Tuesday, 13 April 2010

13. April 7th-9th 2010

Three members of the Whitfield Project's documentary research group (Jane and Chris Lunnon, Ruth Spencer) spent 3 days in the archives room at Chatsworth House, the Derbyshire home of the Duke of Devonshire, last week. As Embsay has been part of the Devonshire estate for several centuries, we knew there would be some interesting material here, and we certainly were not disappointed. We were able to scrutinise a large number of documents, mainly from the late 16th to mid 18th Century. Although there was no reference in any of the documents to the cotton mill at Whitfield (not built until the 1790s), what we did find were numerous documents relating to the site on which the mill was built - we are now beginning to build a detailed picture of the land use and land ownership patterns of Embsay pasture (in which the reservoir now stands), and the nature of the common rights to the moorland above.
There will now be some even more intense working on the material as we start to go through the copies, and our notes, at home. This may take several months, as we wish to go through the material with a fine tooth-comb, and some of the documents are very difficult to read!

We worked so intensely on the archival material, that we had no time to explore the great house of Chatsworth itself, or the gardens. We were only able to venture out to the teashop at lunchtime and for afternoon tea. But the views as we climbed the hill to the teashop, and came back down again, were lovely. The house is in such a wonderful setting.

Many thanks go to Stuart Band, the archivist at Chatsworth, and his colleagues - they were extremely helpful and friendly, and made our time here very enjoyable indeed. In fact, we found all the staff at the house and in the grounds very welcoming.

We now have a wonderful resource to help us trace the history of the parish right back into the late Tudor period. There is plenty more to explore in the archives, and we are looking forward to going back for more research some time soon.
Jane Lunnon, UWHG Archivist

No comments:

Post a Comment