There have been settlements in this area for many centuries but it was only in Norman times that a church (St Alkmund’s) was built and a village of 40 or 50 families was formed. Little Eaton, Quarndon and part of Derby together were designated as the Manor of Little Chester. In about 1300 AD, King Edward I gave the manor to the bishopric of Lincoln. Lincoln was then the fourth largest city in England and had a huge Cathedral so needed money to keep it going.
At that time the Deans of Lincoln, as Lords of the Manor, were very powerful. They allocated strips of land for cultivation by local people. They also allocated rights to graze on common land - most of the land to the north of the village including what later became Park Farm. They levied tithes in the form of money, agricultural produce or labour. They held regular courts to deal with problems and to settle legal matters. There were other perks too – Lords of the manor collected on the death of “the man of every house the best plow and irons, a brass pot and a piece of cloth”. He also had “5/4 of every corrupt woman”.
The Deans of Lincoln did not run the manor themselves but appointed local people to administer it. The Degge family did so for many years, as did the Curzons from Kedleston. The Dukes of Devonshire were in charge from 1750 to 1850. There are some records from this period including a reference in The Lincoln Black book of 1638 to “The Parks Farm”. It is likely that this was a building where Park Farm now stands.
In the late 18th century, parliament agreed that people who had rights to graze on common land could create enclosed fields on it. This was recorded in the “Award Map” for Little Eaton. On the site of Park Farm there were two buildings, presumably a house and a barn. These buildings and the field around it were awarded to Lord Scarsdale who then leased them to Michael Tempest. Michael’s brothers William and John were awarded five fields nearby. Will Woollatt (the brother in law of Jedediah Strutt) was awarded a field next to the building. Other fields which were later incorporated in Park Farm were awarded to different people – Francis Radford, Will Vickers and others.
The rest of Little Eaton was also divided into fields and awarded to various people. The Duke of Devonshire had eight fields; others had two or three fields each. Some of the roads in the area are marked on the map. What is now Vicarage Lane was called Chapel Fields Road; Windy Lane was called Wind Arse Lane; and Rigga Lane was called Rigger Lane.
The next record of land in the area is in the “Tithe Map” of 1850. By then it had become possible to purchase land outright with no need to pay tithes on it. Over the previous 50 years there had been a huge change in the ownership of land. The Tempest family, who had converted their corn mill at Peckwash into a paper mill, now owned many of the fields around their mill and beyond. The Strutt family, the mill owners from Belper, bought most of the area on which the village now stands. They let this land to a single tenant, Thomas Tatum, who lived at what is now The Elms on Duffield Road.
In 1845, the Church Commissioners in London took over 100 acres in the north of the village, including Park Farm.
At this time, the house was described as “House, buildings, yard and near park. Small farmhouse, stone and thatch. Three rooms below and three above in moderate repair. Barn, three bays, stone and thatch and small cowshed.”
We now know that there was a small cellar beneath one of the rooms and a large bottle well in the yard. We think the building may have been divided into two dwellings, with one house of four rooms and one of two and with separate front doors and stairways. The Commissioners let the house buildings and about 100 acres of land around them to William and Thomas Tempest, grandsons of the Michael Tempest who had leased the buildings and land from Lord Scarsdale earlier.
This arrangement left the Tempests and the Strutts between them owning or leasing over 90 percent of the land in the parish. A Mrs. Webster Trowell owned several fields; she was the daughter of William Wollatt and Susannah Lalouel, both of whom owned land in the area.
The Radfords, also landowners, were related by marriage to the Strutts. The whole village was tied up by two powerful families.
There were other changes too at about this time. Canon Latham and others were rebuilding the Chapel – later to become St Pauls; and the Unitarian and Methodist churches were being established. The canal from Derby was dug. Outram’s tramway, built at the turn of the century, was replaced by a railway and the main line from Derby to Sheffield was built. The quarries were developed. The Tempests opened another mill in the village. A school was set up in the Church Hall in 1841, the land for which was donated by Thomas and William Tempest. A separate school for boys was set up in Barley Close in 1872. The joint school on Alfreton Road followed in 1884. Three public houses were opened and some shops established – including a butcher’s shop owned by a George Thums.
The Brown/Brickwood Family
Juda and Thomas Brown were tenants of Park Farm between about 1800 and 1853. Juda was a Tempest. She was born in 1780, the eldest child of John Tempest, a yeoman farmer, and his wife Elizabeth. They lived at Windley, north of Duffield. Juda’s father died when she was twelve and she had an illegitimate child when she was 16, a son, Thomas Tempest. He was brought up by her mother and with her siblings. A year later she married Thomas Brown and the couple were packed off to Little Eaton where Juda’s great uncle Michael put them into Park Farm. Juda was related through her mother, Elizabeth (nee Webster) to Mrs. Trowell a wealthy landowner who lived at The Outwoods. They had eleven children, Elizabeth, Hannah, Henry, Alice, Juda, Ann, John, William, Maria, Joseph and another Ann. There were two girls called Ann because the first one died when she was 8 and the Browns gave their next baby girl the same name. The middle four of these were baptised in Kirk Ireton – we don’t know whether this was because they lived there for a while or because they had relatives there who were good at delivering babies. The Browns gave their address as “Magpie Hill” – an address also used by later occupants of what is now Park Farm.
In 1841, the family is recorded as being at Thorn Hill farm, north of Markeaton. Mrs Trowell had moved from the Outwoods to a big house and farm here, taking with her several of the Brown children. The Brown’s son John managed the farm, another son William was the butler and a daughter Alice was the housekeeper. We do not know whether Juda and Thomas lived at Thorn Hill or were visiting when the census was taken. We know they were at Park Farm in the 1830s and 1840s. Their daughter Ann and Ann’s husband John Brickwood, a telegraph engineer, were also at Park Farm by 1850. There was also a farm worker called John Wheeldon living in the house.
Thomas Brown died in 1849 and Juda died in 1853. The farm was taken over by Ann and John Brickwood. The Brickwoods had three sons and four daughters while living in the house. In about 1864 they went back to Thorn Hill Farm in Markeaton where they had another daughter. Ann died there aged 62, and John died aged 76. Their son Thomas took over Thorn Hill farm.
We think Park Farm was occupied between 1864 and 1880 by Hiram Robinson from Mugginton, where Juda’s brother and cousins lived. Hiram is recorded as being a farmer in Little Eaton in 1864 and 1870. There is a newspaper report of Mrs Robinson selling the farm stock in 1880. Unfortunately, there is no record of the Robinsons in the 1871 census, so we know nothing of their family.
The Hastie Family
In 1880, Park Farm was taken over by the Hastie family. John Hastie, his wife Isabella and five of their children were born in Berwickshire. They then moved to Buckinghamshire where they had three more children. Their eldest son Thomas went back to Scotland but the rest of the family moved to Shottle in 1876 where they farmed and were neighbours of the Tempests of Windley. When the Hasties came to Park Farm, it was 102 acres with the address given as “Park Farm, Magpie Hill”.
John Hastie becomes an important figure in the village, acting as a member and then Vice Chairman of the village School Board. Col. Noel from The Outwoods is chairman. George Thums is also on the school board. By the 1891 census John is 70 and Isabella is 55. Their children are John (32), Michael (29), Isabella (26), Alexander (22), Alfred (21, Elizabeth (18) and Margaret (17). A further daughter, Mary Ann had died as a baby. Elizabeth is a teacher but the others work on the farm – all living in a six-roomed house. By 1901 the Hastie family had moved out with John living with his wife, two sons and a daughter in Alfreton Road. Isabella died in 1902.
John Hastie junior marries the daughter of a farmer in Turnditch but continues to live with his parents while his wife, Mary, lives with hers. Despite this arrangement, they manage to produce four children. John worked at The Elms farm and was killed by a horse when he was 49. His son William had an adventurous life. He joined the army and fought in the Boer War and the First World War, rising to the rank of second lieutenant. Between the wars and afterwards he was a planter in Malaya. He was baptised in Little Eaton in 1909, we think while he was here to be at his father’s funeral.
Elizabeth Hastie was a teacher in Little Eaton until she married and moved to Nottingham. Her sister Isabella lived with Eva Green, a teacher at Little Eaton for 47 years. Between them they brought up Eva’s nephew, David Green. Brothers Alexander and Michael both moved back to Scotland. Alfred Hastie moved away but came back in 1927 to marry Alice Tomlinson, another teacher at the school.
The Yates Family
The farm was taken over by William Yates in 1901. William was 26, a farmer’s son from Ednaston who had worked on his father’s farm and as a labourer with a neighbour so he was an experienced farmer. He lived with his unmarried sister Mary and two cattlemen, Percy Withering (aged 23) and Frank Bull (aged 17). In 1905 Mary married Charles Hancock of Brailsford and moved out. William married Annie in 1907.
By 1911, William Yates is 36. He and Ann (27) have a daughter, Margaret (aged 3). There are 3 servants living in the house with them: William Hawksworth (25) a waggoner, Arthur Bishop (21), a cowman and Marie Jolloy (17), a general domestic. The Yates family lived at Park Farm for 20 years. Because we cannot get access to census returns after 1911, we have not been able to find out if they had any more children.
Their daughter Margaret married Samuel Crowther in 1936. (We thought the family might be connected to the William Everard Yates who died of wounds in 1918 aged 21 and is buried in St Paul’s churchyard, but now believe this not to be the case.) In 1921, the farm was sold by the Church Commissioners to George Thums, a farmer and butcher from the village. The Yates family had to move out and there are newspaper advertisements for the sale of their stock: 42 cattle, 7 horses, 10 sheep and some poultry. William was only in his mid-40s and may have moved back to his father’s farm in Ednaston.
While the Yates family lived at Park Farm it was still fairly isolated. The only building on Vicarage Lane were the Church, the Parish rooms, a private house belonging to Percy Currey and the Vicarage (Rev M.S. Bayliss). The Vicarage was built in 1860 and gave the lane its name. The Hatherings was built by Mr Currey in 1911 and Heiron’s Wood was built in 1924. There was only a track up to Park Farm with allotments on the left after Heiron’s Wood.
Haystack fire 1904
The Thums Family
George Thums and his wife Elizabeth came to Little Eaton from Nottinghamshire, probably in the 1870s. The couple settled on the Alfreton road and had seven children: George, Herbert, Milicent, Ada, Arthur, Henry and Frederick, all mentioned as pupils of the local school. Later, they took over Church Farm (now the Long Barn and the Stone Barn).
Henry was married to Harriet and the couple had four children, Ada, Leonard, Arthur and Mary (Mary and her husband John Laurence Easter were John Easter’s parents). They lived at Park View. When George Thums bought Park Farm in 1921, Henry and his family moved in. Meanwhile, Henry’s brother Arthur took over Church Farm in the village. The two families lived in the two farms (known locally as Top Farm and Bottom Farm) until the late 1930s when Arthur died. Henry and Harriet then left Park Farm and took over Church Farm. Their children had married by then but lived nearby and continued to help to run the farm and the butcher’s shop.
John Easter and family at Park Farm
Threshing at Park Farm
In 1937, the farm was bought from the Thums by Garford Lilley, a wealthy businessman from Derby. At the same time, he bought The Outwoods nearby. This was a large house, originally occupied by the Trowell family and then a Reverend Carr. It was then owned by Colonel Edward Noel who was Chairman of the School Board when John Hastie was Vice Chairman. Much later it was occupied by Charles Catt and his family (with twelve servants) whose objections to smoke from the paper mill led to its closure. In about 1910, the Salt family took over with 50 acres of land. When he bought it, Garford Lilley probably ran Outwoods and Park Farm together with tenants living in the house at Park Farm.
By 1939 Park Farm house was occupied by two unmarried brothers: Frederick Kinder (age 30) and Albert Kinder (age 28). They remained at the farm during the war years but moved on in 1947. They continued to act as agricultural contractors in the village until the 1960s. Frederick later married and had a daughter. His wife and daughter moved to Stanley Common.
The Kinder Brothers
The Kinders were followed by the Essex family We know little of this family other than they lived at the farm between 1947 and 1952.
There were five children, four boys (George, David, Kenny and Graham) and one girl.
In 1952, Garford Lilley sold Park Farm house, buildings and about 40 acres of land to Albert Redfern and his wife. In 1958 Albert retired and the farm was taken over by their son Peter and his wife Elizabeth. They, and their two daughters, Heather and Catherine (later Stead), lived and farmed here for the next half century.
In 2010, the barn and house were divided into two lots. The barn was bought by Rob and Marie Clifford and converted into a separate dwelling. The house was sold to Philip and Ruth Hunter. Some of the land is retained by the Redfern family.
The farm house was refurbished in 2011 and let first to Gail and Laurie Bryant and then to Matt Hill and Kaye Forster. In 2015, the house and garage were extended and the Hunters moved in.
Haymaking at Park Farm
1. We are grateful to John and Janet Easter and Mike Bagworth for their help in compiling this account, and to Jon Hunter for the artist’s impression.
2. We are grateful to the records offices of Derby, Matlock and Lincolnshire; and to the Church of England Archives Service.
3. This record is far from complete and may not be entirely accurate. We would welcome corrections or additions addressed to [email protected]