Welcome to Crich

About Crich Parish

Crich Parish consists of the villages of Crich, Whatstandwell and Fritchley. It also includes the hamlets of Crich Carr, Wheatcroft, Moorwood Moor and Plaistow Green. Crich Parish also included Tansley up to 1840 and Wessington until 1859.

On this page you will find a map of Crich Parish, a potted history of Crich and links to local organisations in the community.

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Market Place, Crich, Matlock

A short history of Crich Parish

The name 'Crich' may well have appeared in recognisable form around the end of the first Millennium. It seems to have evolved from the Celtic name for crag or hill ('crue' or 'cryc') - a sign of the importance of having a settlement at the highest point on an ancient north-south routeway running parallel to the River Derwent. This track was not along The Common, as we would know it today. More likely, it was a cattle drovers' route which would have climbed from Ambergate to the Hagg, and then on along the foot of the Tors, to the manor held in the early 1000s by the family of Godwin, the Saxon Earl of Wessex.

Our best record of the village and parish in these times comes from the Norman Domesday book of 1086. Much of the area would have been woodland pasture, where sheep or cattle were allowed to graze along with the King's or Lord's deer. The parish was still mostly woodland in the late 1600s, it was only with the final enclosures of land into farms and the felling of trees to provide for the navy in the Napoleonic wars that this landscape changed dramatically. In 1086 the manor was owned by Ralph Fitzhubert, with land worked by 4 ploughs, and a lead mine (valued then at 30 shillings). He became involved in a civil war and was hanged for his troubles, but the family continued to run the manor. What follows is an abbreviated history of some of the key dates of the next 900 years.

Brief Timeline

1135-54 Building of Crich church started - this area remained the geographical centre of the village until the 1700s.
1166 Crich manor pays a levy to the Crown equal to the value of supporting 30 knights.
1212 Crich Chase woods (along Derwent valley) are used by Hubert FitzRalph for hunting.
1390 First Whatstandwell bridge built by John de Stepul as an act of piety to the church. Wat Stonewell was previously the ford keeper.
1400s Crich manor passes to Ralph, Lord Cromwell, Treasurer to Henry IV.
1550s Crich cattle fair well established on land between the Church and the Cross - held until early 1900s.
1660 After this date, the family of the Earl of Shrewsbury begin selling off land to a new class of yeoman farmers in the village.
1734 Crich Workhouse built by the edge of the Common.
1759 The Nottingham - Newhaven turnpike road (now B5035 Roes Lane, Sandy Lane) is set up.
1765 Wesley Methodist Chapel is built in Crich (visited by John Wesley in 1766 and 1770)
1785 Francis Hurt rebuilds his family's wooden viewing platform as a conical stone tower -the second Crich Stand.
1786 Final enclosures of common land take place - this means farming for the first time in the Crich quarry area, Plaistow Green, the Tors area, the Common and Crich Chase. Only the area now known as the Jubilee is left for common grazing.
1794 First 'Friendly Society', 'for the benefit of sick and infirm members' is set up in Crich.
1811 Half of the working population of the parish earn a living through farming (this is less than 2% today).
1817-8 Belper to Cromford road? built, with Crich receiving a regular horse-drawn courier service en route from Derby to Manchester.
1841 George Stephenson begins the transport of limestone to Ambergate from the Cliff quarry site.
1848 Church of England National School (now Crich Infants) opened on Bowns Hill.
1852 Whatstandwell station opened.
1871 Crich's old wooden cross at the top of Bown's Hill is replaced by the present stone cross, designed by Isaac Petts.
1877 Baptist chapel opens on Market Place on the site of a manor house - replacing an earlier one on Roes Lane.
1883 Great rivalry between National (C of E) and British (Nonconformist) schools leading to a new British School - now Crich Juniors.
1887 Stone circle set up and trees planted to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee - and in 1897 to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
1906 First piped water in Crich.
1921 Gas street lighting comes to Crich.
1923 Rebuilt Stand opened as a memorial to the Sherwood Foresters Regiment.
1923 First Annual Regimental Pilgrimage to Crich Memorial Stand.
1923 Crich cinema opened.
1924 The first electricity in the village.
1928 The first council houses are built in Crich.
1930s Hilts Quarry closes
1951 Television reception possible in Crich.
1957 Railway line from Cliff Quarry closes.
1957 Tramway Museum Society moves to Crich, start of National Tramway Museum.
1996 Crich Area Community News launched
1997 Opening of the Glebe Field Centre.
1999 Tors Spring Factory moved from the site off the Common.
2002 Crich Beacon lit for the first time on 3 June to celebrate Golden Jubilee
2006 Stevenson's Dyers, at Bullbridge, closed after 141 years on the site.
2006 Crich Area Community News goes online.
2008 Roes Court built on site of old filling station.
2009 Fritchley Post Office closes.
2010 First running of the Crich Monument Race on Crich Fête day.
2011 Crich Medical Centre opens and pharmacy moves from Market Place.
2013-14 Woodside housing development on site of the abattoir.
2015 Fritchley Tunnel, the world's oldest railway tunnel was opened again.
2015 Crich has its first well dressing in the marketplace.
2015-18 Chadwick Nick undergound reservoir, second biggest covered reservoir in Europe, rebuilt.
2016-21 Devonshire Gardens development off Roes Lane.
2017-19 Foresters View housing development off the Common by Fritchley Lane.
2017-18 Place Project re-landscapes and re-equips the Crich Recreation Ground
2018 Roll of Honour for Crich Parish updated for the centenary of the end of World War One
2019 Crich Standard launched to take over from Crich Area Community News

Text adapted from Roger Shelley's article in the Crich Area Community News.

Local organisations

List of local organisations with links either to sub pages or their own websites.