David G Edwards
Bacon, Clay Cross
Off Hockley lane, near Hanging Banks
About this image
Showing east front of hall; the lady in the four-wheel carriage is undoubtedly Mrs Adelaide Hunlock. Photo donated by Cliff Williams to donor.
The lords of the manor at Wingerworth were the Brailsfords for most of the Middle Ages; the lordship then descended in an uncertain way to the Curzons of Kedleston and then to the Hunlokes at the end of the l 6th century.
The Hunlokes were the dominant family in Wingerworth from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I until 1920, acquiring nine-tenths of the land in the parish and becoming lords of the manor. They first obtained leases of property here in the 1540s, including the ironworks, and by about 1600 had built a small Hall, where they lived until building a much grander mansion in 1729 (seen here). The house was probably built by Francis Smith of Warwick out of Crawshaw sandstone from Alton Quarry, for the third Baron, Thomas Windsor Hunloke. The Henry Hunloke who built the first Hall had been a merchant tailor in London, presumably becoming well-off enough to purchase the freehold of the manor and settle permanently in Wingerworth.
Under the Hunlokes, Wingerworth remained an estate village with strictly controlled development and gradual dispersal of the original settlement away from the church and Hall. His grandson, the third Henry, sided with King Charles in the Civil War and was awarded a baronetcy in 1648 for his services, but he died quite young in 1648. His son, another Henry, was the first head of the family to profess Roman Catholicism, a religion which restricted the liberty of the Hunlokes until 1829. Four more generations of the family succeeded that Henry up to 1856, when the last of the male line died unmarried; before him, all the Hunloke baronets had married into equally prominent gentry families.
In 1864 the estate was settled on Adelaide Fitzclarence (nee Sidney), descended from a female line, who took the surname Hunloke; after her death in 1904 it came to her nephew Philip. In 1920 he sold the estate, which was burdened with a large mortgage and potential death duties; besides this Philip had interests elsewhere, as sailing master to King George V.
Besides Wingerworth Hall, the Hunlokes built a mausoleum in 1783, in which sixteen of the family are interred; it now forms part of the church structure but was originally, free-standing. Other creations were (a) the Park, which extended westward from the Hall down to New Road and once contained a numerous herd of deer (b) the Avenue which ran east from the Hall down to the River Rother and beyond, and (c) the private Roman Catholic chapel housed in the Hall and later in Birdholme House, the 'dower house', of the family. The Hunlokes employed a succession of priests to serve the chapel, who seem to have had some success in converting up to a quarter of the local inhabitants to Catholicism in the 18th century.
The Hall was eventually acquired by William Twigg and Sons of Matlock and was pulled down in 1924-7 leaving only the subsidiary buildings; lodges and service wings. Humphry Repton presented plans for the improvement of the grounds at Wingerworth, but they were never implemented. There are no gardens surviving at the Hall today.