The manor was mentioned in the Domesday book as belonging to Henry de Ferrers; it included a mill and was worth sixteen shillings.

Castle Field – the ruins are under the trees at the right rear of the field

“The village grew up during the Middle Ages. Middleton Castle, a fortified manor house, was built in the early seventeenth century, and saw some fighting during the English Civil War. Christopher Fulwood attempted to raise a Royalist force from his base in the Castle, but on 16 November 1643, Roundhead troops raided the house and killed Fulwood. The Castle now lies in ruins.”

“The settlement’s present appearance dates from the early nineteenth century. Thomas Bateman rebuilt the entire village in the 1820s, incorporating the mullioned windows of earlier buildings to retain something of its traditional appearance. The small parish church also dates from this period, and Bateman rebuilt Middleton Hall as his own residence.”

“Bateman’s grandson, the archaeologist also named Thomas Bateman, lived in the village, and built Lomberdale Hall as his residence.”

“An annual well dressing takes place in the village, and the village hosts an annual musical festival, showcasing local musicians every summer. Arbor Low lies two miles west of Middleton.”


Little documentation exists about the medieval settlement of Smerrill. it is registered with Historic England as “Medieval settlement south east of Smerrill Grange” numbered 1019044 and is summarised as follows:  The earthwork, buried and standing remains of the abandoned areas of Smerrill medieval settlement are particularly well preserved and retain important archaeological and ecological deposits. The earthworks indicate the layout of the early village and how it fitted into the wider medieval landscape.

Full report : smerrill-historicengland-1019044
Location: smerrill-map

Historical extracts referring to Middleton

“The manor of Middleton belonged to the Herthills, and passed with their heiress to the Cokaines. About the close of the sixteenth century, it was sold by the latter to the Fulwoods, who possessed it for a considerable time. In 1719 it belonged to Sir John Curzon and Elizabeth Bateman. Sir John Curzon’s part passed successively to Sanders and Howe. In 1771 this manor was the joint property of Lord Viscount Howe and Matthew Roper, Esq. It now belongs to Thomas Bateman, Esq., by purchase from the coheiresses of Viscount Howe.”

Smerrill-grange passed with the manor of Herthill, in Bakewell, from the Herthills to the Cokaines, and from the latter, by sale to the ancestor of the Duke of Devonshire, who is the present proprietor.”
“The parochial chapelry of Elton lies about two miles and a half from Youlgrave, and one and a quarter from Winster. The manor, from the reign of Edward III. to that of Queen Elizabeth, belonged to the Foljambes. In the former reign it was held under the Tibetots, who had succeeded the Bardolfs as Lords paramount, by the render of a pair of gilt spurs. (fn. 88) It is now in moieties between Bache Thornhill, Esq., and Hylton Joliffe, Esq. The latter derives his title from a coheiress of the Stevensons by marriage. (fn. 89) Mr. Thornhill’s moiety was purchased of the other coheiress.”

“The minister of Elton chapel is appointed by the majority of householders in the chapelry : the curacy has been augmented by Queen Anne’s bounty. An act of parliament for inclosing lands in the townships of Elton and Winster, was passed in 1809, when allotments were made in lieu of tithes. Two bovates of land in Gratton were given, in the year 1358, to the warden of the altar of St. Margaret at Elton, by Godfrey Meynell and William de Saperton. (fn. 90)”
“The manor of Gratton belonged to the Middletons in the reign of Henry VIII, and they continued to possess it in 1675; about that time it passed by marriage to the Lowes. In 1723, it was purchased by John, grandfather of Bache Thornhill, Esq., who is the present proprietor. Mr.Thornhill possesses also the manors of Stanton and Birchover. Stanton belonged to the Foljambes, and passed, by marriage, to the Plumptons. Sir William Plumpton died seised of it in 1480. It was the joint property of the Duke of Rutland and Mr. Thornhill till the year 1809, when, in consequence of an exchange made under the Inclosure Act, the whole became vested in Mr. Thornhill. Stanton-hall, the seat of Bache Thornhill, Esq., was for two centuries or more the residence of his ancestors, the Baches. Mr. Thornhill rebuilt the hall in 1799, and has lately made a deer-park, and extensive plantations.”

Youlgrave (Youlgreave)

“YOULGRAVE, in the deanery of the High-Peak, lies about three miles from Bakewell, which is its post-town; thirteen from Chesterfield and thirteen from Ashborne. It comprises the townships of Middleton and Smerrill, and the chapelry of Elton in the wapentake of Wirksworth, and the townships of Birchover, Gratton, and Stanton; the villages of Alport and Conksbury, and the chapelry of Winster in the hundred of the High-Peak. The township of Youlgrave is partly in the hundred of the High-Peak and partly in the wapentake of Wirksworth.”

“Youlgrave (Giolgrave) was one of the manors belonging to Henry de Ferrars, when the Survey of Domesday was taken. In the reign of Edw. I. it was held under the Earl of Lancaster by Ralph de Shirley. (fn. 84) It afterwards became the property of the family of Gilbert alias Kniveton, who had been settled at Youlgrave from a very early period, and had married the heiress of Rossington. Eleanor, heiress of the Gilberts, brought it in 1629, to Charles Barnesley, Esq. It was afterwards in the Buxtons, of whom it was purchased in 1685, by John Earl of Rutland, and is now by descent, the property of his Grace the Duke of Rutland.”

“In the parish church are, the tombs of Robert Gilbert, Esq. (fn. 85) (no date); his wife Joan, (Statham) 1492 : one of more ancient date (without inscription) of the family of Cokaine of Herthill; and that of a crusader, said to be Sir John Rossington. There are monuments also of Roger Rooe, Esq., of Alport, 1612; Charles Greaves, Esq., of Woodhouse, 1720; John Eley, Esq., of Alport, Major-Commandant of the Artillery, in the East India Company’s service, and others of his family.”

“Bassano’s volume of Church Notes, describes memorials for Frideswide Gilbert, sister of John Gilbert, merchant-taylor, of London (no date); Roger Rooe, of Alport, Esq., 1613; and Francis Fox, of Youlgrave, Gent., 1660.”

“The church of Youlgrave was given to the abbey of Leicester, in or before the reign of Henry II., by Robert, son of Robert, the son of Col (fn. 86) , which Col was one of the lords of the manor in the reign of Edward the Confessor. King Edward VI., in 1552, granted the rectory and advowson of the vicarage to Sir William Cavendish (fn. 87) , from whom they have descended to his Grace the Duke of Devonshire. The vicarage was augmented by Queen Anne’s bounty in 1722, the money required for that purpose having been raised by a subscription, to which the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland contributed 301. each.”

“An act of parliament for inclosing Youlgrave and Middleton passed in 1815. The Duke of Devonshire is stated in the act to be impropriator of corn, &c. in Youlgrave and Middleton; the Duke of Rutland of wool and Jambs in Middleton.”

“Conksbury and Meadow-Pleck, or Meadow-Place, lying to the north of Youlgrave, near Over-Haddon, in Bakewell, belonged to the abbey of Leicester. Conksbury was given to that monastery (and probably the grant included Meadow-Place) by William Avenell. (fn. 91) King Edward VI., in 1552, granted the manor of Meadow-Pleck to Sir William Cavendish (fn. 92) , from whom it has descended to his Grace the Duke of Devonshire.”

There is a chapel at Youlgrave for the Wesleyan Methodists.

A school is supported here by voluntary subscriptions; the schoolhouse was built in 1765. A small benefaction for the purchase of books was given by Mrs. Ellen Webster.

Other historic gems

“The following remarkable entries relating to the seasons of 1615, are copied from the parish register.”

“”” A memoriall of the great snow.”””
“””This year, 1614–5, Jan: 16, began the greatest snow which ever fell uppon the earth, within man’s memorye. It cover’d the earth fyve quarters deep uppon the playne. And for heapes or drifts of snow, they were very deep, so that passengers, both horse and foot, passed over yates, hedges, and walles. It fell at ten severall tymes, and the last was the greatest, to the greate admiration and feare of all the land, for it came from the foure ptsof the world, so that all c[ou]ntryes were full, yea, the south p[ar]te as well as these mountaynes. It continued by daily encreasing untill the 12th day of March, (without the sight of any earth, eyther uppon hilles or valleyes) uppon w[hi]ch daye, being the Lordes day, it began to decrease; and so by little and little consumed and wasted away, till the eight and twentyth day of May for then all the heapes or drifts of snow were consumed, except one uppon Kinder-Scout, w[hi]ch lay till Witson week.”
“”” Hyndrances and losses in this peake c[ou]ntry by the snowe abovesayd. 1. It hindered the seed tyme. 2. It consumed much fodder. 3. And many wanted fewell, otherwise few were smoothered in the fall or drowned in the passage; in regard the floods of water were not great though many.”””
“”” The name of our Lord be praysed.”””
“”” There fell also ten lesse snowes in Aprill, some a foote deep, some lesse, but none continued long. Uppon May day, in the morning, instead of fetching in flowers, the youthes brought in flakes of snow, w[hi]ch lay above a foot deep uppon the moores and mountaynes.”””

This extraordinary snow is thus mentioned by Stowe in his Chronicle. The dates somewhat vary.

“”” The 17th of Januarie, 1614–5, began a great frost with extreame snow, which continued until the 14 of February; and albeit, the violence of the frost and snow some dayes abated, yet it continued freezing and snowing much or little, untill the 7 of March, whereby much cattel perished, as well old as young : and in some places, divers devised snow-ploughes to cleare the ground, and to fodder cattell; this snow was very dangerous to all travailers.”””

“1615. “” A dry summer.”””
“”” There was no rayne fell uppon the earth from the 25th day of March till the 2d day of May, and then there was but one shower; after which there fell none tyll the 18th day of June, and then there fell an other; after ytthere fell none at all till the 4th day of August, after which tyme there was sufficient rayne uppon the earth; so that the greatest pt of this land, especially the south ptswere burnt upp both corne and hay. An ordinary sum[m]er load of hay was at 21., and little or none to be gott for money.”
“”” This pt of the peake was very sore burnt upp, onely Lankishyre and Cheshyre had rayne ynough all sumer; and both corne and hay sufficient.”
“”” There was very little rayne fell the last winter but snowe onely.”””

Stanton in Peak

“Thomas Alien, yeoman, who died in 1574, was seised of a moiety of the manor of Stanton-hall, and the manor of Stanton-Ley. This estate now belongs to the Duke of Rutland, who has fitted up an old mansion on it, called Stanton-Woodhouse, (formerly the residence of the Aliens) as a place of occasional resort during the shooting season.”

Lands in the township of Stanton have been inclosed by an act of parliament passed in 1809. The Duke of Rutland and Mr. Thornhill had allotments as joint impropriators of tithes. The Marchioness of Sligo was entitled to certain modus’s for tithes of hay.

“The chapel at Rowtor in the hamlet of Birchover, was built by Thomas Eyre, Esq., of Rowtor, who died in 1717, and endowed with 201. per annum, for the performance of divine service on the first Sunday in every month. The service is now generally performed every Sunday. The minister of this chapel is appointed by the possessor of the estate at Rowtor, formerly belonging to the Eyres. It is exempt from ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and is repaired by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants of Birchover, that hamlet being about two miles distant from the parish church.”


“Winster is a small market-town, about three miles from Youlgrave, about 19 miles from Derby, and about 145 from London. The market, which appears to have been held by prescription, (as we can find no grant for it on record,) is held on Saturdays, chiefly for butchers’-meat. There is no fair now held.”
“Winster (Winsterne) was one of the manors belonging to Henry de Ferrars, when the Survey of Domesday was taken. It was, at a later period, in the Mountjoys, who were succeeded by the Meynells. The latter sold it to the freeholders in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.”
“Mrs. Ann Phenney and Mr. Henry Fenshaw, in 1702, gave one-fourth of the tithes of corn and hay in this township to the minister of the chapel, who is appointed by the resident freeholders. The chapel was augmented by Queen Anne’s Bounty, in the early part of the last century; the inhabitants having subscribed 2001. for that purpose: the lands were purchased in the year 1728.”
There is a chapel at Winster for the Wesleyan Methodists.

“Thomas Eyre, Esq., of Rowtor, in 1717, gave 201. per annum to the minister of Winster, on condition of his teaching 20 children to read the Bible. Mr. Moore, of Winster, in 1718, gave 51. per annum for the purpose of teaching poor children.”

Peak District National Park Conservation Area Appraisal