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Calow Village

Local History > Local History 1 > Calow

The village of Calow is mentioned in the Domesday book as Calehale in 1086. In the Feet of Fines of the County of Derby from the thirteenth century it is Calale or Calall. The word Halh in Old English refers to either a bare corner of land, or the spur of a hill. The village prior to the Industrial Revolution was predominantly agricultural with some mining of coal, stone, slate and ironstone to supply local needs for housing and smithying.

In Calow Esbern and Hakon had 1c of land taxable. Land for 12 oxen. Steinulf and Dunning now have 2 and a half ploughs and 17 villagers and 1 smallholder with two ploughs. Meadow, 3 acres: woodland pasture 1 furlong long and 1 wide. Value before 1066, 30s: now 20s. Dolfin claims it. Domesday Book.

Calow was situated on the edge of Cucksall or Cuxall Moor, an area which includes Staveley, Inkersal, Brimington and Whittington which was in common use for the grazing of animals. It did not include any hedges or fences and animals were allowed to wander freely. It was from time to time an area of controversy over rights of way and illegal enclosure. (See p3 of Duckmanton Moor. Its Land, Industries and People. G.Downs-Rose).

The Manor of Calow belonged successively to the families of Breton, Loudham and Foljambe with Lord Manvers being the last Lord of the Manor. The village becoming an ecclesiastical parish on August 10th. 1900.

Adjoining the High Road (Top Road) is Cavalry field where the Yeomanry Cavalry or volunteer army used to practice. The view from this field was said to have been 'extensive, and includes many places of interest. Bolsover Castle, Hardwick Hall, Crich Stand, Clay Cross Church and Wingerworth Hall'. Was this the site of the old school? Bulmer & Co. Directory 1895.


The lower lying land alongside the river Doe Lea is intersected by the ancient lane Old Carr Lane that runs from Palterton to Sutton-cum-Duckmanton running over the Doe Lea bridge or Buckbridge. A thirteenth century deed refers to a boundary running 'POUR LES HORPUTTIS USQUE AD ALTUM STRATUM QUE DUCIT DE CESTREFELD USQUE AD BUCKEBRIDGE'. This is a Roman road running eastwards from Chesterfield through Palterton and passing over Buckbridge. Les horputtis or orputtis is presumed to be early ironworkings in Allpits Plantation or at Brimington near to Ringwood Hall, the 'openholes'. The road is suggested to run from Chesterfield passing through Calow and over the Buckbridge on its way to the Roman Villa at Mansfield Woodhouse and then on to the tile kiln and bath house at Sookholme near Shirebrook.

From the Archaeological Appraisal of the Arkwright Colliery Opencast site two Roman roads are supported, the one over Buckbridge and another running from Chesterfield to the Damsbrook fort at Clowne, also passing through Calow and Arkwright. Isolated Roman finds have been found in the aforementioned areas but no ground evidence has yet been found to support the facts. This is as a result of the uses that the land has been put to with spoil heaps and surface mining and quarrying, and as the area is on the coal measures and has suffered from subsidence. This does not help to preserve any ancient finds. The local roads from Chesterfield were improved in the early nineteenth century by the Turnpike trust with the exception of the road from Chesterfield to Bolsover. This road named Kalehalegate, or the road through Calow is at least medieval in origin, identified by being both steep and narrow which was part of the main trade route to the cathedral town of Lincoln or Nottingham. In a document from the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). The road is mentioned as Kalehalegate. In the seventeenth century the road is mentioned as the inhabitants of Calow are complaining to the justices to levy a rate to repair the road. 'Mighty in decay by reson of ye many carriages of coale, leade and millne stones'. The justices succumbed in 1650.

T.P.Woods Almanac of 1875.

Carrier of wines and spirits from Chesterfield to Calow, Mr.Marsh from the Red Lion Chesterfield on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Stone and Slate.

There were building stone quarries or Delphs on Upper Lane working in the 6th. Grit stone. At the east end of town in the 10th. Grit stone. And near to the Adelphi Ironworks in the 12th. Grit stone. Flag stone quarries for pavers, flags or layers for footpaths on Upper Lane in the 6th. Grit stone. There were also slates produced from the grit stones for roofing.

Glovers Directory. 1827.


The rusty-coloured ironstone which was mined locally comprised of only thirty percent iron when smelted, it came in several shapes; balls, nodules, dogs tooth and so on referring to its physical shape. It occurs as 'Siderite' or iron carbonate and several seams or 'rakes' occur between the main coal seams. A survey document from the Barrow family (later to become the Staveley company) shows that the Inkersall Rake ironstone was being mined in the Duckmanton and Staveley areas at a rate of 1,932 tons per acre. (24th. March 1840). From the inventory of factory produced wares it would seem that the particular form of iron produced could not or was not made into steel. It was used mainly for forging and casting of large industrial machinery parts for lead and coal mining operations as well as for use in the munitions industry.

Calow Church.

In 1868 a chapel of ease, Saint Peter was constructed to the Chesterfield Parish Church at a cost of £1,600 on a site of land given by Earl Manvers, he also contributed 500 guineas towards defraying the cost of erection. The rest was raised by public subscription. It is a neat structure in the Early English style and contains about three-hundred seats, all of which are free. The vicar of Chesterfield and curates officiate here twice every Sunday. A spire was constructed in 1887 by Mrs. Walker and contains three bells. A clock was added in 1935 in commemoration of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. The lower stage of the tower forms a porch to the south west with an apsidal chancel nave and there are several stained glass windows.


Calow is a small village and scattered township two miles east from Chesterfield. It contains over 1,280 acres of land and in 1861 had 571 inhabitants. The rateable value was £1,617. 19 shillings and sixpence. Earl Manvers is Lord of the Manor and owner of 900 acres of land. Mr.William Clarke of Chesterfield is also a land owner, besides whom there are several small freeholders. The Independents have a chapel here, erected in 1837 in connection with which is is a day school taught on the British System. The Primitive Methodists chapel was erected in 1854 is a small neat brick building which will hold about one-hundred. A new day school was erected here in 1855. It is a small neat brick building capable of holding about eighty and is also used as a place of worship. Elizabeth Wagstaffe left a rent charge of thirty shillings per annum, twenty shillings thereof to be applied in apprentice fees and ten shillings to be distributed to the poor.

Inhabitants of Calow.

Bargh Joseph, Blacksmith.
Charleton Henry, Victualer and Butcher. White Hart.
Clark Mr.Thomas.
Cundy Mrs.Hannah, Spring House.
Johnson R.D. Land Surveyor and Agent to the London and Liverpool Fire and Life Office.
Lucas Revd. Thomas B. Herne House.
Manknell, Corn Miller Top Road.
Moore Elizabeth, School Mistress.
Russell Elizabeth, School.

Boot and Shoe Makers.
Cowlishaw G.
Griffin J.S.
Heath Joseph.
Mason John.


Flint Joseph.
Mason John.


Adlington Edward, Upper House.
Adlington Jethro, Nether House.
Ashmore Charles, Yew Tree.
Biggin Thomas, Hill Fearn.
Booth John, Green.
Charlton Robert, Calow House.
Cox George, Somerset House.
Cox Robert, Laurel Cottage.
Fidler Jasper.
Harmer William, Calow Oak.
Henderson Robert W. Manor House.
Johnson John, Farmer and Horse Dealer.
Knowles Johnathan, Herne House.
Parker Joseph, Green.
Swain Isaac.
Widdowson Thomas, Mount Pleasant.
Windle Rachel.

Occupants of Duckmanton Lodge.

1841: Benjamin Smith. Ironworks Owner.
1851: John Bennett. Pastor, but of where we do not know.
1861: Mansfield Henry Mills. Land Agent, Arkwright Estates.
1871: Mansfield Henry Mills. Sometimes called himself Mansfeldt.
1881: A.William Byron(m). Land Agent, Arkwright Estates.
1891: A.William Byron.

A.W.Byron was instrumental in seeing the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway Bill through Parliament in the late nineteenth century along with William Arkwright of Sutton Hall and Dixon H. Davis who later became the solicitor for the Great Western Railway.

In 1919 the Lodge was sold as lot 74 in the sale of the Arkwright Estates. It was sold for £2,000 to the tennant Mr.D.N.Turner along with three acres of land.

Sometime later it was purchased by the Staveley Company and during the 1920's it was supplied with electricity along with other Staveley Company and local council ventures. This is shown in the 1927 edition of the companies magazine which shows the electrical distribution around the area linking the Lodge to Arkwright Town and Calow Main Colliery.


The Smiths of Chesterfield. Philip Robinson.
Packmen, Carriers and Packhorse Roads. David Hey.
Stanton and Staveley. A Business History. S.D.Chapman.
The Smiths of Chesterfield. Philip Robinson.
Chatsworth Records. Letters. Chatsworth.
General View of the Agriculture and Minerals of Derbyshire. J. Farey.1811.
The Derbyshire Miners. J.E. Williams.
Mining in the East Midlands. Dr. A.R. Griffin.
Our Heritage. The History of the Congregationalists Church at Calow. H.R. Orton.
Staveley. My Native Town. A. Court.
Lathkill Dale. Its Mines and Miners. J.M. Rievwerts.
The History of Chesterfield. J.M.Bestall, D.V.Fowkes, P.Riden, J.Blair and T.F.Wright.
19th. Century Local Trade Directories. Chesterfield Public Library.
T.P.Woods & Co. Almanac. Chesterfield Public Library.
Local Ordnance Survey Maps. 1840-1980. H.M.S.O. (Authors Collection).
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