A brief history of Tapton

On this page you will find a brief history of Tapton. We are currently adding information to this section. Included will be the following subjects:
  • Early history, population
  • Communications (roads, canal, railways)
    • To follow:
    • Economic history (industry and agriculture)
    • Education
    • Religious history
    • local government (including housing, gas, electricity, water and sewage)
    • Social history (including famous people)
    • There’s also information on Tapton House.

Please note that this is not a complete history of the township of Tapton. We will be adding further information in the coming months.

The first edition of the Ordnance Survey 1-inch to 1 mile was published in the early 1860s. The doted line which follows the river Rother, Tinker Sick and southwards to Old Fields and onwards (and including) Dryhurst – is the township boundary. many of the places mentioned in the text appear on this map.

Our thanks are due the Derbyshire Victoria County History (VCH) for sharing their draft parish history for Tapton with us, from which the majority this text is taken. VCH prides itself on new research, including source references – but we have not used these in this account.

Other sources have included contemporary trade directories.

Further information about sources used is available by contacting us.

Introduction

The former township (after 1894 a civil parish) of Tapton occupied 652 acres in the Chesterfield ancient parish, immediately to the north-east of the town. The parish was abolished and its entire area transferred to the borough of Chesterfield in 1920.

This extract from the 1883 Ordnance Survey map of part of Tapton shows some of the detached fields referred to in the text. (Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland – Map Images (nls.uk)

The township was roughly triangular in shape, bounded on the south by the townships of Hasland and Calow, on the west by Chesterfield and Newbold, and on the east and north-east by Brimington. Part of the last of these boundaries was very irregular, deviating from what seems to be its natural course along Tinker Sick to include within Brimington land that seemed rightly to belong to Tapton, and in places apparently following furlongs, or even individual strips, in the common fields of the two townships.

Additionally, until the boundaries were rationalised in 1883, there were no fewer than eight detached areas of Brimington within Tapton, as well as one detached area of Tapton in Brimington and another in Hasland. This intermixture of lands caused difficulty when the townships of Tapton and Brimington were surveyed in the 1650s. It appears to reflect tenurial changes in the 1230s.

In the 17th century, and presumably before, Tapton formed part of a joint constabulary that also included Dronfield, Hasland and part of Barlow, again a reflection of the division of the Domesday manor centred on Chesterfield.

Ecclesiastically Tapton still remains part of Chesterfield ancient parish but parts of it were hived off to Holy Trinity Church on Newbold Road.


Population

The population of Tapton was returned as 148 in 1801 but only 127 in 1811. It recovered to 149 in 1821 and continued to rise modestly to 257 by 1861, before falling to 239 in 1891. It rose to 501 in 1901, following some new building in the township.


The Manor

Text to follow.


Communications

The main road from Chesterfield to Brimington runs from south to north through the western side of the township. This was turnpiked as part of the route from Chesterfield to Worksop under an Act of 1739. There was a toll bar near Tapton Bridge, where the road enters the township. The bridge was a ‘county bridge’. In 1560 a wealthy Chesterfield merchant left money to alter the bridge. In the early 1830s the bridge was in some disrepair and was rebuilt. It was widened again in the first half of the 20th century. (For more county bridges in Brimington and Tapton see our blog).

In 1840 the road was realigned near the entrance to Tapton House when the North Midland Railway was built to enable the road to cross the railway, without using a skew bridge. At the northern end of the township the route was altered more radically in the 1990s by the building of Rother Way, which carried the road across the river to a junction with the Chesterfield Inner Relief Road (Great Central Way) and the older main road from Chesterfield to Sheffield.

It has been suggested that the Roman road between the forts at Little Chester (in Derby) and Templeborough (Rotherham) may have followed the medieval and modern alignment of Lordsmill Street, St Mary’s Gate and Tapton Lane through Chesterfield, passing either alongside or through the fort there. From there it may have continued, at least for a short distance, through Tapton on the line later followed by the main road from Chesterfield to Brimington. No conclusive archaeological evidence has been found to support this idea, although in 1866 Edward Eastwood, the owner of a railway wagon works which stood between the Midland Railway and Brimington Road, found remains of what he described in 1909 as a ‘paved road, below the surface, apparently between the road and the Rother.

A relatively unknown engraving which appeared in Samuel Smiles’ ‘Lives of the Engineers’ biography of George and Robert Stephenson. This is taken from the 1879 edition, but was presumably in earlier editions. Some artistic licence has been taken e.g. ‘Tapton House’ is obviously out of scale with the rather romantic depiction of the scene. Never-the-less you might be able to make out the train on the North Midland Railway, opened in 1840. The person to the extreme left may be sitting on the entrance to the original Chesterfield Canal wharf of 1777. This area would have changed considerably when the Midland Railway opened its direct line to Sheffield in 1870 and the Great Central Railway (GCR) opened its loop line in 1892 – cutting off the original wharf. You will find a much fuller description of this engraving on our gallery page.

In 1559 Richard Johnson alias Edmondson, who was alderman of Chesterfield, at the time of his death, left money towards mending Tapton Bridge. The bridge was first ordered to be repaired as a county bridge in 1812.

Two minor routes run generally west-east to connect the main Chesterfield-Brimington road with Brimington Common and Calow. One of these, Crow Lane, was realigned at its western end after the First World War, when a new section was built from the bridge carrying the railway over the Rother at the northern end of Chesterfield Midland station in place of the older road which left Brimington Road at the northern end of Tapton Terrace. The other, made up of Balmoak Lane in Tapton and Grove Road in Brimington, was probably severed as a carriage road when Tapton Grove (actually in Brimington parish) was built c.1790.

To the west of the main Brimington road Lockoford Lane ran from near the junction with Balmoak Lane to a crossing of the Rother, from where it continued to join the Chesterfield-Sheffield road at Stonegravels. The name refers to the river crossing and has no connection with the nearby lock on the Chesterfield Canal. The road was severed as a through route when Rother Way was built, leaving remnants to the north and south of the new road in Tapton and to the south in Stonegravels.

The Chesterfield Canal, completed in 1777, originally ran from a terminal basin at the eastern end of Wharf Lane, in Newbold township. For about a quarter of a mile it used the course of the Rother before diverging into an artificial cut near the site of Tapton mill. About three-quarters of a mile of the canal proper lies within Tapton township, including Tapton lock, built immediately south of the bridge carrying Lockoford Lane over the canal. After the original basin was lost following the building of the Great Central Railway Chesterfield Loop in the 1890s, an additional length of the Rother formed part of the canal, ending at a replacement wharf immediately downstream from Tapton Bridge – in the yard of the former Trebor factory.

The canal here was restored in the 1980s. A visitor centre was opened at Tapton lock, in the 1960s former lock-keeper’s house, together with access to the canal for launching small boats. (The house here was renewed as the occupant was required to regulate water flow to Staveley works on the canal).

The North Midland Railway, opened in 1840 between Derby and Rotherham (Masborough), lies within Tapton township. The line to Sheffield runs along the eastern side of the Rother valley from Chesterfield station to a crossing of the river near Tapton Junction, where the Midland Railway’s direct line from Chesterfield to Sheffield, opened in 1870, diverges to the north-west. The nearest station serving the township was Chesterfield Midland.

The Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (later Great Central) Chesterfield Loop, opened in 1892 between junctions with the main line at Heath and Staveley, lay mostly to the west of the Rother, but part of the goods yard at Chesterfield Central station and a short section of the line north of Lockoford Lane were in Tapton. The station, on Infirmary Road on the outskirts of Chesterfield town centre, was opened in 1892 and closed when the line was shut in 1963. Some years later the trackbed was used as the route of the Chesterfield Inner Relief Road.

Tapton is and has been well-served by bus services, but only along the main Chesterfield to Brimington road. Bus services have not, for example, run around estate roads.

The number of bus services running through Tapton might be gauged by this extract from a 1944 timetable map, which only shows East Midland Motor Services’ routes (the numbers in black) – there were, for example, additional Chesterfield Corporation routes. Tapton is not annotated, but sits between Chesterfield (the large circle to the left) and Brimington. The red ‘2’ and ‘Sheepbridge and Brimington’ refers to the former Great Central Railway Chesterfield loop service. The roughly hourly service 4 went to Doncaster, Worksop and Clowne; 7 to Poolsbrook; 9 to New Whittington via Barrow Hill; 10 to Swallownest and the 99 to Sheffield via Barrow Hill, giving a good choice of destinations farther afield even at this date.

There is no evidence of any bus or coach operator being based in the parish. The former Chesterfield Corporation started a motor bus service to Brimington in 1914. Other destinations followed. There were further services in the hands of more local operators such as Wetton and Doughty from Brimington. More research is needed to understand if these operators were prohibited from picking up in Tapton, as a result of conditions imposed by the Corporation – when Tapton was absorbed into the Borough of Chesterfield in 1920. Underwood, later reconstituted into East Midland Motor Services Ltd., also operated services through Tapton to a variety of destinations. Further afield, in 1978, these included Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham and Worksop. Today bus services are in the hands of Stagecoach plc.

ENDS – further text will be added here. Further illustrations are to follow.

Page last updated 30 June 2021.

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