Shopstones - The Settlement
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There has been a shop on this site since 1768, when the Moravians built a general store at a cost of 150 pounds. The building pictured above was built in 1820. The Moravian Church Elders Conference Minutes of April 1820 refer to 'orders...given to Mr Crayne for a plan and estimate of a new shop to be built for the settlement...500 pounds had been deposited in the Provincial helper's hands for that purpose'. In June 1820 the minutes of the Congregation Committee recorded that 'a proposal was made by Br Glass to raise the shop higher than was intended and have an attic over it on acc[oun]t of the thickness of the walls, and which he thought would be very useful, and make the building look better'. This was reluctantly agreed to. The building was run as a Post Office by Mr Orchard for many years. It ceased trading in 1927 and is now a private house.
The origins of the Moravian community at Ockbrook lay in Religion torn 'Reformation Europe'. A Bohemian Christian reformer by the name of Jon Hus was burned at the stake in 1415 and his followers founded their church in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, in 1457. An Anglican curate, Jacob Rogers was influenced by the Moravians and preached in Nottingham about 1740. He was heard and invited to Ockbrook by Isaac Frearson, a local farmer and this led to a 'society' being formed in the village. The society was the forerunner of the congregation that was 'settled' by Bishop Peter Boehler some ten years later with the church being built on the hill to the north of the original village in 1752. The church, sometimes called the chapel has a clock made by Whitehurst and Son of Derby which bears the date 1827.
Middle class and wealthy people attracted to the village built many large houses and cottage industries developed with glovemakers, shoemakers and tailors becoming established. One such person was Mrs Elizabeth Bates who financed many of the buildings in the 1810s and 1820s leaving the building shown above in her Will to the congregation for the use of the minister. Members of the community obeyed a strict religious code. Men and women had to enter the chapel by separate doors according to the strict segregation rule of the order. The settlement continued to grow and includes many fine 18th and 19th Century buildings some of which now form Ockbrook School. The School was established by the Moravian Church in 1799 and still serves as an independent school today. The buildings were added too in time; a boys' boarding school in 1822 with the headmaster's house being added in 1907. Closing as a boys school in 1915, the boys and their masters transferred to another Moravian School in Yorkshire but girls and their teachers moved in the very next day. There have been many extensions and additions since and now the old headmaster's house is the school's administrative block. The school is attended by some 450 pupils, mainly girls although the primary department (3-11) does admit some boys. The school still caters for a small number of boarders.
There is still a Moravian congregation at the church. During the early years of the community's development, they tried to spread their dissenting religion in the surrounding district; they had preaching places at Eaton, Belper, Codnor, Matlock, Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Dale, and other towns and villages; and yet not a single one of these places ever developed into a congregation, and they were often met with angry mobs, suspicious of their beliefs and way of life. The whole of The Settlement is now protected by a Conservation Order and several of the buildings, including the Manse, are Grade II listed.
Additional information very kindly supplied by Gail Maskalick.