A Bit of Clowne's History Back Where It Belongs
18th century papers unearthed in attic
A MISSING document from the 18th century belonging to Clowne Church has been found in a loft in Creswell.
The Glebe Terrier is a 14-page handwritten parchment detailing the assets, land and silver owned by St John the Baptist Church between 1727 and 1857.
It was passed to Allan Bailey, a member of Clowne Local History Society, by a friend who had found the rare document among papers in a box in his loft.
"I was flabbergasted and very pleased when it was given to me. My friend said I could throw it away if it wasn't any use," said Mr Bailey, of Hickingwood Lane, Clowne.
"As soon as I read it I knew it was more important than we thought. I did my homework and I took it to the local vicar and he was astounded."
When the document was written, the cost of weddings at Clowne's St John the Baptist Church in 1857 was two shillings and six pence – the equivalent of 14 pence today.
The Terrier also details the parish benefactor, one of whom provided the £17.50 a year salary for the school master.
"Not a lot was known about Clowne around that period. Now we know a lot more about who owned what. At one stage the church owned quite a chunk of Clowne," said Mr Bailey.
"The society has got old pictures of Clowne but this is the first document as such. It details what land the church owned and donations made to the church and to the people of Clowne," he said.
"The parchment is written in indelible ink using a quill pen. There are similar documents in the records office in Matlock but none are in such a good condition. This is a one off. "
After finding the lost document, Mr Bailey contacted Rev Lawrence Harris, who advised that the find be donated to Derbyshire County Council's archive in Matlock where the document would be placed alongside other records for Clowne.
"I recognised it as a very important document historically for the church. I deciphered it and said although it was the property of Clowne Church, the place for it was the archivists in Matlock where it would be safe for ever more," said Mr Harris, 70, who retired in May 2004 after 35 years as Clowne's parish priest.
"Terrier is an ancient word meaning the property owned by an individual or institution, and Glebe means that belonging to a church," he explained.
"This is a priceless document which can never be replaced and I am absolutely delighted that I was able to make sure a very significant document is now in the right place," he said.
Coun Bob Janes, cabinet member for cultural and community services, thanked the history society for donating such an important document.
"It helps to fill a gap in the series of documents we already have relating to Clowne and enhances our knowledge of life in the parish in the 18th and 19th century which can be enjoyed by generations to come."
Mr Bailey has typed the writing from parchment onto a computer and is willing to let those interested have a copy.
"Now we are looking into the names of people in the document and who money was left for. This could tell people a lot about their family history," he said.
For more information contact Allan Bailey on 01246 819173.
13 April 2006