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Bowns Hill Crich.jpg
Bowns Hill, Crich
Grid reference: SK3454
Location: 53°5’2"N, 1°28’44"W
Population: 2,821  (2001)
Post town: Matlock
Postcode: DE4
Dialling code: 01773
Local Government
Council: Amber Valley
Derbyshire Dales

Crich (ˈ) is a village in Derbyshire. Though small, it contains the National Tramway Museum inside the Crich Tramway Village. Also at the summit of Crich Hill above, a Memorial Tower for those of the Sherwood Foresters regiment who died in battle, particularly in First World War.

Built in 1923 on the site of an older tower called Crich Stand, the Memorial Tower is the destination of an annual pilgrimage on the first Sunday in July. It is 1,000 feet above sea level, and has 52 steps to the top. From there eight counties can be seen, including landmarks such as the Humber Bridge and Lincoln Cathedral.[1]


In 1009 King Æthelred the Unready signed a charter in the Witan which recognised the position and boundaries of Weston-on-Trent and several other manors including Crich.[2] The charter shows that Weston controlled the nearby crossings of the Trent. The land was listed as eight hides at Weston upon Trent, and a hide at Crich, Morley, Smalley, Ingleby and Kidsley. This land was then given to Morcar, the King's chief minister, and he was given extensive, extraordinary rights of jurisdiction that were normally reserved for the King alone, for example responsibility for justiceso that he alone could decide a fate of life or death without the need of the authority of the King or his sheriff.[2] The charter also exempted Morcar from the three obligations of bridge-bote, burgh-bote and fyrd-bote. Morcar was given further lands in Derbyshire. Weston and presyumably Crich reverted to royal control after Morcar and his brother were murdered by Eadric in 1015.

Parts of the parish church, St Mary, are Norman, with later Decorated Gothic and Perpendicular Gothic alterations from the 14th century.[3] Crich has also a Wesleyan Chapel that was built in 1770.[4]

A workhouse was opened in 1734 on the edge of Nether Common. It could accommodate 40 inmates, and accepted paupers from other parishes, including Melbourne, Pentrich, Willington, Mercaston and Denby.[5]

Chase Cliffe is a Tudor Revival house on the road from Crich to Whatstandwell.[4] It was designed by Benjamin Ferrey and built in 1859–61.[4]

The Memorial Tower

The Memorial Tower ('Crich Stand') in Crich, Derbyshire, completed in 1923. The large plaque in the foreground dedicates the tower to the memory of the soldiers from the Sherwood Foresters Regiment who died in First World War and Second World War. Two further plaques are found beneath the railings, either side of the door. One further dedicates the memorial to those who died serving in the Sherwood Foresters regiment from 1945 to 1970, while the other further dedicates it to those who died serving the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment from 1970 to 2007 and the Mercian Regiment since 2007. The small plaque to the left is dedicated to Brigadier J.H.M. Hackett, 'Last Colonel The Sherwood Foresters 1965 - 1970 and First Colonel The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment'.

In popular culture

The village was a location for the setting for the ITV drama series Peak Practice (along with Ashover for a time). Images of the village also appear in the 2007 film And When Did You Last See Your Father? starring Colin Firth. In the film Firth is seen riding a motorbike up Chapel Lane.


Crich Stand

Geologically, Crich lies on a small inlier of Carboniferous limestone (an outcrop on the edge of the Peak District surrounded by younger Upper Carboniferous rocks).

Quarrying for limestone probably began in Roman times. In 1791 Benjamin Outram and Samuel Beresford bought land for a quarry to supply limestone to their new ironworks at Butterley. This became known as Hilt's Quarry, and the stone was transported down a steep wagonway, the Butterley Company Gangroad, to the Cromford Canal at Bullbridge. Near there they also built lime kilns for supplying farmers and for the increasing amount of building work. Apart from a period when it was leased to Albert Banks, the quarry and kilns were operated by the Butterley Company until 1933.[6]

Quarrying in the early 1900s

The gangroad, descending some 300 feet in about a mile, was at first worked by gravity, a brakeman "spragging" the wheels of the wagons, which were returned to the summit by horses. However, in 1812 the incline was the scene of a remarkable experiment, when William Brunton, an engineer for the company, produced his Steam Horse locomotive.

In 1840 George Stephenson, in building the North Midland Railway, discovered deposits of coal at Clay Cross and formed what later became the Clay Cross Company. He realised that burning lime would provide a use for the coal slack that would otherwise go to waste. He leased Cliff Quarry and built limekilns at Bullbridge. They were connected by another wagonway including a section known as "The Steep", a 550-yard self-acting incline at a slope of 1 in 5.

Cliff Quarry closed in 1957, although a small amount of limestone extraction still occurs at the western end; it was bought by the Tramway Museum in 1959.

Hilt's Quarry closed in 1933 and is derelict. For 38 years, Rolls-Royce used it for dumping low-level radioactive waste such as enriched uranium, cobalt-60 and carbon-14. Following a campaign and blockades by villagers in the Crich and District Environment Action Group, dumping ceased in 2002. In 2004 the Government backed an Environment Agency document banning further dumping, and Rolls-Royce will be required to restore and landscape the site.[7][8][9]


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Crich)


  1. Crich Memorial
  2. 2.0 2.1 Charter of Æthelred, The Great Council, 1009, accessible at Derby records
  3. Pevsner & Williamson, 1978, page 156
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Pevsner & Williamson, 1978, page 157
  5. Higginbotham, P. (2007), Workhouses of the Midlands, Tempus, Stroud. Page 27. ISBN 978-0-7524-4488-8
  6. Cooper, B., (1983) Transformation of a Valley: The Derbyshire Derwent, Heinneman, republished 1991 Cromford: Scarthin Books
  7. "End to Nuclear Dumping" Belper News
  8. "Final victory for campaign", Emily Davies, Matlock Mercury, 30 June 2004
  9. Eco Sounding, Paul Brown, The Guardian, August 4, 2004