield, D4.

19        Lichfield, D 15.

20        Lichfield, D13. Rental roll of the Peak jurisdiction, total £151. 17S. 6  1/2d. Ralph Gell was not a tenant at this time.

21        Cox, II, is. The priests of the Holy Crosschantry may have lived in the house under Foljambe patronage; by tradition it wasonce called the Priests’ House.

22        J,M. Jenkins, Folk Life. V (1967), 65-91.

23        The “rational’ diagonal of a square, side 20, is28 units.

24        N. Lloyd, A history of the English house, 1931, 219, plan of Unstone Hall.

25        M.W. Barley, TheEnglish farmhouse and cottage, 1961, 170,plan of Old Hall Farm, Youlgrave.

26        P. L. Gell, “The Gells of Hopton”,D.A.J., XXXV (1913), 103-10.

27        Compare North Lees Hall, Hathersage

28        M. H. Mackenzie, “The Bakewell cotton mill and the Arkwrights”, and Rohert Thornhill, “The Arkwright cotton mill at Bakewell”, D.A.J., LXXIX (1959), 61-79, 80-7.

29        The deeds of the transfer of parts of the parsonage property since 1860 are in the custody of Brooke-Taylors, solicitors, of Bakewell.

B2 to B4- Early History


So Bakewell passed, on Henry II’s death, to his first son, Richard 1, and then to John. They disposed of the royal holdings in Bakewell. …  First, in 1192, the land endowments and the tithes were granted by Prince John … to the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield and to the Dean and Chapter of that see. From that day the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield have held … the right to appoint the vicar.

Next, after his accession in 1189, King Richard himself disposed of the royal manor of Bakewell to a loyal Essex landowner, Ralph Gernon. 

The possession of the tithes of Bakewell parish was a matter of contention, leading to active hostility between the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield and Lenton Priory, near Nottingham. The latter was founded by William Peveril, who endowed it with part of the tithes of … Bakewell. Lichfield challenged Lenton’s claim, asserting the grant made by Prince John and confirmed by him after his accession as king in 1199. Following persistent disputes the matter was referred to the pope for judgment. His representative in England arrived at a compromise whereby Lenton Priory collected the tithes but the Dean and Chapter received a payment from the Priory.  … The Prior of Lenton protested to King Henry III … He reasserted the earlier papal judgement. Presumably this arrangement held until Henry VIII’s dissolution of the priory, when the tithes would have reverted to Lichfield.  


By J. B. Pierrepont in Bakewell & District Historical Society Journal for 1986.

Shortly before he left Bakewell to take up his new appointment in Sussex, Dr. Brighton found in the Gell archives in the Derbyshire Record Office at Matlock a lease by Sir Phillip Gell to Francis Roe, the Elder, of Parwich, yeoman dated 17.1.1712. This lease has been transcribed by the writer and is here reproduced in full by courtesy of Lt.—Col. Chandos—Gell.

It will be seen that the properties are described as being in the possession of John and George Taylor suggesting that there had probably been a previous lease to them. A search through the catalogue of Gell leases and conveyances in the Derbyshire Record Office however, did not reveal any other previous leases since that of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield to Ralf Gell in 1534. There is however a mention of a lease to a ‘Christopher Plant’ in the 1638 rental of John Gell.

Phillip was concerned to protect his trees, only permitting Francis to take wood for ‘Plow boot’ and ‘Cart boot’, the rights to take wood to make and repair ploughs and carts, respectively.

‘Lunes’ — the only other word that seems to need any explanation, is a dialect word meaning taxes or rates and is especially used for church dues. (English Dialect Dictionary. Ed. Joseph Wright.)

The later lease dated 1777 by Phillip Gell to Sir Richard Arkwright was transcribed by Dr. Brighton, but as it is such a long and repetitive document it was decided not to reproduce it in full, but to extract the field names and one or two other items of interest.

In this lease the properties are described as being in the tenure or occupation of Richard Roe, who was probably the grandson of the Francis Roe of the 1712 lease.

Sir Richard, not being a farmer but an industrialist, is not granted ‘Plow and Cart boot’, nor was he required to rear a greyhound.

At that time (1777) inclosure was in the air and its possibility is taken into account. In the event the property was sold before inclosure took place in 1810 and so Phillip Gell’s name does not appear amongst those to whom allotments were granted.

It is interesting to see on the following sketch maps how Phillip Gell held his lands in strips all over the old open fields, a system of farming that finally came to an end with inclosure.

The sketch maps are taken from a copy, made by the late Mr. C. R. Allcock, of three sketch maps with field names and sale catalogue numbers produced in connection with the sale in 1796. This copy is in the Old House Museum. Most of the fields listed can be located on these maps.

ARTICLES of Agreement Indented had made Consented unto and agreed upon this seavententh day of January in the Yeare of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and twelve and in the Eleventh yeare of the Reign of Queen Anne of Great Brittayne ffrance and Ireland Defender of the ffaith etc. BETWEENE Sir Phillip Gell of Hopton in the County of Derby Barronet of the one part and ffrancis Roe the Elder of Parwich in the said County Yeoman of the other part as ffolloweth

FFIRST The said Sir Phillipp Gell for and in Consideration of the payment of the yearly rents and the performance of the Covenants and agreements hereinafter agreed to bee paid and performed by the said ffrancis Roe his heires Executors or Administrators hath leased sett and to ffarme letten and by these presents doth Lease sett and to farme lett unto the said ffrancis Roe his Executors Administrators and Assignes ALL that the Parsonage house and Tenement situate in Bakewell and in Ashford and Great Longson in the Parrish of Bakewell aforesaid all or some of them in the said County of Derby called the Parsonage Tenement and all the severall dwelling Houses and buildings in Bakewell aforesaid parcell thereof thereunto belonging and therewith enjoyed with their and every of their Appurtenances and all the pasture and arrable Lands and Meadow grounds of the said Sir Phillip Gell in Bakewell aforesaid and in Ashford and Great Longson aforesaid and in the Parrish of Bakewell aforesaid with the Commons thereunto belonging now in the possession of John Taylor and George Taylor together with all wayes waters Easements Commons Comodities and Advantages thereunto belonging or therewith Enjoyed and all the estate right title and interrest of the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Assignes of in or unto the same Except and alwayes reserved out of theses presents All trees and young wood of Ash Oake or Elme now growing or which shall grow upon the said premisses dureing the said terme saving such onely as shall from time to time he taken had or lised by the said ffrancis Roe his Executors Administrators and Assignes for Plow boot and Cart boot to be set out from time to time as there shall be occasion by the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires and Assignes for that purpose TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said Leased messuage Tenement and premisses with their and every of their appurtenances from the ffive and twentyeth day of March next ensueing for the terme of one whole yeare and soe from yeare to yeare as long as both parties shall please yeilding and paying therefore yearly and every yeare soe longe as the said ffrancis Roe shall hould the said premisses unto the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Assignes the yearly rent of One hundred and Thirty pounds of lawfull money of Great Brittayne Upon the Nine and Twentyeth dày of September and the ffive and Twentyeth day of March cleere of and over and above all manner of Taxes Assessments or impositions Parliamentry or otherwise whatsoever and it is agreed betweene the said partyes hereunto That when the said Sir Phillip Gell shall be minded to take the said demised premisses into his owne hand or dispose thereof otherwise than to the said ffrancis Roe Or that the said ffrancis Roe shall leave the same That in either case as it shall happen either of the said partyes shall give to the other six monthes Notice of their pleasure and determination therein.

SECONDLY the said ffrancis Roe for himselfe his heires Executors and administrators and for every of them doth Covenant grant Article and agree to and with the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires and Assignes That hee the said ffrancis Roe his heires Executors or Adminstrators or some of them shall and will well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Assignes the aforesaid yearly rent of One hundred and Thirty pounds of lawfull money of great Brittayne at and upon the aforesaid Nine and Twentyeth day of September and the said ffive and twerityeth day of March yearly and every yeare soe longe as he and they shall enjoy the said Leased premisses by even and equall portions or within Eight and Twenty dayes next after the said respective dayes of payment And one fat Weather on the first day of January or within one month after at the Election of the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Assignes as to the time of payment thereof cleere over and above all taxations Lunes payments Assessments Impositions by Act of Parliament or otherwise whatsoever and without any manner of deduction Defalcation or abatement out of the same for or in respect thereof And alsoe shall and will dureing the said terme well and sufficiently reare breed keep and maintaine for the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Assignes one hound or Greyhound at his or their pleasure when and as often as they shall bee thereunto required and have the same sent to him or them for that purpose.

THIRDLY The said ffrancis Roe for himselfe his heires Executors and Administrators and for every of them doth further Covenant grant promise and agree to and with the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires Executors and Administrators shall and will eat Expend and bestow all the hey and straw which shall be gott in upon and from the said premisses or any part thereof dureing all the time he and they shall enjoy the same at in and upon the same premisses and shall not sell or any way dispose thereof or any part thereof to be eaten Expended or bestowed elsewhere dureing the said time and shall and will dureing that time yearly and every yeare lead carry and sett all the Manure Compost and Dung that shall be made by the meanes aforesaid upon such part or parts of the said premisses as shall from time to time most want and require the same and shall and will Manure and help the said lands with such other Compost muck and lime as shall be necessary to help all the said lands as well arrable and pasture as the Meadow lands in such manner as to keepe the same in good and sufficient heart husbandry and Tennantable order and in such good order will leave and Yeild up the same to the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires and Assignes at their leaving thereof and shall leave to the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires and Assignes all the muck and manure that shall bee made from the hey and straw of the said premisses that shall not bee sett thereon at his said leaving thereof without selling giving or any way disposing thereof or any part thereof to the end the same may be sett upon the said premisses.

FFOURTHLY The said ffrancis Roe for himselfe his heires Executors and Administrators doth further Covenant grant article and agree to and with the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires and Assignes That hee the said ffrancis Roe his Executors and Administrators shall and will well and truly pay or cause paid unto the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Asignes the summe of ffive pounds for every acre he or they shall plow and turne into tillage in any of the Inclosed lands parcell of the said premisses dureing the said Time saveing that the said ffrancis Roe and his Assignes may plow the Gell Marsh Meadow once only and no more to lay it faire downe on which he is to lime it or manure it in a good husbandly manner on the well limeing or manureing whereof the said Sir Phillip Gell is to pay or allow him ffive pounds and that he the said ffrancis Roe his Executors Administrators and Assignes dureing the time he or they shall hould the said premisses shall and may keepe in tillage the inclosed lands or grounds (parcell of the said tenement) called the Barloe ffeilds in such manner as hath been accustomed and shall and will till and keepe the ffeild Lands and Barloe ffeilds aforesaid parcell of the said premisses in orderly tillage and well and sufficiently manure and help the same from time to time with manure dung and Lime and at his or their leaving of the said Leased premisses will leave such a competent part and proportion of the said ffeild land in husbandly tillage plowed and sowne with hard corne as is and hath been yearly plowed and tilled in any of the precedent yeares for the plowing and the seed whereof he is to be allowed a reasonable satisfaction by the said Sir Phillip Gell his heires or Assignes.

LASTLY The said Sir Phillip Gell in Consideration of the payment of the said yearly rent and performance of the Covenants aforesaid doth for himselfe his heires Executors and Administrators promise Article and agree to and with the said ffrancis Roe his Executors and Administrators well and sufficiently to repaire and sett in Tenantable repaire the Gotters of the said Parsonage house before the Twenty ffifth day of June next insueing And that on payment of the said yearly rent and performance of the Covenants and agreements aforesaid the said ffrancis Roe his Executors and Administrators shall and may peaceably and quietly have hold and enjoy the said premisses for and dureing the said Terme without the lett suite trouble or disturbance of the said Sir Phillip Cell his heires or Assignes in WTTTNSSE whereof the partyes above said have hereunto putt their hands and seals the day and yeare first above written.

ffrancis Roe

LEASE BY PHILIP GELL TO RICHARD ARKWRIGHT  1777. Derbyshire Record Office. Gell Ms.52/E1.

This INDENTURE made the Sixth day of November in the eighteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third etc and in the year One Thousand seven hundred and seventy seven between Philip Gell of Hopton and Richard Arkwriht of Cromford. Philip Gell leased to Richard Arkwright All that Messuage or Tenement situate in Bakewell now in the Tenure or occupation of Richard Roe AND ALSO all those several closes, inclosures, pieces or parcels of land, meadow and Pasture Ground hereinafter mentioned, that is to say:—

Parsonage Yard
Little Yard below the house
The Orchard
Pickford Yard
The Heald
The Hay or Barlow Closes

Haredale Closes
do. do.
Crow Hill Close
do. do
Blind Pit Meadow
Little Lumford

The list, with areas, continues with Gell March (marsh?) in Great Longstone, and many strips in the arable open fields: Stone Edge Field, Middle Field and Far Field; and doles in Bakewell Meadow. It continues with:

Barn called Woolanes Barn & Kill House
Two old houses and garden called Berries Ford and Nailors Houses
Two houses in Bakewell in possession of Joseph Fogg & John Vickers
Nether Barn and Fold Yard
Fifteen Gates for Fifteen Beasts and half a Gate for one beast in the Old Pasture

all of which premises now are or late were in the Tenure or occupation of the said Richard Arkwright and Richard Roe, their assigns, tenants etc.

Philip Gell reserves to himself and his heirs the right and property of the fish in the river Wye and all other waters in the above mentioned premises and he is to have access in order to fish.

The article finishes with the 1796 maps of the open field and meadow strips and their names transcribed by Mr C R Allcock and  mentioned in Mr Pierrepont’s introduction.  One of them is copied to go with this extract as it shows at no. 1 Parsonage Yard with the Old House. To orientate you 4 is Pickford Yard (up Monysh Road) and 5 is Heald (Yeld). 

1860 Conveyance of property in Bakewell (including what we now call the Old House Museum) to the Duke of Devonshire

Transcribed for the 2000 journal by George Challenger with help from Trevor Brighton.

Mrs Brooke-Taylor has kindly let us copy for the museum’s archives the following document before it goes to the Derbyshire Record Office.

In 1860 the Rev. Godfrey Arkwright, Sir Richard Arkwright’s great grandson, sold all his property in Bakewell, notably Lumford Mill, to the Duke. The latter sold in lots his land at the top of Bakewell including the Parsonage Field and Hill Top. The Parsonage House, now the Old House Museum, and the gardens stretching down to Church Lane were bought by Cunningham, hence ‘Cunningham Place’. For this later story of the Old House see Marshall Jenkins’ article in Derbyshire Archaeolgical Journal for 1967, Ted Meeke’s article in our Journal for 1989 and mine in 1998. For the history of Lumford Mill see Derbyshire Archaeolgical Journal volume 79 with articles by M H Mackenzie and R Thornhill.

            NB italics indicate parts of words omitted in the document.

The plan with this article is transcribed from a slide in the museum’s collection.  

Abstract of the Title of His Grace The Duke of Devonshire to property at Bakewell.

(Inserted- produced & signed by me John Taylor 23 May 1861    Stamps to £72.10.0)

25th March 1860 by Indenture made between The Revd. Godfrey Harry Arkwright of Sutton in the County of Derby Clerk of the one part & The Most Noble William Duke of Devonshire of the other part.

Reciting that the said. Godfrey Harry Arkwright was seised in fee simple of the hereditaments hereinafter conveyed & was absolutely entitled to the machinery & chattels hereinafter assigned.

And reciting that the said Godfrey Harry Arkwright was possessed of the leasehold premises hereinafter assigned (deleted-not being any part of the hereditaments to which title is shown in this Abstract) for the residue of a certain term of 65 years created by an Indenture bearing date the 2nd day of January 1832 (inserted- and made between the most noble William Spencer 6th Duke of Devonshire of the one part and Horace Mason of the other part) (deleted- therein mentioned And that) (inserted- and reciting that) the reversion in fee simple in the said leasehold premises subject to the said Lease was vested in the said William Duke of Devonshire

And reciting that the said Godfrey Harry Arkwright had contracted with the said William Duke of Devonshire for the sale to him of the said hereditaments machinery chattels & leasehold premises for the sum of £14,500.

It is witnessed that in consideration of the sum of £14,500 to the said Godfrey Harry Arkwright paid by the said William Duke of Devonshire the receipt etc the said Godrey Harry Arkwright did grant & convey unto the said William Duke of Devonshire & his heirs

All & singular the messuages or tenements cotton mill pieces or parcels of land hereditaments particularly described in the Schedule hereto.

And all other the messuages buildings land cottages hereditaments & premises whatsoever of or belonging to him the said Godrey Harry Arkwright situate in Bakewell Ashford Holme & Great & Little Longstone in the County of Derby except the share of the said Godfrey Harry Arkwright in the house & premises called The New Inn in Bakewell assigned

Together with all franchises buildings etc

            And all the estate etc

To hold the same unto & to the use of the said William Duke of Devonshire his heirs & assigns for ever Subject as to such part or parts of the said premises as were liable thereto to the payment to the Dean & Chapter for the time being of the Cathedral Church of Lichfield of the annual rent or yearly sum of £16.3.11 ½ & to the quitrent of 20/- payable to the Duke of Rutland.

And it is further witnessed that in further pursuance of the said agreement & in consideration of the premises The said Godfrey Harry Arkwright did assign unto the said William Duke of Devonshire his executors administrators & assignees

            Certain machinery therein mentioned

And it is further witnessed that in further pursuance of said agreement & in consideration of the premises The said Godfrey Harry Arkwright Did surrender & assign unto the said William Duke of Devonshire his executors administrators & assignees

            (deleted- Certain pieces of land herein mentioned) (inserted- All those 2 Pieces or Parcels of land including the Bed of the ancient & new course of the River Wye & the site of 2 Reservoirs of water & all things other than the premises comprised in the said Indenture of lease of the 2nd day of January 1832 with the rights members & appurtenances thereto belonging)

            To the intent that the residue of the said term of 65 years might be merged in the inheritance of the said premises.

Covenants from the said Godrey Harry Arkwright that he had good right to convey for quiet enjoyment free from incumbrances & for future assurances (inserted- These covenants forewritten are absolute & unqualified in their language but there is no recital or other expression in the deed showing aliunde that it was the intention of the parties that absolute covenants should be given)

The Schedule contains (inter alia).

19 cottages in Bakewell with the gardens & appurtenances thereto belonging in the occupation of sundry persons vis. James Birchill Jemima Buxton Robert Bagshaw Isaac Bridden William Harrison Ann Howard Hannah Hibbert John Howarth Samuel Haslam Henry Matkin William Sims Robert Taylor William Wager Dorothy Lowe John Briddon Martha Gregory George Harrison Jane Wilson Henry Noton.

Smiths Shop near the new Street in the occupation of William Punchaby

Gardens on the “Top of the Hill” in the occupation of Abraham Berresford Richard Skidmore William Smith William Sims William Roberts Charles Waterfall & William Punchaby- Note William Roberts has two gardens.

In Bakewell Higgott John

Field…………………………..Meadow 7.2.20

(inserted -Executed by the said G H Arkwright & attested

Receipt for consideration money indorsed  Signed & witnessed)

Other documents lent for copying by Mrs Brooke-Taylor include the following two:

A plan entitled ‘A rough sketch of water in Ashford, Holme and Bakewell belonging to his Grace the Duke of Devonshire in 1831.’  This is a tracing of Lumford Mill’s waterworks with a table of ‘Land and water in the townships of Ashford, Holme & Bakewell leased to Horace Mason’.  They total 23 acres, 2 r. 26p.  ‘Rent £44.’ Also a ‘Table of Land & Water in the Townships of Ashford, Holme and Bakewell purchased by Robert Arkwright’.

‘A survey and valuation of Land and Water in Bakewell and Holme belonging to Richard Arkwright.

  •             Little Lumford in Bakewell              2.2.31
  •             Half of Old River in do.                       2.25
  •             Half of Old River in Holme                 1.14
  •             Land in                    do.                         22
  •                                                                         3.3.12    @ £80 per acre       £306.0.0
  •             The new Cut River adjoining the
  •                    Duke of Rutland’s land              1.16
  •                                                                         4.0.28

‘The above Parcel of Land and Water extends Southwesterly to land in the Duke of Rutland and Southeasterly to the Waste Water Cut and to the Stakes set down at the foot of Bank on theSoutheast side of it.

Bakewell Feb. 15th 1831     George Unwin

                                                William Gauntly

A Rough Sketch of Land and Water in Bakewell and Holme belonging to Richard Arkwright

Feby 1831

Scale of 3 chains in an inch

  • No 1    Little Lumford in Bakewell              2.2.31
  •       2   Half of Old River in do.                       2.25
  •       2   Half of do. in Holme                            1.14
  •       3   Land in         do.                                      22
  •                                                                         3.3.12             @ £80 per acre        £306
  •       4  River Wye New Cut in Bakewell       1.24
  •                                                                         4.0.36

George Unwin’

No plan with this

B1 – Overview of the History of the Old House Museum


Since 1192 the tithes or church taxes of the large parish of Bakewell in the High Peak went to the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield diocese.  Tithes had their origins in the early Church when Christians made voluntary gifts towards building a church, relieving the poor and sick and paying a priest.  In England following the Norman Conquest, parishioners had to make annual payment of a tenth, or tithe, of produce or income.  Most of these payments were made in kind – hay, corn, wool, lead, geese, honey, etc.  Tithes were known in Latin as ‘persona’, hence the recipient was the parson.  Many parishes had a parsonage house and a tithe barn for storing tithes before sale.  The Dean and Chapter also appointed the vicar of Bakewell, (the parish priest) who had no control over the tithes.  A priest who also controlled the tithes of a parish was known as a rector.  Tithes were abolished in 1936.

What facilities, if any, the Dean and Chapter had before 1534 for collecting and storing the tithes is uncertain.  There were barns on the parsonage land, but there is no mention of a parsonage house or a resident steward.  Collection was proving difficult so in 1534 the Dean and Chapter decided to lease the  task to Ralph Gell of Hopton near  Wirksworth and pay him from the proceeds.  He had to ‘ build and make on the same parsonage a competent dwelling house for that ground’  and was granted the lease of  ‘the wolle (wool) house and a house standing nigh the same’  together with all the houses and barns on the site.

Ralph Gell’s house was a small, two storey, vernacular building, constructed entirely from materials immediately available in the locality.  It forms the four southern rooms of the present  museum.  The ground floor included a parlour and adjoining parlour closet (rooms 1 and 2) divided by a wattle and daub screen with two shallow-arched doors.  Directly above were a solar or principal retiring room, with a servants’ bedroom next door (rooms 11 and 10) and divided by the same screen.  A common flue served the large fireplaces on each floor.


As a lawyer, Ralph Gell belonged to a prospering profession. Monastic and church property came cheaply onto the market as the Reformation in England drew closer.  From his manor house at Hopton he had built up a profitable estate in the High and Low Peak.  His growing prosperity was reflected in the enlargement of the Parsonage House, in or just after,1549.  In that year the Dean and Chapter drew up a second agreement strengthening Gell’s hold on the tithes. This eventually allowed him to buy outright  the rights to collect them.  The Parsonage House was considerably enlarged to the north.  On the ground floor this consisted of a house-place or hall (room 4) with a great fireplace, beyond which were the buttery and kitchen (room 5), perhaps with a bake oven.  A screens passage (now lost) led from the porch (room 3) to the stairs.  Upstairs an upper screens passage (now lost) led to the porch chamber (room 9) and through a left hand door into the Tudor central bedchamber (room 8) above the houseplace.  Beyond an arch (now incomplete) in another screen led to the garderobe chamber (room 7) The privy in the corner is over a pit with a clearance hole at ground-floor level.  The second phase of the building of the Parsonage House was thus complete, probably by 1564, the year of Ralph Gell’s death.

The Parsonage House, along with the rest of Ralph’s estate, passed to his three bachelor sons, Anthony, Thomas and their half brother John.  John may have lived in the House.  Thomas survived his brothers and married late to produce an heir.  His first wife died childless and in 1588 he remarried and produced two sons, John and Thomas.  The Parsonage House continued to prosper, not only from the tithe income, but also as the base for a farm.  At Thomas Gell’s death in 1596 a substantial farm was managed from the Parsonage House.                                         

This is part of an inventory of his goods giving numbers of farm animals: 12 draught oxen, 14 cows and 10 calves as well as 533 sheep.  (A hogge is a young sheep before the first shearing).

On attaining his majority Sir John Gell (1595-1671) was one of the richest of the gentry in Derbyshire.  He probably added, in about 1620, a short, two storey bay to the east, presumably because  storage facilities in the kitchen and buttery were too cramped .  An internal stair led to servants’ accommodation on the first floor. 

As the Civil War loomed in the late 1630s the religious and political sympathies of John Gell inclined towards Presbyterianism and parliamentarianism.  He accepted the ‘bribe’ of a baronetcy from Charles I but quickly joined the parliamentary cause in 1642.  He raised a regiment of horse and foot and was made Governor of Derby by Parliament.  The Gell estates were seized by the royalists and his rents and tithes were diverted to the service of the King.  In frustration he eventually converted to the King’s cause and was briefly confined to the Tower for plotting to bring back Charles II.  He died in 1671 as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber!


Following Sir John’s death the fortunes of the Gell family slowly declined.  In 1730 the Bakewell property passed to the Eyre family of Holme Hall, Bakewell, who took the name of Gell.  Tithes had depreciated in value and the Parsonage House was becoming outmoded as a residence and surplus to requirements.  The property was leased to various tenants.


Sir Richard Arkwright was seeking cheap accommodation for his mill workers and the Parsonage House offered the possibility of conversion.  He divided its ground floor into five partitioned tenements, each with a stair to a bedroom on the first floor.   New cast iron windows were inserted into some rooms and a sixth dwelling was built on to the south east corner of the  parlour.  The Tudor garderobe privy was sealed off .  More families were accommodated in the adjacent tithe barn.  In 1860 the Arkwrights sold the mill and their holdings in Bakewell (including the Parsonage House tenements) to the Duke of Devonshire.  He sold nearby parcels of land for new houses.  The House itself was sold to Edward Cunningham, the workhouse master, and was renamed Cunningham Place which remains its postal address today.

By the end of the Second World War several of the tenements had become unfit for habitation. Bakewell Urban District Council made a demolition order and in 1954 invited tenders for the demolition of two of them.  However, Charles Bradbury, a local builder, found interesting features including the great fireplace the wattle and daub screen wall and the Tudor cupboard.  He involved local people in a campaign to save the building.  John Marchant Brooks, an estate agent and auctioneer in Bakewell, led them to success and became the first chairman of the Bakewell and District Historical Society.

ROOM NAMES with numbers on guide book plan

See also document H

  •  present                                                        former
  • 1          parlour                      
  • 2          parlour closet                                           buttery
  • 3          porch
  • 4          houseplace                                                  
  • 5          Victorian kitchen                                      Pitts’ kitchen
  • 6          cellar                                     
  • private rooms:
  •             office                                                        Harrison’s living room, toy room
  •             members’ kitchen and toilet
  •             back stairs
  •             work room                                                Harrison’s bedroom, former office
  •             textile store
  • 7          garderobe chamber                                  Pitts’ bedroom
  • 8          central bedchamber                                  withdrawing chamber, landing or long bedroom
  • 9          porch chamber                                          Bowman room
  • 10        small bedchamber                                     small bedroom
  • 11        solar                                                           large bedroom, costume room
  • 12        industrial gallery
  • 13        privy