About this image
The Abbey here was originally an Augustinian priory, founded by Robert Ferrers, second Earl of Derby, around 1146. The Abbey became one of the most important in Derbyshire, but was surrendered as part of the Dissolution of Monastries, in 1538, and almost totally obliterated. Robert Sacheverell, Esq., who took possession of the site as keeper of the abbey estate for the crown, purchased the materials. The church with its aisles, the Lady's chapel, St. Sythe's chapel, and the altars, candlesticks, organs, paving, timbers, gravestones, the roofs, etc. were valued to him at 26 pounds. The site was granted, in 1541, to Sir William West, who altered some of the convent buildings and built a new house there for his own residence: Darley abbey is mentioned as one of his seats in the Heralds' Visitation of 1569. His son sold it in 1574 to John Bullock, Esq. The Bullocks built the abbey house, and continued to possess the abbey estate for about eighty years. Thomas Goodbehere, who acquired it by two purchases, made in 1654 and 1656, left three daughters, co-heiresses. The Alestreys purchased the greater part of the manor and the hall in 1672 and 1675. William Wolley Esq. of Derby, purchased the hall in 1709, and afterwards the manor; he had the hall rebuilt in 1727. The estate then became the property of Mr. Heath, a banker in Derby, on the sale of whose estates it was purchased by the late Robert Holden, Esq. The Hall was extended in the 1760s by Joseph Pickford. For 120 years it was the home of the Evans family who built the cotton mill by the river in 1783.
Darley park, which borders the village, was landscaped by William Evans and had attractive flower beds, shrubberies and lawns running down to a stretch of the river Derwent. The Hall was used as a school before it was demolished in 1962. The park is now a public recreational area.
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.