Updated 22 Jul 2007

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 496


Killer's Quarry, Middleton

Hopton-Wood Limestone was first quarried about 1820 in Hopton Wood at the West end of Via Gellia, 1.5 miles West of Middleton. The limestone was very fine, almost like marble, used for over 100,000 War Graves, though now worked out. The Western outcrop was quarried by Hopton-Wood Stone Co, the Eastern (almost in the village of Middleton) by Killer brothers, beginning about 1870 (should be 1850s according to Stuart Flint, see below). In 1905 the two firms merged. The number of quarry workers from Middleton and Wirksworth rose from 61 in 1871 to 234 in 1901, from the 8th to the most common job among males over 10.
See Hopton-Wood Stone for more information.

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Stuart Flint writes (22 Jul 2007):
Viewing the photograph re Killers Quarry (ph 496) it states that the quarry was begun in approx 1870.. this is not correct..I have evidence which is taken from a court case when Killers were taken to court by the original Hopton Wood Stone Company for calling their stone Hopton Wood.. Joseph Killer the last brother alive when the court case took place (Killer Bros) stated that his father, William Killer (my Gr Gr Gr Uncle ) a Joiner in his family firm of Building Contractors whilst in the process of digging out the foundations for a new Workshop on land he owned at the rear of his house (Killers Yard still so named) situated in the area known as Middleton Moor alongside land owned by my Gr Gr Uncle Samuel Joseph Sheldon ...struck what he recognised instantly as fine Hopton Wood Stone the quality which the original firm on Middleton Moor were having problems with quarrying due to an over hang of muck and clay..Spencer's who managed the Middleton Moor Quarry came to an arrangement with William to take block stone from his land by the 1850s ..he becoming involved as a Stone Merchant and in time by the 1860s when his sons became adults they took control.. William returning to the family Building Firm..Killers Quarry as such was founded in the 1850s

William married Mary Willans of Brinksway near Cheadle as his first wife she mother to John William Joseph and Adam Killer who became known as Killer Bros Hopton Wood Stone ..When Mary nee Willans died William married Anna Brownson daughter of John and Elizabeth Brownson nee Walker Elizabeth sister to my Grt Grandfather Joseph Walker ..Anna's sister Elizabeth Brownson married Francis Eaton known as Frank whose parents lived at Aqueduct Cottage Leawood on The Cromford Canal Franks neice Violet Eaton daughter of Josiah and Anne Eaton nee Sims married Thomas Arthur Farnsworth who was cousin to my sister in laws father James Farnsworth of Matlock ..Farnsworths Stonemasons and Building Contractors whose allied kin were Killers Batterley's and others of my allied kin Frank and Violet lived at Aqueduct Cottage from 1909 - 1930s after which the Bark family lived there one of their heirs born at the cottage in 1950s who lives near my home today.. Aqueduct Cottage was built by Peter Nighingale 2nd Grt Uncle of Florence Nightingale also known as Wigwell Cottage at the junction of Cromford Canal and his own branch to Lea Mills.. The facts surrounding the Eaton family have been given to me by Mr and Mrs Turberville of Matlock.. Mrs Turberville now in her mid 90s her husband 99 years of age a retired Haulage Contractor and Farmer Mrs Turberville is Grandaughter to Josiah and Anne Eaton nee Sims The Sims family also of my own kin..

I have seen the original transcript of the Court Case dealing with Killers and Hopton Wood Stone Quarry ... William and Anna Killer nee Brownson had children one of whom Samuel Thomas Killer married Elizabeth Mather her brother Edward Mather who married Hannah Brooks adopted my Aunt who married Sidney Flint my father's brother, Chief Engineer at John Smedley Lea Mills deceased ... Edward and Elizabeth children of Thomas and Pheobe Mather nee Spencer of Water Lane Middleton

Thomas Mathers sister Millicent Mather married as her 1st husband Daniel Doxey of Middleton their sons being John Doxey who married Lizzie Hayward and George Doxey who married Sarah Kilkenny dau of Dominic Kilkenny .. Daniel died in early marriage and Millicent remarried my wife's Grt Uncle William Evans their son Herbert marrying back into Killer's they being parents to George Evans who was my School Master at Middleton Junior School 1940s and William Evans whose daughter lives near my home today .. Herbert's nephew also named Herbert married Sarah Jane Hall they my wife's Grandparents..

Regards Stuart G Flint

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