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Rev. Wm Ratcliffe's Booklet October 1937 - St Wilfrid's Day Dedication


Pages 2 - 14 converted to text below

Message from the Bishop.

Dear People of West Hallam,

I have heard from your Rector, with great interest, of the manner in which you are planning this year to observe the week which includes St. Wilfrid’s Day and also of the booklet in which this letter is to appear. It is a matter of regret both to me and to my wife that neither of us (because of the number of our engagements planned a long time ahead) is able to pay a personal visit to the parish during that period, in accordance with the invitation which came to us from your Rector. I desire, however, to send you my blessing and the assurance of my prayers for your parish during your Festival Week, which I hope may be to you all a time of much spiritual profit. I recall with pleasure the visit which I paid to you in connection with the observance of St. Wilfrid’s Day last year.

The challenge of Christ in these days is a ringing challenge. 'What He demands and asks of us is nothing less than the complete consecration of everything that we have and are, “ ourselves, our souls and bodies,” to His service. May there be in the parish of St. Wilfrid’s, West Hallam, so manifest a revival of spiritual life, so real a spiritual awakening, that the Church people there, may, in the midst of those actual surroundings in which they are placed, bear to our Lord Jesus Christ so effectual a witness as shall arouse and awaken others to a like faith and loyalty.

Yours very sincerely,


Letter from the Rector

My dear Friends,

My object in writing this letter is to commend the effort that we are making during this Dedication Week to your prayers and service. "You will find in this book a full list of the Services, etc., to which all are invited I trust you will find this booklet of interest and value.

The parish of West Hallam is a very ancient one—with a glorious tradition. Many have lived in this village for a long time—born in the place—and their ancestors go far back into the past—in fact they make up the history of that past.

To these I hope the booklet will stir them to be worthy of the heritage which their ancestors left them. Others have newly settled in this parish, and are ignorant of the history and heritage into which they have come to dwell. I trust that this booklet will help them to settle and in time them-selves to become an integral part of the life of the parish.

Now as regards the Dedication Week, may I explain what is in mind and for which I appeal?

“ For Christ the King.” A renewed effort on the part of all to serve Him and to worship Him. This week is set apart so that each and all may find their opportunity of worship and service.

See to it that you make use of this week, and pledge yourselves to serve your King, not only during this week, but for ever.

May God bless all our efforts begun and continued in His Name.

Yours very sincerely,


Saint Wilfrid

Our patron saint is no legendary figure about whom little is known, but a man with a definite place in history, and that the history of our own land and people. The 7th Century is often described as the Golden Age of the English Church. At the time of Wilfrid’s birth (634), the missions of Augustine and Aidan were still fresh in men’s minds and their world unspoilt. Nowhere was the result more wonderful than in Northumbria. At an early age Wilfrid became a pupil of the great Abbess Hilda, at Whitby, and among his contemporaries were such men as Cuthbert, Chad, and Bede. No winder that among such people and at such a time Wilfrid’s thoughts turned towards monasticism and learning. He was also a traveller and a man very much in touch with the world. As quite a young man he travelled to Canterbury and thence to Rome, and the result of these travels was that his outlook was very much wider and more in touch with European (at that time Roman) thought than most of the leaders of northern England. The result of this was quickly apparent.

He played a leading part in the Synod of Whitby (664), with the result that the English Church accepted the Roman calendar, and by so doing, not only closed up differences at home, but came into line with the remainder of western Christendom. Wilfrid was then only 30 years old, but already a marked man, and preferment came rapidly (Bishop of York). But with preferment came further travels and endless troubles, which meant for a time that he lost his See of York, v"as for several years a wanderer, then became Bishop of Lichfield before being restored finally to York.

No difficulties could daunt Wilfrid. Wherever he went he became teacher, leader and builder. He has been described as a great creative artist. He not only built abbeys—Ripon, Stamford, Oundle, Hexham and Evesham— but saw that they were beautifully furnished. He was also a skilled musician. During the latter half of his life he was in close contact (not always friendly) with another great teacher and organiser—Theodore.

Wilfrid had a great capacity for friendship, but also was often in trouble. Very much a child of his own time, he was also ahead of his time and wished to see the English Church definitely linked up with Rome and the European mainland. Some will see in this a great cause for gratitude, while others are inclined to see him as the first to encourage Papal claims and jurisdiction in England. What we can safely say is this, that he must have been a wonderful and a most attractive man, perhaps at times not too rich in charity, but inspired by dauntless faith and hope, and gifted with great clearness of vision and tireless energy. In his own day Wilfrid served his Church nobly. We may well thank God for him and try in our own day to shew equal faith, vision, courage and energy. Our Church dates back to 1275, and it is just possible that our dedication recalls some definite link between St. Wilfred and our parish.


1638 to 1812.


Register No. I. (1538 to 1687). A coverless parchment volume consisting of thirty-nine leaves, measuring 8ins. by 5 ¼ins. The Register commences with two Baptisms for November 24th and 28th, 1538. The second and third leaves, containing entries between 1545 and 1557, have been torn out. There are no entries of Marriages till 1638. In 1676 there was a religious census taken, shewing that West Hallam contained 107 Conformists, 40 Papists, and 3 Nonconformists. The whole of this Register—Baptisms, Marriages and Burials—has been transcribed in the Derbyshire Archaeological Society’s Journal for 1887.

Register No. II. (1687 to 1740). A paper book, parchment bound, size 12 by 8. Contains Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. The first part of the book contains four leaves of an act of Parliament, xxx. Carolus II. Regis, for burying in woollen, and is printed in “black letter” type. Printed 1678.

Register No. III. (1693 to 1786) is on parchment, with five additional leaves of paper, bound in full dark brown rough calf, size 14J by 9; has been rebacked. Contains Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. This Register overlaps, but not completely, part of Vol. IV., but the Marriages after 1754 are taken from the separate Marriage Register.

Register No. IV. (1754 to 1802) is the usual printed paper Marriage Register, four certificates on each page, size 16J by 10J, bound in leather. The first portion consists of 40 pages of forms for the publication of banns, and the second half of 50 pages contains the Marriage Certificates. The Register is in good condition, fairly well written, and for the most part by one Rector.

Register No. V. (1802 to 1812) is a plain paper book, size 15 by 9J. It contains 106 pages, but only 15 are used, the rest being blank. It is bound in stiff boards, paper sides, leather back. The certificates are all in writing.

Amongst the Burials occur the following entries:—“ 1698, April 13, Katharine, the wife of Tho. Smith, als. Cutler, was found felo de se by ye Coroners inquest and interred in ye crosseways near ye wund mill, on ye same day. 1745, Old Sarah Baldack, of Dale Parish, aged 103, buried April 22. 1747, Joseph Mottershaw, John Owen, and Charles Bennett, all three killed by falling in a Pitt, and all buried in one grave, June 7th.”



IN this Coronation year (NB The coronation of George VI and his wife Elizabeth, 12 May 1937) and because of the rapid increase in the population of the parish, it was thought that it would be generally interesting to publish a short article dealing with the historical aspect of West Hallam. This brief attempt will only deal with the most interesting and probably forgotten events that form the solid foundations upon which this parish has been built.

The area of the parish is said to be 1,334 acres 36 poles, and in 1831 the population was stated to be 710 residents. At that time the lord of the manor, patron of the Church, and sole owner was Lieutenant-Colonel Francis W. Newdigate. The living was then valued in the King’s book at £8, although in 1840 the tithes were said to amount to £256 10s. 8d. Travelling back still further, the lordship of West Hallam was conferred upon Gilbert de Gant, son of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders, by his uncle, William the Conqueror. It was subsequently regarded as an appendage of the manor of Newark, Notts., which was given to the bishopric of Lincoln in the reign of Henry I., service being rendered to the Bishop of Lincoln until the abolition of the feudal system. During the latfer part of the twelfth century, the manor was held by the Bishop of the family of Cromwell, of Cromwell, Notts.

There is no mention of a Church at the time of the Domesday Survey, and it is thought probable that one was first erected by the De Cromwells, as the incumbency was held by a member of that family from the earliest mention of it in history.

Sir Ralph de Cromwell was patron in the reign of Edward II., and his grandson Ralph, Lord Cromwell, who died in 1399, seized the manor. The manor was then sold to the Powtrell family, and William Powtrell was appointed to the living by his father in 1538.

The Powtrells, being Roman Catholics, suffered from imprisonmen


t and heavy fines during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The Hall was famous as a hiding place for persecuted priests, etc., during this reign and James I.’s reign.

The Titus Oates Plot had its effect on this quiet spot, for in 1680 Father George Busby, a relative of the Powtrells, was condemned at Derby Assizes to be hanged, drawn and quartered for being a Roman Priest; the sentence, however, was commuted to one of banishment. The manor was eventually purchased by Francis Newdigate, Esq., in 1821.

The Church, which is dedicated to St. Wilfred, was restored in 1855 at an expense of nearly £1,000, and previously contained high backed pews and flat ceilings.

The chancel is separated from the nave by an ornamental metal screen, and the nave from the aisles by arcades of three arches on each side. These are supported by octagonal pillars, the north being of the Early English style of about 1275, whilst the south side seems to date about 1320.

The organ was built by Messrs. Loyd and Dudgeon and was purchased by voluntary subscriptions as a memorial to the Rev. John Scargill. It was opened on October 11th, 1864, which was the 200th anniversary of the commencement of the Free School.

The west end window is a memorial to the Rev. John Scargill, who died in 1662, and founded the Free School in the village.

On the north side of the chancel is a handsome marble altar-tomb with the effigy of a man in plate armour—Walter Powtrell, Esq., lord of the manor—also an efflgy of his wife, Cassandra. At each end and along the front are the figures of three sons and four daughters, and round the base are the arms of the Powtrell family.

The font, which is believed to be of the fourteenth century, is supposed to have formed the base of the village cross. It stands at the west end of the south aisle, being octagonal, and rises from a square base. The tower contained six bells, three of which were added in 1876 as a memorial to the Rev. Charles J. Newdigate. These were recast in 1922, and two more added in 1928.

On the tower formerly grew four stunted trees, one of them with a deep red foliage that gave rise to a legend: —

At each corner, right over the battlements high,
There grew a tufted tree;
An alder, an ash and a gloomy yew,
Of the four were surely three.
The name of that other we never knew,
But its leaves had a mystic blood-red hue.
How they were planted, and how
they throve In the stone and mortar dry,
The old men knew not—tho’ often they strove
To solve the reason why.
That blood-red tree was planted, they guessed,
By the lady’s spirit that would not rest.


Appended is a list of Rectors of the parish which is as complete as available records will permit.

The Rectors from 1322-1473 were appointed by the Cromwell family who were then patrons of the living

1322 William Orseny.
1331 Thomas de West Hallum. Succeeded by John of Halum.
1374 Henry of Kirkeley Lachthorpe.
1387 William Hikeling.
1393 William Besant.
1396 Richard Lay (of Burton Over ay).
Succeeded by John Lay.
1432 Richard Halum.
1468 Richard Halum, Junr.
1473 John Offeryngton.
1483 Robert Aleyn.
1483—1602 No record.
1602 Henry Holmes.
1631 Edward Miller.
1631—1662 John Scargill.

1663 Robert Horne.
1668 Henry Greatorex.
1668—1716 No record.
1716 Daniel Greatorex.
1724 Anthony Raworth.
1736 William Clarke.
1788 Thomas Clarke.
1804 John Morewood.
1828 Pelly Parker.
1849 John Newdigate.
1876 John Adams.
1881 Nigel Madan, Canon and Rural Dean.
1899 Cuthbert Birley.
1907 Alfred Edward Ryland Bedford.
1915 Alfred Ernest Wicks.
1929 William Ratcliffe, present Rector.



AN interesting and detailed account of the early history of the West Hallam Charity known by the above name was published for the 250th anniversary of the opening of the School in 1914.* Since that comparatively recent date, so many changes of note have taken place in the schools and in their administration, that it is proposed in this article to deal mainly with these and not to do more than refer to the earlier history very briefly. The origin of the Charity was under the Will of the Reverend John Scargill, who died in 1662, having then been for 31 years Rector of the parish. The Will provided that certain money should be expended in erecting and endowing a school in West Hallam village. John Scargill also directed that six “ pensioners ” were to be chosen out of West Hallam, two out of Dale Abbey, two out of Stanley and two out of Mapperley. These were not only to attend the school, but to receive 9d. per week during the weeks they were at school.

The premises, until recently used as the Boys’ School, which stand facing the Square, were built about 100 years ago, the land on which they were built being exchanged for the former site. The Girls’ and Infants’ School was a new venture built in accordance with the decision of the Trustees in 1852.

In the seventies of the last century national education began its modern process of rapid development. The administration of the educational Charities was placed under the strict control of the Charity Commissioners and the Board of Education. The Scheme prepared by them in 1877 provided that the schools of the Foundation should be conducted as Public Elementary Schools. Part of the annual income derived from the Endow­ment was directed to be expended for providing Scargill scholarships of £2, each tenable at any Public Elementary school in any of the parishes of West Hallam, Dale Abbey, Stanley and Mapperley in which instruction was given in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of England. These proportions (it will be noticed) were similar to the proportions in which the “ pensions ” were awarded under the Will of John Scargill, namely, one half to the West Hallam children and one sixth to the children in each of the other parishes. In addition, a new departure was made whereby £90 per annum was to be set aside for providing exhibitions for assisting children to obtain higher education at Derby Grammar School, Trent College, or at any other school approved by the Governors. Except for a reduction in the number of scholarships and an increase in the number of exhibitions brought about by the amended scheme in 1908, such in brief were the functions of the Charity until very recently.

In 1929 the Derbyshire Education Committee made a plan for the erection all over the County of a number of Central Schools, each such school serving several villages and rural parishes. It was noticed that the proposals did not provide for such a school to be erected in West Hallam. Realising that the Derbyshire Education Committee’s proposals, if carried out, would mean the end of West Hallam as an educational centre for the surrounding villages, the Governors made a proposal of their own for building the necessary Central School out of the Scargill endowments, on condition that the Governors should retain the management thereof as a Church school in the same manner that they had always controlled the boys’, girls’ and infants’ schools.


Very great difficulty was experienced in getting the proposals approved and much negotiation took place both with the County Education Committee and with the Board of Education, but success was finally achieved. It should here be mentioned that had the Governors chosen to let matters slide, there is no doubt that the useful life of John Scargill’s Charity would have been ended and it would soon have drawn to an ignominious close. The new Central school was built on a piece of land specially purchased for the purpose and the money was raised entirely by the Charity. All the capital expended has to be replaced by 60 annual instalments paid out of income. The total cost was £10,097, which incidentally shewed a saving of £310 against the builder’s contract price. The Scargill Senior Central Church of England School was opened with due ceremony by Captain H. Eitzherbert Wright on the 20th November, 1935, and dedicated by the Venerable the Archdeacon of Derby. A service of thanksgiving, conducted by the Rector of West Hallam, was held in the Parish Church the same evening. The new school serves the children of the original Scargill parishes; and West Hallam has now the satisfaction of having the finest and best equipped central school in Derbyshire in its boundaries.

Since the erection of the new school there have been two further changes respecting exhibitions and scholarships. The scholarships had for some years been an anachronism, and as elementary schools had long been free, the large amount of money annually expended on them was wasted. The Board of Education, therefore, abolished the scholarships by the 1934 Scheme. The exhibitions, on the other hand, were continued and are now more useful than ever in assisting parents to send promising children to secondary schools and in some cases to universities, colleges, teachers’ training colleges and other places of higher education and technical training. In order to ensure that the exhibitions are awarded strictly upon merit and to children of the proper age, the Governors have arranged with the Derbyshire Education Authority for the exhibitions to be awarded upon the results of the County Minor Scholarship examination. If a child from the Scargill parishes is clever enough to be awarded a County Minor Scholarship (and the parents need the assistance), then he or she receives one. The Governors are then sent a list of the next best candidates and the best of these receive Scargill exhibitions. In this way the Scargill parishes receive the full benefit of the County grants to which they are entitled as rate payers, and as an addition, they receive the full benefit of John Scargill’s endowments to help the next best children. It will thus be seen that West Hallam now has the following exceptional educational advantages: —

  1. Better facilities for sending children to secondary schools than other villages.
  2. A first-class Church Central School.
  3. A first-class Church Junior Mixed and Infants’ School.

The Governors’ wish is that the fullest advantages of these facilities shall be taken. When the time comes for further improvements, it is hoped that the Scargill Foundation will be once more leading the way.



THE Parish of West Hallam at the present day presents so rural an aspect that the casual visitor would not in the least associate it with the smoke and grime of industry. The discerning* eye, however, will note the old spoil heaps now grown over, and old pit shafts and hollows in many places which speak of a lively activity in former times.

Situated on the extreme southern edge of the vast Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire coalfield, the mineral wealth that lies beneath the fields has been exploited in West Hallam from the very earliest times, as the seams of coal rise to the surface, or “bassett,” as the old miners say, and so were accessible even by the primitive methods of the early days.

With industry came the toll that it exacts, as witness the following curious entry, one of many in the old Church registers, “1747, Joseph Mottershaw, John Owen and Charles Bennett, all three killed by falling in a Pitt and all buried in one grave, June 7th.”

But the mining of coal still went on at an ever-increasing rate, for coal was rapidly becoming the life blood of the country, and when the Industrial Devolution swept the County, West Hallam marched with it. Thus about the year 1794 or 1795, the coal was worked more intensively, for a Mr. John Sutton sank two shafts in the north of the parish and worked the coal till 1822, when Mr. Francis Newdigate purchased the estate from the Hunloke family. In these early days, most of the coal was transported by barge on the old Nutbrook Canal.

Mr. Newdigate sank more shafts and the famous seams known as the Deep Hard and Main Soft were extensively worked. This continued until 1848, when certain of the coal seams and ironstone mines were leased to Mr. Henry Whitehouse, who also sunk pits, erected furnaces, and worked the coal and ironstone. West Hallam must certainly have presented a busy scene in those days, especially at the northern end of the parish where most of the coal pits were situated, and with opencast workings in various parts for obtaining ironstones bearing such interesting names at Blackrake, Brownrake, Whetstonerake and Dogtoothrake. It was a constant struggle against nature in those early days, and the miners did not always conquer, for the workings were flooded with water on the 26th February, 1872, and again drowned out on 12th March, 1875.


With the importation of foreign ores and the working of richer deposits in other parts of the country, the ironstone workings became less profitable and were discontinued, and later the coal workings were taken over by the West Hallam Colliery Company, Limited, who worked the deeper seams in a more up-to-date and economical manner.

This Colliery provided the means of livelihood for many inhabitants of West Hallam until about six years ago, when its workings ceased, but it still stands in the valley at the northern end of the parish a silent monument to its former activity.

The valuable clays in the coal measures have been quarried from time to time for brickmaking, and recently one of the old brickworks was modernised and some of the more valuable clays wore manufactured into art pottery, but after a few’ years this works also fell into disuse.

The seams of coal extend from West Hallam parish into the parishes of Stanley, Mapperley, Smalley, Kirk Hallam, Morley and Dale Abbey, and are being worked by the Mapperley Colliery Company, Limited. These seams are all well known and include the Deep Soft, Deep Hard, Low Main, Piper and Kilburn, and, with a standard tonnage of over half a million tons per annum (regulated by quota), find work for most of the men in West Hallam and the above mentioned parishes.

The Mapperley No. 1 and 2 pits have already been working over 50 years and have a life of at least another 30 years.
Stanley Colliery, near West Hallam station, has now been working over 40 years, finding employment for men and boys from West Hallam and district. This pit has a life of at least another 30 years, so that the inhabitants in the parish need have no cause for alarm.

Foresight has been the motto of the Mapperley Colliery Company, who have leased the lower seams, and in some cases purchased the freehold minerals, which should ensure the working of the Mapperley Collieries for a further considerable period.

The population, apart from the agricultural pursuits, now mainly seeks its livelihood in the Mapperley Collieries and the various industries of Derby, Nottingham and Ilkeston. This has been greatly facilitated by modern transport methods, and West Hallam is rapidly assuming a suburban aspect.



PRIOR to the time when it became a legal obligation, the relief of the poor was in the hands of the Church. In the 16th century the Parish Priest was actually referred to by Parliament as being responsible for the duty of relieving the poor.

No Royal Decree or Statute constituting boundaries appears to have been made, but parishes and their boundaries evolved and came into being through ancient custom.

Parishes were originally known as ecclesiastical shrift shire or the area in which the priest performed his sacred office in exchange for tithes and oblations, and it was these which eventually became the legal limits of the parish and the 16th century Parliament assumed these parishes as the common unit of any local administration which then existed.

The Manor was also concerned in Local Government by virtue of obligations attached to the grant of manorial rights. The granting of the Lordship of the Manor was conditional on the Lord of the Manor maintaining order in his area, maintaining good passageway for the King and his soldiers, raising taxes and providing equipment for the King’s armies.

The settling of parish boundaries was followed by the appointment of officials, and the Churchwardens became involved in the civil government of the parish. The Lord of the Manor had to appoint a Parish Constable* and in 1555 the position of Surveyor of Highways was created.

The Poor Relief Act of 1601 created the office of Overseer of the Poor. This Act provided “that the churchwardens of every parish and four, three or two substantial householders ... be nominated yearly in Easter week, or within one month after Easter, under the hand and seal of two or more Justices of the Peace for the County.” The duty of the Overseers was to deal with the relief of the poor, and to raise by taxation the expense incurred for the same.

Later the Annual Vestry ceased to be an entirely ecclesiastical organisation and became a meeting for dealing with the civil business of the parish. The accounts for the parish were submitted, the appointment of Parish Constable, Surveyor of Highways, and Overseers was dealt with. These officers, when appointed, carried out the Local Government of the parish without further consulting the inhabitants.

The Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834, appointed Poor Law Commissioners, who in time became the Poor Law Board, then the Local Government Board, and subsequently the Ministry of Health.

This Act gave the Commissioners power to unite such numbers of parishes as they thought fit to form Poor Law Unions and for each Union there was to be set up a Board of Guardians.


Under this Act the cost of the provision of a workhouse became a common charge over the Union area, but it was not until the passing of the Union Chargeability Act, 1865, that the full cost of the relief of the poor was transferred from the parish to the Union area.

Boards of Guardians remained until March, 1930, when by virtue of the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1929, they were abolished and their duties were transferred to the County Council and the cost of Public Assistance became a charge over the whole County area (excluding the County Borough of Derby).

The first Statute relating to roads was passed in 1285, but it only enforced a general obligation and it was not until 1555 that it was placed upon the parish through the Surveyor of Highways.

The Public Health Act, 1875, constituted Urban Sanitary Districts and Rural Sanitary Districts, under which those authorities dealt with such matters as water supply, sewerage and sewage disposal, etc.

The Local Government (England and Wales) Act, 1888, established County Councils throughout the country and transferred to them most of the administrative powers and duties formerly exercised and performed by Justices in quarter sessions. This Act also gave the County Councils the control of the main roads of the country.

The Local Government Act, 1894, constituted Parish Councils, and also made certain alterations to the Rural Sanitary Districts, renaming them Rural District Councils.

The Local Government Act, of 1929, in addition to abolishing the Guardians, also transferred the maintenance of the District Highways from the District to the County Councils, thus enlarging the incidence of charge for road maintenance and repair.

When Boards of Guardians were in operation, the Rural District Councillor was, by virtue of his office, also a Guardian of the Poor. Since 1929 Public Assistance has been dealt with by the County Council through Guardians Committees, which consist partly of County Councillors, District Councillors and co-opted members.

The County Council is now the major authority and (inter alia) deals with highways, education, public assistance, motor taxation, midwifery and health services, police, etc.

The Rural District Council is responsible for (inter alia) housing, public scavenging, sewerage and sewage disposal, water supply, building and town planning.


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