Dronfield in 1837
Dronfield is a market-town in the hundred of Scarsdale, on the road between Chesterfield and Sheffield, about 5 miles from the former and 6 from the latter, and 30 miles from Derby. The parish is extensive, containing 15,580 acres, or more than 24 square miles. It contains, beside Dronfield town (population in 1831, 1,653), the townships of Little Barlow (pop. 58), Coal Aston (pop. 300), and Unstone (pop. 586) ; the chapelries of Holmsfield (pop. 499), and Dore (pop. 527), and the hamlet of Totley (pop. 351) ; the population of the whole parish was 3,974. The parish church is beautifully situated on a hill on one side of the town. It has a fine tower and spire, chiefly in the decorated English style. The chancel has been very fine ; it contains three rich stone stalls, the foliage of which is very beautiful ; but the large east window has been deprived of its tracery. There are meeting houses for Quakers, Wesleyans, and Independents.
There are some manufactures carried on at Dronfield, chiefly of iron goods, as cast iron chains and nails, axes, chisels, and other edge tools, common cutlery, and agricultural implements. The market, which Farey states to be much declined and which other authorities state to be discontinued, is on Thursday. There were in 1833 a well-endowed free-school for 60 boys and 20 girls ; 3 boarding schools (1 was for day-scholars also), with nearly 100 children ; 6 day-schools, with nearly 200 children ; 2 Sunday-schools, with 105 boys and 110 girls. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor ; yearly value £224, with a glebe-house.
The dependent districts of the parish have some manufactures similar to those of the town itself. They contained in 1833 6 day-schools, with 203 children : some of these schools have small endowments ; 1 day and Sunday-school, with 60 day and 70 Sunday scholars, partly supported by an endowment ; and 5 Sunday-schools, with 253 children. Dore (which appears to include Totley) is a perpetual curacy of the yearly value of £90, in the gift of Earl Fitzwilliam ; Holmsfield is also a perpetual curacy of the yearly value of £97, with glebe-house. Beauchief Abbey will be noticed presently.