A Walk Around the Historic Mill Town Of Belper
Belper :At the time of the Norman occupation, Belper was part of the land centred on Duffield held by the family of Henry de Ferrers. The Domesday Survey records a manor of "Bradley" which is thought to have stood in an area of town now known as the Coppice. At that time it was probably within the Forest of East Derbyshire which covered the whole of the county east of the Derwent. It was possibly appropriated by William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby at some time after it was disafforested in 1225 and became part of Duffield Frith
The town's name is thought to be a corruption of Beaurepaire - meaning beautiful retreat - the name given to a hunting lodge, the first record of which being in a charter of 1231.
This is the Old Courthouse.Now somebody's Home
St Peter's Anglican Church, a prominent landmark in the town, was built in 1824 to replace the smaller 13th-century St John's Chapel which is now used as a town council and heritage chamber
Parish Church of St Peter, Chesterfield Road and Church Lane. This large, Gothic Commissioners Church, built in 1824 to replace the old St John's Chapel, enjoys a commanding hillside position. Tree-lined avenues lead through the churchyard towards the tall, slender tower (now unfortunately shorn of its pinnacle tops) which is a prominent landmark on the Belper skyline. With a wide, rectangular nave, shallow sanctuary and large gallery at back and sides, the building remains structurally unaltered. In the west gallery stands the historic 3-manual organ by Holt (1853, enlarged 1873 and recently restored)
Belper has had a place of worship since about 1250; a chapel-of-ease was built above the Butts and dedicated originally to St Thomas Becket. The dedication was subsequently changed to St John. From that time until the early 19th century Belper was a part of Duffield Parish, and Belper folk would have walked to Duffield Parish Church for all major events.
Parliament granted £1,000,000 for the erection of new churches to be built throughout the land ‘as a symbol of a nation's gratitude to Almighty God for its safe deliverance’ (there almost certainly were some political motives as well!). Although St John's was licenced for weddings around this time it was clear that it was not sufficient: and so Belper was chosen early on as a beneficiary of Parliament's largess.
The graveyard was closed to further burials in the late 1880s, but a Garden of Remembrance to the east of the church is open for the burial of ashes (no memorials are permitted)
The Congregational Church on Green Lane, Belper. The Church group began meeting in 1788 in the former Unitarian Chapel and later obtained land to build its own small chapel in 1799. Subsequently this fine larger church was erected, designed by architect George Woodhouse of Bolton. It was opened in 1872 at a cost of £5,000. It included a separate Sunday School built from the material of the original chapel. The current Congregational Church is now behind this building, built on the site of the old Sunday School, which is probably where the first chapel stood.
I am led to believe this has been converted into somebody's home.
The oldest church still used for its original purpose is the Belper Unitarian Church, built in 1788. The present Methodist Church was opened on June 28, 1807 and was originally built to hold 1,400 worshippers.
From at least the 13th century there were forges in the Belper and Duffield areas and iron-working became a major source of income, particularly nail making. By the end of the eighteenth-century there were around 500 workshops in the town supplying nails to the newly-built textile mills. The workshops were eventually superseded by machinery during the nineteenth-century. Some of the nail-makers houses are still in existence and form part of local tours of the town.
1792-97 - Listed Grade II
This is industrial housing of a high quality. There were originally 77 houses in the Long Row. It was built in the form of three terraces, two of which were continuous until broken by the North Midland Railway in 1840. The 35 three-storey houses are constructed predominantly in sandstone with a continuous sloping eaves line. They are designed with interlocking plans formed around the staircase.
The southern two-storey terrace is constructed primarily in brick and ascends the rising ground in stepped pairs. Each house has its own garden with allotments behind. There are 62 dwellings in all.
A second Anglican Church, Christ Church, was built in 1850.
Belper Town F.C. play their home games at Christchurch Meadow and are currently in the Northern Premier League Division One South. They are nicknamed The Nailers as a reference to the historical nail manufacturing industry in the town.
A local saying calls St Peter's "the low church in the high place" and Christ Church "the high church in the low place" based on their different liturgical traditions.
Belper's economy was traditionally reliant on manufacturing industry and numerous goods were made in the town. Cotton spinning and textile production were major employers virtually for much of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries. The large East Mill and the smaller North Mill are now all that remain of the industry and are preserved as part of the Derwent Valley Mills world heritage site.
The River Derwent as it Passes Through Belper.The Weir. Looking North from Bridgefoot. To power Belper's new West Mill in 1797, Jedediah Strutt needed a new and larger weir and one was designed with a distinctive horseshoe shape. It was modified and increased in height in 1819 and 1843 yet remains largely unaltered.
The Strutt family were instrumental in developing the idea of public gardens. Long before George Herbert Strutt (1853-1928) developed the River Gardens, his great uncle Joseph Strutt (1765-1844) donated the Arboretum to Derby and promoted its use in the 1840s. Following this, similar schemes started to proliferate throughout Britain, until, in 1906, George Herbert Strutt provided the River Gardens for Belper.
George Henry Strutt had the Market Place paved in 1880, and a commemorative fountain was erected by the townspeople to recognise this contribution to the betterment of the town. It was never connected to a water supply, and still stands, perpetually dry, today.
The Farmers' Market held on the 2nd Saturday of every month. The first market was held in Belper in 1739.
Looking down Bridge Street from the Market Square.
The entrance gate to St John's chapel.
It is currently used as the Home of Belper Town Council and as Belper's Heritage Centre.
St. John's Chapel.Originally consecrated in 1250 as the Chapel of St Thomas, it was rededicated to St John during the reign of King Henry VIII. St John's Chapel is still in use today and is thought to be the oldest building still standing in Belper.
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