About this image
Print of South Front Elevation of Foremark Hall, the seat of Sir Francis Burdett Bart, architect Hiorns, scale 1 inch to 9 ft.
Foremark, or Fornewerke as it was called in the Domesday Book when it belonged to Nigel de Stafford, passed through various Norman families before it was acquired by Sir Robert Francis. His heiress, Jane, married Thomas Burdett of Bramcote who was created a baronet in 1618.
The magnificent Palladian mansion which is now Repton Prep School was once the home of the Burdett family. It was built in 1759 by Sir Robert Burdett, the 4th baronet, to the design of his architect David Hiorns of Warwick and stands on the site of an earlier house. The imposing Georgian hall took four years to build. Whilst the work was undertaken, Sir Robert moved his family and servants to Knowle Hill House. (When on July 27th 1763 Sir Robert Burdett move back to Foremark Hall, Knowle Hill House was mostly demolished and converted into pleasure gardens.)
Sir Francis Burdett, the fifth Baronet of Foremark was born in 1770. He was a good and courageous man, a member of Parliament and very popular with the people. For his radical views on the laws of the land at that time he was imprisoned in the Tower of London and fined £40,000. To pay this enormous fine the oak trees out of Robin Wood were felled. The trees were then cut into suitable lengths in saw pits on the bank of the River Trent. From there the wood was transported by boat and sold to raise the fine money. Sir Francis was devoted to his wife and when she died in January 1844 he refused both food and drink and died a few days later of grief. They were buried together on the same day in the same vault in Foremark Church. His heir was Sir Robert Burdett who reportedly ruled the village with a rod of iron. After the Second World War it became a Preparatory School for Repton School.
This image is one of a collection by the famous local antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, of Middleton by Youlgreave. (1821-1861). Bateman organized his collection by inserting them into a 4 volume copy of Lysons Magna Britannia, Derbyshire, creating a fascinating and unique illustrated record of the county. The purchase of the collection for Derbyshire Libraries was made possible by the generous bequest of Miss Frances Webb of Whaley Bridge, well known local historian, who died in December 2006.