The Genealogy and Local History of the Wirksworth Area, Derbyshire, England from 1600 to 1900 listing 420,000+ original records

Updated 12 Apr 2012

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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What can be found on this page

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01. PARISH REGISTERS 1608-1899
02. CENSUS 1841-51-61-71-81-91-1901
03. MEMORIAL Inscriptions 1555-1991
04. Ince's "PEDIGREES" 1600-1860
05. Churchwarden's ACCOUNTS 1658-1727
06. CRIME in Derbyshire 1770-1829
07. Derbyshire PLACENAMES
08. Directory of TRADESMEN 1791-1857
09. FREE & VOLUNTARY Presents 1661
10. HEARTH Tax 1662-70
11. POLL Tax 1689
13. SHORTER Lists
14. MATLOCK Registers
15. DOXEY corner
16. HISTORY of the Wirksworth Area
Search ALL surnames
19. Marriage WITNESSES 1754-1899
20. DATES of BIRTH 1778-1829
22. SURNAMES in the Registers
23. FIRSTNAMES in the Registers
24. PLACENAMES in the Registers
25. OCCUPATIONS in the Registers
26. COMMENTS in the Registers
27. EXAMPLES from the Registers
28. Yearly COUNTS in the Registers
29. STATISTICS from the Registers
30. Copying the Registers
31. GAPS in the Registers
32. Extra HELP from other websites

33. Get your INTERESTS on the web
34. About the AUTHOR & Contributors
35. Author's LIBRARY
36. SALES by the Author
37. FUTURE PLANS for this website
38. FANMAIL and Media Events
39. WHERE to STAY near Wirksworth
40. "T'owd man" the lead miner
41. Glapthorn & "One-Place" websites
43. Contributed Wirksworth Pedigrees
44. HELP!
45. SCRAPBOOK - useful oddments
46. LETTERS from the Past
47. WILLS, Admins, Probates, Inventories
48. ARCHITECTURE in Wirksworth
49. Rev. Abraham BENNET FRS
'Hope you enjoy digging in this website'
This is a Genealogy site.

Parish Records Start Here

Search ALL Databases

If you are looking for a particular or a rare surname, and have the time, try doing a thorough search of ALL databases in this website. See the list of All surnames in the major databases.
Each database has its own Index and the will help you.

1. Parish Registers 1608-1899

The PARISH REGISTERS are the only source of Conformist Baptism, Marriage and Burial records before the advent of Civil Registration in 1837. Early entries were harder to read and gave fewer details. The complete Wirksworth Parish and Middleton Parish Registers 1608-1899 are listed here containing 88,000 entries and ALL readable details. Transcription by the author from microfilm, see details of sources and loan of microfilm. Doubtful words cross-checked against similar readable entries in database. Final checking from the original manuscripts at DRO using ultraviolet.
For common surnames, baptisms are also indexed by parent, which helps find siblings and estimate parents' marriage date.
For dates after 1800, individuals can often be checked against the Census.
See a Map of the Wirksworth Area, and Parish Register List for other PRs in the Wirksworth Area. See also Derbyshire Parish Register Guide for deposited county PRs and ecclesiastical changes. See also a donation of Wirksworth Burials 1900-1905 from Paul Stebbing.

Choose here from 6,200 surnames and 88,000 entries


Click on your SURNAME, and see all the Entries:
A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. O. P. Q. R. S. T. U. V. W. Y

This information is also held in film library and database. Full searches can be made.
If in difficulty, contact the author:

Other aspects

Here are other aspects of the Registers
Surnames    Firstnames    Placenames
Occuptions    Comments    Examples
Counts    Statistics    Copying    Gaps
Marriage Witnesses

2. Census 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901

The CENSUS is an invaluable and fascinating source of information about the whole population on one day, listing family members by name, their relations, ages, occupations, addresses, marital status and birth places, as well as lodgers, visitors and servants. The Wirksworth Census set allows people to be followed from Census to Census, children's birthplaces showing where the family was at each birth.
An amusing article tells of the difficulties of collecting the information in "A 1901 Enumerator" from the Derbyshire Times.
Transcription has its problems and errors, especially with surnames.
Dates and availability of the Census 1801-1941 are given in Info about the Census
The complete Wirksworth Area Census Set for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 is given here, together with a unique fully linked name Index for each Census, Index of addresses, occupations and strays.
The Wirksworth Area covers 36 enumeration districts, centred on Wirksworth and Matlock, about 40 square miles with 17,000 people and 3,500 houses in those days. There are 2 towns, and 18 villages. See also the Population distribution and Servants found in the Census.

Choose here from 7 Census years and 104,000 entries

CENSUS of Wirksworth area

Click on the CENSUS YEAR, and see all the Entries:

1841    1851    1861    1871    1881    1891    1901

This information is also held in film library and database. Full searches can be made.
If in difficulty, contact the author:

3. Memorial Inscriptions 1555-1991

MEMORIAL INSCRIPTIONS (M.I.s). The words found on gravestones and memorials in Wirksworth St Mary Church, Churchyard and Cemetary are listed here.
Click on the Surname INITIAL, scroll to the NAME you want, click on the NAME, and see the INSCRIPTION text.
In many cases, a connection can be found with the Parish Registers. These Links are listed. Acknowlegements are given under How-to-Use. A Letter from NZ is pleasing.

Also MIs for Matlock Bath (Holy Trinity) (817 names) have been transcribed by Rita Effnert, thanks Rita.
See also Preserving Inscriptions when gravestones have to be moved.
This information is also held in print and database. Full searches can be made.
If in difficulty, contact the author:

4. Ince's "Pedigrees" 1600-1860

INCE's "PEDIGREES". This famous book, handwritten 1824-1860 by Thomas Norris INCE a Wirksworth Solicitor and Genealogist, contains 1,000 pedigrees from the Wirksworth Area and details of 20,000 people among its 484 pages. It has been transcribed by John Palmer, Kathryn Farrell and Sonia Addis-Smith. A computer-generated Surname index is now available for the first time, together with Search results.

This information is also held in film library and database. Full searches can be made.
If in difficulty, contact the author:

5. Churchwarden's Accounts 1658-1727

CHURCHWARDEN'S ACCOUNTS are the most valuable of parochial records for the wealth of information on such a diverse range of topics. Here are the Wirksworth Accounts from 1658 to 1727. Over 4,500 names and occupations are mentioned. You'll find the price of: Ale, Ravens, Foxes, Wisketts, Oyl, Leastalls, Hedgehogges, Piggs of Lead, Nayles, Bread, Wine, Horses, Lime, Sand, Hair, Bricks, Grease, Spades, Yates, Beesoms, Shoes, Tallow, Letters and Soder. New Bells and Arguments about Rights of Way. How the money was collected and where it all went.

A Pound was MUCH more valuable in those days. To get an idea, have a look at what people earned:
Wages & Earnings 1264-1980

This information is also held in film library and database. Full searches can be made.
If in difficulty, contact the author:

6. Crime in Derbyshire 1770-1829

Michael COX has compiled a database of persons tried at Derbyshire Petty and Quarter Sessions 1770-1829. Crime and punishment were very different in those days.
Petty Sessions 1770-1829... Quarter Sessions 1770-1829
1861 Census of Derby Gaol

Recognise a criminal here? Write and tell me what you know. Age and background can be really useful to Michael COX whose doing an academic study of these criminals.

To get an idea of the magnitude of the fines imposed, have a look at what people earned in those days:

Wages & Earnings 1264-1980

Jean DURBIN has extracted the Derbyshire entries from the list of Deserters 1828-1840. These names were posted to the Police Gazette as the numbers were increasing alarmingly. Some of the men went AWOL more than once! Thanks Jean.
Steve Farmer has supplied the Trials of William BOWN, about sheepstealing in 1828.
Phillip Hawksley of Tasmania sent an enquiry that started a search involving Transportation in 1836.

7. Derbyshire Placenames

DERBYSHIRE PLACENAMES Index lists 7,000 places within the whole of the county, identifies the parish and Hundred each lies in, and contains a simple map locating the parish. Places within Wirksworth Parish have the Ordnance Survey Reference, locating the place to within 100 yards.

This information is also held in print and database. Full searches can be made.
If in difficulty, contact the author:

8. Directory of Tradesmen 1791-1857

DIRECTORIES give a rare insight into life in Wirksworth and the surrounding area. Here are some extracts.
Univ.Brit.Directory 1791 List of Notables and Tradesmen
A-K Index of Tradesmen 1821-27-35-46
L-Z Index of Tradesmen 1821-27-35-46
White's 1857 List of Notables and Tradesmen
Bulmer's 1895 Directory for Wirksworth Area
Pigot's WIRKSWORTH in 1821
Pigot's Directory in 1831
Travel around Wirksworth 1821-27-35-46
Pubs,Inns, Taverns and Beerhouses 1821-27-35-46

9. Free & Voluntary Presents 1661

Did your ancestor help out King Charles II with a cash gift in 1661? Have a look at FREE & VOLUNTARY PRESENT and read the story behind the goings-on in 1661.

10. Hearth Tax 1662-70

The HEARTH TAX 1662-70 (or "Chimney Money") was a useful source of national revenue for the Government. People paid 2 shillings a year for each hearth assessed and it was paid by the occupier of the property. It was an extremely unpopular tax and led to rioting in some parts of the country, but not in Derbyshire. In the early days of the tax, people tried to avoid the payments by blocking up their chimneys and claiming exemption certificates for them. For Wirksworth, the records contain a list of 40 people whose wealth was "not sofishant" for them to pay the tax. The Assessment lists are now very useful to Genealogists, giving lists of all householders, village by village, living in Derbyshire in the 1660s.
Sonia Addis-Smith of Bedford typed 900 names, thanks Sonia

11. Poll Tax 1689

Here are a few POLL TAX RECORDS from 1689. I hope these will be increased in future.

Bonsall 1689
Middleton & Cromford 1689

12. Nonconformists & Strays

NONCONFORMIST, STRAYS and other PARISH DATA not in PRs. Browse this, you may find something interesting!
County Strays from Census -- 1851-- 1861-- 1871-- 1881-- 1891
Cromford Wesleyan Baptisms 1806-1837
STRAYS in Phillimores Marriages for Derbyshire 1602-1836

13. Shorter Lists

SHORTER LISTS. Shorter maybe but more unusual and fascinating.
Board of Guardians 1837-51
Jurors List 1775-1841
Elizabethan Musters 1587-1600
Aid to Charles I, 1627
Vills & Freeholders 1633
Survey of Wirksworth 1649
Owners of Land 1873
Owners of Mines 1896
Bonsall Parish Votes 1813, 1837

14. Matlock Registers

Large parts of the MATLOCK Parish Registers 1637-1856 are being hosted on this website, although there are still gaps.
Bernie Freeman has transcribed 7,000 baptisms and 4,700 burials and Ivor Neal has transcribed 4,400 Marriages. Many thanks to both for their very hard work.
A lot of info can be gained by comparing Parish Register records with Census records, where they overlap.

See Matlock 1841-51-61-71-81-91 Census Index and Listing
Matlock Local History

15. DOXEY corner

DOXEY Corner

I specialise in this rare Derbyshire surname, which was my mother's maiden name. I have a lot of information from the Wirksworth PRs and from the IGI, which I've used to construct a large family Tree about my own DOXEY ancestors. Using the Internet has uncovered about 20 distant cousins. An attempt has been made to allocate 1,000+ PR entries into 200 numbered DOXEY families.

To help in tracing Family Trees, the same DOXEY events are indexed by Firstname, Parent's name and Date. Parent's name indexing helps to find siblings and suggest a Marriage date.
Here are 1,093 DOXEY entries from the PRs, indexed on:

For comparison, here are DOXEYS appearing in the IGI for 1992. No burials are given, but most parishes in England are covered, up to around 1870. The lists are indexed by Firstname

Here are 2,005 DOXEYs from the IGI:

Click here to see my own DOXEY Tree or DOXEY Tree 1570-1998 or A Large DOXEY Tree or Cynthia's DOXEYs in Utah and here are PRO documents about "Doxey" and DOXEY Duel and Alfred DOXEY 1865-1933 and here to see the distribution of DOXEY in the Census 1841-81. and a snippet about Aaron DOXEY's Will 1873. See Locations of DOXEY in IGI and discover where the surname probably began.
For more information about the DOXEY name, contact me:

16. History of the Wirksworth Area

The HISTORY of WIRKSWORTH goes back 2,000 years. Lead has been mined here since Roman times. Miners used to dress in leather clothes, and wives helped winch them hundreds of feet down the narrow mine-shaft. They hardly saw the sun, and drank lots of milk to protect against lead poisoning.
In 1771 Cromford became the cradle of the Industrial Revolution when Sir Richard Arkwright built the world's first successful water powered cotton spinning mill there.
Click here to see a collection of articles about History and Local Industry.
HISTORY of the Wirksworth Area
Map of the Wirksworth Area
And click here to see what Wirksworth looks like today (on another website)
Wirksworth TODAY

17. Derbyshire Surname Interests

The DERBYSHIRE SURNAME INTEREST LIST by Hugh Winters is given here. Browse the 1,500 entry Surname List and note the name of the researchers. Then go to the 600 entry Address Book and get the address of the researcher. If you want to add your interests, please contact Hugh Winters and send him details in the same format (he has a big work-load).

18. Bastards and Aliases

If you're still having trouble finding an entry, have a glance through these lists of BASTARDS and ALIASES. You might be lucky, and it will add spice to the Family Tree! Also try Derbyshire Quarter Sessions Bastardy Cases 1682-1784 for the Wirksworth area.

19. Marriage Witnesses 1754-1899

MARRIAGE WITNESSES were included in the Parish Registers 1754-1899. They are useful for several reasons. They were often related to or close friends of the bride or groom, which helps identify the marrying couple. In the absence of a marriage or burial record, a signature shows a witness was still alive!
Tips about using MWs are given in NOTES

20. Dates of Birth 1778-1829

9,600 DATES of BIRTH are listed in the PRs between 1778 and 1829. Age at Baptism sharply peaked in the 4th week, but 1,087 Late Baptisms occured between 1 and 69 years after birth. There are 85 Pairs of Twins.

21. Old Photos, Maps and Graphics

OLD PHOTOS. Here are over 180 local photos, mostly from before 1920, of Wirksworth Area people, places and events. By recording and storing electronically, I hope to preserve original photos for posterity. Contributions most welcome, original photo will be returned safe after scanning.
MAPS of the Wirksworth Area

GRAPHICS. Here are other interesting pictures of the Wirksworth Area.
WIRKSWORTH from the air
WIRKSWORTH Old Buildings
WIRKSWORTH Town Centre 1989
MATLOCK Aerial View 1840!

22. Surnames in the Registers

Before 1800, most surnames were spelled in many different ways. There was no standardised spelling that we have today. Few people could write, and many Churchwardens couldn't spell. Look through these lists and get the feel of just how variable spelling was. The sound of the name was more important.

Here are all the 6,171 SURNAMES 1608-1899

Here are the 1,072 basic surnames with VARIANTS

23. Firstnames in the Registers

There are 4,087 different FIRSTNAMES in the Wirksworth and Middleton Registers between 1608 and 1899, a few of them of unknown gender. As with surnames, there were a great number of non-standard spellings before 1800. Please tell me if you know the gender of the unknown names.
Here are all the FIRSTNAMES 1608-1899


24. Placenames in the Registers

761 PLACENAMES and variants are mentioned in the Registers. Most come from inside Wirksworth parish of course, but many are from other Parishes, out of Derbyshire, even out of England. What an opportunity for stray-hunters!
There were 327 Parishes in Derbyshire. A Map of the Wirksworth Area is provided.
Ordnance Survey references are given for places inside Wirksworth Parish

Here are lists of all these PLACES:

25. Occupations in the Registers

OCCUPATIONS were often odd and interesting. Many were lead miners and farmers, but there were also Petrifactioners, Pudlers and Prostitutes!
Here's how they earned their bread in Wirksworth: OCCUPATIONS

26. Comments in the Registers

There are over 1,000 COMMENTS in the Registers, varying from very short to quite long. Some are heart-breaking.
Here are some COMMENTS

27. Examples from the Registers

Want to know what the oldest Parish Register looks like? Or what the entries actually say? (Regret there's just not room to include all 88,000!)
Here are Photos of the early PR

28. Yearly counts in the Registers

Want to see how Baptisms, Marriages and Burials varied from year to year? How prosperity and epidemics altered the population?

29. Statistics from the Registers

STATISTICS. Here you can find graphs of the Population change, Baptism age,Baptism month, Birth month, and burial rates during an epidemic. Here are some STATISTICS
Also a very interesting Weather 1600-1900 describing extreme weather in England that may have affected burial rates in the Wirksworth Area.

30. Copying the Registers

Want more information about what was involved in copying the Registers? It took me three years hard work.
Here are details about COPYING the Wirksworth registers
Article for Society of Indexers
Large Scale Indexing on the Web using Hyperlinks

31. Gaps in the Registers

Most Parish Registers have at least some missing records. This list of gaps has been found and measured by computer.
Here's a list of significant GAPS in the Wirksworth PRs.

32. Extra help from other websites

Other people have websites with really useful information about Wirksworth, and Mailing Lists are worth joining. Have a look at EXTRA HELP and find out still more about Wirksworth Parish. Also browse Oddball URLs from DERBYSGEN Mailing List. The One-Place-Study Index lists websites that study the local history and genealogy of just One Place (this Wirksworth website is a good example and is listed).
Lookups at Family Record Center
Professional Researchers
Want a Professional Researcher to help?

33. Get your interests on the web

Want your INTERESTS on the WEB? If you've traced ancestors to Wirksworth Parish, would you like to make contact with other people chasing the same surnames? Send me your e-mail address and surname of interest, and I'll add them to this page. You're welcome to add a few lines of text as well.
Click here to see READER'S INTERESTS
Got any useful comments about records in this website, to help other people? Try Snippets.

34. About the Author

Here's a bit about the AUTHOR of this website, a harmless drudge of Wirksworth records since 1995.
Many people have contributed to this website with their time and effort. Please read this list of Contributors who have the Author's grateful thanks.

35. Author's library

I have a LIBRARY covering aspects of Wirksworth and District, and offer a LOOK-UP Service by e-mail (if it doesn't mean too much effort on my part!).
Here are more details about my LIBRARY

36. Sales by the Author

Prefer to do your own searching? I am selling the Wirksworth website on CD, so you'll still have a copy if it ever disappears from the Internet. Also a set of 14 microfiches covering the Parish Registers. And a booklet about Middleton-by- Wirksworth.
Here are more details about SALES

37. Future plans for this website

FUTURE Plans for adding to this website. All ideas and help gratefully received!

38. Fanmail and Media Events

Here's some FANMAIL about this Website from the people who use it and also some items from the "media".
Headline in Dales Echo
Interview on BBC Radio Derby
Articles in "Missing Links" Rootsweb Journal
Drayton Valley Article
Matlock Mercury Article 2000
Googlewhack Adventure
Matlock Mercury article 2008.

39. Where to Stay near Wirksworth

WHERE to STAY near Wirksworth. A Map of the Wirksworth Area is provided. A list of Hotels, Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfast, Self-Catering, Caravan & Camping, and Youth Hostels with addresses and prices.

'See the old me in Wirksworth Church'

40. "T'owd man" the lead miner

'See a new me near Bonsall Cross'
The PICTURE at the top of this website is called "T'owd Man". This amusing carved figure of a lead miner, dressed in leather and carrying his pick and kibble, is set into the West wall of the South Transept of Wirksworth Parish Church. He was found at Bonsall and removed to the church about 1876. To me he epitomises the hard-working common man recorded in the Parish Registers of Wirksworth. Say hello to him if you get the chance. But now read about the Return of the Miner.

41. Glapthorn & "One-Place" websites

I run a smaller Website for the village of Glapthorn in Northamptonshire.
Included are Censuses 1841-51-61-71-81-91 and many statistics.
Also one for people running "One Place Study" websites, which list all names from one village, town or parish. Why not browse these if you have the time and interest? All my websites can be found on Website rankings.


Why not join DERBYSGEN? Its the best e-mail "Mailing List" about Derbyshire Genealogy and Local History. Its an excellent way to learn about Derbyshire folk and families. Additions to this website are first announced on DERBYSGEN. It has 800 members, many of whom are experts on Derbyshire History and Genealogy. And its free!
Click here to Search the Archives and here to Browse the Archives.

43. Contributed Wirksworth Pedigrees

Have you researched your Wirksworth Pedigree in some detail? Please e-mail it to
and I will add it to the collection on this website to help future researchers. Text only please.
See the collection so far on Wirksworth Pedigrees

44. HELP!

The Author may be able to help you with searching for your Ancestors in Wirksworth, or working out your Family Tree. Check out HELP from the Author. Perhaps other websites can help you in your search? Check out Extra Help from other websites. Really interesting e-mails come on the Mailing Lists I belong to. Check out Info e-mails. If all else fails:
contact the author:


Here's a place to put info that looks useful but I don't know where else to put it. This is a Pot Pourri, have a look.


46. LETTERS from the Past

Letters that have been handed down in the Author's Family. If you have letters from the Wirksworth Area written before 1900, I'd be delighted to add them here. A wonderful addition from an old lady:

47. WILLS, Admins, Probates and Inventories

Here's a long list of Derbyshire WILLS 1525-1928 to be found at DRO Matlock and JRO Litchfield, transcribed by Michael Spencer, thanks Michael. Helps order a Will, very useful in the absence of a burial record
and another list of Derbyshire ADMINISTRATIONS also by Michael
And another list of Wills, Probates and Inventories 1524-1602 for the Wirksworth Area and held at Lichfield Record Office. Courtesy of David Kiernan, thanks David.

Make sure you read How to order Wills.

48. ARCHITECTURE in Wirksworth

Here are 63 lovely line drawings of Buildings in Wirksworth, courtesy of the Civic Society and Janet Mellor. No wonder the town was presented with the prestigious Europa Nostra Award for architectural conservation in 1983.

Also a photographic Tour of Wirksworth Parish Church.

49. Rev. Abraham BENNET FRS

Abraham Bennet 1749-1799 was the foremost man of science produced by the Wirksworth Area. He was Curate of Wirksworth 1776-1799, specialized in Electrical Theory, and wrote an influential book called "New Experiments on Electricity" in 1789. This section examines the man and his work.

That's the lot folks. Hope you enjoyed this website and found it useful. E-mail the author: on the sunny South Coast of England if you have any good ideas to improve it, any opinions or comments, spotted any mistakes or have new material. This website was all hand-coded by the author, other websites by me are: Glapthorn, One Place Studies, Major Oak, Diary of Stonecrop Wood, Bear Mead on the Dorset Stour, Planting an oak wood in Dorset, Oak blog and The Eye Mead Project. Check out the complete list of websites with Google page rankings for these.

Best wishes and Cheerio!

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Deciphered, transcribed, compiled, indexed, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2005, John Palmer, All Rights Reserved.