Updated 30 Jan 2009

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

Return to Front Page



Photo 522


"I Promise to pay the Bearer on Demand FIVE POUNDS, here or at Messrs Smith Payne & Smiths Bankers LONDON. Value rec'd WIRKSWORTH 24 August 1829 No. 3420 (E & P Hill & Peat?) For Richd Arkwright & Compy Chas Arkwright"
Price at Auction £3,335 (believed to be a world record price)

Wirksworth & Ashbourne, Derbyshire Bank, £5, Wirksworth, 21 Dec 1840, serial number N916, black and white, arms top centre, value low left and top right, for Arkwright & Company. (cf Grant 3246C), probably a contemporary forgery, fine, rare.
Estimate £200-250.

Wirksworth & Ashbourne, Derbyshire Bank, £10, 4 April 1842, serial number 3223, black and white, arms within wreath top left, value low left and top right, for Richard Arkwright & Company, signed Frederick Arkwright and with blue overprint at left. (Grant 3246C), red with cancellation of signature, split and rejoined, very good, rare.
Estimate £300-400

Wirksworth paper money 1840-1843

    Wirksworth and Ashbourn Bank, forerunner of the present Lloyds Bank in Wirksworth, was founded by John Toplis in 1780. Richard Arkwright Junior became a partner in 1804, taking over full ownership in 1829 with his sons Peter and Charles, each holding a third share in the capital. The bank was known locally as Richard Arkwright and Co.

    At that time merchants and businessmen would start up their own banks and issue their own banknotes, which were like a form of IOU.

    An idea of the value of such notes is given on Wages and Money. Here is the average annual earnings of some occupations in 1851.

                  Agricultural Labourer £29
                  Policeman              54
                  Miner                  55
                  Teacher                81
                  Surgeon               200
                  Clergyman             267

    Recently, the purchase of such a banknote hit the headlines.
    Rare Arkwright Five Pound Note Sold. 30 April 2004
    A Five pound note issued by the old Wirksworth and Ashbourn Bank has been sold by auctioneers Spink in London for £3,335. The note, serial number 3420, was issued on 24 August 1829 and is signed by Charles Arkwright, a son of Richard Arkwright Junior.

    The note was bought by Robert Aram, the owner of Masson Mills, who paid a world record price for such a note at the time. A copy is displayed in the Working Textile Museum at Masson. A photo of the note is shown top left.

    Robert Aram is reported as saying:
    "I did not start to bid until near the end of the auction, as there were a few other potential buyers at the beginning, but as the bidding went higher only I and a millionaire collector from Jersey were left in.

    Eventually I bought it for over £3,400 and I feel that it was worth every penny to save this very important piece of Derbyshire's local history from disappearing from the area, possibly for ever. I would have paid more, as the chance of acquiring something like this might only come up once in a lifetime."

Wirksworth & Ashbourne Derbyshire Bank, £10, 27 March 1843, serial number 3406, black and white, arms within wreath top left, value low left and top right, for Richard Arkwright & Company, signed Frederick Arkwright and with blue overprint at left. (Grant 3246C), fine with interesting attached note, rare.
Estimate £450-550
Note reads:"Genuine £10 Note of Messers Richard Arkwright & Co dated 27 March 1843. paid 14 Augst 1889 - 46 years in circulation

The photograph was taken at the turn of the 20th century when the bank was still owned by Capital & Counties Bank. Henry Beesley (1901, 1891, 1881 and 1871) of my kin was Manager there before taking over the Management of Corporation Street C & C Bank Manchester .. Note the side door now blocked up which came out on what was known as Bank Terrace before being re named The Causeway..Henry Beesley and his wife lived over the Bank. In the 1860s my Grt Grandfather Joseph Walker (1871, 1861, 1851 and 1841) born 1815 is reputed to have renovated the Bank..It is also a fact that he and his then sons products of his 2nd marriage to Margaret Fletcher built Crompton & Evans Bank now NatWest Bank Market Place Wirksworth .. I am the product of Joseph's 3rd wife Martha Sheldon.. Joseph's Foreman Stonemason was Alvin Smedley who married Fanny Flint of my allied kin..Their Grt Grandson today also named Alvin is a friend of mine.. We have a shared family history..also related by Wright Frost and Allen ....
Text & photo from Stuart Flint
Wirksworth and Ashbourn Bank
At the junction of St John's St and The Causeway stood the Bank started by John Toplis in 1780, which for some time was the only bank between Derby and Chesterfield. It was formerly the town house of the Beresford family of nearby Fenny Bentley. Richard Arkwright junior (1755-1843) became a partner in 1804, taking over full ownership in 1829 with his sons Peter and Charles, each holding a third share in the capital. The bank was known locally as Richard Arkwright and Co. Arkwright acted as banker to the gentry and the aristocracy, his most celebrated client being Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Arkwright's major investments were in Government stocks. At his death in 1843 he was the largest holder of these funds in England. His fortune was estimated in excess of £3¼ million and he was described as "the richest commoner in Europe." Haworth describes this bank in 1920: "Banks in those days were superior places and one entered as if into some ducal establishment - in fact very few people went in. The shopkeepers took money in, but the ordinary people never crossed the threshold. The manager was Mr. Tompkins. He was a captain in the Territorials and on high days and Sundays would appear dressed in his scarlet uniform, complete with sword. We held him in some awe. He had a young bank clerk at his beck and call. He was, of course, Brian Hilditch, of whom more later. In those days the Bank House was run by a staff of about 3-4 servants, so was considered quite an establishment".
St John's Street
6a             6
Flat           Solicitors           Lloyds TSB Bank
above          office               2 flats above

The Causeway
Lloyds TSB Bank           15a         15                 14
2 flats above           through
                        passage    (private residences)

Outline of John TOPLIS' family by Stuart Flint

John Toplis of Pratt Hall Ashlehay born in the 1540s married Elizabeth ......(as I sit typing this today, I can see Pratt Hall Lane from my window Pratt Hall Lane adjoins St Helens Lane at Breamfields)


Robert Toplis of Pratt Hall


John Toplis of Brookwalls Farm Ashleyhay married Ellen Lowe (Brookwalls farm is a few hundred yards along Pratt Hall Lane adjoining Hey Lane)


Thomas Toplis married Agnes Spencer 1658 daughter of Tobias Spencer of Hardhurst Farm Breamfields They living at Hollyseats Farm Shottle


John Toplis married 1st wife Anne Greatorex of Stonebridge Wirksworth
2nd wife Rebecca Vallance daughter of Ferdinando Vallance of Alderwasley married at South Wingfield Church 1711

Son by Rebecca

John Toplis born 1718 married Elizabeth Gell 2nd September 1741 daughter of Anthony Gell of Carsington (possibly a junior branch of the Gells of Hopton Hall)


John Toplis born 9th November 1746 married Sarah Penelope Buxton 1783 three years after founding the bank on The Causeway..married at St Peters Church Nottingham... Sarah daughter of John and Sarah Buxton nee Dale Sarah nee Dale daughter of Thurston and Hannah Dale nee Burton .. Thurston Dale of Parwich Gent (The Dales also of Nottingham and Sheffield one of whom I believe married into the family of Thomas Norris Ince Solicitor / Genealogist of Wirksworth) John Buxton was a Soap Boiler and Grocer of Nottingham

John and Sarah had one child, a daughter Elizabeth (sometimes named as Eliza) who married George Greaves Gent of Page Hall, Elmsall Lodge, near Doncaster Yorkshire Eliza his 2nd wife ..George Greaves 1st wife being Anne Marie Rooke ..George was son of George Bustard Greaves of Elmsall Lodge and Hesley Hall Nottinghamshire a descendent of the Beeley Bagshaw-Greaves family. George Greaves brother John Greaves married Louisa Jane Leacroft daughter of Thomas Leacroft of The Cliffe Matlock .. See descendents of George and Mary Greaves nee Marriott of Derbyshire

John Toplis founded his bank in 1780 being joined in partnership with Richard Arkwright in 1802. Richard Arkwright then taking over after Toplis's demise in 1826 R Arkwright and Co was also known as Wirksworth & Ashbourne Bank his sons being Directors after which it was known I believe as Moore Robinson and Maltby (Nottingham Banking Co.) afterwards known as Capital & Counties Bank and then Lloyds Bank then Lloyds T.S.B.

Regards S.G.Flint

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved.